Automator, how to you use it?


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Dec 5, 2005
Ok i never used Automator, i opened the app and looked at it but i have not played with it. What can i use Automator for? how do you use it? and do you find yourself useing it a lot?

offsubject - How can I make my HD folder show me how much space it ha and how much space is left on it without right-clicking and getting info?


Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
Andover, MA
Automator is supposed to, in essence, be an AppleScript GUI for the masses.

I think it's a great concept, but I've yet to find it able to do specific things I want it to do. I see that there are gazillions of things you can do with it, but so far it hasn't been of much use to me. Maybe the OS X 10.5 iteration will be better.

gauchogolfer said:
In the Finder, go to View->View Options. Check 'show item info'.
FYI: This doesn't seem - at least on mine - to be kept up to date, either often or perhaps even at all once you log in or select the option.


macrumors regular
Nov 4, 2004
Chi town
I use it to convert images from iPhoto to the correct size and naming convention for my website. Its nice but I so rarely find any use for automator. It has a lot of potential just not being realized.


macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
I've used it a few times to take my pdf's and make them into one pdf.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2005
Left Coast
perhaps - maybe - for some of us that don't use automator, you could also post some examples of HOW you program it...


macrumors 65816
Jan 17, 2006
New York City
gauchogolfer said:
In the Finder, go to View->View Options. Check 'show item info'.
But is there a way to do this for JUST the "Macintosh HD" folder on the desktop? I don't want all items to show their info.


macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2004
I've used it to batch-change file names a couple times, but other than that I haven't been able to find much use for it yet. It seems like it can do a lot, but just not what I need it to do. One recent example:

Earlier this month, I went on vacation and had pictures from 3 different cameras that I merged in iPhoto. I realized that the timestamp on one camera was 3 hours off (it was set to a different time zone), so some of the pictures were showing up in the wrong order when I viewed them in iPhoto. I thought thought this would be a great task for automator: isolate those ~200 pictures (no problem), and then subtract 3 hours from the timestamp on each of them with automator. Unfortunately, I could not figure out anyway to make that happen, and eventally just went in and changed each one manually (ugh).

Like I said, it seems like it can do a lot, but just not what I need it to do. At least not with the ease I thought it would allow...


macrumors 68030
For me, Automator is used primarily for iTunes.

I use it to import stuff as either MP3, AAC, WAV, or AIff depending on what I want...

and i have it set up to import with the format I want, then It asks me to name the artist, album, and genre, then it creates a seprarate playlist for those tracks i imported, then it adds all the tracks to my iPod.

With one click.


macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
St. Louis, MO
I never use it except for one thing:

Occasionally, when I rip CDs, the info it gets from CDDB will have track titles in all lowercase, and since I'm anal about my music collection, I can use Automator to set track titles to title case. Other than that, I just have no real use for it.


macrumors 65816
Jul 28, 2004
Portland, Oregon
Automator is one of those utilities where the more you play with it, the more you think of ideas to use it. If you rarely use it you tend not to think of it as a potential solution to odd repetitive tasks you perform

My two most frequently used workflows at the moment:
1) Create a note on an attached iPod from the clipboard (text) content
2) Workaround for a recent Entourage bug where some HTML emails don't display (drag offending email to desktop, run a finder plugin workflow that renames the .eml extension to .html and then displays the email in Safari)


macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2006
I rarely use it. Normally, I just use Script Editor. I just find it way easier.


macrumors 65816
Apr 15, 2004
I have never used automater... however I would like to start learning... seems like a cool idea if you need it...


Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
I just started using it recently. The only thing I've really done with it so far (successfully) is to create some Finder plugins. So now my contextual menu in Finder has "Send to PDA" and "Send to RAZR" options. :cool:


macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2003
I never use it, but was wondering if I could get it to separate my jpeg files and import them into my iPhoto library, and at the same time (from the same card) import my RAW files into Aperture during the same import process?

Basically channeling the files into the appropriate software rather than manually having to import and delete.