Convert HEIF & HEIC to JPG or PNG on MAC without downloading any software or uploading to an internet service

I recently needed to create an Ebay listing, and discovered they don’t support the new iPhone HEIC file format. After some googling, all I could find where tutorials on using an online service, or downloading software. I thought both of those seem sketchy to me. So I remembered. every Mac comes with the Automator application, which allows you to build scripts by dragging and dropping components.  And sure enough, converting HEIF or HEIC to JPG or PNG formats is supper simple.

In less than 5 minutes, I built a script to select the files and make copies in the correct format;

First, from the keyboard bring up spotlight search by typing  ⌘-space and entering Automator, enter to run the program.

Second, Once the programs, select create a new script, then in the script editor, simply find and select the following three modules; by finding them in the left hand tree menu then dragging them to the right hand panel.

  1. Ask for Finder Items
  2. Copy Finder Items
  3. Change Type of Images







The “Ask for Finder Items” is exactly that, and prompt the user to find and select Items (in this case HIEC photos).  Remember to check the ‘select multiple items’ checkbox.

The “Copy Finder Items” takes the Items, you selected in step 1,  and copies them to a new location.

Finally “Change Type of Image” takes the copies items and changes the filetype. You can select JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG or TIFF.

That’s it. Simply navigate with the Finder to the folder you selected in Step 2, and your files are all converted.

This script is really basic, but you can extend this script in many ways. Such as ‘create thumbnails’,  ‘save to an iPhotos album’, ‘crop images’, and much more.

Dual sided scanning with single sided scanner

I recently purchased a Brother multifunction printer (MFC-7460DN) – its great to be able to print, fax and scan on the network. But it it only scans single side documents!!!

PDF Labs  to the rescue with a free (non-commercial distribution use) solution. The process is very simple. I’ll share how I set it up to work with my Mac OS X 10.x (Yosemite).

  1. Brother Control Center software
    1. For this walk through I’ve assumed you already installed all the software that comes with the Brother multifunction printer (MFC-7460DN.) If not head over to Brother Support and download the appropriate drivers.
      Download Brother Software
  2. PDFServer
    1. Download and install PDF Labs PDFserver software (its free for home use; a commercial license to distribute is required.) The installation doesn’t require anything special
    2. Optional – Since the PDFserver is a command line tool, I like to remind myself that I installed the software by adding a note into my user profile. Again this is not necessary but, great if you sometimes forget what you have installed.
      1. Open a Terminal window
      2. Edit your profile (with your favorite editor) and add the following; which simply reminds you that you have extra tools installed.
         echo PDFtk has been installed to /opt/pdflabs/pdftk/
         echo    man pdftk for usage
         echo    see
  3. Configuring Control Center to scan to file
    1. Launch Control Center
    2. Set the File scan options for the ODD pages
      Note: Once you understand what this all does you can modify as you need, but for now use:
      Name the File: Odd
      Turn off: Insert Date in File Name
      Set the Destination Folder to “Downloads”
      Select File Type: PDF
    3. Place you documents in the scanner, then Click “Start Scanning”
    4. When the documents are done, take them from the output slot and insert them upside down into the scanner (note they will be in reverse order, last page on top, first page on bottom)
    5. Change the “Scan to File” settings by change the File Name to “Even” then, Click “Start Scanning”
    6. You should now have two documents Odd.PDF and Even.PDF in your Downloads folder
  4. Combine the Files into one PDF
    1. In your terminal window (re-open if you closed it); change to the directory with your files
      cd ~/Downloads
    2. Now combine the files with:
      pdftk A=Odd.pdf B=Even.pdf shuffle A Bend-1 output collated_pages.pdf
    3. Your file will be in the called “collated_pages.pdf” with odd and even pages properly oriented.

This process is pretty simple, but I hope to use Mac Automator to create a easier workflow.