Save Apple Mail Attachments to a Specific Folder


I'm very very new to KM so sorry if I'm overlooking something.

I'm trying to create a KM macro that when I select a Status Menu item it will save all attachment from selected emails in Apple Mail to a specific folder. This is for an school assigment where students will send me a PDF in the mail that I have to archive to a folder. To prevent myself from having to do this multiple times I'd like to automate.

What I've tried so far is:
Triggered by any of the following:
The Status Menu
Will execute the following actions:
Activate Mail
Select Menu Item in Mail
Select: File ⇢ Save Attachments…
Stop macro if menu cannot be selected

Where I'm stuck is how I can tell the dialogue that opens that it has to select a specific folder. I don't want to have to interact with the save dialogue.

So I'm guessing that there is a better way, maybe where I don't choose a menu Item.
Is there a feature in KM that can read attachments from selected messages and copy them to a certain path?

Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction to better start understanding KM.

Thanks, Jan

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There is an extremely useful feature of the Open/Save dialog that allows it to be easily automated.

In the dialog, press Command-Shift-G. You can now enter the full path of the file you wish to select/save.

This is easily controlled with Keyboard Maestro, since you can Type a Keystroke: Command-Shift-G, followed by Insert Text by Pasting or Typing the desired path, followed by Type a Keystroke: Return, and perhaps another Return to complete the dialog. You may need Pause actions to ensure any windows are opened or closed before the next action proceeds.

Thanks Peter, that is great info. I’m going to try that.

Thanks again,

Updated 2018/08/24 16:10

  • A Fully Functional Macro was added below.
  • A User-Setting for the Save Destination Path was added to the macro.

Hey Jan,

This job is AppleScriptable if you're using Apple Mail.

Save the script text with the Applescript Editor on your system.

Put the script somewhere convenient.

Run the script file with an Execute AppleScript Keyboard Maestro action.

This would be easy to customize to include the name and/or email address of the student as part of the saved-folder-name, or you could have a dated folder, etc.

At the moment a single target folder is used at:


But that's easy to change.

If you have problems contact me off-list. <>


# Auth: Christopher Stone
# dCre: 2014/05/30 19:41
# dMod: 2014/09/08 16:38
# Appl:
# Task: Save email attachments to a named folder.
# Libs: None
# Osax: None
# Tags: @Applescript, @Script, @Mail, @Save, @Attachments
--» MAIN

   set attachmentList to {}
   set savePathHFS to ((path to downloads folder as text) & "Mail_Attachments_Saved:")
   tell application "Mail"
      set selected_messages to selection
      if length of selected_messages > 0 then
         repeat with _message in selected_messages
            set msgAttachmentList to every mail attachment of _message
            set attachmentList to attachmentList & msgAttachmentList
         end repeat
         if attachmentList ≠ {} then
            # Test for existence of savePathHFS and create it if necessary.
               alias savePathHFS
            on error
               do shell script "mkdir -p " & quoted form of (POSIX path of savePathHFS)
            end try
            repeat with _attachment in attachmentList
               set _name to name of _attachment
               set saveFilePath to savePathHFS & _name
               if my exTant(saveFilePath) = true then
                  error "A file already exists here!" & linefeed & linefeed & saveFilePath
               end if
               save _attachment in saveFilePath
            end repeat
            error "No attachments found!"
         end if
      end if
   end tell
on error e number n
   set e to e & return & return & "Num: " & n
   tell current application to set dDlg to display dialog e with title "ERROR!" buttons {"Cancel", "Copy", "OK"} default button "OK"
   if button returned of dDlg = "Copy" then set the clipboard to e
end try

on exTant(_path) # Takes an HFS, Posix, or ~/Posix path as input.
   local _path
      if _path starts with "~/" then
         set _path to (POSIX path of (path to home folder as text)) & text 3 thru -1 of _path
      end if
      if _path starts with "/" then
         alias POSIX file _path
      else if _path contains ":" then
         alias _path
      end if
      return true
   on error
      return false
   end try
end exTant

New 2018/08/24 16:10 CDT

Download ⇢ Save Attachments of Selected Message v1.10.kmmacros (10 KB)


Hi Chris,

That is terrific. I’m going to try this out and report back.

