Automator
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseApril 29, 2005 (2005-04-29)
Stable release
2.10 / December 2, 2022; 14 months ago (2022-12-02)
Operating systemmacOS
TypeAutomation
LicenseProprietary
Websitesupport.apple.com/guide/automator/welcome/mac

Automator is an application developed by Apple Inc. for macOS, which can be used to automate repetitive tasks through point-and-click or drag and drop.

Automator enables the repetition of tasks across a wide variety of programs, including Finder, Safari, Calendar, Contacts and others. It can also work with third-party applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop or Pixelmator. The icon features a robot holding a pipe, a reference to pipelines, a computer science term for connected data workflows. Automator was first released with Mac OS X Tiger (10.4).[1][2]

Features

Automator documents are called workflows, and are made up of actions. Workflows are run sequentially, with each action being given the previous action's output, which it can then process or act upon. Variables can be specified, which can be modified or processed by subsequent actions.[3] Workflows can also incorporate loops and variables.[4] Automator comes with a library of actions (file renaming, finding linked images, creating a new mail message, etc.).[5][6] Actions can also run custom scripts, including AppleScript, JavaScript, or shell scripts. Workflow documents can be run directly in Automator or saved as applications that run the workflow when launched. Workflows can also be added to the contextual menu, to process any selected text or file.[7][8][9]

As of 2015, Microsoft has bundled Automator actions with Microsoft Office, which can be used to automate Outlook, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.[3]

The following is a non-exhaustive list of Automator's features:

Interface

Automator provides a graphical user interface for automating tasks without knowledge of programming or scripting languages. Tasks can be recorded as they are performed by the user or can be selected from a list. The output of the previous action can become the input to the next action.[5]

The icon for Automator features a robot, known as Otto the Automator.[19]

History

Starting in macOS Monterey, Automator exists alongside Shortcuts.[20]

See also

References

  1. ^ Waldie, Ben (December 27, 2007). Automator for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-13-271234-7.
  2. ^ Waldie, Ben (May 2005). Mac OS X Technology Guide to Automator. Spiderworks. ISBN 978-0-9744344-6-9.
  3. ^ a b "How to make your Mac do your work for you with Automator". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Waldie, Ben (January 7, 2008). "Automator Power: Variables and looping". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Siracusa, John (April 28, 2005). "Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  6. ^ Waldie, Ben (December 9, 2009). Automator for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-321-70299-9.
  7. ^ Myer, Thomas (October 29, 2009). Apple Automator with AppleScript Bible. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-60431-1.
  8. ^ Paul, Ryan (March 21, 2011). "How to build Mac OS X services with Automator and shell scripting". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  9. ^ a b Kissell, Joe (July 22, 2022). Take Control of Automating Your Mac, 4th Edition. alt concepts. ISBN 978-1-990783-10-4.
  10. ^ a b Breen, Christopher (May 3, 2011). "Use Automator to shoot a time-lapse movie". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  11. ^ Paul, Ryan (March 21, 2011). "How to build Mac OS X services with Automator and shell scripting". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  12. ^ a b c "8 great Automator downloads". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Here are some really useful Automator workflows". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  14. ^ Breen, Christopher (April 30, 2013). "Automator workflow of the month: Quick media manipulation". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Automator workflow of the month: Powerful PDF tricks". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  16. ^ "Automator workflow of the month: Move files from subfolders". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  17. ^ Waldie, Ben (May 9, 2013). "5 Automator workflows everyone should have". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  18. ^ Arko, Craig (November 2, 2010). "Use Automator to simplify printing tasks". Macworld. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  19. ^ Pogue, David (July 12, 2005). Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition: The Missing Manual. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". p. 231. ISBN 978-1-4493-7907-0.
  20. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (October 25, 2021). "macOS 12 Monterey: The Ars Technica review". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 23, 2023.