10 Handy Mac Automations to Supercharge Your Productivity

Creating automations on your Mac can often take a little time and testing, but you gain that and lots more time back the more you use the automations you create.

If you’re new to Mac automations, consider taking the time to create a few automation setups described below when don’t have a deadline to meet,  or when simply want to  reduce the number of times you manually perform a particular task.

The following list of suggestions don’t include how-to instructions, but they hopefully will provide you ideas for workflows and actions in applications you already use or would like to learn how to use.

Suggested TextExpander Snippets 

In the latest version of TextExpander, you can review a folder of suggested words and phrases that TextExpander noticed you have typed several times. The suggestion folder is found at the bottom of the TextExpander editor. I first drop the suggestions the I don’t want use,  and then I create new abbreviations and snippets that might save me some typing time.

Suggested snippets

Set Time Triggers 

Use Keyboard Maestro to set timed triggers for opening your most used webpages and applications at specified times during the week. For example, I have KM macro that opens the Mint application every Monday and Thursday so can I check my personal finances.

timed_trigger_macro

Control iTunes 

Create BetterTouchTool finger gesture to control iTunes in the background. For example, I can pause and play iTunes in the background with a double tap at the top of my trackpad.

ITunes control

 Control Applications 

Create a Keyboard Maestro application macro to open a related folder when a specified application is launched. For example, when ScreenFlow launches, KM opens my folder of media assets, because I typically access it when producing videos.

Media assets folder

 Create a Smart Mailboxes 

Create a few smart mailboxes to filter your mail. For example, I have one smart folder that filters all my un-deleted emails from last year.

Smart mailbox

Clean Up Desktop 

Create a Hazel automation that clears your desktop of files that have been on there for a specified amount of time.

hazel desktop cleanup

Activate Screenshots 

Create a BetterTouchTool finger gesture to trigger the hotkey for taking screenshots.

finger gesture automation

Install SharpShooter 

Install SharpShooter so you can preview and rename screenshots immediately after they are taken.

SharpshooterAppStoreImage2

Download Webpages 

Create custom Dragon Dictate commands to download your most viewed websites. I can actually open websites without touching my keyboard.

Custom voice command

Automatically Hide Applications

Download and install SuperTab and use its hide and quit applications features. You can set times periods to have SuperTab quick and/or hide an application after a specified period of time. This is a great way to keep your desktop uncluttered. (Note: there are a few other menu bar applications that can automatically hide applications, but I find SuperTab be the best one.)

supertab_grab

Custom Alfred Search 

Create a custom URL search in Alfred preferences for directly  performing research on a designated website. For example, with this workflow I can perform a keyword search directly in MakeUseOf.com, which saves me the trouble of downloading the page and then typing in a keyword in the site’s search box.

Alfred search

 

Lots More Automations 

There are lots of more automations that you can create using the applications listed above. I hope you find at least one or two of above hacks useful to your Mac workflow.

I would appreciate your feedback on the types of automations you use on your Mac, and what type of automations you would be interested in learning about.

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  • Great stuff – keep the ideas/suggestions coming. It’s great to see the clever ways that people find uses for these programs.

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