Exploring Mac Automation: Mastering Automator in Leopard

Several readers expressed confusion about Automator following my initial post on Mac Automation. This article aims to demystify the tool for everyone.

AppleScript is a robust scripting language, though it can be complex for beginners. Apple developed Automator with the intention of creating an automation tool that was both powerful and user-friendly. It comes packed with a variety of actions that applications can perform, and it supports a plugin model that allows Mac developers to integrate additional functionalities.

With the release of the Leopard operating system, Apple significantly enhanced Automator, improving its user interface and expanding its capabilities.

Here’s a closer look at the Automator interface:

The section highlighted in red contains the actions you can use to build your tasks. These actions are dragged into the workflow area, marked in blue, where you can arrange them in the desired sequence. The yellow section provides details about the selected action, including its purpose and any prerequisites or subsequent actions required.

Now, let’s create a simple workflow. Open Automator and locate these actions:

  • Take Video Snapshot
  • Import Files into iPhoto

Drag the ‘Take Video Snapshot’ action into the workflow area.

You can specify where to save the file using the ‘Where’ drop-down menu—choose ‘Desktop’ or another accessible location. Set the action to ‘Take picture automatically.’

Next, add the ‘Import Files into iPhoto’ action to your workflow. You’ll see that the actions connect via a small tab, indicating compatibility. Choose ‘New Album’ from the options and label it accordingly.

Once your actions are configured, hit the ‘Run’ button located at the top right of the Automator window.

Tj Luoma

Gary is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Gary covers everything from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to in-depth reviews of the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. His insightful articles help readers navigate the ever-evolving world of Apple technology. Gary’s expertise and clear writing make him a trusted voice in the Apple community.