I'm after an osx program that will convert an image into a base64 string (for web development).

Basically replicates this: http://webcodertools.com/imagetobase64converter/Create

I suspect there is no application, and in that case I'd be interested if I can get the terminal command which will encode, to apply to a certain file on Right-Click

Followup question: Can I give Automator apps a window?


I combined the two solutions below, to create an application with the following code

for f in "$@"
    openssl base64 -in "$f" | pbcopy

And infact I made a dropzone target using Platypus, as shown in my subsequent SO question/answer


3 Answers 3


Base64 Automator Droplet

You can use Automator to create your own Base64 droplet. Mac OS X includes openssl which can encode files to Base64; this superuser question explains how, OS X: Base64 encode via command line

  1. Launch Automator.app
  2. Create a new application
  3. Add a Run Shell Script action
  4. Set Pass input: to as arguments
  5. Within the script, replace echo with the script below.
  6. Save your workflow as an application

To use your application, drag and drop files onto it. A new base64 encoded file will appear next to the original file.

Shell Script

for f in "$@"
    openssl base64 -in "$f" -out "$f.b64"

Automator Base64 droplet

To learn more about using Automator, see Apple's Mac Basics: Automator.


One of your possibilites is :

  • Create an Automator service
  • At the top select : Service receives selected image files in Finder
  • Add a Shell Script action
  • Put the following script in it
    • openssl base64 < "$1" | pbcopy
  • Save the service

Now you can from the contextual menu > Service > yourServiceName of every image in the finder get the base64 encoding copied into your clipboard !

  • Thanks. Hm, first try I couldn't get this to work. I'll have another crack when I get some time. But I did combine the use of pbcopy with another answer!
    – AshCooman
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 16:03

I wrote an Applescript for BBEdit: I only use jpg images for this, but it could be adapted for other images and other editors easily:

-- choose file
set _a to choose file of type "jpg"

-- convert path to posix path
set _b to POSIX path of _a

-- strip newlines and place in clipboard
do shell script "openssl enc -base64 -in " & _b & " | tr -d \"\\n\" | pbcopy"
set myClip to the clipboard

-- set strings with placeholder texts for BBEdit
set _start to "<img alt=\"<# some text #>\" width=\"<# width #>\" height=\"<# height #>\" src=\"data:image/jpg;base64,"
set _end to "\" />"
set _string to _start & myClip & _end

tell application "BBEdit"
    set selection to _string
end tell

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