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Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Doing More with Automator

The beauty of Automator is that it's not a static, this-or-nothing program: it's a versatile, expandable tool with ever-increasing potential. There are two particular ways to increase Automator's power beyond using the factory-installed actions: adding more actions yourself, and using the new Watch Me Do feature.

Getting More Action(s)

Automator comes with dozens of actions, but you're bound—eventually—to find yourself wishing that there were a few more. Perhaps you'd like some Automator actions to control non-Apple programs like Photoshop, or you'd just like to have a few extra actions to control Mac OS X itself.

Fortunately, Automator can handle actions written by non-Apple programmers, too. Just visit any of the Web sites devoted to Automator actions (like www.automatorworld.com, www.macscripter.net, or www.automator.us), and download any actions you'd like.

If the action's programmers did their jobs right, you can just download the action, run the installer, and sit back and watch as Mac OS X unpacks, copies, and installs the action automatically. The next time you open Automator, the new action will be listed in the correct folder.

If, on the other hand, the action's programmer did not create a self-installing action, you may have to manually double-click the .dmg, .sit, or .zip file that you downloaded. Inside the folder or disk image that results, you should find a file ending in .action. Drag that file into either your Home→Library→Automatorfolder(to ...

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