Automator is a powerful tool. It can do just about anything and allows you to program functions and applications quickly and easily with little programming knowledge. One of the coolest features of Automator is the ability to build Services which are accessible from the menu bar or the right click menu. Services allow you to run Automator workflows at the click of a button, speeding up the way your work and doing cool things in the process. Today’s post is a comprehensive list of a variety of different Services built upon Automator that you can build and implement yourself.
Today post builds upon a previous post about automating your Mac. Many of the Automator workflows are interchangeable and can be done either as a service or a dedicated workflow.
Create A Contact Sheet Of Images
The first Automator Service is a workflow which allows you to create a contact sheet of your selected images. This means you can select all of the images you have taken, re-size them and place them onto a sheet which you can print out. This is a useful way of showcasing a lot of images to other people and is a create way to visually see every image you have taken.
Copy A File or Folders Path To The Clipboard
A personal favourite of mine, the automator service allows you to copy a file or folders path to the clipboard. This allows you to save the exact location of a file in an email or other document. Its a quick way of telling someone (or yourself) where a file or folder is located.
Create A Text File
You could create a new text file by opening TextEdit, selecting a new document and then saving the file where you wish. This service menu option allows you to directly create a text file in the folder you chose. No messing around with TextEdit. Simply create the file where you want to start with. One of the features from Windows I actually like (there are not many others).
Permanently Delete A File
Instead of sending a file to the trash you can delete the file, permanently, using a right click Service menu option. This automator workflow uses a simple terminal command, rm, to delete the file and by pass the trash. Note that using this command will cause the file to be gone and cannot be recovered.
Launch Any Application
Although the Dock is a very good way to launch applications you may want to launch less obvious applications without cluttering up your Dock. To do this you can create a launch any application service. This means you can launch any application from anywhere. This service can be adapted to launch any file.
Add A New To-Do Item
I use Calendar almost religiously. I have so many tasks issued on it that it becomes hard to find a space. This automator service allows you to add a new To-Do item to Calendar. A great way of remembering new tasks. This workflow can be updated for Mountain Lion by using the ‘New Reminders’ workflow.
If you find yourself writing the same bit of text over and over, may be a web address of email you can save time and effort by assigning it to a Service. Simply write text with a service and you can shave seconds off your day. This tip is especially useful if you make mistakes writing long, complex, bits of text.
Upload Images To Imgur
Imgur is one of the leading image sites on the internet. If you use it frequently you can upload images directly to imgur. This allows you to quickly upload images to the service without having to use the web form or another service.
Combine PDF’s Into One Document
If you use PDF’s frequently you may need to combine them into one document. Why send four documents when you can send one. It is a simple Service menu workflow which allows you to combine PDF’s into one document. It makes files and documents easier to manage.
Move Files Into A New Folder
If you are doing a spring clean and are moving files around this service menu allows you to select files and move them to a new folder. Its a very quick way to create new folders and populate them with files.
List Special Characters
Inserting special characters on you Mac can be difficult. It is simple on iOS, you hold down the required keyboard button to present a list. This workflow gives you a popup where you can select special characters. If you use special characters frequently, this is a service menu for you.
Batch Resize Images
If you find yourself needing the same size images, usually for a template or website you can use a batch resize service to automatically convert images to the required size. Simply select the images you want to resize and use the automator action. You then have a bunch of resized images which you can then use in your chosen application.
New Email From A Text Address
A rather complex automator service is the ability to select an email address and then email the selected text recipient. This service workflow also has the power to add more than one email to the recipient field within Mail. A powerful way to set up an email to many people.
Show Hidden Files
I have previously posted about showing hidden files. You can now add the function to a Service menu. This is a quick way to show hidden files, and quickly hide them again. If you don’t need to see hidden files frequently, this is a quick way to complete this task.
Create A Spoken Track From Text
If you have a lot of text that you wish to listen to, you can create a spoken track of the text. This is a simple way to build your own audio books.
There are many automator services one this list. There are many tools on this list that you can use to build your services menu and perform task quicker and easier.
If you have any other automator services which you want to add to the list, please leave a comment.