Chapter 24

Mac Automation

When you need a new feature for your Mac, you usually go out and find the software that will do the job. Indeed, most of this book is about finding the right application. But what about making your own applications or enhancing the features of your existing applications?

Normally, creating an app or adding features to an application requires that you write your own software. Programming is not easy; it takes years of training and experience to do well. For those of us without the time and patience to learn how to program, Apple has created several tools to help us automate our Macs. These automation tools let you create a type of mini-program that performs specialized tasks and let you connect existing applications to make them work in new and better ways. This chapter covers the two primary automation tools on the Mac: Automator and AppleScript.


877005 ma2401.tif Automator is installed on all Macs for one purpose: to simplify repetitive tasks. Consider it your own personal robot. (Indeed, the Automator icon is a robot named Otto.) The idea behind Automator is to allow anyone, without a lick of programming experience, to create his or her Automator actions. Creating Automator workflows requires no computer programming whatsoever. With its drag-and-drop functionality, Automator lets you quickly create actions and start saving time. So let’s create an Automator ...

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