iOS Productivity: 5 Tips for Locating and Launching Apps Faster

Last week, I shared some useful tips for locating and launching apps faster on your Mac.  But what about your iOS devices?  They're full of apps too.  And, with pages and pages of apps, it can be a real pain in the neck to find the one you want.  Here are some tips to help you wade through them. [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts and Workflows – Clean Up Your Desktop with Your Voice

I tend to keep a pretty uncluttered Desktop. I typically have only a handful of active files there at any given time, which I promptly remove when I'm done working with them. I strongly suspect, however, that I'm in the minority. Often, I see people with hundreds or even thousands of files on their Desktop. They truly work off of their Desktop, and this simply isn’t efficient. Locating files on a cluttered Desktop requires scrolling through tons of irrelevant files, moving icons around, searching, and more. Perhaps if Siri was on the Mac, she could help. Wouldn’t it be great if you could verbally instruct your Mac to clean things up for you? Well, with Speakable Items and AppleScript, you can. Here's how. [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts and Workflows – Add Date to Files and Folders

Keeping files and folders organized on my Mac is essential to my productivity.  Folder structures and naming conventions are a big help, but I also need to ways to quickly locate meeting or phone call notes from last Tuesday, or the samples a client sent me for review last October.  One method I use is to add date prefixes to certain file and folder names.  This provides visual clues when I’m browsing for something, and also allows me to sort more easily.  While the methodology works, I don’t like having to keep typing the date over and over again.  Although it only takes a few seconds, it’s repetitive, and sometimes I enter a typo.  Since my time is extremely limited, those few seconds are also valuable to me.  To make life easier, I’ve created an Automator Service that appends a date prefix to files and folders in the Finder.  Here’s how you can do the same... [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts & Workflows – Revealing File & Folder Paths

 In my last post, I explained how to create an Automator workflow that can quickly and easily copy file and folder paths to the clipboard.  Then, you can paste them into an email or document to share with others.  What if you’re on the receiving end, though?  How can you quickly and easily navigate to those files or folders?  Automator can help with that too.  Here are steps to build a Service workflow, which will reveal selected file or folder paths in an opened email or document... [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts & Workflows – Sharing File & Folder Paths

 If you work in an office, the odds are good that you have shared locations for files and folders.  Your office might have a Projects share, for example, where you keep project folders and related files.

Suppose you need to direct your buddy John to a specific file in one of these project folders?  What’s the easiest way to do it?

Well, you could type out directions to the file, such as Company Projects > Active Projects > 2012 > March > Some Project > Some Folder > Some Other Folder > Some File.  Of course, this takes time.  A few seconds here and there doesn’t sound like a lot, but it all adds up.  There’s also a lot of back and forth, looking at the file and going back through its parent folders, trying to figure out its exact path.  It’s easy to make a mistake, typing a folder name incorrectly, making it difficult for John to follow your roadmap and find the file in question.  Maybe you could open up the folder in list view, expand the folders down to the file, take a screenshot, and email it to John?  What a hassle.  There has to be an easier way.

There is.  A simple Automator workflow can do the work for you, copying the paths of selected files and folders to the clipboard, so you can quickly and easily send them to John.  Here’s how you do it... [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Mac Productivity: Quick Scripts and Workflows – Archiving Selected Mail Messages

Keeping up with email often seems like a losing battle. One thing that can help is reducing the number of messages in your inbox. Filing messages into individual mailboxes can be time consuming and inefficient. While dumping them all into a single mailbox may seem like a way to create a big mess, Mail’s search capabilities actually make it quite easy to locate specific messages.

Taking a lesson from Gmail’s All Mail feature, Mail in Lion includes a new option for archiving messages. Just select a message, choose Message > Archive from the menu bar, and the message is moved into an Archive mailbox, which Mail will create if it doesn’t exist. This feature gives Mail users a quick and easy way to file messages, getting them out of that bloated inbox.

I’d love to use Mail’s built-in Archive feature. However, it only archives to the mail server (for IMAP accounts, anyway, which is what I have). I keep my email archive locally. So, I used a combination of AppleScript and Automator to create my own Archive feature. Here’s how... [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

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.


10 Mac OS X Productivity Tips for Open and Save Dialogs

They're open and save dialogs. You navigate to a file or folder. You select it.  You enter a file name when saving.  You click Open or Save.  How much more efficient can you get? Well, here are 10 things most Mac users probably don't know...

Tip 1: Drag and drop a file or a folder right from the Finder into the open or save dialog to quickly select it.  If you do this in a save dialog with a file, then the file's name is automatically entered as the save name.

Tip 2: With a folder or file selected in the dialog, press Command+R to bring the Finder to the front and reveal the item.

Tip 3: To manually navigate to a folder, press Command+Shift+G (or / or ~).  Enter the desired path.  As you type it in, you can press tab to auto-complete folder names.

Tip 4: To see hidden files and folders, press Command+Shift+Period (>).

Tip 5: To quickly navigate to:

  • The Desktop - Press Command+D
  • The Documents Folder - Press Command+Shift+O
  • The Downloads Folder - Press Command+Shift+L
  • The Applications Folder- Press Command+Shift+A
  • The Home Folder - Press Command+Shift+H

Hint: The other navigation keyboard shortcuts in the Finder's Go menu should work here too.

Tip 6: To create a new folder, press Command+Shift+N.

Tip 7: To navigate up one level, press Command+Shift+Up Arrow Key

Tip 8: To choose an image, audio track, or movie, click Media in the sidebar.

Tip 9: To move a file or folder displayed in an open or save dialog to another folder, open the target folder in the Finder.  Then, drag the item from the open or save dialog into the opened folder window in the Finder.

Tip 10: With a file or folder selected, press Command+I to bring the Finder to the front and display the Get Info window for the item.

So, there you have it. Small tips that will save you a few precious seconds here and there and make you more productive.  Every second counts, right?

Automation and Productivity Sessions at Macworld | iWorld 2012

Well, it's that time of year again. Folks are gearing up for Macworld San Francisco. This year, the conference has been renamed Macworld | iWorld, and a secondary conference has been added specifically for MacIT. As usual, I'll be there, presenting a number of sessions on automation and productivity. Here's the list of my sessions...

MacIT Sessions

[More info about MacIT]

Macworld | iWorld Sessions

If you're planning to attend my workshop, you can save $25 using priority code CCU18842 and registering here.

[More info about Macworld | iWorld]

Going to be there too? If so, be sure to find me and introduce yourself.

Hope to see you there.

-Ben Waldie

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.