Make Your Life Easier With These 4 Useful Automator Workflows For OS X

Mac comes with a great program call Automator that allows you to automate tasks and get things done quickly. However, few people make full use of it, either because they have this horrible misconception that it is too difficult to use, or they feel that the program doesn’t provide a benefit for them. Today, we will show you 4 useful workflow that you can do with Automator for OS X.

Most PDF documents are essentially images of text. For this reason, it is difficult to accurately take text from PDFs into anything usable. However, there’s an automator workflow that can grab the PDF text and save it to a text file.

1. Open Automator. Select “Application” when asked of which document you’d like to create.

automator-choose-application

2. In the “Library” column, select “Files and Folders”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “Ask for Finder Items” to the “Action” section.

automator-ask-finder-item

3. Back to the Library column, select “PDFs”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “Extract PDF Text” to the “Action” section

automator-extract-pdf-text

4. In the “Extract PDF Text” item you dragged into workflow, find the option labeled “Output”. Select “Rich Text”.

5. Under “Save Output to”, select which location you’d like to save the text to.

6. Click “Command + S” to title and save the workflow. Select “Application” for “File Format”

When you need to extract text from the PDF file, simply run this workflow (or application) and select the PDF you’d like to convert. It will then grab he text from the PDF file and save it to the location you specified previously.

When you are on Mac, there are two situations when you just need to purge yourself of all active applications.

  1. if you are an individual who likes to keep your Mac on throughout the day and evening, then having an application running regularly can be brutal to your system.
  2. On the other hand, if you are working on multiple projects at a time, your system goes into overdrive when you have multiple applications open.

This workflow allows you to have one thing working at a time.

1. Open Automator. Select “Workflow” when asked of which document you’d like to create.

2. In the “Library” column, select “Utilities”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “Quit All Applications” to the “Action” section

automator-quit-applications

3. To exclude certain applications from quitting, click “Add” and select the application(s)

4. Click “Command + S” to save the workflow. Select “Application” for “File Format”

You can pin this workflow (application) to the dock so next time you can just click it to close all applications.

Copying text on Mac only allows you to have one thing on your clipboard at a time. This means, if you copy a video link and want to then copy the text from another individual, the only thing you can paste is the latter. This workflow allows you to have a text file created for everything you copy to clipboard. This will act as a simple clipboard manager and allows you to easily refer back to previous clipboards later.

1. Open Automator. Select “Workflow” when asked of which document you’d like to create.

2. In the “Library” column, select “Utilities”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “Get Contents of Clipboard” to the “Action” section.

automator-get-clipboard-content

3. In the “Library” column, select “Text”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “New Text File” to the “Action” section.

automator-new-text-file

4. Under “Options”, select “Show this action when workflow runs”. This will allow you to be prompted before such a file is created.

automator-show-action

5. Click “Command + S” to save the workflow. Select “Application” for “File Format”.

You can get this workflow (application) to run during startup so everything you copy will be pasted to the text file.

Finally, staying with text, the last workflow we will preview is text to audio. This workflow allows you to take the text that you have copied to clipboard and have an audio file of the text saved automatically to your Mac. This is useful when taking class notes in school, needing an audio grocery list, or even for the visually impaired.

1. Open Automator. Select “Workflow” when asked of which document you’d like to create.

2. In the “Library” column, select “Utilities”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “Get Contents of Clipboard” to the “Action” section.

3. In the “Library” column, select “Text”. Next to the “Library” column, in the column for program options, drag “Text to Audio File” to the “Action” section, under “Get Contents of Clipboard”.

automator-text-to-audio

4. Take a look around the options, make adjustments accordingly, including voice style and where the audio file is saved.

5. Click “Command + S” to title and save the workflow. Select “Application” for “File Format”

Whenever you run this workflow, it will create the audio file from the last clipboard item.

Automator has multiple benefits in the way you use your Mac. The program makes use of workflows to make for a more productive use of your Mac. While being an Automator master takes more time and workflows with greater difficulty, making Automator work for you in a noticeable way is easy and approachable for just about anyone. Let us know in the comments below how you have made use of the Automator program to help with making Mac usage more productive and time saving for you.

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