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Inserting Actions into a Workflow

You already know that you can add an action to your workflow by selecting it in the Library list and dragging it to the desired spot in your workflow. You can also insert an action at the end of your workflow by double-clicking it in the Library list (Figures 4.6 and 4.7).

Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 Dragging an action into a workflow.

Figure 4.7

Figure 4.7 An action's interface, once added to a workflow.

Understanding action insertion warnings

Sometimes when you drag an action into a workflow, Automator displays an alert panel. This generally occurs when the action you're adding will modify files, folders, or other data in some irreversible way. The type of warning displayed determines how you handle it.

  • Some warnings simply alert you to something important. In these cases, you can usually choose to continue adding the action to the workflow, or you can decide not to add the action and simply cancel the alert (Figure 4.8).
    Figure 4.8

    Figure 4.8 An insertion warning for the Delete iCal Events action. Clicking Continue adds the action to the workflow. Clicking Cancel leaves the workflow as it is.

  • Other warnings provide a message and suggest adding another action first, usually to avoid potential data loss. In these cases, you can choose to cancel, add the suggested action in addition to the action you've dragged into the workflow, or insert only the action you've dragged into the workflow (Figure 4.9).

    Figure 4.9

    Figure 4.9 An insertion warning displayed by the Scale Images action asks if you'd like to add a Copy Finder Items action to prevent data loss.

    If you click Add, Automator inserts the suggested action immediately before the action you dragged into the workflow (Figure 4.10).

    Figure 4.10

    Figure 4.10 An auto-inserted Copy Finder Items action precedes the Scale Images action to prevent data loss.

    If you click Don't Add, Automator adds only the action you dragged into the workflow.

    If you click Cancel, the workflow remains unchanged.

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