The other day I was using my Titanium PowerBook G4 and I needed to perform a series of checks on a couple of folders containing a bunch of old digital photos. I remembered that a few years back I had stumbled on a series of very cool third-party Contextual Menu add-ons but I couldn’t locate them right away or recall their precise names. I turned to the trusty iBook G3/466 and after a bit of digging I was able to find some information, and to find these Contextual Menu add-ons again on the Web. They were all developed by Pixture Studio and the company has made them available on this page.
They are all very useful, and also very light on the system, which is perfect if you still use a vintage iBook or PowerBook. My favourites (and those I needed for the task at hand) are PhotoToolCM and QuickImageCM. Installing these little extensions is quite easy: you download the compressed archive, it extracts into a DMG file, you mount the disk image and there’s a handy AppleScript application that will install the software in the right place for you. Just follow the prompts and you’re good to go in a few seconds. Once the add-ons are installed, and you relaunch the Finder, they’ll appear at the bottom of the contextual menu in the Finder when you right-click or Ctrl-click on an item.
PhotoToolCM adds two entries to the contextual menu, Photo Exif Info and Photo Tool:
As you can see, Photo Exif Info is quite handy: you select the photo you want information about, Ctrl-click on its icon, choose Photo Exif Info and the EXIF data appears right there in a submenu. As far as I know, this is, to this day, still the quickest way to have that amount of EXIF data on the fly. It was incredibly useful for what I needed to do — quickly parse a folder full of photos I didn’t remember much about, either the camera I used to shoot them with, or the date/time. (The information you see in the screenshots is just to show you how the tool works, it’s not related to what I was doing.)
And the Photo Tool menu gives you a series of powerful features you can take advantage of without leaving the Finder. Same goes for QuickImage — take a look:
You can quickly convert an image in a bunch of different formats by selecting Convert to:
(The JPEG command has yet another submenu where you can choose the quality for the JPEG conversion).
In the QuickImage submenu, if you choose View… you’ll get a mini image editor directly in the Finder:
It’s not a full-blown editor, but for basic retouching is surely enough. And you’re still inside the Finder! And did I say the impact on CPU resources is minimal? This window in Activity Monitor on my PowerBook G4 17″ showed 0.2% CPU usage.
These Contextual Menu add-ons only work on PowerPC Macs. On the Pixture website you’ll notice Jaguar, Panther under System Compatibility, but they also work under Tiger and Leopard. (In Leopard, the additional contextual menus are added to the More command at the bottom of the standard Finder contextual menu — you can see that in the screenshots above). These tools do not work on Intel Macs. I hope you’ll find them as useful as I did, and if someone from Pixture Studio is reading this, thank you for creating these great add-ons.