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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser Apps
Tiger only hintSince Apple developed its "digital hub", with iLife and now iWork, I have wanted to have a system-wide panel that would let me choose pictures from my iPhoto library without having to open the application.

For example, if I want to add a picture to a TextEdit RTFD document, I had to launch iPhoto, chose the picture, and drag it to the document. Waiting for iPhoto to launch can be long if you have a lot of photos.

But there is a way to get around this, using an Automator action.

1. Open Automator, and click iPhoto.
2. From the list of actions, select Ask for Photos, and drag it to the right-hand pane.
3. Save this as a plug-in, and select Script Menu (the script menu that displays in the menu bar) so it is accessible anywhere. (If this menu is not visible, launch the AppleScript Utility in /Applications/Applescript, and check 'Show Script Menu in menu bar.')

Next time you need a picture from your iPhoto library, select this action from the AppleScript menu, and you'll have a media browser that lets you do so without opening iPhoto.

[kirkmc adds: You can do something similar if you need to select songs from iTunes. Select iTunes in Automator, then Ask for Songs. This lets you select songs from your library, from a specific playlist, or by searching in a Spotlight-type search field. You can also play songs from this window; you might not find this ideal to replace iTunes, but in a pinch, if you need to hear a single song, it will do the trick.]
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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: Toadling on May 01, '06 09:01:08AM

This is a neat idea. I added a "Copy to Clipboard" action after the "Ask for Photos" in the hope that selecting the choose button would actually copy the selected photos to the clipboard for pasting into a document. But it seems to only copy the image paths instead - still usefull but not really what I was looking for.

Another way to accomplish this, however, is to use a utility like LaunchBar or Quicksilver. Both allow browsing of your iPhoto Library, selection of images, and copying of paths or image content to the clipboard.

Quicksilver is perhaps a little better at this sort of thing because it shows thumbnails of the photos (at least with the Bezel interface), allows selection of multiple files with the "comma syntax", and even allows drag and drop of images from Quicksilver to a document.



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: waywest on May 03, '06 09:52:51AM

Heresy perhaps but I've been using Adobe's Bridge (launched at startup) to do exactly this.
Bridge doesn't take the resources of iPhoto (or Photoshop obviously), provides a click-n-drag GUI and lets you create Favorite folders. Helps to have second monitor.



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: oliverchaddock on May 01, '06 09:02:14AM

This is one of the best hints I've seen.

I saved it as an application rather than a plug-in, and double cliking the app brings up the photo browser window. This is handy to keep in my dock for the odd time i want to send someone a specific photo. Way cool.



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: Sport73 on May 01, '06 09:03:25AM

GREAT HINT.

2 seconds to implement and QUITE USEFUL!

Thanks!

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Productivity, Beauty, Capably Simplicity, Elegantly Powerful = MAC



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: Oneota on May 01, '06 09:28:14AM

This works nicely if you save it as an Application, too - then just drag-n-drop to any application from there (and you don't clutter up your menubar with the scripts menu).



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: Oneota on May 01, '06 09:29:53AM

D'oh - sorry, when I posted this, no comments had been added. Didn't mean to essentially duplicate the comment of someone else.

Guess I should've refreshed the hint before commenting!



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: sjonke on May 01, '06 10:06:18AM

Anyone know why I can't pass this to a Mail action of attaching the file(s) to the outgoing message? If I create a new message in Mail, then run this action, it always gives the error that there is no new message. But there is a new, blank message. If I have the automator action create a new message of its own, then it works, but that's not what I want. I want to add to the current (new) message. Just trying to make that Choose button useful!

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Ask for Photos in Mail
Authored by: sjk on May 02, '06 10:44:01AM

Did you get this workflow script working with Mail?

For some reason it's not cooperating for me at all. In TextEdit, the script launches fine and I can choose an image but it doesn't appear in the buffer (which remains unmodified).



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: denckwanzer on May 01, '06 10:33:59AM

What a neat idea. I saved mine as an application to run from the Dock. I also added a Finder copy action so that when I select photo(s), it copies the file(s) to the Desktop. Thanks for the tip!



