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iPhoto Scripts and Plug-ins

by Derrick Story

As with many Apple applications, iPhoto has great potential, but insufficient controls for more advanced users. We've covered some workarounds in the article, Inside iPhoto: Image Management for Power Shooters, but sometimes you just need more program functionality.

The good news is that iPhoto does have a plug-in architecture and is scriptable using AppleScript. Here are a few nifty developer tools that let you get more out of iPhoto without having to resort to cumbersome workarounds or waiting for the next release.

BetterHTMLExport 1.1

Simeon Leifer has written an excellent plug-in called BetterHTMLExport, version 1.1 that gives you many more options for creating Web pages directly from iPhoto.

Not only can you control the compression of thumbnails and full-size images, you have some basic tag controls as well. My favorite feature though, is the automatically generated, hyperlinked page index that appears above and below the full image. This is a much more user-friendly way to move from picture to picture, rather than forcing viewers to use the Back button to return to the thumbnail page so they can see the next shot.


BetterHTMLExport 1.1 is way cool, and it's free, although Simeon does encourage donations if you're sufficiently moved by the software.

iPhoto Librarian 1.0

Another piece of handy freeware comes to us from Scott Schroeder who has written a first-rate AppleScriptlet called iPhoto Librarian 1.0. With Librarian you can set up iPhoto's default picture library to an external drive. This is helpful for those who want to dedicate a large FireWire hard drive to storing their digital images.

The script works smoothly, and it's one of Scott's first published efforts under the banner of Scruffy Software, Inc. Nice work, Scott.

iPhoto Toast Export Plug-in 1.0

Comment on this articleIf you've discovered a nifty script or plug-in that works with iPhoto, let us know!
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So you want to burn picture CDs directly from iPhoto? The Toast Export Plug-in, version 1.0, published by El Gato Software, lets you burn directly from iPhoto using Roxio Toast Titanium. You can share photos, albums, film rolls, or your entire photo library on CDs or DVDs. Very handy and very free.

AppleScripts from Apple

Last, but not least, let's not forget about the four AppleScripts published by Apple that automate a number of cool tasks.

My favorite of the bunch is the Show Image File script. You simply drag an image from the iPhoto window onto this droplet to reveal its source file in the Finder. Since iPhoto uses a screwy file-naming system for the pictures, this script helps you quickly locate those hidden images that would otherwise frustrate the heck out of you while you searched for them.

I hope these goodies will help make iPhoto life just a bit more enjoyable. If you stumble across something useful, let us know by posting a TalkBack below.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit

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