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Take Control of Automating Your Mac

Automating Your Mac + Mac Command Line Bundle

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Jan 04, 2018

Take Control of Automating Your Mac, Second Edition

Work faster, increase your efficiency, and have more fun with automation!

Looking for ways to work smarter and faster with your Mac? In this updated and expanded edition of his popular guide to Mac automation, Joe Kissell shows how anyone, at any level of experience, can save time and effort, and avoid unnecessary errors, by using automation techniques that range from the simplest keyboard shortcut to the most complicated script.

In this book, Joe teaches you how to automate routine tasks in a wide variety of ways. You can begin by making the most of productivity features such as Siri, Spotlight (for launching apps), and text replacement—and then move on to the more sophisticated automation tools built into macOS, such as Automator, AppleScript, services, and shell scripts.

In addition, Joe gives extensive information about third-party automation apps that can make a huge difference to your work efficiency, such as Keyboard Maestro, TextExpander, OmniGraffle, and many more. As an extra bonus, the book includes coupons for discounts on 10 automation apps, adding up to more than $100 in savings!

Whether you’re new to automation, you just need a refresher, or you’re experienced with automation but want to go deeper, this book can teach you the skills you need to automate with ease. Take back your time, work more efficiently, and have more fun with your Mac, with Take Control of Automating Your Mac, Second Edition!

With this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Get started with the built-in macOS automation tools, including Automator, AppleScript, and the command line
  • Take full advantage of input devices to save clicks
  • Automate text expansion for faster, more consistent typing
  • Control the Finder with a launcher and by organizing files 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
  • Use Omni Automation for JavaScript-based automation tasks
  • Control nearly anything on your Mac with Keyboard Maestro

BONUS: We’ve included discounts totalling over $100 on 10 of the key apps Joe covers: 10% to 30% off on Keyboard Maestro, LaunchBar, Hazel, Nisus Writer Pro, Script Debugger, TextExpander, TextSoap, TypeIt4Me, Typinator, and UI Browser—look for coupons at the end of the book!

What's New

Version 2.0 of this book includes hundreds of changes that bring it up to date with recent versions of macOS and third-party automation tools. It expands numerous important topics, removes obsolete text, and adds entirely new material. Some of the highlights:

  • New chapter on The State of Mac Automation, discussing present and likely future of automation on the Mac
  • New chapter on Omni Automation, about the JavaScript-based automation capability now built into apps by the Omni Group on both macOS and iOS
  • In the discussion of how to Control Your Mac with Your Voice, added a Use Siri topic
  • Added a few tools to the Use a macOS Clipboard Utility topic
  • Added MailButler and MailTags to the list of recommended Mail plug-ins in Automate Apple Mail with Plug-ins
  • Expanded the discussion of IFTTT and Zapier, two services that take actions based on changing conditions in cloud-connected apps
  • Covered using iCloud to sync Desktop and Documents folders in Automate Mac-to-Mac Syncing
  • Split the material on macOS automation tools into five chapters:
    • Discover macOS Automation Technologies: An overview of the user-level Mac automation tools Apple provides
    • Use Services for System-wide Shortcuts: Guidance on using and configuring items in the system-wide Services menu
    • Get Started with Automator: An introduction to Apple’s Automator utility, with an expanded set of examples
    • Get Started with AppleScript: The basics of performing tasks with Apple’s venerable scripting language, now with more examples and tips, plus coverage of how to Use GUI Scripting
    • Script the Command Line with Shell Scripts: How simple scripts you run in Terminal can automate tasks on your Mac
  • Included more examples and details in Control Your Mac with Keyboard Maestro
  • Added Switch Contexts with ControlPlane to explain the basics of this utility that automatically performs actions on your Mac based on user-defined criteria
  • Added coupons for OmniGraffle, Script Debugger, and UI Browser, and increased the discount on the Nisus Writer Pro Coupon to 25%

Version 2.0.1 removed the coupon for OmniGraffle Pro for Mac, which had expired.


What versions of macOS does this book cover?

All the techniques in this book work with macOS 10.12 Sierra, and should continue working in 10.13 High Sierra and beyond. Most of them work in older versions of OS X too—perhaps with minor modifications. In general, the older your version of OS X, the less likely you’ll find that everything works as described.

Update Plans

July 26, 2017 – Now that the second edition has been released, we don’t have any particular plan for creating an update in the near future unless we discover significant errors or omissions.

Posted by Joe Kissell

  1. MacVoices Interviews Joe about Second Edition of Mac Automation Book

    Chuck Joiner of MacVoices interviewed Joe Kissell about the huge update to Take Control of Automating Your Mac. Watch Joe and Chuck discuss the latest in Mac automation topics and explore what readers will learn in this book.

    Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

  2. Joe Updates Book and MacVoices Automatically Interviews Him

    As is automatic when a Take Control book gets a major update, Chuck Joiner of MacVoices interviews the book’s author. The 1.1 update to Take Control of Automating Your Mac is no exception. Watch Joe and Chuck chat about what’s new in this season’s update to a very useful book.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

  3. Joe Schools Chuck Joiner on How to Boss His Mac Around

    Taking time off from working on his next ten books, Joe discusses with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices how to make your Mac do more so you have more time to have a life away from the keyboard. In this 40-minute interview, Joe outlines how to think about automating tasks on your Mac and why you don’t need to be a programmer to do it.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

The Author

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He also runs Interesting Thing of the Day and is a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.