Macworld Article > 5 Automator workflows everyone should have

automator-icon_580-100036496-largeI meet a lot of people with Automator anxiety: they think using OS X’s built-in workflow-maker is a lot more complex than it really is. The truth is that Automator workflows are (a) pretty simple to assemble and (b) great for simple but repetitive tasks that you do all the time anyway.

To show you what I mean here are five workflows that I think pretty much every Mac user should have. They do things we all need to do: Wrap text in quotation marks, for example, or count the number of words in a selection of text. There might be other ways of doing the same things, but Automator is built into your Mac and you can implement them yourself for free in a couple of minutes.

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Macworld > Ask the Script Doctor: Deduping Contacts and more

scriptdoctorIn previous columns, I answered questions on scripting Mail and working with text. This time, I’m answering some questions I’ve received on a variety of topics, including:

  • Showing the Library folder in OS X
  • Deduping Contacts
  • Getting started with AppleScript

[Read more at, subscribe to the print edition, or get Macworld on your iPad...]

Do you have a scripting problem or a question for the Script Doctor? Send it to

TUAW Post > Cascade Finder windows with AppleScript

You're busy. You've got tons of things going on at any given time. Your Mac's screen is constantly cluttered with a bazillion Finder windows, and you keep shuffling them around to find the one you need. Sure, Mission Control in Mountain Lion lets you view all of your Finder windows at once in a pretty tiled view. But, it doesn't sort them, and with a ton of little windows, finding the one you want is no piece of cake. How nice would it be if the Finder had a "Cascade Windows" feature? With a little help from AppleScript, your wait is over. In this post, you'll write a simple AppleScript that sorts your opened Finder windows and cascades them, making it quick and easy to find the one you want and clearing your cluttered screen in the process.

[Read more on TUAW...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts & Workflows – Scaling Images in the Finder

There are tons of apps that allow you to manipulate images on your Mac.  iPhoto and Preview are two from Apple, and there are lots more available from the Mac App Store and third-party software vendors.  What you may not know, however, is that you don’t need a third-party app to do some basic image manipulations with your existing operating system.  Using Automator, you can create your own custom image processing plug-ins, which you can run right within the Finder.  [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts and Workflows – Clean Up Your Desktop with Your Voice

I tend to keep a pretty uncluttered Desktop. I typically have only a handful of active files there at any given time, which I promptly remove when I'm done working with them. I strongly suspect, however, that I'm in the minority. Often, I see people with hundreds or even thousands of files on their Desktop. They truly work off of their Desktop, and this simply isn’t efficient. Locating files on a cluttered Desktop requires scrolling through tons of irrelevant files, moving icons around, searching, and more. Perhaps if Siri was on the Mac, she could help. Wouldn’t it be great if you could verbally instruct your Mac to clean things up for you? Well, with Speakable Items and AppleScript, you can. Here's how. [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

File and Folder Automator Action Pack Updated to 4.0.1

The File and Folder Automator Action Pack, which includes 21 actions for interacting with files and folders in the Finder, has been updated to version 4.0.1. Changes include:

  • Fixed a bug in Filter Finder Items by Size action
  • Fixed a bug in Unlock Finder Items action

The new version is available in the Mac App Store.

10 Mac OS X Productivity Tips for Open and Save Dialogs

They're open and save dialogs. You navigate to a file or folder. You select it.  You enter a file name when saving.  You click Open or Save.  How much more efficient can you get? Well, here are 10 things most Mac users probably don't know...

Tip 1: Drag and drop a file or a folder right from the Finder into the open or save dialog to quickly select it.  If you do this in a save dialog with a file, then the file's name is automatically entered as the save name.

Tip 2: With a folder or file selected in the dialog, press Command+R to bring the Finder to the front and reveal the item.

Tip 3: To manually navigate to a folder, press Command+Shift+G (or / or ~).  Enter the desired path.  As you type it in, you can press tab to auto-complete folder names.

Tip 4: To see hidden files and folders, press Command+Shift+Period (>).

Tip 5: To quickly navigate to:

  • The Desktop - Press Command+D
  • The Documents Folder - Press Command+Shift+O
  • The Downloads Folder - Press Command+Shift+L
  • The Applications Folder- Press Command+Shift+A
  • The Home Folder - Press Command+Shift+H

Hint: The other navigation keyboard shortcuts in the Finder's Go menu should work here too.

Tip 6: To create a new folder, press Command+Shift+N.

Tip 7: To navigate up one level, press Command+Shift+Up Arrow Key

Tip 8: To choose an image, audio track, or movie, click Media in the sidebar.

Tip 9: To move a file or folder displayed in an open or save dialog to another folder, open the target folder in the Finder.  Then, drag the item from the open or save dialog into the opened folder window in the Finder.

Tip 10: With a file or folder selected, press Command+I to bring the Finder to the front and display the Get Info window for the item.

So, there you have it. Small tips that will save you a few precious seconds here and there and make you more productive.  Every second counts, right?

MacTech AppleScript Essentials Column > AppleScript in Snow Leopard

October, 2009 - AppleScript in Snow Leopard.

With the release of Snow Leopard, AppleScript developers will no doubt be in store for a few surprises. While the AppleScript language itself hasn't changed too much, a variety of other enhancements are welcome, but will take some getting used to.

[Read more at]

Mac Automation Made Simple Video Podcast > Recording Manual Events in AppleScript

Episode 3
Date: 08.26.2008
Duration: 00:05:35
Recording Manual Events in AppleScript
In this episode of Mac Automation Made Simple, Ben Waldie demonstrates how even the novice Mac user can get started with AppleScript by recording manual events in the Mac OS X Finder, or other recordable application, as a script, and playing them back.
[View in iTunes...] [View at]

Mac Automation Made Simple Video Podcast > Creating an Image Processing Automator Workflow

Episode 1
Date: 07.29.2008
Duration: 00:07:09
Creating an Image Processing Automator Workflow
In this first episode of Mac Automation Made Simple, Ben Waldie demonstrates how to create a simple image processing workflow using Automator in Mac OS X Leopard. Learn how to create a workflow that manipulates images from directly within the Finder..
[View in iTunes...] [View at]