Use Automator on your Mac

I’m going to move away from the super-simple Mac tips into one that’s a bit more complicated, but ultimately very handy. There’s a program called Automator built-into your Mac that can make it easy to automate all sorts of tasks.

You’ll find it under applications with a little robot icon.


These groups of tasks are called workflows – which basically just means a series of steps. Automator can create several types of Workflows:

Workflow: A workflow you can run within the Automator

Application: A standalone workflow that runs when you open it or drop files or folders on it.

Quick Action: A workflow that you can add to Finder windows, the Touch Bar, and the Services menu. For more information about using Quick Action workflows, see Use Quick Action workflows on Mac.

Print Plugin: A workflow that’s available in the Print dialog.

Folder Action: A workflow attached to a folder in the Finder. When items are added to the folder, the workflow runs and the files are used as input to the workflow.

Calendar Alarm: A workflow that runs when a calendar event occurs.

Image Capture Plugin: A workflow that’s available in the Image Capture app on your Mac.

Dictation Command: A workflow that runs when dictation is used.

Creating workflows is pretty easy, it’s a simple matter of dragging and dropping commands into the empty panel from the Library.


The Library contains important things like our Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Music PDFs, and Text.


When you select something like Mail, you’ll see a list of actions to choose from. Drag the action you want to use into the blank space.


You can do an incredible amount of things here, but it can all be pretty daunting when you first tackle it.


Tomorrow, I’m going to walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a workflow to batch resize images.


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