EXAMPLES, TOPICS, and RESOURCES

Welcome to the Automator examples, topics, and resources page. On this page are links to tutorials and downloads for Automator-related topics and resources. Automator-specific topics are listed in the purple box to the right, and example workflows and actions are identified by color, described below:

WORKFLOWS-SERVICES

Descriptions and links to example Automator workflows and services are found within boxes colored like this one.

 
ACTIONS

Descriptions and links to example Automator actions are found within boxes colored like this one.

 
DEVELOPER

Descriptions and links to Automator developer topics are found within boxes colored like this one.

DO THIS ►To view the topics or tutorials listed below, click the title bar of the topic or tutorial you wish to view.

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TRAINING VIDEO
Video: What is Automator?

A short video introduction to Automator.

 

 
TRAINING VIDEO
Video: What is Automator?

How to design and create “Automation Recipes.”

 

 
TRAINING VIDEO
Video: Workflow Variables

A thorough overview of Automator workflow variables.

 

 
MEDIA ENCODING

SERVICE • An important aspect of creating video content for distribution, is the encoding of source videos to meet the hardware requirements of various computers and mobile devices.

The Encode Media action makes the encoding of video content an easy process, done without requiring the user to have technical knowledge of compression and audio settings.

 
IMAGE FROM TEXT

SERVICE • Those familiar with the creation of web-content know that because of font availability and other issues, it may be necessary to display text on a webpage as an image instead of using CSS.

The Create Banner Image from Text action will render selected text as an image, styled using either chosen type parameters or use the existing formatting of the selected text.

 
TEXT TO EPUB BOOK

WORKSHOP • In this guided hands-on workshop you will learn how to use the automation tools of OS X to quickly transform existing text, text files, and digital media such as images, and audio/video clips, into digital books, saved in standard EPUB format, viewable on computers and mobile devices.

Features Automator services containing the Text to EPUB Automator action.

 
WATERMARK PDF FILES

SERVICE • Here’s a workflow service for easily creating watermarked versions of selected PDF files.

For flexibility, create variations of the service for each of the standard watermarks you use, like: DRAFT, FINAL, CLASSIFIED, etc.

 
ENCRYPT PDF FILES

SERVICE • Here’s a workflow service for easily creating encrypted versions of selected PDF files.

A useful tool and just one of the desktop PDF services you can create yourself!

 
COMBINE PDF FILES

SERVICE • It seems like such a simple thing, but in fact, can be very tricky to accomplish by hand: combining multiple PDF documents into a single PDF document.

However, the good news is that you can create an Automator workflow service that makes the process a one-click operation.

 
HTML PUBLISHING

WORKSHOP • In this guided hands-on workshop you will learn how to use the automation tools of OS X to quickly transform existing text, text files, and digital media such as images, and audio/video clips, into simple web-applications, saved in standard HTML format, viewable on computers and mobile devices.

 
AUDIO ACTIONS

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.

 
AUDIO ENCODING

SERVICE • An important aspect of creating audio content for distribution, is the encoding of source audio files to meet the hardware requirements of various computers and mobile devices. The Encode to MPEG Audio action makes the encoding of audio content an easy process, available on the desktop, and done without requiring the user to have technical knowledge of compression and audio settings.

 
ANNOTATE VIDEO FILES

SERVICE • An important aspect of creating video content for distribution, is the inclusion of metadata in generated media files. It is essential that information such as the author, copyright, and description, travel with the items and be readily accessible to those wishing to use the content. OS X provides a tool for quickly and easily creating versions of media content that will contain user-provided values for standard metadata tags.

 
EXTRACT WEB IMAGES

SERVICES • Automator includes a web content input type to identify HTML-based data used as input to a service. Here are two example services that use the new data type to extract images from webpages or from content selected in a WebKit-based view.

 
WEBSITE POPUP

SERVICES • More and more, services and functionality are moving to the Cloud. Accessing internet-hosted server-based content without the hassle and overhead of using a browser can prove to be invaluable in providing simple, quick, and elegant workflow soltuions.

The Website Popup action displays specified HTML or web-based content in a floating HUD-like palette that can provide fast access to important content and then quicly get out of the way.

 
DISPENSE DISK ITEMS INCREMENTALLY

ACTION • 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.

 
WORKFLOW TEMP FOLDER

ACTION • 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.

 
CREATE NET-RESTORE DISK

ACTION • 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.

 
SHELL SCRIPT ACTION

XCODE • Step-by-step instructions show how to create a Shell Script Automator action with UI. Uses standard UNIX commands and Cocoa bindings to pass user-chosen parameters to the action at run time.

It’s so easy, you’ll create an entire action library of your favorite UNIX routines.

 
APPLESCRIPT ACTION

XCODE • Detailed step-by-step instructions show how to create an AppleScript Automator action with UI. Uses standard UNIX commands and Cocoa bindings to pass user-chosen parameters to the action at run time.

Incorporates the use of AppleScriptObj-C, a powerful fusion of the AppleScript and Objective-C languages.

 
XCODE BUILD SETTINGS

XCODE • Automator action projects in Xcode 4 and higher require extra settings to enable the action to execute when the project is built and run. Follow these simple steps to test your Automator action project.

 
SET DESKTOP TO NASA APOD

WORKFLOW • An example of how a workflow can parse an RSS feed and download a specified file, in this case the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. The retrieved image file is then used as the desktop picture for the current user.

The created workflow is saved to and accessed via the system-wide Script Menu utility.

 
CLEAR DOWNLOADS LIST

WORKFLOW • An example of how a workflow can be saved as a login item that performs the task of automatically clearing the system download list when the user logs into the current account.

The created workflow is saved as an applet and added to the Login Items list in the Users & Groups system preference pane.

 
SELFIE TO CLIPBOARD

WORKFLOW • An example workflow that takes and places a snapshot of you on the clipboard, ready to be pasted into any application!

The created workflow is saved as a standard workflow file installed into the system-wide Script Menu.

 
DICTATE & SEND MESSAGE

WORKFLOW • In OS X, Dictation Commands are now available for all languages.

Using this example workflow, you can dictate and send messages, from within any application, without having to stop what you’re doing and switch to the Messages application.

 
SHOW MAP FOR IMAGE FILE

SERVICE • Here’s an interesting Automator service for quickly accessing a map showing the origination location of an image file selected in the Finder. The interactive map will be displayed in a floating HUD window in the Finder.