Change Type/Creator Codes for a Folder Full of Files

Change Type/Creator Codes for Folder of Files

More than once in this blog I have mentioned the arcane problem of Type and Creator codes. Anyone who has worked with Mac OS prior to Mac OS X will be familiar with the problem. You have a file, or files, that you KNOW are JPEGs (for example), but you got them from a non Mac OS source (a Mac OS X Mac, a PC, Linux, whatever) and Finder resolutely refuses to let you view the file, claiming that it can’t find the application that created the file. What is wrong? Experienced Mac OS users will immediately understand that the file’s Type and/or Creator codes are either incorrect or are not set.

If the problem involves only a single file, it is not SO bad. If you know the Type and Creator codes of the application you want to use (for example, and sticking with JPEGs for illustrative purposes, if you want to use JPEGView to view the files, the Type and Creator codes are JPEG and JVWR respectively) you can use any one of dozens of drag and drop applications that were created for the purpose of changing the Type and Creator codes of a single file (even ResEdit if you are desperate!). But what if you have a whole FOLDER full of JPEGs that you want to view? It would be laborious, and tedious in the extreme to drag and drop each file, one by one, until they were all done. What is needed is a batch processing approach to changing Type and Creator codes.

Happily, there is such a thing! It’s name is BunchTyper and it neatly accomplishes the task of applying the same Type and Creator codes to “bunches” of files (hence the name), or, in this case, to entire folders of files.

BunchTyper Splash Screen

Rarely seen in the wild, BunchTyper is a hard animal to find however, not being represented at most of the common abandonware archives. I found it quite by accident at the UMich archive that I posted about some time ago (, but I have not seen it anywhere else since. Faithful readers of this blog may suspect that it was the research for this post that led me to rediscover the UMich archive, and they would be right!

Once you have installed BunchTyper, create a BunchTyper alias (highlight the application file and type CMD-M) and drag it to your desktop. This provides a convenient drag and drop target for the folder(s) you want to update. On your desktop, it looks rather like the below:

BunchTyper Desktop Icon

To put BunchTyper to work on a folder of files, use Finder to navigate to the parent folder of the folder containing the images you wish to update the Type/Creator codes for. Stop at the parent folder, so that you have a Finder window open showing the folder with the images in it, but not the contents of the folder itself. Now, simply drag the folder’s icon onto the BunchTyper desktop icon that you created above and BunchTyper will spring into action. Being a cautious application, it will first pop up a dialog to confirm that you really want to do this. Once you tell it that you are quite sure, it goes away and quietly and efficiently does its work with no further interaction with you.

In my case, I took a sample folder of 29 images from my current Mac, transferred them onto my Quadra 840AV, and followed the above procedure to make them use JPEGViewer as their viewer. Before BunchTyper, the contents of the folder looked like the below:

Folder Before BunchTyper

The file’s icons make it clear that they are defaulting to QuickTime as their viewer – not what I wanted. After BunchTyper finished (and it is quite fast in operation), the folder looked like this:

Folder After BunchTyper

As you can see, the images now sport JPEGView icons and will launch JPEGView if double clicked. Success!

I recently imported my whole “Funny Pictures” folder, some 300+ images, and had BunchTyper process them. It was fast and easy, and all are now viewable on my Quadra. Mind you, a Quadra, even a Quadra 840AV, is none too fast at rendering large JPEGs, but I CAN now scroll through the whole folder with JPEGView if I wish (JPEGView was one of the fastest image viewers of that time), and that was the objective.

So, if you need to do bulk updating of Type and Creator codes, visit the UMich archive, get BunchTyper and let it do its thing. I find it so useful that I keep the icon on my desktop full time. Of course, its utility is limited if you don’t know the Type and Creator codes you need, but that is another post for another time! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Change Type/Creator Codes for a Folder Full of Files

  1. Pingback: Changing Type and Creator – Revisited | Quadras, Cubes and G5s

  2. Pingback: Digital Photography Workflow on a Power Macintosh 7300/200 | Quadras, Cubes and G5s

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s