03 May

Automating HTML to PDF conversion on OS X

Ever wondered how to convert a big batch of html files into PDFs?

Well, you *could* open each html file in the web browser of your choice and save/print it as a PDF. However, that’s going to take a long time for a big batch. One fun way you can do it in macOS is by creating an Automator service to do the donkey work for you. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

First, launch Automator (you’ll find it in your Mac’s Applications folder) and create a Service document (NB. Click any of the screen shots here to enlarge them).

Create Automator Service

Next, set the services input options as shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 14.09.55

Next drag in a Run Shell Script action. Make sure you set it’s “Pass input” option to “as arguments” – that’s important! This lets us pass the files we select as an input to the shell script.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 14.10.33

Change it’s contents to:

for theFileToProcess in "$@"
cupsfilter "$theFileToProcess" > "${theFileToProcess%.*}.pdf"

And save it as “HTML 2 PDF”, or whatever makes sense to you. Now it should look like this:

Run Shell Script options

Now, if you select a one (or more!) HTML files in in Finder whilst holding your control key down, you should be able to find the service you just created under “Services”. as shown below. Select it and you’ll run the shell script on all the files you selected!

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 14.13.29

Note that this will work best on fairly simple html – if you have heaps of JavaScript, movies etc in your html then the PDFs may not be great. However, its a handy quick way of taking some of the pain out of converting html to pdf.

While we have your attention… why not check out our macOS apps?

Barcode Basics – macOS barcode generator (including Automator support)
Ai Actions – Automator action pack for Adobe Illustrator
Pages Automator Actions – Automator action pack for Pages

30 Jan

Are you an Adobe Illustrator drudge?

Automator actions for Adobe Illustrator

If you’re a regular user of Adobe Illustrator then you probably find yourself doing more than your fair share of drudge work. Here’s a way of avoiding some of it…

Drudge work comes in many forms, for example gathering all those linked images together ready to send your files for printing. Or opening a large number of files, saving each one as a PDF and uploading them to an FTP site. The sort of stuff you never really signed up for when you decided to become a graphic designer or artworker.

Of course, you could teach yourself AppleScript and write your own scripts to automate your workflow. But who’s got time to learn AppleScript? Or you could hire an AppleScript expert. Or you could invest in technologies like Automation Engine from ESKO, but the price tag puts those options beyond the budget of many freelancers and many small businesses.

This is where our product Ai Actions comes in. It adds support for Adobe Illustrator to Apple’s workflow software, Automator. If you can drag and drop then you can create your own automatic workflows to automate Illustrator and integrate with other apps too such as Mail, Preview etc. You can even save your workflows as apps.

A sample action fro Ai Actions
Click here to see how to use Ai Actions to create a simple workflow in Automator.

If you want to try your hand at automating Adobe Illustrator then why not download the demo version of Ai Actions from here:

Ai Actions DEMO

…the demo version contains a small selection of the actions available in the full version which contains over 20 useful actions and is available from the Mac App Store.


07 Nov

We’re launching Priority Support Subscriptions!

All users get free support for Ghostotter products. However, we understand that our software is business-critical for some users and they need a faster support response than other users.

If that sounds like you then you might want to consider purchasing a priority support subscription (PSS). A PSS enhances the support options for your product with the following benefits:

A faster response
We always try to respond to support requests as quickly as possible. However, some users need a super-fast response. With a PSS, we will respond to your support request within 1 working day. (Normal response time is within 3 days).

A dedicated support contact
You will have a dedicated member of the Ghostotter development team who will be your first point of contact should you need help. NB. Contact will be via email and in English.

Priority support
Support requests from users with a PSS will be dealt with ahead of other support requests.

Priority development requests
Development requests (e.g. new feature requests) from users with a PSS will be prioritised ahead of other development requests. Be aware that not all development requests will be accepted.

More Info

25 May

Illustrator Automator Actions: Demo Available

Illustrator Automator Actions

Good news! We’ve made a trial version of Ai Actions available for download so you can give it a test drive before buying. Ai Actions gives you a set of handy Illustrator Automator Actions which you can use to create your own workflows and even apps to automate your work. And the best thing is that you don’t need to write a line of code! If you can drag and drop, you can create a workflow.

NB. The demo version contains 4 sample actions. The full version contains 18 actions.

Click here to download demo

Less donkey work, more creativity!

Lets imagine you have a hundred Illustrator artworks and you need to open each, delete any empty text frames, convert all the text to outlines and save as a JPEG and a PDF. Normally you’d have to do that by hand. Using Ai Actions and Automator you can create a workflow to do this automatically saving you heaps of time. And more importantly, letting you concentrate on the creative stuff instead of the boring donkey-work.

A simple Automator workflow using Ai Actions to automate Adobe Illustrator

A simple Automator workflow using Ai Actions to automate Adobe Illustrator

Why use Automator?

The advantage of Automator is that you can use functionality from many other apps in your workflow. So, for example, if you wanted to email the PDFs created by your workflow then you can harness the power of Mail.app to do that for you.

