Technology Tuesday: DropBox Automator

DropBox is awesome. We told you some cool things you can do with it last year. One of my favorites was the uTorrent automation. Being able to automate tasks to make life easier is pretty compelling. For example, if you are away from home and stumble upon a killer Grateful Dead show from eTree that you want to fetch the torrent for, you simply download the torrent to a DropBox folder and it is waiting for you when you get home. No need to open your browser at home, no need to find the torrent again, no need to even open uTorrent: all automated.

Now imagine this same type of automation for scores of other services & how convenient that would make your life. This is exactly what Dropbox Automator from Wappwolf does for you.  With many convenient automations including document editing, picture editing & social sharing, DropBox Automator can drastically reduce the amount of apps that you need to use on a daily basis and make your life more productive.

Sound cool…but what exactly is this again? DropBox Automator allows you to perform certain actions whenever documents, pictures or other items are put into specific DropBox folders.

What are some examples of automations? Just a handful of the automations include uploading documents to Google Docs, uploading pictures to Flickr, converting documents to PDF, sending documents to your Kindle, downscaling images, and uploading to an FTP server. Regardless if the tasks are relatively simple (uploading to Google Docs for example) or tedious and time consuming (individually converting a few dozen pictures), DropBox Automator will save you major time and inconvenience.

Sweet! How does it all work? Simply head to wappwolf.com/dropboxautomator and login with your DropBox account. It will request permission to link to your account and after authenticating you, display a list of all of your exisiting DropBox folders. You simply select which folder you want the action performed on and then chose which automation you want.

[Folder Selection in DropBox Automator]

That’s It? Yup. Select folder, select action, done. Some actions of course require a password & username for whatever service you are using and maybe a handful of options to select. For example, I read a ton on my Kindle but downloading an eBook outside of Amazon or a PDF used to be kind of a pain in the ass to get on my device. I would have to download the document, load it into Calibre (an amazing eBook management software application), convert to Kindle, find USB cord, connect Kindle & transfer to my device. Now, I can drop any eBook, PDF or Word Document into my Kindle folder on DropBox and the conversion is done automatically and sent to my device like magic in just a minute or two! Amazing!

[Document based actions after you select which folder to monitor]

[Kindle options]

What happens to the original files? If the resulting file would trigger the automation again, the file that needed action is processed, and moved to a subfolder named “Processed” within the folder that is being monitored. Otherwise, the original folder location in preserved.

How long does it take? Usually a minute or two. The folders are constantly being monitored and whatever action is needed usually only takes a small amount of time.

Other things to know: 

  • DropBox automator is completely web based: the cloud does all the work for you. There is nothing to download to your computer and no application is needed. You don’t even need DropBox installed on the computer you are using since you could simply use DropBox web upload.
  • If you have nested folders within folders in DropBox, you will have to create automations for every folder as they don’t work if you simply select the main folder.

Full List of Available Actions

  • Documents

Convert to PDF

PDF to TXT

Upload to Google Docs

Send to your kindle

Upload to Slideshare

Sign PDF (electronic signature)

Convert eBook

  • Pictures

Upload to Facebook

Upload to Flickr

Upload to Picasa / Google +

Downscale

Convert image

Rotate image

Write text on image

Photo effect

Stamp a logo on the image

Stamp a “dislike” on the image

  • Any file

e-mail

Zip file

Rename

Upload to FTP-Server

Encrypt file

Decrypt file

View Existing Automations After you create automations, when you visit dropboxautomator again & log in, all your existing automations will be displayed. You can “Stop Automation” to toggle back and forth between having your actions executed if you want to temporarily stop, “Delete Automation” to permanently stop executing your actions or “Create New Automation” to create new ones.

Create as many as you want: it’s all free!

Enjoy your automations and all the time you will be saving. Have fun.

_________________________________

Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
email: [email protected]
twitter@tmwsiy
voice-mail:  (781) 285-8696

Have an idea for an article? Product, app, or web service you are passionate about? Feel free to get in touch with me.

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