You’ve been performing the same task over and over on your Mac, and now the tired. You want some developer to code up a nice app/ software to make your work easier. Well, the good news here is that there is no reason to wait for an app. Yes, you heard that right because you can make use of one or more of the Mac automation tools that are already available in the market.
The Mac that you’ve been using for a while now has all the essential tools like Automator, AppleScript, and Terminal. All these tools work wonders in creating your custom tools to make repetitive tasks easy. It requires a bit of coding to create a script or app on Terminal or AppleScript. Automator is a powerful tool that employs a graphical interface. With this, you can make custom apps without needing to learn complex programming languages. All it takes is a quick web search and watch yourself lead to diverse examples of things you can do using it. Now that you’re curious how to automate tasks using an Automator, sticking to us is the best thing you can do. Let’s get going:
Launch the Automator and Create a Document
You find the Automator installed on your device by default. Thus, you can launch it with much ease by pressing the keys Command+ Space. Doing so opens the Spotlight search. Type Automator in here and press the Enter key. You can also find the same under Other> Automator in the Launchpad or Applications> Automator in the Finder app.
You’ll see different document types that you can use as a starting point. The workflows are all different, and they find their triggering points in different ways.
- Workflow: It is the series of different actions that run on the insides of the Automator.
- Application: The application is like the workflow, but it has the capability of running the application on the outside of the Automator as well. For instance, a user can drag-and-drop the application files onto the icon for running the workflow on it from the Automator outside.
- Service: You have the flexibility of creating a service that you can access from the Services menu visible in the other applications.
- Print Plugin: You see the appearance of the print plugin in the print dialog of the system. The Folder plugin is a part of workflow automation that helps you to tie to Mac-specific folders. Adding files to that folder works in running the workflow on them.
- Calendar Alarm: The workflow runs when a specific event finds its place in the Calendar.
- Image Capture Plugin: The plugin appears as an option in the Utility for Capturing Images, which comes into usage during photo transfers to the Mac.
- Direction Command: The workflow runs when a user triggers the same using a voice command, also known as a dictation command.
Automator comes to use for creating two different types of workflows. Number one is the service to allow you to select any particular word or phrase. This works the best when you come across a word and look at its meaning in Wikipedia. The users also can change the service so that when using other sites to perform the lookup feature instead. Number two works in creating an application in a manner to batch resize the images. It also helps in using this workflow as a Folder Action. You can know if it is a better fit to cater to the multifaceted needs.
- Launch the Automator, which finds its location at /Applications.
- Click on the New Document button after witnessing the opening of a dialog box.
- Select New from the File menu, if Automator has been on your usage list before. It then opens to an existing workflow.
- A sheet will then open, which displays the type of workflows you can create. The first workflow on the building list is service. All you’ve to do is choose the service item and then click on the Select button.
At the window top, the users have the flexibility of choosing the kind of service they’re looking out to work with. The service is set to “Service receives the selected text in an application” by default. This action means that you can select the text first and then click on the application menu, point out to the Services, and then select the service in the application of your choice.
The users also have the choice of modifying the service. For example, you can choose “Service receives folders or files in the Finder”, and the service only appears when the user selects files in the Finder app. They can then make a selection of actions from the left pane. Dragging and dropping them to the right side will make them run in the order of the choice. For example, dragging and dropping the Text> Speak Text onto the right pane, and then choose the voice option. From the file menu, click on Save and enter the service name. Doing this will then appear as a system option.
The above example showcases the creation of a service, which is like any kind of workflow, which you’re looking to create. You can also add many actions from the left pane and then arrange the same into a suitable order via a drag-and-drop option. Doing this will let you perform as many operations as you’re looking for the items in an order. For example, you can create a Folder action by taking images, adding them into a folder. The creation of backup copies is also possible, which then shrinks these options down for you. The experts suggest clicking on the record button for recording the series of mouse clicks and the typing events undertaken on your computer. The essence of the entire process is like recording a macro, and it also allows the user to maintain a copy of the actions. When you record the events, a copy seems to appear as Watch Me Do, which you can place anywhere in the workflow.
Another action available is the RunAppleScript, which works in running the code written in an AppleScript. Tech giants exclaim searching the web and finding a variety of actions written in AppleScript. You can copy and paste these actions into RunAppleScript and take advantage of advanced settings. Note that these settings do not appear as the drag-and-drop actions in the Automator.
We’re scratching the nooks and surfaces out here, and that is the entire idea of it. Though, the subject can have books written. Yet, when you figure out the basics, poke around the Automator, and figure out the to-dos. You can also research your bit on the web for searching for the Automator workflows and the AppleScript snippets. These software and apps can work wonders in performing repetitive tasks for you. All you need is an understanding of the Automator working and how it comes into usage.