Mac OS X: Automator and Error code -1728

So some of you may know of Automator, Apple’s little automation program introduced in Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”. Well it’s a great application and I use it all the time. The current version in Mac OS X “10.6” is better than ever. I’m currently scanning in old family photos. So I end up with dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of huge .TIFF image files. Thanks to Automator I can resize the images, compress them to JPEGs, and save them for the Web, all without harming the original high-resolution scanned in files.

But I came across an odd error. Error code #-1728. This was odd. I put my images in the workflow. I instructed automator to resize the images by 50% and to save them as JPG images. Automator seemed to work, but then stopped. I was puzzled. I keep getting error #1728. The only hint was the obscure dialog for this error “Change type of images failed – 1 error” and “Can’t get <class posx> of missing value”. I was so confused… I didn’t understand why some images would work and others wouldn’t.

Then it dawned on me. It was because of the file name! Some of the images I scanned in I added slashes (/) in the filename. Mac OS X will let you type it in the file – but I guess it’s not a smart thing to do when trying to edit or open files, especially in Automator. So all I did was rename my files. For example “Scanned Photo 35 (4/29/1994)” wouldn’t pass through Automator… but when it was renamed to “Scanned Photo 35 (4-29-1994)” the image passed through fine. After the fix everything went smoothly! 🙂

So remember if you have an odd issue in Automator make sure any forward slashes or other odd characters in the file names are removed. Good luck!