I use iPhoto to store all of my digital photos, as well as most other digital images I’ve created or downloaded on my Mac (including Photoshop and Fireworks files.) Images with titles or keywords are searchable in Spotlight, so these are easy to find.

Images lacking titles and keywords require me to launch iPhoto to look for them. To save time, I don’t always want to launch iPhoto. Fortunately, if you have OS 10.4, it’s very easy to use Automator (included as part of 10.4) to create a superfast, mini-iPhoto browser. Here’s how:

1. Launch Automator and open a new project by clicking on File > New.

2. The left side of the Automator window is divided in two panes: Library and Action. Under the Action listing, browse the list until you find the iPhoto action called “Ask for Photos.” Drag this action over to the right side of the Automator window.

3. There are two ways to save this workflow: as a plugin for Finder, or as an application. To save as a plugin, in Automator browse to File > Save as plugin. Name the plug-in “minibrowser.”

Now, with with a single right-click (or control click) on your Macs desktop or in any Finder window you can launch the minibrowser. Simply right-click (or control click) on your Macs desktop or in any Finder window, and browse down the contextual menu to Automator > minibrowser. The iPhoto mini-browser should open right up.

You can also save the Automator workflow as an application. To do this, in Automotor browse to “File > Save As. ” A dialog box opens with a drop down-menu called “File Format.” Open this window, and choose “Application.” Name this application “minibrowser,” and save it to your desktop, or to your Applications folder. You can then drag the icon into the dock for easy access.

When you want to launch the mini-broswer, all you have to do is double click on the minibrowser application icon. This icon works exactly like any other application that you would install on your computer.

You can drag full-resolution photos and images out of this mini-browser to your desktop, into an email, or even into an image editor like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements!

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