What’s the key technological advance of the past 50 years? CPUs are faster and drives hold vastly more data, but I’d like to cast a vote for the most important conceptual leap being copy and paste. Why? Because it lets you leverage work you’ve already done, in a manner that’s quick, accurate, and repeatable. But you know that, and not only do you already understand the utility of copy and paste, you probably also press Command-C instead of choosing Copy from the Edit menu because the keyboard shortcut is faster.
Congratulations, then, since you’re already automating your Mac in one essential way that makes your work quick, accurate, and repeatable, with consistent results. In his newest book, “Take Control of Automating Your Mac,” Joe Kissell is on a mission to help you find shortcuts to the things you’re already doing regularly so you can focus on those creative or subjective tasks that only you can do. The 204-page book costs $15, but comes with coupons for key automation utilities worth over $60.
It’s important to realize that you don’t need to be a programmer — or even particularly geeky — to automate your Mac. Everyone uses copy and paste, and most of what Joe explains in “Take Control of Automating Your Mac” can be used by anyone, from novice to expert. Nor is specialized software necessary. OS X has oodles of built-in automation features like keyboard shortcuts, configurable gestures, and automatic launching of key apps. But clever Macintosh developers have created brilliant utilities that go far beyond OS X’s features, and Joe explains how to use such stalwarts as Keyboard Maestro and Hazel, and delves into the included automation capabilities in
apps like Microsoft Office and Nisus Writer Pro. Don’t miss Joe’s video trailer introducing all this!
In short, “Take Control of Automating Your Mac” will:
- Show you lots of tools and techniques for automating your Mac
- Offer concrete examples you can use as is or adapt to your needs
- Inspire you with extensive lists of further possibilities
Chapters are devoted to the following topics, to teach you how to:
- Develop an automator’s mindset
- Use OS X’s built-in automation features
- Take full advantage of input devices to save clicks
- Automate text expansion for faster, more consistent typing
- Open apps and documents more quickly with a launcher
- Organize files automatically with Hazel
- Supercharge your clipboard to remember and reformat previous copies
- Write macros in Microsoft Office and Nisus Writer Pro
- Create rules to file email automatically in Apple Mail and Outlook
- Log in to Web sites faster with a password manager
- Automate cloud services with IFTTT and Zapier
- Set up automatic backup and syncing
- Get started with Automator and AppleScript
- Control nearly anything on your Mac with Keyboard Maestro
Put bluntly, we want to help you use your Mac more productively. It pains us when we see someone repeating the same mind-numbing steps over and over, when we know a Keyboard Maestro macro could easily do it all with a single keystroke. To aid in that, we’ve included discounts on eight of the most important apps Joe covers in the book: 20 or 30 percent off on Keyboard Maestro, LaunchBar, Hazel, Nisus Writer Pro, TextExpander, TextSoap, TypeIt4Me, and Typinator — look for the coupons at the back of the book.
Of course, many TidBITS readers are probably already using some level of Mac automation. If you’re confident that you’re already automating all the tasks you could be, could you tell others about “Take Control of Automating Your Mac?” Too many people shy away from automation, thinking it’s too hard or too geeky, and thus waste vast amounts of time that could be spent more productively. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach his Mac to fish, and it will bury him in fish until he figures out how to stop the loop. (Which would make a really cool YouTube video.)