BASIC: How to Get Services > Folder Actions to Appear in Finder Ctrl-Click?


I am totally new here and totally here because I just need help getting started with Folder Actions. The “Help” section for Folder Actions gives instructions for how to attach a folder action, but when I control-click in Finder as instructed, Services > Folder Actions does not appear as an option. And, when I go to System Preferences, those actions are not available for me to check to add them to the Services menu.

Can someone help me escape one of the most basic escape rooms in my computing history?

I suppose I could solve this by indexing a “catch-all” folder to a dedicated DT database and then sort those items with Smart Rules to various databases, but I really would like to get Folder Actions working directly within Finder.

Thanks in advance.

Hi and welcome :slight_smile:

Is this condition fulfilled:

Note: Please note that macOS Services and the connection to DEVONagent work only for applications installed into the Applications folder

If you have only just installed DT you may also need to restart your Mac before macOS becomes aware of the services offered by DT.

I seem to remember that folder actions are not really needed anymore since the advent of the global inbox. Which is just what you called

minus the indexing part.

Good idea. Thank you for the suggestion to check! Yes, DT 3 has been installed in Applications since October 17th, 2021 (multiple restarts since then). I attached a screenshot of the Services available currently, because there are a few DT-related Services in the options I have, but nothing with “Folder Actions”.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 8.19.37 AM
Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 8.21.07 AM

Yeah, I’m just not sure how to automatically send a file that I save to a specific folder on my computer (e.g. Downloads) into the Global Inbox (where I can work with Smart Rules to filter it into the proper database, add tags, etc) without a Folder Action.

Am I missing something?

Folder Actions Setup is available in the context menu in the Finder when a folder is selected.

The more common way of doing what you describe is now to index* the folder in question and to use smart rules from there; Folder Actions are “left over” from DT2, which did not support indexing (I hope no zombies appear to tell me ooooh yes it did, but I think that’s right).

Regarding the Folder Actions: do you have this location, and does it contain a number of Folder Action scripts: ~/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts?

Jim’s point would have been my next question - is that screenshot from the context menu of a file or of a folder?

* indexing basically creates a mirror of a Folder (which resides in the file system) in DEVONthink (DT). That mirror contains pointers to the files in the file system; the files themselves do not reside in DT. Their mirror images can be worked with in the same that that imported files can be worked on, though. Indexed files can be moved (from the file system) into the database (making them imported files) using the context menu or - of course - smart rules.

Okay, I think I have cracked this. I went back into the Services preferences via Finder > Services.
Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 8.45.20 AM

From there, I scrolled through all the Services available to me in the Shortcuts tab and found “Folder Actions Setup” under “Files and Folders” in Services.

Enabling that Service gives me the “Folder Action Setup” option when I ctrl + click on a folder in Finder.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 8.42.51 AM

Selecting “Folder Action Setup” brings up a large menu of options for which Script to attach to a particular folder, including :tada:[triumphal trumpet sound]:tada: a number of DEVONthink scripts to act on files in a particular folder.

I hope this helps others who are stuck on the basic question of how to get the “Folder Actions” option to appear in a control+click of a folder in Finder. Thanks to the folks who replied to this question: your ideas and suggestions made me think again about what might be the problem and where to find the solution.

You are most welcome. I’ve never had to jump trough the hoop you just described, instead finding the Folder Actions to just be there without intervention. A little gremlin must have prodded a podgy finger in the gears somewhere. You should probably find it and give it a band aid.

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I guess you could save to the global inbox instead. From DT’s documentation:

The Global Inbox is also special as it is the only database you can add a shortcut to in the Finder’s sidebar. This allows you to save a file into the Global Inbox from other applications.


Glad you found your way on this.

Do note, as pointed out earlier, folder actions are used much less nowadays than they used to be. With some judicious indexing of specific Finder folders and some smart rules, DEVONthink likely can accomplish the same thing… and more! :slight_smile:

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