The trial version has only four Automator actions whereas the full version contains 18. There are some tips for getting to grips with Automator here:

Getting to grips with Automator
Creating a simple workflow with Ai Actions

Where can I get the full version?

The full version of Ai Actions is available from the Mac App Store. Get automating today!

Illustrator Actions for Automator, Automator Actions, Automator Illustrator Actions

23 May

Learning Automator

Automator is a really easy way of building workflows, apps, services and hot folders and requires little or no programming knowledge. Once you’ve mastered it, you can automate all sorts of things on your Mac to save you time and remove the drudge work.

Automator is built into every reasonably recent Mac running Mac OS X. However, few people know its there or use it… any they’re missing out! If you’d like to know more then there are some really good tutorials here:


One of the big frustrations for those of us in the design industry is that there are no Automator actions provided with Adobe Illustrator. However, that’s where our app Ai Actions comes in. It provides many actions for Illustrator allowing you to make Automator workflows to automate common artwork tasks.

Check out Ai Actions at the Apple App Store:

Illustrator Actions for Automator, Automator Actions, Automator Illustrator Actions

02 Aug

Volume purchasing of software

Apple Volume Purchasing Plan

If you want to purchase software from Ghostotter e.g. Barcode Basics, Ai Auto Save etc on behalf of a business or organisation then here’s a tip. We’re hooked up with Apple’s Mac App Store, so you can take advantage of Apple’s Volume Purchasing Plan. The Volume Purchasing Plan makes it easier to purchase and distribute software in bulk for your organisation.

At the time of writing, the Volume Purchasing Plan is available in the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.

Of course, you can still purchase individual copies of our software from the Mac App Store in the usual way if you prefer.

More info on Apple’s Volume Purchasing Plan

09 Jun

How to batch convert Adobe Illustrator files into EPS files


Recently we were contacted by someone who had hundreds of Adobe Illustrator files to convert into EPS files. They wanted to use Automator so we recommended our Ai Actions – our Automator actions for Illustrator package. I’ll show you how we did it here.

1. Get a copy of Ai Actions
Adobe Illustrator doesn’t ship with any actions for Automator. Luckily, we make a set of handy actions for Illustrator that you can use in your workflows. Click here to see it on the Apple Store.

2. Launch Automator and set up a workflow
Launch Automator and create an Application document. If Ai Actions is installed correctly then you’ll have a set of Adobe Illustrator actions in your Library. Simply drag the actions into your workflow and configure them as shown below (Click the image to enlarge).


3. Save your app
Save your document somewhere handy and name it something sensible, such as “Save As EPS.app”. Next, try dragging some Illustrator documents onto it. It should work something like this: Click here to see the app in action

You can automate all sorts of tasks in Adobe Illustrator thanks to Apple’s Automator coupled with Ai Actions. Get your copy today from the Mac App Store!

Illustrator Actions for Automator, Automator Actions, Automator Illustrator Actions

12 Mar

Mac App Store back online


A number of users pointed out that yesterday (11th March 2015) they were unable to buy our products on the Mac App Store. This was because of an issue at Apple’s end and so was completely beyond our control. Luckily, the Mac App Store is now back online so if you were one of the unlucky few yesterday, please try again today. Apologies for the inconvenience.

As a reminder, our products are:

Barcode Basics – Barcode generation

Ai Actions – Automator actions for controlling Adobe Illustrator

OnScreen Barcode Scanner – Scans barcodes from your Mac’s screen

Script Backgrounder – Make AppleScript Applets run in the background

Stopwatch Basics – A simple stopwatch app

PDF Basics – A simple PDF viewer with the ability to combine pdfs, extract pages and extract text.

05 Sep

We are 1 year old!


Ghostotter Software was first dreamt up on a long car journey from East Yorkshire to the Isle of Mull exactly a year today.

In that year, we’ve launched a successful barcode maker, Barcode Basics, a suite of Illustrator automation actions and Ai Auto Save – an automatic file saving app for Illustrator. So far so good, and we have more in the pipeline, so watch this space!

To celebrate our first birthday, we’ll be selling Ai Actions for half price for a week (ending 12th September 2014). That’s down from $11.99 to $5.99 (or approximate local equivilents). Ai Actions adds the ability to automate Adobe Illustrator using Apple’s Automator so you can create workflows and apps to carry out tasks for you without having to know any AppleScript or complex programming.

Get it while it’s cheap! https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ai-actions/id834871699?mt=12

28 Aug

Get 25% off Mac App Store products

Mac App Store

If you’re thinking of buying yourself some software from the Mac App Store then it might be worth taking a look at this offer from PayPal:


Basically, you can get up to 25% off by using a gift card. Its fine to buy a gift card for yourself, of course!

The offer is valid for all Ghostotter products including:

Barcode Basics – Mac OS X barcode creator
Ai Auto Save – Auto-save for Adobe Illustrator
Ai Actions – Automator actions for Adobe Illustrator

The offer ends on Thursday 28 August 2014 at 11:59 pm BST, and (as far as we can tell) it’s UK only.