TUAW Post > Build a Photo Calendar with Automator

I'm very happy to announce that I am now writing automation and productivity tips for The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).

My first post is an Automator how-to.  It shows you how to create a Print Plugin that shows up in the PDF menu when you print a document. This specific plugin lets you print a photo calendar right out of the Calendar app.  It's fun, and it shows off some of the cool stuff you can do with Automator.

[Read more on TUAW...]

Save 35% on Peachpit Mac Automation Made Simple Videos

My 8 chapter Mac Automation Made Simple video series is 35% off through the end of the year if you use coupon code VIDEO12.

[Learn more here or visit the Peachpit website]

Now Available: New Mac Automation Made Simple Videos!

Peachpit has bundled a new series of my Mac Automation Made Simple videos on Automator.  They're now available for purchase as DRM-Free downloads, so you can play them on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.  Topics in this 8-part series include:

  • Automate generating job folders - If you use job folders for multiple projects to keep organized, learn how to save time and reduce errors by building workflows in Automator to create job folders consistently and quickly. You'll also learn the basics of actions and variables in Automator.
  • Batch-create folders from an Excel list - If your workflow ever requires you to create a large number of folders or sets of subfolders with specific naming conventions, Excel and Automator can work together to eliminate the manual creation of folders. By using the powerful features in Excel to build lists of file names in large numbers and use Automator to process those lists into hundreds of folders in minutes.
  • Display Growl notifications for new content - File sharing over a network is great for larger files that you wouldn't send via email, but how can you be sure that you're always notified when a new file lands in your folder? Learn how to team Automator with the popular notification software Growl to build a great workflow that eliminates the need for you to get an email or phone call notifying you of new files.
  • Schedule backups via a network - Do you manually back up your Mac to a server? If so, you've probably had to set up calendar reminders and run through the process on a regular basis or risk losing your data. In this lesson, learn how to make that process automatic and painless with Automator and iCal.
  • Share files via Dropbox - Take the powerful PDF tools offered in OS X a step further by building your own Print Plugin with Automator. You'll learn how to set up a Print Plugin that automatically posts any document you print to PDF to the online file sharing tool Dropbox. You'll also learn the basics of setting up actions to rename files to be friendly for upload tools by removing offending characters.
  • Batch-convert image files to PDF - If you've ever had the daunting task of scanning a book or a box of images with a flat bed scanner, you know that it isn't easy to combine all those files into a single PDF without some heavy-hitting applications like Photoshop and Acrobat Pro. But what if you don't have those applications or are just looking for an easier way? Learn how to set up a quick and easy way to combine multiple images into a single PDF without the hassle.
  • Batch-process images for iPhoto - If you're like most people with a smart phone, an amature photographer or have a large photo digitizing project on your plate, you'll import, manipulate and save hundreds to thousands of images a year. In this lesson, you'll learn how to unleash the power of Automator and free third-party tool to streamline your workflow and make importing images to your iPhoto library a snap.
  • Batch-process multiple InDesign files to PDF - Exporting multiple InDesign files to PDF can be as quick and easy as dragging and dropping your files. You'll learn how to create a drag-and-drop application with AppleScript and Automator that opens, exports, names, and saves PDFs from InDesign. You'll be able to use the same custom application for both InDesign CS4 and CS5.

Sold as a set, or individually, you can find them on Peachpit's website.

Peachpit Blog Post > Using Automator: Media Browser

03.03.09 - Using Automator: Media Browser.

Need a way to insert music, photos, or movies into an Automator workflow for processing? Why not use the Media Browser, which offers a quick and easy way to navigate the media content on your Mac. [Read more at Peachpit.com...]

Macworld Article > Best Automator Downloads: Building better workflows with third-party actions

July, 2008 - Geek Factor - Best Automator Downloads: Building better workflows with third-party actions.

Automator is a great tool for automating basic tasks on your Mac, no scripting or programming required. By dragging prebuilt actions together, you can quickly and easily create countless workflows to do things you might otherwise have to do manually.

Mac OS X comes with hundreds of Automator actions to get you started. These actions can handle basic tasks within the operating system itself, as well as in many of OS X's bundled applications, including Address Book, iCal, iTunes, Mail, and Safari. But as useful as all of these built-in actions are, they can't do everything. [Read more at Macworld.com...]

Apple.com Article > Creating an iWeb Photo Preview Page

The integration among iLife applications can make sharing data between them a breeze. Take iPhoto and iWeb, for example. In iPhoto, you can create a new iWeb photo album with the click of a button. Automator can make this process even simpler by eliminating the need to even launch iPhoto.

The following steps will walk you through the process of creating an iWeb photo album of iPhoto images. The workflow will be saved as a plug-in for the system-wide script menu, allowing you to trigger it at any time, from within any application. When run, the workflow will display a list of images in your iPhoto library. Simply select the ones to include, choose an iWeb template, and the workflow will handle the rest. [Read more...] (pdf)

Apple.com Article > Creating a Photo Slideshow DVD

Creating a photo slideshow DVD is easy enough with iDVD. But Automator can make it even easier. The following steps will walk you through the process of creating an Automator workflow that will scan through a folder structure of files, extracting any JPEG images, and creating an iDVD slideshow containing those images. [Read more...] (pdf)

Apple.com Article > Uploading Aperture Image Previews to an FTP Server

Export presets in Aperture make it easy to quickly export preview versions of selected images in your photo library. But wouldn’t it be great to automatically rename those images and send them to your FTP server at the same time? With Automator, you can.

The following steps will walk you through the process of creating an Automator workflow that will export selected aperture images as previews, rename them sequentially with the current date, and upload them to your FTP server. [Read more...] (pdf)

Apple.com Article > Email PDF Contact Sheet from Aperture

Automator can be used to extend Aperture’s reach throughout the operating system. Use Automator to integrate Aperture with external applications in new ways that benefit your own unique workflow. Need to email previews of your project images for review? Streamline the process with Automator.

The following steps will walk you through the process of creating an Automator workflow that will generate a PDF contact sheet of a specified Aperture project’s images, and attach it to a new outgoing email message in Mail. [Read more...] (pdf)