Average Joe's Tips

What is “Automator”?

Most people know that on their Mac there is some weird looking robot application, called “Automator,” but it seems that not many people know how it works or what it does. Automator is essentially an application to help you perform repetitive tasks on your Mac. It doesn’t help you write those repetative essays for school, but if you have, for example, 100 pictures that you want to rename, than Automator can help you. But Automator doesn’t just rename files — it can do much more, such as add content to your keynote presentation or speak highlighted text. It can even open a web browser and bring up the RSS Feed for your favorite website *cough, cough* But don’t worry, I’m not going to throw you out into the world of Automator after only telling you basically what it does — I will show you how to make one application and introduce some of the more important details of Automator.

First, here are some Automator terms to keep in mind. A workflow is a list of actions that the program performs, which can be edited at any time. However, a workflow won’t run as an application, but will only open Automator. So, if you feel like you have completed your workflow, you can save it as an application. Next, an application is an Automator script that has been finished, but cannot be edited in Automator after being saved. In your library, you can see all of your scripts, whose functions range from editing in Finder to working on the Internet. Here is a quick application that I made to bring up TRMG’s RSS Feed:

1. Under the list of Actions, select the “Internet” tab from the Library. Drag the script “Get Specified URLs” it to the workflow station on the right.

2. In this new window, you will see the default bookmark “Apple”.

3. Delete the Apple bookmark by selecting it then clicking “Remove”.  Then, click “Add”.

4. A new, blank entry should appear. Name the bookmark anything you wish — we recommend: TRMG. Then, under “Address,” copy and paste the following url:  feed://

5. Add a final script from the “Internet” tab, “New Safari Documents”.

6. Finally, save it as an application, name it and your finished! Now, when you want to view our feed quickly, just run your application. If your application doesn’t work properly, view the image after the break to check your workflow against mine.

Also, you can download the finished application here.

If you would like help making more applications, visit this website.

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