How to Automate Almost Anything With Dropzone

There are lots of repetitive tasks that people do every day, and sometimes it can get a little bit monotonous. Uploading a file to an FTP site, installing a new application, or copying files to a folder buried deep in your system can all be annoying. After doing it for the one hundredth time, you may decide that it would be nice to have some way to do these tasks without the hassle.

Dropzone does all this and more, all via the dock. Once the program is set up, it’s just a case of dragging a file to the Dock icon, then dropping it into the correct “action”. Sounds easy, right? Well it is, and there’s so much more to it than just drag and drop…

Installation & Setup

Installation of Dropzone works the same way as for most other apps, with the exception that it shows up on the right side of the divider bar on the Dock. Confused? That’s because Dropzone is available all the time, and you don’t have to open it up to get it going like on most apps.

If that doesn’t sit well with you, feel free to change it by opening up the preferences, then selecting Setup. From there you can choose which side of the Dock the program sits on.



Once the program is in the Dock, right click the icon and start playing with the preferences. On the left is the Destinations button, which pulls up all of your options, and there are quite a few of them.

Each option is called an Action, and since these are coded in Ruby, they’re constantly expanding and being added to. Pick an option, and then give it a name. After that, you’re done! But wait, there’s more.

Action Options

Each action comes with a specific list of guidelines to help set things up properly. Let’s say that you want to setup a Dropzone action that automatically installs a new application to your hard drive.

Select the Install Application action, and your list of options will appear below. In this case, you can choose the simple option of moving the source file to the trash once everything is installed. Click on OK and it’s ready to go.

Action Options

Action Options

Now you’ve set it up, performing that action is really straight forward. Drag a .dmg file onto Dropzone, and the grid pops up. Move the file onto the Install Application action and Dropzone goes to work.

The program mounts the disk image, locates the application inside the disk image, copies it over to the Applications folder on your hard drive, launches the program from the dock, ejects the disk image from the computer, and dumps it in the trash, all in one fluid motion. And that’s just one of the actions available!

Seemingly Endless Options

There are so many options with Dropzone that it gets pretty dizzying. It can launch applications; upload images to Flickr, TwitPic, ImageShack, or Posterous; print files; mount and unmount all connected Firewire drives; shorten URLs via or Is.Gd; and even speak text dropped in place. It’s pretty crazy how many things Dropzone really can do.

Versatile Possibilities

Versatile Possibilities

I use Dropzone daily. For example, every day I have a few files to upload to my FTP server. I drag the file onto the FTP icon, then a link to the file on the FTP server is placed on my clipboard. I can then paste that URL into my web browser and see the file instantly, or put it in an e-mail to send to a client.

I also have multiple folders that I store company invoices on, and they’re on both connected USB drives and my MacBook Pro. Drag and drop again, then I’m on my way.

Finally, another option I’ve started using recently is the Launch Application feature. I don’t like having dozens of apps in the dock, and this keeps some of them in Dropzone to keep the clutter away from the desktop. It’s a nice bonus.

The Verdict

As an added bonus, Dropzone is a steal at only $14. There’s even a trial version if you want to give it a shot before you plunk down the cash. Technically, it’s still in beta at version 0.3.3, but in the eight months I’ve been using the app I’ve never had a problem.

Dropzone is another one of those programs that you don’t really think you’ll need, because the tasks involved seem almost abstract compared to other programs. Once you have it, you’ll find yourself dropping items into the app all day long, which can increase productivity dramatically. It easily saves me thirty minutes a day just in FTP work, and it can do the same for you!


Dropzone is a great way to automate the process of performing various actions on your Mac, just by dragging a file to the Dock. It's a real time-saver, and far more versatile than you could imagine!