Regarding the solution Peter offered, that didn’t work for me. Strangely enough it filled the path in the filename section, the shortcut didn’t open the mentioned window automatically. When I tried manually it did. I fiddled with pauzes (even long ones) but also didn’t get is to work. Due to further lack of time I left it for now but the concept was clear so I learned a lot about open/save dialogues :wink:
Also the fact that I’m on OS X 10.10 Dev 7 and use Default Folder X might cause problems.

Thanks again,


Hey Jan,

Whenever you brute-force the UI there are sticky wickets. :smile:

For this particular job AppleScript is the best choice.

Take note though that Default Folder is also scriptable, so with it installed you can change a dialog location via AppleScript more transparently than you can with Keyboard Maestro.


Hi Chris,

Thanks again for your help and posting your script. I report back here so that others can learn from this too... if needed :wink:

Your script works as described, created a folder when it didn’t exist and copied the files. At the end I did get an error message though:

The files I was saving where definitely not there. So I’m not sure what caused this.

My next quest was to alter the script a bit to be able to set another path.
I changed:

set savePathHFS to ((path to downloads folder as text) & "Mail_Attachments_Saved:")


set savePathHFS to ("Macintosh HD:Users:username:Box Sync:testfolder:" & "Mail_Attachments_Saved:")

This worked fine.

My next effort I didn’t succeed in.
I thought it would be great if I could use a KM Action to set the Applescript variable ‘savePathHFS’.

I deleted the line

set savePathHFS to ((path to downloads folder as text) & "Mail_Attachments_Saved:")

in your script and added a

Set Variable ‘savePathHFS’ to Text
Macintosh HD:Users:username:Box Sync:testfolder:" & "Mail_Attachments_Saved:

Action before your script.

But helas, that didn't work. Maybe I didn't set the variable well.
Any ideas are welcome.

If not, the other way works, but I thought it would be great if you could use one applescript and duplicate the KM Macro, and change the Path in the variable for each specific ocassion instead of creating multiple AppleScript.

I hope my report is clear enough, if not let me know.

Thanks, Jan

Hey Jan,

Contact me off-list.  <>

Since this is a KM list we don’t need a bunch of back and forth about AppleScript. Once we have solved the problems we’ll post the solutions.

The error you experienced means there’s definitely a problem.


Please do. I’d be very interested in getting this script working on my Mac too!



Have been using this script with success but today I started getting the following error. Can anyone help me out on this?

“osascript: OpenScripting.framework - scripting addition “/Library/ScriptingAdditions/Adobe Unit Types.osax” cannot be used with the current OS because it has no OSAXHandlers entry in its Info.plist.”

Running OS 10.11.3

Thanks, Chuck

See How do I get the name of the frontmost window?


Thanks for the link. Updated the Adobe unit type to 2.1 and seems to be working. Have one mail message with a pdf that is still aborting:

Mail got an error: AppleEvent handler failed.

Num: -10000

Not sure why on this particular one as it seems to work on all others. Just getting into apple scripting so trying to learn on the go,

After the update to OS X 10.11.4 the script will not work at all. Anyone know how to get this to work?

It seems this is a known bug. See here and here.

I get this error too for mails in the INBOX. For other mailboxes it (mostly) works.

Hey Folks,

I just updated post #4 above to include a fully-functional macro in addition to the bare AppleScript.

The macro is working for me with Mail on macOS 10.12.6.


1 Like

Just found this... excellent!

1 Like

I just came across this as well. I know @ccstone hasn’t been around as much lately, but his expertise (in this case, expertise from several years ago) continues to benefit us even now.