Hints & Tips

Hints & Tips

Schedule Workflows via iCal

This fantastic tip for scheduling Automator comes to us from [MacOSXHints](http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050504105901868&query=automator), and it's one a lot of people have asked about.

To schedule a workflow to run at specific times using iCal:

1. Save the Automator workflow as an application.
2. Select Add Alarm on a new or current event.
3. Select Open File: Other, and open your saved workflow application.
4. Enter the time and date that you want the workflow to run.

If iCal is not running at the scheduled time, the workflow will run when iCal is next opened.

*A reader points out this more direct method:*

1. "Save As Plug-In..." your workflow
2. Choose Plug-In for: "iCal Alarm" in the pop-up menu of the dialog box that appears
3. iCal opens itself and automatically creates an event with an alarm that opens your workflow



  1. Maybe someone here can help me, before I write Automator off.

    This is what I want to do:

    Set an alarm in iCal that opens up and runs a Work Flow. The iCal event would be a recurring weekly meeting.

    I want the work flow to send an email to a group with a set subject and content. But I want the group to update dynamically.

    So when the events alarm goes off, the workflow is executed and an email is sent to all the recipients in the group. individually using group mailer would be great.

    Can I do this?

    If not, wasn’t automator designed for this?

    Thank You in advance if you try to help me with this. A direct email to morgs1 (at) mac dot com would be greart.


    Comment by Morgan Daly — September 22, 2005 @ 7:38 am

  2. Using the group mailer action, it will mail to whatever Address book group you specify…how dynamic that group is depends on your editing of it.

    Comment by Steve — September 22, 2005 @ 7:43 am

  3. Great tip. Exactly what I needed. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Comment by Maria Langer — September 27, 2005 @ 12:14 pm

  4. OK, so I can’t get things to work as perfectly as I would like, but I am learning a lot along the way. If you want to save a workflow as a plugin, you can choose to save it as an iCal alarm. Wicked. Maybe you guys could do a special post on peoples iCal alarm workflow ideas?

    This would be perfect. Set an iCal alarm that when it went off it would grab the emails from a specified AddressBook group, add those to the bcc field of a new message, show me the message, so I can check it before sending it. The grab emails from group and add to bcc field is the bit I can’t work out.


    Comment by Morgan Daly — October 20, 2005 @ 7:56 pm

  5. Um yeah, as you can see, I forgot what the original post was about here. Stupid.

    Comment by Morgan Daly — October 24, 2005 @ 1:24 am

  6. Yay this is awesome, I use this to mute my MacBook’s volume so it doesn’t wake me up at night.

    Comment by Mr. Man — February 11, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  7. […] reading this article from Automator World and discovering that with Snow Leopard there is a new template […]

    Pingback by Productivity iCal Alarm - Writings of a Perpetual Novice — March 26, 2010 @ 11:23 am

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>