Getting Started with Automator

Automator is an application that comes bundled with your computer and helps you automate many common tasks on your Mac. With Automator, you create workflows, which are a series of actions that enable you to perform a task. For instance, you can create a workflow to create a new e-mail message and automatically include a selected file as an attachment or you can easily create an e-mail message to a specific group of recipients that includes all important tasks from Calendar (the free calendar program included with OS X). You can use Automator to create workflows for any task that you perform often so you don’t have to go through all of the menus, buttons and windows. This can be a real time saver! You can even record your keystrokes and create workflows from them.


The Library list displays all of the applications that contain actions from which you can create workflows. The Action list displays all of the available Automator actions for the selected Library item and displays a description of the action in the Description pane below. The Workflow pane to the right is where you drag your actions from the Action list to form Workflows. A Workflow is an action or a series of actions that will perform a specific task. Automator is an extremely useful addition to Mac’s program offerings and can save you a lot of time. You may wish to spend some time working with Automator. At the time of this writing, the Web site has many sample workflows that you can download and play with.

To Create a Workflow with Automator

  1. Double-click the Automator icon in Applications Folder
  2. In the Library list, select the application for which you want to create a workflow.
  3. Select the action in the Action list that you want to add to the workflow.
  4. Drag the action to the Workflow pane
    Double-click the Action to add it to the Workflow pane.
  5. Click the Options arrow for additional action options.
  6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 for each additional action you wish Automator to carry out.
  7. To run the active Workflow, select Workflow > Run from the menu
    Press the ⌘ + R keystroke combination.

Tip: You can execute workflows from within the Automator application or save your workflows as an application by using the File > Save command and choosing Application from the File Format list. Workflows saved as application can be executed independently of Automator.

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