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: sjonke on May 01, '06 10:36:27AM
Here is a hack way to get the action to paste the photo to the current application. First, I'd suggest unchecking the option to allow multiple selection, as this hack will only work with one photo, not multiple. Next, after the choose photos action add a Preview "Open images in Preview" action, then after that add a "Run applescript" action (in Automator library of actions) with this script:
on run {input, parameters}
	tell application "System Events"
		delay 2
		keystroke "c" using command down
		keystroke "w" using command down
		keystroke tab using command down
		delay 2
		keystroke "v" using command down
	end tell
	
	return input
end run
This is a hack. Expect it to fail on occasion, or even often! :) It definitely could stand for some substantial improvements.

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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: jokke on May 01, '06 01:37:27PM

You could also use Quicksilver (http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/), install the iTunes and iPhoto plugins. Then navigate to the photo/song you're looking for, hit tab and run "Paste". Voila.

The downside is that the previews are smaller...

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http://jokke.dk | Pulling the trigger at port 80



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: jonn8n on May 01, '06 01:50:25PM
If you add the following script to a "Run AppleScript" action immediately following the "Ask for Photos" action, the selected image(s) will open on your system using the default editor:

on run {input, parameters}
	repeat with i in input
		try
			do shell script "open " & quoted form of POSIX path of i
		on error e
			activate
			beep
			display dialog e buttons {"Cancel"} default button 1 with icon 2
		end try
	end repeat
end run

Jon

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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: chuckster on May 01, '06 03:38:47PM

It's probably a better idea to do it all with Automator.

Just plug in an "Open Finder Items" action after the "Ask for Photos". It'll let you specify either the default app or a selected app.



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: shadownight on May 01, '06 01:57:09PM

This is the best hint I've seen on macosxhints!! Thank you so much! And does anyone know how to make this work with an iPhoto Library in another account? This would be perfect!



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: bluehz on May 01, '06 02:38:46PM

I have a shared setup - using ACL to allow sharing across network to many computers in the house for editing, modifying, adding, etc. Jest of that being that what I have in my ~/Photos directory is a symbolic link (not alias) to the shared directory in a special SHARED account. Using this technique - Automator does not see the iPhoto library. Darn!



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: kevin_1 on May 01, '06 03:56:54PM

I followed the procedure, but the saved plug-in didn't show up in script menu bar, any idea?



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: emilio30 on May 01, '06 07:24:55PM

I am having the same problem, followed the procedure exactly. It does not show up in script menu.



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: ventifact on May 01, '06 09:42:19PM
In the Finder call up the GO Menu Item SHIFT+COMMAND+G and enter this path: ~YourUserName/Library/Scripts/

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Permissions problem
Authored by: diskgrinder on May 03, '06 04:32:01AM
This'll be a permissions thing on your Scripts folder (as I found). You have to go to ~[yourUsername]/Library/Scripts, Get Info, and change the permissions so you an read and write to it (may have to change ownership from System to you, and apply to enclosed items, so you'll need an admin account).

I'm not even sure why the ownership of ~[yourUsername]/Library/Scripts is "system" (as in my case) - anyone got any ideas? So, as I don't understand it, perhaps you shouldn't follow my advice(!)

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I am largely flat

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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: iSierra on May 03, '06 12:46:23PM

GREAT hint!. I was wondering if is there any way to add a search function by keywords…



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser: drag 'n' drop from the browser
Authored by: mzajac on May 03, '06 03:06:42PM

No need to make an action to copy, save or attach images: you can drag the images right from the browser into a folder, application, text document, or email. (same goes for songs or movies in the other "ask for" actions.)



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser: drag 'n' drop from the browser
Authored by: sjk on May 03, '06 10:06:37PM
you can drag the images right from the browser into a folder, application, text document, or email.
Yep, as I discovered after selecting a photo and using the Choose button wasn't working in TextEdit. It's all so obvious now. :)



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: lagroue on May 06, '06 06:00:36AM

My 2 cents : this is one of the greatest hint of this site. Many thanks to the contributor !



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10.4: System-wide iPhoto browser
Authored by: dk on Sep 23, '06 07:53:16PM

This doesn't work if your iPhoto Library is not in your pictures folder. Does anyone know how one would enable this if your Library was in the Users/Shared folder, for instance?



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