A brief information regarding to Automator on Wikipedia :
Automator is an application developed by Apple for Mac OS X that implements point-and-click (or drag-and-drop) creation of workflows for automating repetitive tasks. Automator enables the repetition of tasks.. (source : Wikipedia – Automator)
Also there is a very nice detailed information from TUAW regarding to the basic of Automator.
Creating Your Workflow
Now, we’re going to learn the language of Automator. Don’t worry too much, this is just the matter of utilizing what has been provided by your Mac. You don’t even need to touch (or even glance at) the very tedious part of the coding process.
Your First Workflow
Let’s begin with the very common term in learning new language “Hello World!”. First of all, open your Automator and then clear all the workflows inside the action box provided because we’re going to start taking off from the ground. Then, go to your
Actions Library and click on
Text. Your view now will look similar to this :
For every action, you will be given the detailed information about what is the input type, a simple description and the result. In order to join your workflows, you need to match the result from the last workflow with the input type for the next workflow you want to add.
If we want to let your Mac announces “Hello World!”, grab an action
Get Specified Text. Type the words, “Hello World!”, inside. Now, add another action
Speak Text. Try running your current workflows and let Alex’s voice echoing in your ears.
Practice Makes Perfect
Even though it’s as simple as selecting proper action, dragging and dropping, you still need to practice more. Need another examples? Here we go..
Change Images Extension
The benefit of using Automator here is that you can drag as many files as you need and one single run of Automator workflows will take care all of them.
In order to find certain action, you can see the icon that is usually placed next to the action name. In my opinion, it’s well organized.
Let’s move on to next workflow..
Set the Desktop Picture
Use Terminal Commands
You only need to drag the
Run Shell Script action and put inside the command lines.
There are more workflows for you to discover, such as :
- Burn a Disc
- Combine PDFs
- Combine Text Files
- Copy Files
- Create Archive
- Create Filtered Archive
- Eject Disks
- Flip Images
- Label Finder Items
- Mount Disks
- Move Files
- Rotate Images
- Scale Images
- Set Spotlight Comments
Building Your Automator Applications
It would be painful if every time you need to open your Automator to run the workflows. In order to prevent this, you need to create an Automator Application for your workflows.
Your First Automator Application
Let’s move back a bit to workflows that can set desktop background. Now, create the same workflows, but now, you should save it elsewhere with file format :
Application. Now, you’ve got the application
Do you remember that we need to drop image file in order to change the background image? Try to drag an image file to that application and wait for a while. Do you get your background image changed?
Other Type of Automator Application
The same thing with the
Run Shell Script workflows. However, to run this kind of Automator Application, you don’t need to drag any files into it, you only need to run it as you run usual Application (Double-Click or Cmd-O) and you get the result.
Collection of Simple Automator Actions
I’ve compiled several automator actions (around 40) that will be useful for you inside this article (that are ready to be downloaded).
Last but not least, Happy Automating!