Watermark PDFs Service

As anyone who involved in the business of business can tell you: PDF files are the life blood of business communications and data retention. That is why the built-in PDF actions in the Automator library are so important. They can be used to create desktop tools for quickly combining, annotating, encrypting, and even watermarking PDF files in the Finder. This is business efficiency in practice.

This tutorial details how to create an Automator workflow service for watermarking every page of PDF files selected in the Finder. Enjoy!

The Service Workflow

DO THIS ►Launch Automator and create a new service workflow. Leaving the document unsaved, replicate the workflow described in detail below.

DO THIS ►DOWNLOAD example watermark images. Collection includes PNG image files (in blue and red) for: DRAFT, FINAL, EYES ONLY, CONFIDENTIAL

DO THIS ►After setting the service input data parameters  1  , add each of the Automator actions listed in callouts  2  through  5 , adjusting the action parameters mentioned in the red callouts  1  through  10  .

 1  Data Input Bar  (⬇ see below )  • The first step in creating any Automator service is to set the parameters of the data input bar at the top of the workflow document window. Set the input data type by selecting “PDF files” from the input types popup menu  1 , and then select the Finder application from the target application  2  popup menu.

 2  Watermark PDF Documents • This action, from the PDF category of actions in the Automator library, is designed to create a duplicate, of each PDF file passed to it, with each page of the duplicate PDF imprinted with a specified image file.

Choose the image to use a the watermark by clicking the Add button  3  and then selecting an image file from the forthcoming file chooser dialog. NOTE: although the list can contain references to multiple image files, only the first image in the list is used for watermarking. The chosen image will be displayed in the preview window  4 

The layer the image is rendered into is indicated by the currently selected layer radio button  5  TIP: unless the source PDF file is transparent, you’ll most likely want to always render over the source PDF file.

The offset, scale, and rotation angle controls  6  provide the ability to resize and position the watermark image on the page. NOTE: the offset begins at the bottom left of the PDF page. To move the watermark up, increase the amount of the vertical (y) coordinate. To move the watermark to the right, increase the amount of the horizontal (x) coordinate.

Drag the opacity slider  7  to the left to increase the transparency of the watermark image.

An Automator workflow for watermarking PDF files selected in the Finder.

 3  Rename Finder Items  (⬆ see above )  • By default, the Watermark PDF Documents action creates a watermarked duplicate, of a source PDF file, named the original name of the source file with the text “ (With Watermark)” appended to the original name. If you would rather use another (or no) name appendage, add the Rename Finder Items action to the workflow, and set the renaming method to Replace Text  8  and then fill-in the Find and Replace fields  9  with the required text strings. NOTE: be sure to allow for the leading space in “ (With Watermark)”

 4  Move Finder Items • By default, the Watermark PDF Documents action creates the watermarked duplicate PDF file in the user’s Temporary Items folder, which by design is hidden. The Move Finder Items action will enable you to indicate the destination directory to contain the watermarked duplicate PDFs. Select Other… from the destination directory popup menu  10  and then (create) select the folder to contain the watermarked files  (⬇ see below ) 


NOTE: select the checkbox titled “Replace exiting files”  10   if you want the watermarking process not to replace existing PDF files whose name matches one of the created PDFs. Be aware however, that without the option selected, the workflow will error if there is a naming conflict.

 5  Reveal Finder Items • As a convenience for confirming the process completed correctly, add this action to the workflow and it will display the watermarked files in the Finder.

Save the Service

To save and install the service, select Save from the Automator File menu and enter the name for the service in the forthcoming sheet.  (⬇ see below ) 

save sheet

NOTE: The name you assign for the workflow file will be the menu title that appears in the Services and contextual menus.

Using the Service

With the service created and installed, you are now ready to try it out. We’ve provided some example files for this purpose.

DO THIS ►DOWNLOAD some example PDF files to use when testing or demonstrating this workflow service.


DO THIS ►Select one or more PDF files, and choose the service from either the Finder action menu or contextual menu.  (⬆ see above ) 

Watermarked duplicates of the original PDF files will be created and displayed  (⬇ see below ) 

Finsihed PDF file with watermark