Add special effects to
pictures with Automator in PowerPoint 2011
Home and Student Edition does not have
Automator does not work with Microsoft Office Home and
does this Automator Workflow do?
You choose one or more picture or image files in Finder and then
the Automator Workflow applies a custom Quartz Composition
Filter to the picture(s). The output is to a presentation in
What is a Quartz Composition
You choose from a variety
filter types - from simple filters to fancy ones such as Motion
Blur. These filters work incredibly fast because they are built
into the Mac operating system. PowerPoint 2011 doesn't support these filters directly
in the interface, but it does support them via Automator. Give
it a try! You'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to
make the Automator Workflow and how robust the Quartz filters
How do I make this Automator
Making something like this used to take developers weeks or
months. You'll do it in a matter of minutes! Just follow these
steps (See Figure 1):
- Open the Automator
application (Double-click the Automator.app in the
- When the program opens, a dialog displays "Choose a
template for your workflow" with "workflow"selected by
default. "Workflow" is what we want, so all you have to do is click the Choose button.
- In the list of Actions
in the left column, in the Library category choose Files and Folders.
- Drag the action, "Ask
for Finder Items" to the empty pane on the right. It
might take a couple tries before this works. Drag slowly.
- In the "Ask for Finder Items" action, click the check box for Allow
- In the list of Actions
in the left column, in the
Library category choose Photos.
- Drag "Apply Quartz
Composition Filter to Image Files" to the pane on the right.
Position the action underneath "Filter Finder Items." You'll
be presented a dialog box that says "This action will change
the image files passed into it. Would you like to add a Copy
Finder items action so that the copies are changed and your
originals are preserved?" Click
the Add button. The default save location is
"Desktop" but you can change to save location to any folder by
clicking the pop-up button.
- Click the Options
button near the bottom of the "Apply Quartz
Composition Filter to Image Files" action, and then click the check box for "Show
this action when the workflow runs."
- In the list of Actions in the left column, in the
Library category choose Presentations.
- Drag "Create
PowerPoint Picture Slide Shows" to the pane on the right
and position it under the "Apply Quartz Composition Filter to
Image Files" action.
Now save the Automator
action twice: once as an automator workflow that you can open
and edit in the Automator application, and also as an
application itself, which you can run from within PowerPoint. To
save this workflow as an Automator Workflow:
To save this Automator
Action as application that PowerPoint can use:
- In Automator, choose File
> Save As.
- In the Save As field, give
the action a name, such as Pics to PowerPoint.workflow
- Use the default file format,
"workflow" and then click the Save button.
- In Automator, choose File > Save As.
- In the Save As field, give the action a name, such as Pics to
- Change the file format to "Application" and then
navigate to your Documents folder and save the file. Tip: Make
an Automator Actions folder in your Documents folder and save
your Automator Actions there so you know where all your
Automator Actions are.
How do I use this workflow application?
Navigate to the place where you
saved your Automator application. Double-click the Automator
Application file to run the Automator Action:
Click here for more Automator Actions.
Choose a Finder Item dialog opens. Choose an image or picture
file and then click the Choose button. Hold the Command key down to
pick multiple pictures.
Apply Quartz Composition Filter to Image Files dialog opens.
Under the sample picture there's a button. Click it and choose
a filter from the large list of filters.
filters offer additional control settings, which you can use
to customize the filter.
you're done picking and adjusting the filter settings, click
the Continue button.
rendered pictures will be put into a PowerPoint
presentation for you. Copies of the edited pictures will be saved in
Finder where you specified in step 7.