5 Usefull AppleScripts you already have

Apple Script is a very powerful tool. It’s been said that the entire printed media runs on Apple Script, and you can see why. It offers an ability to control many aspect of your Mac in many different ways. That’s the headline statement Apple will feed you but unfortunately, Apple Script can get very complicated very quickly. Luckily, with every Mac there’s already a fair old bunch of Apple Scripts available for you to use. It’s probably worth pointing out that these scrips may be present on your Mac but by far the easiest way to access them is to enable the apple script menu option. You can do this by firing up the Apple Script utility (in the Apple Scripts folder in the Applications folder) and selecting “Show Script Menu in menu bar”. This will pop a small script icon in your menu bar, clicking it will show the available Apple Scripts, all categorised in folder. So which ones are worth you trying out, and which ones do you not need to bother with?

  1. Rename Scripts – Under the Finder category, you’ll find multiple scripts to rename files and folders. Some of these are really useful. My favourite is the ability to replace text in item names, the “Replace Text in Item Names” script, which is particularly handy for renaming Digital Camera photos so they have more memorable and usable names, while still retaining the uniqueness. Also useful is the ability convert everything to upper or lower case and appending or pre-pending text to file or folder names.
  2. Import Address book details – Maybe the script folder isn’t the first place you would look for an address book import facility, but there it is! In the Address Book category, there is a script called “Import Addresses“, and it does just that. You can import addresses from Entourage, Outlook Express, Palm Desktop, Eudora, Claris Emailer and Netscape. A bit of an eclectic collection of formats, but I can vouch for the Outlook Express import.
  3. Crazy Text – Crazy TextA bit of a strange one this. Fire up Mail and select the “Crazy Message Text” script from the Mail Category. Enter a bit of text and watch it go. Completely useless but fun nonetheless. You can also play around with the settings, although there’s really not much point. Just be careful not to write an email that makes it look as if you’ve just kidnapped the recipients pet dog…
  4. Check out your fonts – Your Mac comes loaded with a bunch of Fonts installed as well as a pretty decent font browser. Having said that, with the amount of fonts most of us amount its useful to be able to arrange your fonts for easy locating later. There are a number of scripts in the Font Book category. One of my favourites is the ability to create a collection of fonts based on the type of Copyright. When you’re stuck on a project and need a font you can use no questions asked, this collection can be a life saver.
  5. Print Window – This is a very useful script for those who like to be organised. Basically, you point it at a folder and it prints the contents. Simple. I used to use this to record the contents of CDs I had burned. Just print out the contents of your burn folder and stick it in the jewel case. No more rifling through your backup CDs looking for that letter you write 6 months ago. Its all there for you. Recently, I’ve replaced this with the discography feature of Disco, but that’s not free and may not be an option for some. It also lacks the adaptability of being able to print any folder.

These are really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Apple Script, the really useful stuff needs to be sought out or built yourself. Remember, the Apple Script editor has a nifty record feature which lets you do something, anything, and record it in an Apple Script for repeatability (and, of course, editing). It’s a fantastic way to start off with Apple Script.