Learn by Example

The power of Automator can be extended through the installation of Automator action files. Automator actions are written in Xcode, Apple’s premier development tool, using one of three project templates, and incorporating any language or frameworks supported by Mac OS X. For detailed information on creating Automator actions, click here.

The following actions are editable examples of how the functionality of Automator can be extended, and are posted here as an instructional resource for developers.

Dispense Disk Items Incrementally

This action is used to take a group of Finder disk items and process them one-at-a-time.

To use, place this action after an action that passes references to Finder disk items, such as the Get Selected Finder Items, or Get Specified Finder Items actions. The disk items references passed by those actions will be dispensed individually by this action as the workflow loops. The workflow will automatically stop once each of the passed disk items has been processed. NOTE: the workflow must be designed to repeat by placing the Loop action at the end of the workflow.

Download the action file (double-click to install).
Download the Xcode project files.

UPDATED • Version: 1.0 • Mac OS X 10.7

Audio Actions

A collection of actions for working with audio files.

The Play Audio Files action will play the audio files passed from the previous action. You can set the time delay between playing of multiple tracks.

The Play System Sound action will play the chosen system sound the indicated number of times.

Download the actions (double-click to install).
Download the Xcode project files.

UPDATED • Version: 1.0 • Mac OS X 10.7

Path to Workflow Temp Folder

This action will return the POSIX path to the workflow temporary folder, automatically created for the workflow containing this action, when the workfow is executed.

A very useful action if your workflow requires a hidden scratch folder in which to process items.

NOTE: the temp folder, and its contents, are automatically deleted after the workflow has completed.

Download the action file (double-click to install).
Download the Xcode project files.

NEW • Version: 1.0 • Mac OS X 10.7

Create NetRestore Disk

The Create NetRestore Disk enables you to use a network boot image (.nbi) from local storage. With the Create NetRestore Disk action, you can assemble a NetRestore workflow in System Image Utility to create a disk for fast local imaging. Optionally, add the action to an Automator service workflow in the Finder, and you can re-use existing network boot images without the network.

IMPORTANT: the Create NetRestore Disk action should only be used on blank volumes that are dedicated for software restore.

Download the action file (double-click to install).
Download example Automator workflow files (10.7 Lion).
Download example Automator workflow files (10.8 Mountain Lion).

NEW • Version: 1.0 • Mac OS X 10.7, Mac OS X 10.8

Wait for Files to Copy

This action will wait for files of indicated types to finish being copied into their containing folder.

Place this action at the beginning of a workflow that will be saved as a Folder Actions plugin, or after an action that copies files from servers or mounted volumes.The result of this action is a list of file references to the items passed from the previous action or Folder Action.

Download an installer for the action and related Xcode project files.

Version: 1.0 • Mac OS X 10.5

Add Image Files to Slideshow

This action will add image files, passed from the previous action, to a currently open Keynote slideshow. If there is no open Keynote slideshow, one will be created.

Optionally, any IPTC captions, embedded into an image file, can be extracted from the file, added to the slide’s presenter notes, and then rendered to disk as a spoken audio file using the built-in Mac OS X text-to-speech architecture. Each audio clip is then automatically imported into its corresponding slide, and the audio source files will be created in the same folder as the slideshow. If the slideshow has not yet been saved, the audio files will be created in the Music folder instead.

Download an installer for the action and related Xcode project files.

Version: 1.0 • Mac OS X 10.5