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In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Mountain Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, master gestures, and achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, Calendar, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, performing maintenance operations using Disk Utility, and offers time-saving techniques for using the Mac efficiently. Along the way, Christopher reviews the 200+ new features in Mountain Lion, which gives even experienced Mac users a valuable head start.
In the few movies, I'm going to walk you through something called Automator. An Automator is an application that, as its name implies, helps you automate tasks on your Mac. And let's see how it works. I'll launch it. You can find this in the Utilities folder, by the way. And here is our Workflow window. When you first launch Automator, you'll see a template chooser and this shows you the kind of items that you can create with Automator. The simplest is a Workflow, you can also create Applications, Services, Print Plugins, Folder Action, Calendar Alarm, and Image Capture Plugin, and I'll show you a few of these as we go through this in the next few movies.
So I'm going to start with the simplest, which is Workflow. So I'll click on Choose. Now this is how it's set up. Along the left side you see a library entry, and this includes items that have actions, which are on the second pane, attached to them. So for example if I choose Calendar, you see all the actions that are connected to Calendar. If I choose Contacts, these are the actions that go with Contacts, and so on and so forth. If I want to see all of the actions, I click on Library, and then here they all are.
If I'm looking for a particular action and I know its name, I can just type in that keyword and I see any action that matches that keyword. And over here to the right is the Workflow area. This is where you string together actions to create your automation. So let's make something. Let's go to the desktop and I'm going to create a couple of folders. I'll call the first, Source, and I'll call the second one, Destination. I'm going to take the Source folder and drag it into my Workflow area.
This tells Automator to look at this item and then do something with it. So it knows where to look. Let's go to Files and folders. I want to get the folder contents. I'll drag that in here, and finally, now that I've got the contents of whatever this folder is, I want to do something with it. So I would like to copy the contents to a particular folder. In this case, I'd like to copy it to my Destination folder.
Now if I wanted to, I could navigate to it, but it's much easier if you have access to that item to simply drag it on top of the pop-up menu, and then it will appear. So, let's see if this thing works. And what exactly am I trying to do? Well the point of this Workflow is, anything that I put within this Source folder will copied to the Destination folder. So it's a cheap sort of backup. So let me create one more folder, and I'll call this Test. I'll now I open my Source folder and I'm going to make it small enough so that we can see Automator, as well as this folder, and I'll put Test into my Source folder.
Let's open the Destination folder, we'll make that small as well, and we'll put it down here. Now keep your eye on the folders and I'll click on Run. These check marks indicate, Hey, everything went well, and the bottom check mark indicates the whole Workflow completed. And if you kept your eyes on those folders, you notice that my Test folder has been copied to my Destination folder. Big picture here, you're thinking, "Well you know I could have just dragged it from one folder to the other," and that's true enough, but suppose that you this Source folder was where you put your daily work.
So at the end of the day you put all the work from that day into that Source folder, and this Destination folder doesn't live on this hard drive, but instead it lives on an external hard drive or some kind of online server. So, put your stuff in your Source folder, run that Workflow, and it will be automatically copied to your backup folder. So as I said, its kind of a cheap way to do a backup, but its very quick and very efficient. And that shows you the simplest kind of Workflow. As we proceed, I'll show you different kinds of workflows.
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