piece written on the 31st January 2016 by  

This evening I came across Mac Automator and I sat here for a while trying to figure out how I’ve never come across it before. I consider myself a serious super user when it comes to computers and with my programming background I like to think that I am good at finding ways to speed up processes and workflows. With Mac Automator in my back pocket, I’m going to be able to save myself several hours of work every single month when it comes to reporting.

See, every month when I send a suite of documents, I have to open the documents to change the dates, then save the documents, convert them to PDF and then close them. Considering that there are often 30 or so, it’s a¬†horrible time waster. This is where Automator comes into play. Automator is like those batch creators where you can set up several actions and then run them over and over again. In the same light, with Automator I can do something like this:

  • Select Files
  • Open Word Document
  • Find “date1” and Replace with “date2”
  • Save Word Document
  • Select Files
  • Convert Files to PDF

Here’s an example of a batch process I created for this:

Mac Automator

This process opens three files: file1.docx, file2.docx and file3.docx. It then replaces “31 December 2015” with “31 December 2016”, saves the files and closes them. This is a really simple example of what’s possible but it made sense to go with it for this blog post. There are countless actions available and you could literally automate anything on your Mac and that’s why I was blown away that I hadn’t heard of it before!

The best part is that once you click the run button, you literally take your hands off the keyboard and watch as Automator physically opens the files, makes the changes, saves them and closes them right in front of your eyes.

Another use that I found was to batch convert .docx files to .pdf files – huge time saver.

What do you use Automator for?