Saving Workflows

When you need to automate a task, you don't have to launch Automator to use your saved workflows--you can put them exactly where you want them. Automator workflows can be saved as self-running applications, droplets, Script Menu items, and even as plug-ins for other applications and frameworks.

Saving Workflows as Files

Automator workflows can be saved as files by choosing the Workflow option from the format popup menu in the Save dialog. Workflow files can be run from within Automator or as menu items in the system-wide Script Menu (see below).

Saving Workflows as Applications

Automator workflows can be saved as self-running applications by choosing the Application option from the format menu in the Save dialog. Like other applications, these "applets" can be launched by double-clicking them or placing them in the Dock.

NOTE: You can also process items with an Automator workflow by dragging them onto the applet icon. All items dropped onto an Automator applet will be passed to its workflow.

Workflows where you need them.

Automator workflows can be saved to appear in the user interface of other applications or frameworks. To save your workflow as a plug-in, choose the Save As Plug-in menu item from Automator's File menu.

You can choose to save the workflow as a plug-in to the Finder, as an iCal Alarm action, as an Image Capture automated task, and even as a workflow to be executed with the PDF files generated in the Print dialog.

Finder Plug-in. When saved as Finder plug-ins, workflows are available to process the items selected in a Finder search window when the contextual menu is triggered.

PDF Print Plug-in. When workflows are saved as PDF Print plug-ins, they will appear in the action menu within any print dialog. Files printed to PDF format will then be passed to the workflow for further processing. This is particularly useful for pre-press workflows where tasks such as applying color profiles, adding watermarks, or adding password access to PDF files would otherwise require running separate applications after the PDF files were generated.

iCal Alarms. Workflows can be executed at a scheduled time by saving them as iCal plug-ins. Automator can automatically attaches iCal plug-ins to events as alarms.

Image Capture. Workflows can contain actions that not only control and trigger digital cameras, but can be automatically executed after Image Capture has completed the downloading of images from a camera. This makes it incredibly easy for photographers automate tasks such as generating thumbnails and Web preview pages from camera raw files.

Script Menu Items. When you choose to save a workflow as a Script Menu plug-in, it is saved as a workflow file in the Scripts folder in your home Library folder. It will be available whenever you need it from the system-wide Script Menu at the top right of the menu bar.