Adobe InDesign Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

I'm pleased to announce that my ID Automator Action Pack, which includes 20 actions for interacting with Adobe InDesign in Mac OS X Lion and Snow Leopard, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Lion action packs can be found here.


Text Automator Action Pack Updated to 4.0.3 – Includes 2 New Actions

The Text Automator Action Pack has been updated to version 4.0.3. Changes include:

  • Added a new 'Add Prefix to Text' action
  • Added a new 'Add Suffix to Text' action

This action pack extends the power of Automator with 30 actions for performing text manipulation functions in Mac OS X.

The new version is available in the Mac App Store.

Maccast Podcast 2012.02.26 – Automator Basics

I recently spoke with Adam Christianson about Automator in Mac OS X for the Maccast.  Topics included getting started with Automator, building a simple workflow, and troubleshooting workflow problems.  Check it out on the Maccast website or in iTunes!

File and Folder Automator Action Pack Updated to 4.0.1

The File and Folder Automator Action Pack, which includes 21 actions for interacting with files and folders in the Finder, has been updated to version 4.0.1. Changes include:

  • Fixed a bug in Filter Finder Items by Size action
  • Fixed a bug in Unlock Finder Items action

The new version is available in the Mac App Store.

Now Available: New Mac Automation Made Simple Videos!

Peachpit has bundled a new series of my Mac Automation Made Simple videos on Automator.  They're now available for purchase as DRM-Free downloads, so you can play them on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.  Topics in this 8-part series include:

  • Automate generating job folders - If you use job folders for multiple projects to keep organized, learn how to save time and reduce errors by building workflows in Automator to create job folders consistently and quickly. You'll also learn the basics of actions and variables in Automator.
  • Batch-create folders from an Excel list - If your workflow ever requires you to create a large number of folders or sets of subfolders with specific naming conventions, Excel and Automator can work together to eliminate the manual creation of folders. By using the powerful features in Excel to build lists of file names in large numbers and use Automator to process those lists into hundreds of folders in minutes.
  • Display Growl notifications for new content - File sharing over a network is great for larger files that you wouldn't send via email, but how can you be sure that you're always notified when a new file lands in your folder? Learn how to team Automator with the popular notification software Growl to build a great workflow that eliminates the need for you to get an email or phone call notifying you of new files.
  • Schedule backups via a network - Do you manually back up your Mac to a server? If so, you've probably had to set up calendar reminders and run through the process on a regular basis or risk losing your data. In this lesson, learn how to make that process automatic and painless with Automator and iCal.
  • Share files via Dropbox - Take the powerful PDF tools offered in OS X a step further by building your own Print Plugin with Automator. You'll learn how to set up a Print Plugin that automatically posts any document you print to PDF to the online file sharing tool Dropbox. You'll also learn the basics of setting up actions to rename files to be friendly for upload tools by removing offending characters.
  • Batch-convert image files to PDF - If you've ever had the daunting task of scanning a book or a box of images with a flat bed scanner, you know that it isn't easy to combine all those files into a single PDF without some heavy-hitting applications like Photoshop and Acrobat Pro. But what if you don't have those applications or are just looking for an easier way? Learn how to set up a quick and easy way to combine multiple images into a single PDF without the hassle.
  • Batch-process images for iPhoto - If you're like most people with a smart phone, an amature photographer or have a large photo digitizing project on your plate, you'll import, manipulate and save hundreds to thousands of images a year. In this lesson, you'll learn how to unleash the power of Automator and free third-party tool to streamline your workflow and make importing images to your iPhoto library a snap.
  • Batch-process multiple InDesign files to PDF - Exporting multiple InDesign files to PDF can be as quick and easy as dragging and dropping your files. You'll learn how to create a drag-and-drop application with AppleScript and Automator that opens, exports, names, and saves PDFs from InDesign. You'll be able to use the same custom application for both InDesign CS4 and CS5.

Sold as a set, or individually, you can find them on Peachpit's website.

Mac Power Users Podcast Episode 070 – Working with Automator

I recently spoke with Katie Floyd and David Sparks about the automation capabilities in Mac OS X for episode 070 of the Mac Power Users podcast.  Topics included getting started with Automator, troubleshooting Automator workflows, Services, and differences between AppleScript and Automator.  Check it out on the Mac Power Users website or in iTunes!

Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual Details Services, Automator, and AppleScript

From the Acknowledgements page...

"Ben Waldie… did a beautiful job updating the Automator/AppleScript material in Chapter 7"
- David Pogue

"Thank you, David, for the opportunity to contribute to such a complete resource on the world's greatest operating system!"
-Ben Waldie

Looking for a great comprehensive book on Mac OS X, which covers everything including powerful built-in automation tools such as Services, Automator, and AppleScript? Look no further. Get your copy today!

Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual
David Pogue

With Lion, Apple has unleashed the most innovative version of Mac OS X yet—and once again, David Pogue brings his humor and expertise to the #1 bestselling Mac book. Mac OS X 10.7 completely transforms the Mac user interface with multi-touch gestures borrowed from the iPhone and iPad, and includes more than 250 brand-new features. This book reveals them all with a wealth of insight and detail--and even does a deep dive into iCloud, Apple's wireless, free syncing service for Macs, PCs, iPhones, and iPads.

  • Perfect for newcomers. Get crystal-clear, jargon-free introduction to the Dock, the Mac OS X folder structure, Safari, Mail, and iCloud.
  • Go in-depth. Learn how use key new features such as full-screen apps, Mission Control, the new Mac App Store, Launchpad, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, AirDrop, and more. Are you even more of a power user? Learn to set up a network, make a Lion flash drive, and even learn the basics of Lion's underlying Unix.

There's something new on practically every page of this new edition, and David Pogue brings his celebrated wit and expertise to every one of them. Apple's brought a new cat to town, and Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual is the best way to tame it.

About David Pogue

David Pogue is the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times. Each week, he contributes a print column, an online column and an online video. His daily blog, "Pogue's Posts," is the Times's most popular blog. David is also an Emmy award-winning tech correspondent for CBS News and a frequent guest on NPR's "Morning Edition." His trademark comic tech videos appear each Thursday morning on CNBC. With over 3 million books in print, David is one of the world's bestselling how-to authors. He launched his own series of complete, funny computer books called the Missing Manual series, which now includes 60 titles. David graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1985, with distinction in Music, and he spent ten years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals in New York. He's been profiled on both "48 Hours" and "60 Minutes."

About Ben Waldie

Ben Waldie is president of Automated Workflows, LLC, a company offering AppleScript, Automator, and workflow consulting services to Mac-based businesses. For years, Ben has developed professional automated solutions for companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Adobe Systems, Apple Inc., CNN, Microsoft, NASA, PC World, and Time Magazine. Ben is the author of “Automator for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide" (Peachpit Press) and “AppleScripting the Finder" (Automated Workflows, LLC), has written content for, Macworld, MacTech,, and more, and is the host of the “Mac Automation Made Simple" video podcast series (Peachpit Press). Ben is also the author of an AppleScript training CD for the Virtual Training Company, and is a frequent presenter at Macworld and other industry events.

Adobe Illustrator Automator Action Pack Updated to v1.07

The Adobe Illustrator Automator Action Pack (now version 1.07) has been updated to allow .ait documents to be opened.  The Ultimate Productivity Automator Action Pack (now version 3.19) has been updated to incorporate this change, as well.

More info or download a demo of the actions...

Peachpit Blog Post > Automator Services: Preview Selected URL

12.11.09 - Automator Services: Preview Selected URL.

If you're a user of Mac OS X Mail, then you may know that you can use Quick Look to preview image attachments in a message. To do so, just select an image attachment in a message and press the spacebar, press Command+Y, or click Quick Look at the top of the message. For today's Automator Service workflow tip, we'll take this concept a bit further, by creating a way for you to quickly preview URLs in Mail messages, TextEdit documents, and more, without the need to open Safari. [Read more at]

Peachpit Blog Post > Automator Services: Merge Selected PDFs

12.10.09 - Automator Services: Merge Selected PDFs.

Today's Automator Service workflow tip involves something that I do fairly frequently, merging multiple PDF files together. Fortunately, with Automator Service workflows in Snow Leopard, this is now much easier for me than it used to be. [Read more at]