[Please note that some of the entries are very old.*]

Saturday 5 May 2012

Batch Converting Word Files Using Automator

[Mac only] CafeTran cannot process Word .doc files without them being converted to another format first. The most likely format is .docx. Converting a .doc file to .docx is a piece of cake, but converting dozens of them is a pain. No worries, "we" have a far better solution: The Automator.

Download some 80 MS Office Actions here. They're free.

Launch the Automator. Click Actions, Documents, and select "Convert Format of Word Documents"* and drag-drop it to the pane on the right. See to it that the default format - Word Document - is shown. Go to File | Save As, name your file (I called it "Simple Convert doc>docx") and save it twice, once as "workflow" and once as "application."

Click to enlarge

That's all there's to it basically. To convert the .doc files, the only thing you have to do is select them, and drag-drop them on the application.

See update below

Word:mac will launch and will convert all files to .docx. You can find the converted files in the same folder as where the original .doc files are, ready to import in CT.
Saving an Automator file twice may seem overdoing it a bit, and in this case (only one action) it probably is. However, you cannot edit an application anymore, whereas you can modify a workflow. In this case, you may want to add an action that quits Word:mac after the conversion, or an action that saves the .docx files in another folder, or make a new one to convert the files back to .doc. So I think it's a good idea to save all Automator applications as a workflow as well, even the simple ones.

*Redmond provided this Word action. Great! But you can have serious problems finding it. I had. It is not located in the user library (where you would expect it), but in HD | Library | Automator. And what's worse, it's probably not even there. I had to use Time Machine to go back a couple of months to restore it. So if the action doesn't show up in the list of Documents, you will have to restore and import it (File | Import Actions).

UPDATE: I noticed quite a few people visit this blog just because of this entry - not interested in CafeTran at all. No problem, Macs are my friends.
I'm not sure if it's legal, but I think you can download the relevant MS action to convert files and about 80 others here. If it's not legal, please let me know, and I'll remove the link.