I'm trying to organize a bunch of audiobooks and would like to automate some of the work. I have just very basic knowledge of Applescript, but I can usually find a scriptlet online to do the work I want. This one I haven't gotten to work yet. My files are like this:


Books/Author2 - Book.mp3


What I want to do is select the books that are not in an Author subfolder, create a subfolder with the Author name, rename the file to just the book title and finally move the book into the newly created folder. I have tried the following script and it works partly. It does everything except move the file at the end. It gives me an error saying: "error "Finder got an error: Handler can’t handle objects of this class." number -10010". Is there any way to change it so it will work? If it makes any difference, the files are on an attached drive (smb://NAS._smb._tcp-local/Audiobooks/Books). There are probably syntax errors for any purists, but as long as it works, I'm not picky :)

tell application "Finder"
    set selectedFiles to selection as alias list
    set containingFolder to container of item 1 of selectedFiles as alias
    repeat with f from 1 to count of selectedFiles
        set thisItem to item f of selectedFiles
        set oldName to thisItem's name
        set newFolderName to text 1 thru ((get offset of "-" in oldName) - 2) of oldName
        set newFileName to text ((get offset of "-" in oldName) + 2) thru end of oldName
        set name of thisItem to newFileName
        move newFileName to (make new folder at containingFolder with properties {name:newFolderName})
    end repeat
end tell

1 Answer 1


I would use the shell in such a case.

Open Terminal and enter cd path/to/Audiobooks/Books, then run

find . -type f -name '* - *' -maxdepth 1 \
    -exec bash -c 'mkdir -p "${1%% - *}"; mv "$1" "${1%% - *}/${1#* - }"' _ {} \;

PS: This assumes that you want to move all files in that folder and that Author and Title are always separated by - .

This uses find to find all matching (-name '* - *') files (-type f) in the current directory (-maxdepth 1) and then executes the bash ... \; part on each of them. The executed part is basically a bash script which gets the filename in $1 and then uses text substitution to extract author and title (${1%% - *} cuts off the part starting with -, ${1#* - } cuts of the part ending with it).

  • Yes, the Author and Title are always separated by (space)-(space). When you say move all the files, I assume you mean all the files that are single files, because there are also subfoldrs in the folder as shown in my original post. I have never used the shell for this type of task, so I have no idea what the different parts of your command do! But I will try it and see what the results are. Thanks.
    – Okotok
    Jan 31, 2021 at 20:27
  • @Okotok All the files in the current directory, yes, but not any directories nor any files within these directories.
    – nohillside
    Jan 31, 2021 at 20:30
  • That works perfectly! Thank you. For my learning, could I bother you to explain some parts of the command? I gather that the first line makes a list of all the files in the directory that fit the pattern. What makes the script go through the list? In other scripts, it would be something like “repeat from x to y” "${1%% - }/${1# - }" This I don’t understand, the first part is the newly created dir but the second part?? And lastly why are these (_ {} ) needed? If it’s too complicated to explain here, then I understand. I just like to learn.
    – Okotok
    Feb 1, 2021 at 9:22
  • You can run the first part (find . -type f -name '* - *' -maxdepth 1) on its own to see what it does, will explain in an edit.
    – nohillside
    Feb 1, 2021 at 9:27
  • I get it now. Thanks for the explaination and the solution!
    – Okotok
    Feb 1, 2021 at 11:57

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