Are you a Windows-convert and miss the ability to right-click on a file and choose “Send to Mail Recipient”? Look no further, Automator is here. I can’t recall just how often I made use of Windows Explorer’s context menu selection “Send Mail to Recipient”, but know that it was enough to leave me wanting after switching to Mac OS X.
This article applies to OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and OS X 10.5 (Leopard), not OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
Here’s how you can use an Automator workflow to create this same functionality in OS X Finder’s context menu.
- First, open Automator and choose to create a Custom workflow.
- Second, under the “Files and Folders” actions library, drag and drop Finder’s “Get Selected Items” to the righthand pane to begin building your workflow.
- Third, under the “Mail” actions library, drag and drop Entourage’s Create New Mail Message (or Mail’s New Mail Message, if you prefer) to the righthand window pane.
- Fourth, and finally, again under the “Mail” actions library, drag and drop Entourage’s Add Attachments to Entourage Message (or Mail’s Add Attachments to Front Message) to the righthand window pane
Now that your workflow is complete, you’ll need to save it. I recommend first saving it as a “workflow”, so you can tweak it later if need be. Next, we’ll choose to save it as a Finder plugin, which will put your workflow plugin into ~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Finder/
You can also save Automator workflows as applications (.app), however, doing so in this example would mean when you run the .app, Entourage will open and attach the .app file itself to your new mail message – not quite the intended use here.
The only two negatives I can speak of with regard to using Automator workflows are:
- Automator workflows may take a few seconds to execute. An AppleScript version of the same workflow executes more quickly, but of course means you’ll have to code the automation rather than click your way through creating it.
- The Automator workflows are three levels deep in the Finder context menu. This makes navigating your mouse to select your workflow precarious.
I can live with the extra few seconds to execute the workflow, but would love to see an automator workflow at the top level of the “More” contextual menu. Anyone know how this is done?
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