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Action Options

Configuring an action's settings in advance can be helpful, but for some situations you may need to change the action's settings when the workflow runs. For example, suppose you're creating a workflow that creates a new email message in Mail. Rather than using the same settings every time, you may want to change the subject, message content, and more each time the workflow runs.

Allowing an action's settings to be adjusted when the workflow runs is also extremely helpful in a workflow that you're giving to other people. Users can then modify the workflow's behavior to meet their unique needs.

Many Automator actions can be set to show their settings when run, and this can often make your workflow more flexible.

To configure an action to allow all its settings to be modified when run:

  1. Click the Options button at the bottom of the action.

    The action's interface expands to display some additional configuration options.

  2. Select the "Show this action when the workflow runs" checkbox (Figure 4.22).
    Figure 4.22

    Figure 4.22 Configuring the Rename Finder Items action to allow its settings to be adjusted when run within a workflow.

Now when the workflow is run, the interface for the action is displayed, allowing the action's settings to be adjusted as needed (Figure 4.23).

Figure 4.23

Figure 4.23 The Rename Finder Items action's interface, as displayed when run within a workflow, allows its settings to be adjusted.

Some actions allow you to be a bit more selective with regard to which of the action's settings may be modified. Rather than allowing all of the action's settings to be adjusted when the workflow is run, you can pick and choose the ones that you'd like to be modifiable.

To configure an action to allow only specified settings to be modified when run:

  1. Select the "Show this action when the workflow runs" checkbox in the Options area.
  2. Select the "Show only the selected items" checkbox in the Options area.

    The settings within the action's interface become highlighted with checkboxes displayed next to them (Figure 4.25).

    Figure 4.25

    Figure 4.25 Enabling the New Mail Message action to show selected settings when run.

  3. Select the checkboxes next to any settings that you'd like to be adjustable at runtime (Figure 4.26).

    Figure 4.26

    Figure 4.26 Configuring the New Mail Message action to allow only specified settings to be adjusted when run within a workflow.

    Now when the workflow is run, only the settings you selected are displayed, allowing users to adjust only these as needed (Figure 4.27).

    Figure 4.27

    Figure 4.27 Specified adjustable settings for the New Mail Message action's interface, as displayed when run within a workflow.

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