We will use Automator to build our workflow. The workflow we will create is the one I use when I'm writing articles for About: Macs, but you can easily adapt it to meet your specific needs, no matter what applications are involved.
My workflow launches Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, and Apple's Preview application. The workflow also launches Safari and opens the About: Macs home page. It also opens a folder in the Finder.
Create the Workflow
- Launch Automator, located at /Applications.
- Select 'Application' as the type of Automator template to use.
- In the Library list, select 'Files & Folders.'
- Drag the 'Get Specified Finder Items' action to the workflow panel on the right.
- Click the Add button to add an application or a folder to the list of Finder Items.
- Click the Add button to add other items to the list, until all the items you need for your workflow are present. Don't include your default browser (in my case, Safari) in the list of Finder items. We will choose another workflow step to launch the browser to a specific URL.
- From the Library pane, drag the 'Open Finder Items' to the workflow pane, below the previous action.
This completes the part of the workflow that will open applications and folders. If you want your browser to open to a specific URL, do the following:
- In the Library pane, select Internet.
- Drag the 'Get Specified URLs' action to the workflow panel, below the previous action.
- When you add the 'Get Specified URLs' action, it includes Apple's home page as a URL to open. Select the Apple URL and click the Remove button.
- Click the Add button. A new item will be added to the URL list.
- Double-click in the Address field of the item you just added and change the URL to the one you wish to open.
- Double-click the Bookmark field of the item you added above and enter a name for the URL.
- Repeat the above steps for each additional URL you wish to open automatically.
- From the Library pane, drag the 'Display Webpages' action to the workflow pane, below the previous action.
Testing the Workflow
Once you finish creating your workflow, you can test it to ensure it functions correctly by clicking the Run button in the top right corner.
Because we're creating an application, Automator will issue a warning that 'This application will not receive input when run inside Automator.' You can safely ignore this warning by clicking the OK button.
Automator will then run the workflow. Check to be sure that all of the applications opened, as well as any folders you may have included. If you wanted to open your browser to a specific page, make sure the correct page loaded.
Save the Workflow
Once you've confirmed that the workflow works as expected, you can save it as an application by clicking Automator's File menu and selecting 'Save.' Enter a name and target location for your workflow application and click Save. Follow the above process to create additional workflows, if desired.