Using Automator and Terminal Commands to Streamline Mac Tasks

If you're a Mac user, you might be familiar with Automator and Terminal, two powerful tools that can help automate and streamline tasks on your computer. In this article, we'll explore how to use both Automator and Terminal commands to make your life easier and save you time.

Automator Basics

Automator is an application that comes preinstalled on all Mac computers. It allows users to create custom workflows by combining different actions. These actions can range from simple tasks like renaming files to more complex ones like resizing images or sending emails.

To get started with Automator, you can find it in your Applications folder. Once you open it, you'll see a library of actions on the left and a workflow area on the right.

To create a new workflow, simply drag and drop actions from the library into the workflow area. You can customize each action by adjusting its settings or adding additional actions to the workflow.

Once your workflow is complete, you can save it as an application, a service, or a folder action. This gives you the flexibility to use it in different contexts and integrate it into your existing workflows.

Automating Tasks with Automator

Let's say you frequently need to resize images before sending them via email. Instead of manually opening each image and resizing it, you can create an Automator workflow to handle this task for you.

Here's how you can do it:

  1. Open Automator and create a new workflow.
  2. In the library, search for the "Scale Images" action and drag it into the workflow area.
  3. Set the desired width and height for your images.
  4. Save the workflow as an application.
  5. Now, whenever you want to resize an image, simply drag and drop it onto the created application, and a resized version will be generated.

This is just one example of how Automator can simplify repetitive tasks. Explore the library of actions to find ones that suit your needs and experiment with different combinations to create powerful workflows.

Terminal Basics

Terminal is a command-line interface on macOS that allows users to interact with their computer through text commands. It provides direct access to the underlying Unix-based operating system, giving you more control and flexibility than the graphical user interface.

To open Terminal, you can search for it in Spotlight or find it in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder.

Once you open Terminal, you'll see a command prompt where you can type commands. Each command is followed by the Return key to execute it.

Terminal commands can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, from navigating the file system to installing software or running scripts. It's a powerful tool for users who prefer working with text-based commands or need to automate complex operations.

Automating Tasks with Terminal Commands

While Automator provides a visual interface for creating workflows, Terminal commands provide more flexibility and control for those who prefer working with text-based commands. You can use Terminal commands to automate tasks that are not easily achievable with Automator or to integrate with other scripts and programs.

Let's take a look at an example:

Suppose you need to convert a large collection of Word documents to PDF format. While you can use Automator to accomplish this, it can be slow for a large number of files. In this case, you can use a Terminal command to achieve the same result more efficiently.

Open Terminal and navigate to the directory where your Word documents are located.

cd ~/Documents/WordDocuments/

Once you're in the correct directory, use the following command to convert all the documents to PDF:

doc2pdf *.docx

This command will convert all the Word documents in the current directory to PDF format. You can then find the converted files in the same directory.

By using Terminal commands, you can automate tasks that are otherwise time-consuming or not easily achievable with other tools. It's a powerful way to customize your workflows and tailor them to your specific needs.


Automator and Terminal commands are powerful tools that can help streamline tasks on your Mac. Whether you prefer a visual interface or working with text-based commands, these tools provide flexibility and automation capabilities for a wide range of tasks.

Experiment with Automator workflows and Terminal commands to find ways to simplify your daily routines and save time. With a bit of exploration and creativity, you'll be amazed at the ways you can automate and streamline your Mac tasks.

Mac Commands

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