As the name suggests, Automator is a program included with Mac OS X that automates common tasks. Automator makes it possible for teachers to create packaged applications that students with a disabilities can double-click to perform a series of tasks on their computers. This can save time and also help students who have limited motor skills.

To create a simple Automator Application:

  1. Launch Automator from the Applications folder.
    Automator icon in Applications folder.
  2. Select a template from the Template Chooser. For this example, I’ll choose the Application template. This creates a packaged application students can double-click to perform a series of tasks.
    Template chooser with Application option highlighted.
  3. Click Choose at the bottom of the window.
  4. On the left side of the Automator window, choose a program from the first column and an action (the task you want to perform) from the second column.
    Automator window with Mail application and New Mail Message task highlighted.
  5. Drag the desired action to the column on the right side of the window.
    Dragging task to column on right side of Automator window.
  6. Enter any information you want to be included by default in the application. For this example, I will enter an email address I want to add to each email by default.
  7. Choose File, Save As.
  8. Enter the desired name for the application and make sure the Format is set to Application.
    Save as window with Application selected=
  9. Choose Save.

With our example application, an icon will be created at the save location (I chose the Desktop for ease of access). When a student double-clicks the application, a new email will be created with the recipient address already entered. This is much easier for a student with limited motor skills than choosing File, New Message and entering the address manually.

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