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Like this article? We recommend Preparing a Mail Rule Script

Preparing a Mail Rule Script

Mail doesn't have the ability to trigger Automator workflows from Mail rules, but it can run AppleScripts from Mail rules. So you'll need AppleScript's help to get to the next level.

  1. Launch Script Editor, which you'll find in the /Applications/AppleScript folder on your Mac.
  2. Enter the following script:
  3. property theSecurityCode : "12345"
    
    using terms from application "Mail"
            on perform mail action with messages theMessages
                    set theWorkflowFolder to getWorkflowFolder()
                    if theWorkflowFolder = false then return
                    repeat with aMessage in theMessages
                            try
                                    set theSubject to getMessageSubject(aMessage)
                                    set theWorkflow to getWorkflow(theSubject, theWorkflowFolder)
                                    if theWorkflow is not equal to false then do shell script "automator " & theWorkflow
                            end try
                    end repeat
            end perform mail action with messages
    end using terms from
    
    on getWorkflowFolder()
            tell application "Finder"
                    set theLibraryFolder to path to library folder from user domain as string
                    set theWorkflowFolder to theLibraryFolder & "Workflows:Mail Rules:"
                    if (folder theWorkflowFolder exists) = false then return false
                    return theWorkflowFolder
            end tell
    end getWorkflowFolder
    
    on getMessageSubject(aMessage)
            tell application "Mail" to return subject of aMessage
    end getMessageSubject
    
    on getWorkflow(theSubject, theWorkflowFolder)
            if theSubject does not start with "Automator Workflow " & theSecurityCode & " - " then return false
            set theWorkflowName to text ((offset of "-" in theSubject) + 2) thru -1 of theSubject
            set theCurrentWorkflowPath to theWorkflowFolder & theWorkflowName & ".workflow"
            tell application "Finder"
                    if (item theCurrentWorkflowPath exists) = false then return false
            end tell
            return quoted form of POSIX path of theCurrentWorkflowPath
    end getWorkflow

In case you're not familiar with AppleScript, let's go over what this script will do when run by a Mail rule (we'll discuss configuring a Mail rule shortly):

  1. First, the script locates the ~/Library/Workflows/Mail Rules folder. If this folder can't be found, then the script stops and does nothing.
  2. The script loops through any messages that are passed to it by the rule. For each message, the script retrieves the subject of the message and extracts the name of a workflow to be run.
  3. The script looks in the ~/Library/Workflows/Mail Rules folder for a workflow that matches the extracted name. If no workflow is found, the script stops and does nothing. If the workflow is found, the script runs it.

For security reasons, you'll want to be careful about when workflows can be run by Mail. For this reason, this script will only process messages whose subject begins with Automator Workflow, followed by a security code. This code is specified in the first line of the script as 12345. You should change this code to your own unique code, which can really be anything you want. It doesn't have to be a series of five numbers. It could be a series of 10 characters and numbers, or anything else you define.

Once you're finished entering the script, you need to save it:

  1. From the File menu in Script Editor, choose Save As.
  2. Name the script Launch Automator Workflow, choose Script from the File Format pop-up, and save it to the ~/Library/Workflows/Mail Rules folder (see Figure 4).

Figure 4 Saving a Mail rules script.

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