Introduction To AppleScript 1


Introduction To AppleScript


Last week I wrote a post about an Introduction To Automator. It was well received and many people enjoyed it. This week I am going to do an introduction on AppleScript. From the start this topic was a lot easier to find information about. It seems people write a lot more about AppleScript over Automator. I have decided to link to other sources rather than make my own because I would just be repeating the same information, and other people can write a lot better than me.

In The App

This app has a lot more help associated with it within the help guides. To access the help go to Help > Script Editor Help. This help section has a lot of information regarding using the application, it should definitely be the first stop if you are new to the application. I have mentioned this before, the best way to learn any program is to play. Try and do something simple at first, follow the help guides. Then slowly build up from there making your Apple Script more complicated. A top tip is to try and aim for something, for example have a mini project you want to complete. Make it quite complex but slowly build up, make a goal and beat it.


There are hundreds of different guides and forums dedicated to learning AppleScript. If you want specific help you are probably best googling what your problem is. Someone has probably had the same problem before. As a first of guide Wikipedia has actually got a really good article on AppleScript and covers a lot of the very basics. It is basic and you probably wont use it long.

If you want a more general guide to AppleScript before you jump in I recommend this excerpt on MacWorld, its a really good introduction as is quite detailed. Its from this book by Andy Ihantko, although the book is a general guide it may be use to you, however from reading the reviews you may want to hold off an buy one more specific (recommended later in this post).

Once as your have learned the ropes of what the application does it is time to dive in. I usually check out Apple’s guide. They usually vary from being poor to really good, the ones published on AppleScript tend to be quite good. On Apple’s site there is the general introduction, followed by the developer introduction (more techie related), getting started and the reference. I would recommend you read them in the order I have mentioned. They are not the most exciting read but are very interesting and probably useful as a general source of information when you get stuck. They can be a bit in-depth and skim over a couple of the detailed instruction but are a good reference.

The next step is to learn from other people and ask your own questions. On up coming site which I have seen be mentioned a lot is this wikia wikipedia. It is new and basic but is a good place to contribute and watch it grow. The second site is MacScripter, which is huge. If you have an AppleScript problem that site is the #1 resource to check.

On a final note I would like to recommend Doug’s AppleScripts. The site is a collection of scripts relating to iTunes but its a really good source to learn how other people make AppleScripts. As a final link I would like shamelessly plug the AppleScript category on this site. Its small but ever growing.

In A Book

There seems to be a lot more book availble to you if you want to learn AppleScript, they also seem to get higher reviews. Like most books shop around and see which one you like. The ones that get recommended a lot is AppleScript The Definitive Guide (you can get the first edition cheaper here).

The series which I always recommend to my friends is the AppleScript, The Missing Manual the missing manual series are great. I would imagine this book is equally as good. The AppleScript for Dummies series is another good choice, personally I would go with the other ones I have recommended since the “For Dummies” books can be a bit of hit and miss.

Find one you like, they are probably good books for learning AppleScript. Read the reviews, the books aren’t that expensive and are probably a good investment for those lazy evenings when you want to do something constructive.


To round off, there is plenty of resources to keep you going. The best ones are to check out are online, but a good book is always worthwhile. Usually with books you get a bit more background information enabling you to learn deeper into the subject, online sources tend to be a bit brief.

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