Everything you need to know about Automator on Mac

Automator Mac

If you have a Mac, and you have investigated the applications that are installed natively, you have surely come across Automator. At first, you would not know what it was about and if you have entered it, you may not fully understand its function. In this case we will tell you everything you need to know about this application.

What you should know about Automator

This application called Automator is a great unknown within the ecosystem. Yes OK, the name does not leave too much mystery when it comes to defining it. It can be said in a clear way that this is an application focused on create automations that can be simpleI’m really complex. One of the advantages that it can have is that it allows you to interact with different applications and parts of the operating system. You have to keep in mind that the limit with this application is going to be set by yourself and your own imagination, because you’re going to be able to do everything you want.

But it has a big problem, and that is that it is quite difficult to access the application at first. In this way, you have to take into account that you must have a series of previous knowledge to start using the application. Although it is true that there are many tutorials and manuals to be able to develop any type of workflow, it would be appreciated if it were more intuitive. As soon as you enter and if you are not a programmer you will have different saturation problems without knowing where you are going to go.

His origins

It is possible that until today you have not known the existence of this application, but the truth is that it already has an important path within the Apple ecosystem. Specifically, it was officially released in 2005 with the arrival of Mac OS X Tiger. And it was here that a before and after was marked within the ecosystem in order to facilitate the tasks of many people. If it is true that at first it was not given too much importance, because it did not have too many functions.

But with the passage of time it has been possible to see a substantial improvement in its functionalities. It has been possible to see how it has been opening up to many other possibilities as we will see later. With each of the updates there have been graphic improvements and also natural evolution. In this sense, the evolution that it has had has also led to the creation of an independent shortcut application in order to have a better graphical interface for those more basic users who do not have programming knowledge.

where is it available

Automator is an application available exclusively on macOS. In other words, it will only be able to be used on a Mac, and not on an iPhone or an iPad where there are other options that have a common purpose. Although, we must bear in mind that it is an application that It requires a lot of power to work. and a high complexity that is designed above all for those advanced users and that requires an environment that can only be had on a Mac.


And of course, we are talking about software that is developed by Apple itself and that has different considerations. The most important of it is that it is exclusive to this ecosystem, and cannot be found in other operating systems such as Windows. In the latter there are very similar options, as is logical, such as Power Automate. This makes it possible to quickly know that we are facing a really interesting concept and expanded by all systems.

How is its graphical interface?

As we have mentioned before, this is an aspect that can be greatly improved in Automator. Keep in mind that it is focused on experienced users and that is why it does not have an attractive interface, as it has a lot of plain text and different options to choose from. In this case, as soon as you access you will be able to have access to various options such as the applications found in the library. Within these applications you will have access to different routes that can be included within them.

Once this is done, different options will open to create a route. The truth is that everything is editable in this case, and you will be able to do things that you would never have imagined a priori. But it is something more focused on the world of programming. In many cases, you have to take into account that you will be able to find all the steps to follow on the internet so that you do not have to think about anything at all. This will make it something mechanical, and you do not have to have knowledge of its operation.

all you can do

Once you know exactly what Automator is, and the story behind it, you will know exactly what it will allow you to do in a specific way. Although as his own name reveals, as we have commented previously, he focuses on making automations. But within this word, there is great complexity as we are going to discuss below.

Make your Mac do repetitive tasks

When using the Mac, there are some tasks that are really repetitive and it can become a real world even if they are simple at first. Among the examples that can be found is the fact that rename files or resize images. To this can also be added the possibility of making a backup when a new file is created. In this case, what is generated are workflows with applications, quick actions, print modules, calendar or with the image capture module.

This will make many workflows available for these repetitive actions. With a simple touch it will be able to run and it will always be active. Obviously, it has some utility when you’re in a job that requires you to interact with many different files and that they should be personalized. For a file to change the dimensions, it is not the most interesting. But without hundreds of photos, it already makes much more sense.

Create different scripts

With workflows, many built-in actions can be found on the side in a list format. This makes the task much easier and does not have to be programmed from scratch. This is something that is focused especially for those people who are newer in this world. Obviously, workflows can fall short, and other tasks may eventually have to be done. And if you are a programmer, there will be no limit thanks to the possibility of creating scripts.

The scripts are similar to those that can be created with JavaScript or AppleScript and also shell commands. You will simply add the most appropriate script execution action to your workflow and enter the code quickly. In a really simple way, you will be able to introduce different programming commands. For this you will need some really specific knowledge. This means that there is no type of limit when it comes to having different automations.

Export your creations to Shortcuts

As we have mentioned before, one of the evolutions that Automator has undergone is the arrival of Shortcuts to macOS. This is an application that tries to save time for users who need to execute different workflows in a fast and comfortable way. Keep in mind that both Shortcuts and Automator are connected in an efficient way. In this way, at any time, you will be able to export all the workflows that you have created in Automator to Shortcuts and customize their name.

This solves another of the limitations that can be found in Automator and that is that it is not connected to Siri. This is a problem because different commands will not be able to be executed quickly by asking the voice assistant. With Shortcuts this changes completely. That is why, in the end, we are facing a symbiont relationship in which the workflows are created in Automator with the advanced tools available and end up being exported to an application with a much more visually pleasing interface that allows you to run them saving you money. weather.

Create apps

And although we have previously commented that there is no possibility of comfortably executing workflows, the possibility of making applications must be taken into account. We are not referring to starting to program an application to be able to use it on your iPhone, iPad or on the Mac itself. What will be generated is a workflow that will be able to be executed as a direct access on the desktop of the computer . In this case, you can create an application that, for example, deletes all the screenshots you have taken and sends them to the trash.

The operation is quite simple, since simply in Automator you are going to choose what you want to make an application. From here, a shortcut will be created on the desktop. At any time it will be able to be executed as if it were just another program. This way it can become really useful.