I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. I ended up having lots of fun and being as busy as ever. The first post of the year will be dedicated to adding iTunes media, music, videos etc using the Services menu and an Automator application. iTunes 9 added a new feature called “Automatically Add To iTunes” its simply a folder that iTunes is always looking at found in your iTunes music folder. Add a file to the folder and iTunes will add it to your library. A very good way of quickly adding files and folders. In this tutorial I am going to show you how to add a Services menu to take advantage of this menu. I will also show you how you can use it in other ways.
The first step is to understand what is going on. This is what will happen. You select a file in Finder > Select the Services menu option > Copy (or move) the file to the required folder > iTunes then analysis this new file > iTunes copies it to your library and you are ready to play it. Simple. To start open Automator in your Applications folder. When asked by the pop up select the Services menu option. This will only appear for Snow Leopard users. If you are on an older version you can create an application, more on the application option later.
Within Automator at the top of the work flow area (right hand side of the screen) select “files or folders” for the first drop down and “Finder” for the second. This will make sure the Service menu option only runs for files and folders, which is what you want. From the library of actions on the left hand side of the screen select “Copy Finder Items” from the list, it is under Files & Folders, drag this to your workflow. Within the options change the folder to “Automatically Add To iTunes” under Users/[name]/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music. If you want to copy the music file, as a result, leave the original music file in its original place select “Copy Finder Items” from the library of actions. This is ok, however you end up with a lot of duplicate files. Its better to select “Move Finder Items” from the list of available actions. This will move the music file and keep your Hard Drive less cluttered. At this point it is worth pointing out in iTunes I would select “Keep iTunes Media Folder Organised” and “Copy Files To iTunes Media folder when adding to library” under Preferences > Advanced.
We now have our Automator work flow set up. Lets put it to use. Save the work flow with a useful name “Move to iTunes” or “Copy To iTunes” are good names depending on which work flow option you have selected. When you hit OK the service option will now be present in your Service menu, simply select a music file in Finder.
At this point its not that useful, but we can add a Shortcut. Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts. Select Services and find your new Service menu under Files and Folders. Double click in the area to the right of the Service menu option. Add a shortcut, I recommend one with a couple of modifier keys (eg Command + Option + Shift + A). When you are done test you new short cut out.
If you are into drag and drop, create an Automator application workflow in the same way (select Application instead of Service at the very beginning). With the application save it to a useful location. Then drag this option to the toolbar on Finder. Everytime you drag a music file onto the workflow it should add it to iTunes.
I hope you find this tutorial useful. If you have any questions please leave a comment.