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Creating A Party Printing Folder Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

27 March 2015

You've got a camera, a printer and a party. How do you break the ice between them?

One essential ingredient -- the punch for this party -- is a watched folder. The trick a watched folder can perform is to process any file it receives. And by "process" we mean, in this case, "print."

So any image you drop into this watched folder will automatically be printed.


Whatever version of Mac OS you're running, you can set up a Folder Action to create a watched folder. We're doing this on Yosemite:

Step 1: Launch Automator and Choose the Folder Action option in the template sheet that appears.

Step 2: Use the pulldown menu (Other... in the top right) to select or create a folder to watch. We created PublicPrint.

Step 3: In the Automator window's Search field type 'print' to see a list of Automator print actions. Select 'Print Images' and drag it to the right pane of the Automator window.

Step 4: Select the Center and Scale to Fit options. Select Auto Rotate. Set the printer to your printer. And save the Action.

To test the setup, just drop any drop any JPEG into that folder to print it. Drop as many as you like in fact.


You won't be dragging images into the folder at the party, of course. So you'll want a way to automatically write images to the watched folder. You WiFi network is your best friend for that.

Some of the possibilities include:

  • Set up a smartphone to write new images to that directory with third-party apps that can target the watched folder.
  • Use a WiFi card in your camera to transmit images to your watched folder.

You don't want to send all the photos on your phone to the watched folder (you'll have to guard against that). And you do want the photos to go to the watched folder, nowhere else.

You may want to extend this benefit to your guests as well.


At the end of the party, you'll have a nice collection of images from the party in your watched folder, which you can archive and post on the Web for everybody to see.

If you have trouble setting this up, we're available to help.

Update (1 April): We've subsequently printed native Photoshop files (PSD) and Raw files in addition to JPEGs, again just by dropping them into the watched folder. But we caution you not to edit a Raw file that stores edits in an XMP sidecar file. When the XMP file is created, it too will be printed.

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