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Running Mac OS X Tiger by James Duncan Davidson, Jason Deraleau

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Automator

One of the most touted new features in Mac OS X Tiger is Automator (/Applications). Automator brings the power of scripting to the masses. It’s an easy way to automate repetitive tasks that you’d normally have to perform by hand. Using drag-and-drop simplicity, you add various actions to a workflow, crafting the order they are processed to suit the task at hand.

Automator ships with a library full of actions. Actions are the individual steps that are processed in a workflow. Each application is responsible for providing actions that perform a function within that app. For example, Apple’s Mail includes about a dozen actions that do everything from checking for new mail to sending birthday cards. Not all applications have Automator actions yet, but there are more available each day. To see some of the latest actions, visit Apple’s Automator Actions site: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/automator/.

Creating Workflows

Now that you’re a bit more familiar with Automator actions, let’s take a look at workflows . Workflows are simply an ordered set of actions. To create a new workflow, select File New. Automator opens a blank workflow, as shown in Figure 13-4.

The Automator window is broken up into four main panels. The Library panel lists all of the applications with available actions, as well as some sample workflows and any workflows you might have saved. Selecting an application from the list will filter that app’s actions in the Action panel.

The Action panel contains ...

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