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Extending Automator: Finding More Actions

There are literally hundreds of add-on actions available from third-party developers to help extend Automator's capabilities.  To find them, you just need to know where to look.

There are literally hundreds of add-on actions available from third-party developers to help extend Automator's capabilities.  To find them, you just need to know where to look.  Start by going to Apple's Mac OS X downloads page, where you'll find a category specifically for Automator actions.

Once you download third-party actions, you'll need to install them.  Some developers provide an installer for their actions. Other actions may be contained within an application file, which you can simply copy to your hard drive and launch in order to register it with Automator. Still, others are provided as individual action files.  These files get installed into the /Library/Automator folder at the root level of your hard drive (for all users) or within your home directory (for just you).  They can also be installed in one of the following ways:

Double-clicking on them: Automator will ask you if you'd like to install the actions.  If you choose to do so, it will automatically copy them to the appropriate location on your hard drive.


Importing them: Choose Import Actions from the File menu in Automator.  When prompted, choose the actions, and then Automator will copy them to the appropriate location.


Aside from Apple's Mac OS X downloads section, here are some other places you can find actions:

http://automator.us - Here, you'll find a number of useful actions, tutorials, videos, and more.

http://automatoractions.com/ - A section of MacScripter.net, this is a fairly comprehensive repository of actions.

http://www.automatedworkflows.com/ - This is actually my website. I've tried to fill in some of the gaps by releasing over 160 commercial Automator actions for FileMaker, Illustrator, InDesign, Mail, Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Safari, and Twitter, among others. 

For more on Automator, check out my book Automator for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide, as well as my video podcast series Mac Automation Made Simple.