TUAW Post > Tips for Troubleshooting Automator Workflows

troubleshoot_automatorAutomator's great for streamlining time consuming and repetitive tasks on your Mac. It's easy. Just launch it, find a few actions, and string them together to form a workflow. Then, run your workflow anytime you want to perform that series of tasks again.

What happens if your workflow doesn't run as you expect, though? Finding and solving problems in Automator is often easier said than done. Suddenly, the simple tool that's supposed to make your life easier has become a real pain in the neck. This week's post covers some things you can do to troubleshoot a finicky Automator workflow, track down the problem, and hopefully solve it, so you can get back to work.

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TUAW Post > AppleScript Productivity > Create OmniFocus Followups from Contacts

ofocus_scriptAs an OmniFocus for Mac user, it's important that I can quickly create tasks at any time, in any app. OmniFocus makes this pretty easy, by providing integration with OS X Mail, a keyboard shortcut for clipping content in apps such as Safari, a system-wide Quick Entry window, and a Services menu item. One feature OmniFocus lacks, however, is direct integration with the Contacts app. Suppose I am in Contacts, for example, and I need to schedule a followup phone call or email to one of my clients? Sure, I could bring up the Quick Entry window and enter the task, but I want something a bit more streamlined. I can accomplish just what I need by writing some custom AppleScripts. The following two examples demonstrate how to write AppleScript-based plug-ins for the Contacts app, which add OmniFocus followup options right into the email and phone number popup menus of your contacts.

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TUAW Post > AppleScripting OmniFocus > Send Completed Task Report to Evernote

ofocus_scriptI've mentioned before thatOmniFocus is my task manager of choice. Each morning, I pull up a list of scheduled tasks for the day, and focus on getting them done. In OmniFocus, I've set up Perspectives (saved window states) for both Due tasks and Completed tasks. What I really want, however, is something that will pull out recently completed tasks and summarize them in Evernote, my note management app of choice. This way, I can maintain a historical log of my progress, and pull out summaries of completed tasks to send to clients. Since this type of integration isn't built into OmniFocus or Evernote, I wrote an AppleScript to do it.

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TUAW Post > AppleScripting Dates > Elapsed Time Calculator

script_heartSince Valentine's Day is this week, I thought I would take this opportunity to share an AppleScript I wrote to calculate how long my wife and I have been married. With this baby, I'll never be accused of forgetting how long it's been when our anniversary rolls around. The script determines the elapsed time between now (the current date and time), and a prior date and time (such as our anniversary). It then displays the result in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years.

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TUAW Post > AppleScripting Notification Center > Scheduling Do Not Disturb

nc_scriptMountain Lion's Notification Center is great for keeping you in the loop, but it can be a huge distraction when you need to get stuff done. Sometimes, a little peace and quiet is all you need to stay productive.

As you may know, iOS 6 includes a handy Do Not Disturb feature, which can be turned on to disable notifications. It can even be set to automatically enable/disable itself at scheduled intervals. Mountain Lion also lets you disable Notification Center. Just open Notification Center and drag down to access a Show Alerts and Banners toggle switch. Note that this is a temporary setting, and disabled notifications automatically re-enable at midnight.

Unlike iOS 6, though, Mountain Lion doesn't give you an option for enabling/disabling notifications on a schedule. At least, it doesn't provide a built-in option for this. With a little customized help from AppleScript, Automator, and the Calendar app, it is possible.

In this post, you'll create two Calendar Alarm Automator workflows, which can be configured to run at scheduled times to enable or disable Notification Center alerts and banners.

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TUAW Post > AppleScripting Evernote > Embedded Image Scaler

I'm a big fan of Evernote. I use it for archiving ideas, writing articles and blog posts, and lots more. I often insert screenshots and other large images into my notes. Screenshots can be pretty big, and I usually don't want giant images filling up my notes. I keep wishing Evernote offered a way to resize embedded images, so I could insert thumbnails. At the moment, it doesn't. So, I decided to write my own app to resize embedded images. Here's how you can do the same...

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TUAW Post > Ten TextExpander Date Snippets

TextExpanderTextExpander (Smile Software) is a utility I use each and every day on my Mac to save time and increase productivity. One of the things I use it for is formatting and inserting dates and times. Adding the date or time to a file or folder name, into an email, a document, and so on. In this post, I've shared some of my most used date and time snippets. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

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TUAW Post > AppleScripting OmniFocus > Send Due Tasks to iTunes

ofocus_scriptOmniFocus is a great tool for keeping us organized. But, let's face it. We're busy people. That's why we need a task management app in the first place. How can you take your productivity to the next level? How about having your daily OmniFocus tasks read to you as you drive to work? With a little help from AppleScript and Automator, you can make that happen.

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TUAW Post > AppleScripting OmniFocus > Swap Task Names and Notes

ofocus_scriptI use OmniFocus on a daily basis to keep track of important tasks. On a few occasions, I've entered tasks and assigned notes to them, only to decide later that I'd rather use the note as the task name, and the task name as the note. Rather than manually cycling through my tasks and swapping the notes, I wrote an AppleScript to do it. Now, anytime I want to perform this task, I can simply run the script. Here's how I did it...

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TUAW Post > AppleScript Desktop Icon Race

2012-12-23-Waldie-03Scripty Claus' gift to you this Holiday Season is a fun little AppleScript that lines up your Desktop icons and races them across the screen until one of them reaches the finish line.

Here's how to set it up...

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