How to Automate the Most Frequent PC Operations

You have now become a real phenomenon. You have performed the same operations on your PC so many times that you could consult e-mails, surf the Internet, open the instant messaging program and do many other things with your eyes closed. Congratulations, really… but I think you should learn to make the most of your time. How about, for example, of automate the most frequent PC operations, in order to speed up your work and not repeat the same things a hundred times a day?

Do you like the idea? Fantastic! Then let me give you some "tips" about it and tell you how to move on both Windows and macOS. I already anticipate that you will be able to use both some utilities present "standard" on your PC and some very useful third-party applications. Yes, I know, you do not consider yourself a "wizard" of information technology and therefore you believe that you do not know how to make good use of the solutions I am about to recommend… and instead you are wrong! You can be sure that, thanks to my explanations, you won't have the slightest problem automating your computer work.

So, what are you waiting for? Get to work immediately: concentrate on reading the next paragraphs, follow the instructions you will find in the next lines step by step and you will see that you will not have the slightest problem in automating the operations you perform most frequently when using your computer. I wish you good reading and, above all, good work!

Task Scheduler (Windows)

uses Windows and you would like automate the most frequent operations what are you doing on your PC? Maybe you'd like to schedule the programs you use to automatically start at certain times of the week or day? Well then you must definitely try theScheduler integrated in Windows, which, as easily understood by the name, allows you to plan multiple operations. Using it is not complicated at all, since it offers the possibility to start the guided creation of the various actions to be planned: let's see together how.

To call up the Planning Unit tool, click on the button Start (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen), type "planning utility”In the menu that opens and click on the best match (ie the first result in the list). At this point, click on the item Create basic activities ... located in the Task Scheduler sidebar (in the Action) and the wizard will start to plan a new operation.

Then type the name and Description of the activity you want to plan and presses the button forward. Then select the frequency with which you want to perform the action, selecting one of the options available in the appropriate menu (eg. Everyday, Every week, Every month, When the computer starts, When recording a specific event, etc.), and click again on forward.

So choose the moment or event to trigger the automatic execution of the action, press the button forward, specify the event you want to run with the activity (ex. Program start, Send e-mail message, etc.) and presses on once again forward.

At this point, type in the text field Programma o script the name of the program or script you want to run automatically and, if necessary, also fill in the fields Add arguments (optional) e Start (optional). If in addition to automatically running a program you also want to make it perform certain actions, you must necessarily fill in the text field relating to the topics. To check what topics are available for a program, I suggest you do a quick Google search using a query like "[nome del programma] parameters command-line".

After defining the program or script to start automatically, first press the button forward and then end to finish the action planning and that's it. To make sure that the scheduled task is performed correctly, perform a test: click on the item Task Scheduler Library (in the left column), locate the activity you created, select it and then press the button Run present in the right column. If everything went well, the action you planned will be performed.

Automator (macOS)

You use a Poppy? In this case you can automate the operations carried out most frequently on the computer via Automator, an application present “standard” in MacOS which allows you to chain various actions and, therefore, to automate the execution of scripts, applications and many other operations.

To automate repetitive tasks with Automator, you must first invoke the latter. Then open the Launchpad, go to the folder Other and click the di icon Automator (the robot). In the main program window, click on the button New document and select the type of action you want to create: Workflow to create a script to be executed by double clicking; Application to create a script to run (and distribute) as an application; Service to create a script to run as a system service; Print plugin to create a script for use in printing; Action folder to create scripts related to a specific folder (when it is opened in the Finder); Calendar Notice to create scripts to run based on calendar events; Acquisition Plugin to create a script to be used when digitizing images or Dictation command to create a script for use when dictating.

Once you've made your choice, select the tab Actions from the menu located at the top left and expand the menu library containing the various applications and categories related to the actions to be performed automatically. After selecting an application or category from the first column (eg. Photos), select the specific action from the second column (ex. Resize images), drag it into the box where the wording is present Drag actions or files here to create a workflow (as you can see the green button appears +) and click on the button Add from the menu that opens, in order to add the action to be included in the workflow.

Now, customize the various action-specific options you just added to the workflow, based on the automated task that needs to be done, and that's it. If you want to add other actions, all you have to do is perform the same steps I have just indicated: locate the action from the left column, drag it to the right part of the window, change its parameters and you're done.

To save the action you just created, select the item Save ... from the menu Fillet, type il name action in the appropriate text field and, to conclude, presses the button Save. To check that the action is performed correctly, then press the button Run (top right) and, if everything went well, you will see the symbol (✓) next to the item Results (under each action added to the workflow).

IFTTT (Online/Android/iOS)

In a tutorial dedicated to automating the most frequent PC operations it is impossible not to mention IFTTT (acronym for If This Then That, which in Italian can be translated as "if this happens, then make that happen"), a very famous online service, also available as an app for Android and iOS, which allows the creation of simple chains of conditions, called in jargon applet, which can be created from scratch or starting from existing flows. It is dedicated to online services (e.g. social networks and cloud storage services), so you cannot use it to automate the operations you perform daily on your computer, but you can use it to connect and automate your accounts on web services.

The operation of IFTTT is very simple: the user chooses the condition that must occur to trigger the action to be performed and this is performed automatically when the condition in question occurs. Thanks to IFTTT it is possible, for example, to publish the same content on multiple social networks if the user uses a certain hashtag, to send emails automatically when you are in a certain position, to lower the brightness of the laptop display when the percentage of the battery reaches a certain percentage of autonomy and so on.

To use IFTTT you must first create a free account. Then connect to the IFTTT main page and register via your address e-mail or through your account Google o Facebook. As soon as you have registered for the service and logged into your account, click on one of the items located at the top left to choose the applets to use or to create new ones: Discover, to discover the most popular applets based on the types of topics and needs that have found the most success; Search, to find the applets that best suit your needs and the most used services; MyApplet, to activate / deactivate applets and to create new ones from scratch or Activity, to check the history of the activities carried out.

After creating an applet, make sure it is activated: go to the section My Applet, click on the action you are interested in and, if the switch is not set to ON, do it manually.

Other Useful Solutions

Haven't the solutions I proposed to you in the previous paragraphs left you very satisfied? Take a look at the programs listed below - I'm sure you'll find someone who can do it for you!

  • WinParrot (Windows) - is a Windows compatible program that allows you to automate and schedule recurring tasks, load data into applications using spreadsheets, and much more.
  • AutoHotkey  (Windows) - powerful free software that allows you to automate many operations (eg starting programs or typing texts) through scripts to be created with a special programming language. It is not very intuitive at first glance but, once you have learned its basic operation, it becomes essential!
  • Keyboard Maestro (macOS) - this is a utility that cannot be missing in the Mac of those who want to be 100% productive. Keyboard Maestro, in fact, offers numerous functions that allow you to perform automatic actions and shortcuts that can be activated by simply pressing a key or associated with the occurrence of certain events. It costs 37,99 euros.
  • Hazel (macOS) - another very useful application for macOS that allows you to automate many operations by setting specific rules for folders. It is also not free: it costs $ 32, but you can test its features for a limited trial period.