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Macworld Poll: Automator Neglect?

A Macworld UK poll, indicating that only 8% of respondents use Automator, is discussed in this article. User’s primarily found the interface daunting or slow, and Apple’s included actions limited.

With a response of 1,165 votes, it’s not particularly comprehensive (175 voters aren’t even using OS X 10.4, which is a bit disingenuous). Still, valid points are raised; despite the myriad of third-party actions available online, many users are simply not aware of them, and the interface can be buggy and slow. MacSlash readers have also chimed in on this subject.



  1. I’ve had good luck using Automator with Photoshop; I collect many of the Automator downloads with the intent to use them sometime, but the overall help files are too limited; I’m mainly waiting for clear documentation of even the most basic things.

    Comment by Richard Peterson — August 26, 2005 @ 11:38 am

  2. Many actions are self-explanatory, but hopefully those that are bit more involved would be properly documented by the authors. Many actions tend to be written for a dev’s personal use, so often they share them without really considering that other users might not “get it”.

    Comment by Steve — August 26, 2005 @ 12:02 pm

  3. It took me a little while to really dig into Automator, but now I can’t do without it! I have it resizing images, uploading them to my site, renaming them, filing them on my hard drive… All with a right-click!

    Dear lord I love it!

    Comment by Andertoons — August 26, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

  4. While I’ve created several useful “workflows,” more complex workflows are impossible unless you write your own AppleScript or Shell script. Some workflows that string together multiple saved workflows fail, when running the individual workflows is successful. There is no way to save variables for later use, and something as simple as duplicating an item is out of reach. The longer I have Automator open, the slower it gets, and the system gets sluggish. I also agree with Steve: many of the actions are cryptic; I don’t know what’s the end result (lack of good documentation).

    I’m more hopeful for 2.0

    Comment by Derek — August 27, 2005 @ 10:42 am

  5. What’s hard about realising that others may not understand what you know but haven’t said?

    But then it is a solopsist’s world, going by the silly ways people name (or don’t name) files. I lose track of the number of jobs sent to me with just my name on them.

    When you point out how annoying and silly that is, many just give you a strange look because it is so obvious to them. Wonder how they sort out the many different copies all named the same.

    Comment by Peter Breis — October 10, 2005 @ 9:36 pm

  6. I find Automator extremely unstabe and unresponsive. It crashes or takes several minutes to for instance give me a list of folders in iphoto. Attempting to move around address book actions in a workflow crashes Automator. Admittadly I am only using a 667 mhz with 768 mb ram powerbook but if that is the problem then Apple needs to be more clear about that. I for one think that a lot more work needs to go into Automator and am shocked that they Apple could put out a product that just doesn’t perform.

    Comment by Scott — March 11, 2006 @ 12:31 pm

  7. What a great site, how do you build such a cool site, its excellent.

    Comment by Geo Koeffle — July 31, 2006 @ 6:15 am

  8. Your website has a useful information for beginners like me.

    Comment by Wilson Man — August 1, 2006 @ 4:16 am

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