Free Video Tutorial: Mac Automation - Part 2 - Apple Mac, iPad & iPhone Tutorials from ScreenCastsOnline

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Tutorial Description

The Mac offers some really powerful automation options, especially when you apply a systems mindset to your work and learn to string automations together to automate common tasks.

In Part 2 of this Mac automation series, we dive deep with several more powerful automation workflows. We show you what typical automation chains look like, and explain how to use the building blocks of Mac automation to solve complex problems on your Mac.

In this tutorial we demonstrate:

  • Setting up an Automator service to copy files to your Dropbox public folder and copy the public URL to your clipboard

  • Autofilling the person's first name in Apple Mail from the "To:" field and how to trigger this inside another TextExpander snipper

  • How to download attachments from emails with using Keyboard Maestro and Automator and file them automatically using Hazel

  • Putting your Mac to sleep using an AppleScript launched by Hazel when you send a Draft to Dropbox from your iPhone

  • Automating the cleanup of your desktop for screen casting by using multiple scripts and launching them using a TouchBar button in BetterTouchTool

Show Links:

TextExpander - Website

Smile Software blog - Open in Chrome snippet

Hazel - Website

Keyboard Maestro - Website

Automatically adding recipient's name to email with TextExpander - Link

Automate your Mac: three hacks for managing apps - Link

Video Tutorial Comments

(12 comments posted)

Fernando Martinez

This episode was AWESOME!! Would love to see more examples. I have watched so many tutorials on these automation tools that always focus on the basics. This video was so great to have some detailed, yet intermediate examples of automation tools in action. Would love to have more full shows or "Tip" episodes that show real people with real examples of how they are automating their Macs! Sooo helpful!!


Mike Schmitz

Hi Fernando, thanks for the kind words :)

Chap Dogg

LOVE the Copy-to-Dropbox-public-folder+get-link workflow. Beau travail Mike! Nice to see you doing as good a job alongside Mr. McCallister as with Thanh & the gang ;)


Mike Schmitz

Thanks Chap :)

Nick Akerman

I also like the copy-to-dropbox-public folder+get link workflow, but am having trouble getting the link. The document only shows up in my Dropbox public folder but I do not have full the link when I paste it into Safari. Any chance you could post the shell script so it could be copied? Somehow I don't think I am copying it correctly. Thanks


Mike Schmitz

Hi Nick, here is the text version of the shell script. You will need to update the number per the video to make it work for you, but this should make it easier to copy and paste:

Roy Cellino

I keep trying to get my user id, but when I try to create a share link it looks like the following:

I have a pro account, not sure what I am doing wrong, anyone have an idea?


Mike Schmitz

Hi Roy, the fact the URL has a "/s" instead of a "/u" is a hint to me that maybe you copied the Dropbox link, not the Public Dropbox link. It's a very important distinction, so definitely make sure that you've selected "Copy Public Link" when setting up this workflow.

Jose Henriquez

Hi Mike, I'm loving the Dropbox link trick, but I have a problem with the resulting URL. My Dropbox is not in the usual location so it keeps adding the name of the drive. For example Hozr%20Work%20 where the drive name is Hozr Work. The complete result is this:

Any work around?

Love this series of shows BTW. Been a fan of all the covered automation apps but this tied a lot together for me.


Mike Schmitz

Hi Jose, unfortunately I have not been able to figure out a workaround for this :(

Kalle Reunanen

Thanks for great video. One piece of this clean - restore of the desktop does not work for me. Storing desktop image to file and then using that as input for automator to set background does not work as advertised. It simply sets the default background instead of the stored one.

Is there any way to make it actually work as intended?



Mike Schmitz

Hi Kalle, it's hard to to do tech support via comments but I'll try :) Did you make sure to check the box for "Ignore this action's input" for the "Get Specified Finder Items" block? Not checking this box caused me to experience the issue you were having.

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