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Ask Max: How can I use OS X Automator to duplicate my application files?

Asked on 01/20/2010:

I have just started working on my first Mac (a MacBook Pro). I will be using the Mac as a beta test bed for some software we are developing. This software will eventually live on a USB flash drivemaybe 1000 of themduplicated. So that is my task. I can write a batch file on the PC to copy my PC files to the USB. Simply doubleclick the icon I make and it will run the batch file over and over and overCopying the files to the USB drive. I need to replicate this batch file copy on the new Mac. I have poked around the AutoMator but it seems to only pick up mouse movement and clicks, not keystrokes. Plus, I am not sure it will do what I want any way.

So that is my question. How can I automate the copy and paste of the same files to the same location. I will be in charge of creating the initial test batch of flash drives, populated with our program. I will need to do this for possibly up to 1000 flash drives.

Thanks for any insight you can provide,

- Andrew


Automator is a good program for creating workflows but it has its limits. For more advanced work, look at the Applescript program or even bash shell scripts. However I am sure that Automator can do what you want, and I emailed you a test workflow you can save as a mini application. All you need to do is change the "Myapplication" to whatever you will be copying over and change the destination "USB-STICK" to whatever your usb drives will call themselves. Then select Save as from the Automator's File menu and save it as an application.

This sample is just two elements from the "Actions" list: "Find Finder Items" and "Copy Finder Items." You can keep stacking different functions as you need them. Keep playing with Automator, it will save you tons of time.

- Jacob

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