Automator

Discussion in 'macOS' started by brn2ski00, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    #1
    Who uses Automator and if so, what is the purpose or associated workflow?

    I really want to use this tool, but have yet to find a need... until now! I would like for every time I plug in my 8GB USB Flash Drive, for all my iTunes music (m4a's) to be copied directly to that drive. Is this possible? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Lord Sam macrumors regular

    Lord Sam

    #2
    I never use Automator. It's just dumb. The amount of time it takes for you to setup a workflow takes just as much, if not more time than doing it manually. I see no need for it, as it does things you do by opening an app. I mean, why have an Automator task for checking your email when you open Mail? It does that already? I think the best thing about Automator is it's icon.
     
  3. brn2ski00 thread starter macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    #3
    Nicely put, but not exactly the answer I was hoping for. Anyone else? Bueller? Bueller?
     
  4. ccwilli3 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    #4
    I set up a workflow to grab a few directories on my local drive and copy them over to a firewire drive (for backup purposes). I just ctrl click on the desktop, choose automator and my flow and it does it while I continue doing whatever... Gigs and gigs of stuff, many directories and 2 clicks is all that it takes and a new copy is made each time.

    I could also see using it to batch rename photos but I never take enough photos do necessitate such a thing.
     
  5. brn2ski00 thread starter macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    #5
    Is it possible for you to send me that workflow?
     
  6. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    51.50024, -0.12662
    #6
    i use Automator to make workflows that launch an Apple Script to show/hide hidden files and set an image as the desktop background from the Finder.

    i put them in ~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Finder so you can access them from the Automator right-click menu. ill post the workflows if anyones interested.
     
  7. brn2ski00 thread starter macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    #7
    I am definitely interested. Could you please post a few examples?
     
  8. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #8
    i use automator to make up for the glaring limitations of iTunes. For instance, I don't like the way iTunes organizes compilations. So I set up a script to get info on a song, select the artist name, copy it, and paste it to the front of the song name separated by a - dash, and repeat for all the songs in the compilation. Then I rename the artist names on all songs from the compilation to be the name of the album. That way I can sort by artist then album and not have my artist list all messed up by the single entry artists from the compilations all scattered around my artists list.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    #9
    Me also
     
  10. nsbio macrumors 6502a

    nsbio

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    NC
    #10
    Au-tomato-rrrrrrr

    Does learning how Automator works take a genius or it is just I am so dumb? The thing was touted by Jobs as "the easy way", but I still do not understand how to make Automator do anything. In the Automator window you drag around some workflows, but how to make them connect with each other and how to make them work with either an input variable or a fixed value - I have no effing clue. If someone could post an example or two, that would be nice :).

    Oh, by the way, the Automator workflows posted on Apple website in their Downloads section are completely useless (IMO).
     
  11. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #11
    Remember to google. Here's one of the top hits
    http://automatorworld.com/

    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=automator&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
     
  12. John Purple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #12
    It's the same for me. Once I took an hour time just to think about possible helpfull uses for Automator. At the end I hadn't found anything, maybe because it was to complicated for me to understand how Automator works. I gave up until I saw this thread. Let's see if someone gives us an idea.
     
  13. nsbio macrumors 6502a

    nsbio

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    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    NC
    #13
    Why Google when there is Macrumors? :D
     
  14. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #14
    Just start off with the record function, it'll give you 75% of what you'd want a script to do without you having to learn a single thing. You hit record, go do something in a program, hit stop, and you're done. When you hit play on the script it'll repeat exactly what you just did. However, be forewarned that this works by literally taking control of your mouse cursor and keyboard, and it then clicks and types the exact same things that you did, so if anything is setup differently when you play the script than how things were setup and positioned when you recorded the script then it could wreck havoc on what it actually winds up doing to your computer. The same goes if you try to move the mouse or type on the keyboard while it's playing back the script, that could cause huge problems also.

    To avoid the scripted mouse problem in your recordings, try to use all keyboard commands instead of mouse clicks, and after you're done recording drag and drop in the 'launch application' module to the beginning of your script to make it launch or switch to the correct application so you can avoid any mouse movements at all in your script.
     
  15. John Purple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #15
    Well, that doesn't sound like anything I want to call 'helpful' :confused:
     
  16. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #16
    Don't worry, I'm just giving you a disclaimer and telling you to pay attention to what you're doing with your script. As long as you use common sense and approach the script carefully, then it's very safe. What I just said goes for any script too though, not just one you recorded yourself. Remember, a script performs a series of actions automatically. If those actions are misdirected then it could cause a problem.

    Lets say you setup a script to switch to a program, select all, then copy. If you apply the script in an unintended way, there's really no harm, you've just copied the wrong thing. But if you set up a script to select all, hit delete, then start typing text, you'll wind up in trouble if you don't apply it wisely.

    Think of it like using a robot. It makes sense to use a robot to vacuum your floors, because if something goes wrong it can't do much damage. But you wouldn't want to use a robot to load your gun, because any misdirected action could be catastrophic. So just keep my warning in mind and use some fore though and you'll wind up making safe and useful scripts.
     
  17. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
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    #17
    Ive tried a few times now to try to string something together using automator
    but end up with zilch Thats why i put a me also in one of the above threads
    any help would be great
     
  18. AdeFowler macrumors 68020

    AdeFowler

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #18
    I have a few Automator workflows saved as Finder plug-ins (Control-Click):

    Add Spotlight Comments to multiple files
    Rename multiple files
    Create archive and attach to new email message in Mail

    The free Photoshop Actions are also really handy.

    I'm yet to have a play with Leopard's Automator, with its new 'Watch me' option.
     
  19. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #19
    Ooo, post this one up, I want it!

    There's a better solution to this already in OS X, but they don't make it obvious. You need to install the finder scripts that are already on you disk somewhere pre-installed (in the utilities folder maybe?). Then it puts an item in your menu bar that has all kinds of super useful scripts, like add text to file names at the beginning or end of the name, find and replace any given text in file names with new text, and lots more super useful stuff. Honestly I don't know why this isn't installed by default. It's been around since at least 10.3.
     
  20. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #20
    can you guys PM me your emails? i cant find any file hosting services that accept workflow files.
     
  21. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #21
    just zip it and post it directly to the MR forum right here.
     
  22. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #22
    okie doke thanks!... didnt think of that! :eek:

    unzip these and drag the workflow files to ~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Finder and they will be assessable in the automator right click menu.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
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    #23
    Many thanks take no notice of the pm i sent it before you could post this
     
  24. brn2ski00 thread starter macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    #24
    All - Thank you for responding to my question in an intelligent manor. I truly do appreciate it.

    However, has anyone come up with a workflow for my current issue? I would like to copy all of my iTunes music (just music, no vids, etc.) to a USB Flash Drive. Any ideas?
     
  25. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #25
    Um, just do a 'select all' in your music library and just drag and drop onto your flash drive. Am I missing something? Why would you need an automator script to do that?
     

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