How Do I Use Apple Scripting?


Scott Campbell

Using Apple Scripting to Automate Tasks

Apple Scripting is a powerful tool that allows you to automate tasks on your Mac. Whether you want to streamline your workflow, create custom applications, or simply save time, Apple Scripting can be a game-changer. In this tutorial, we will explore the basics of Apple Scripting and how you can start using it today.

What is Apple Scripting?

Apple Scripting is a scripting language developed by Apple Inc. It is designed specifically for automating tasks on macOS. With Apple Scripting, you can control various applications and perform actions such as opening files, manipulating data, and interacting with user interfaces.

Getting Started with Apple Script Editor

To begin using Apple Scripting, you need to use the built-in application called “Script Editor.” You can find it in the “Utilities” folder within your “Applications” directory.

  1. Step 1: Launch the “Script Editor” application.
  2. Step 2: Create a new script by clicking on “File” and selecting “New.”
  3. Step 3: Start writing your script using the Apple Scripting language.

The Apple Script Editor provides a user-friendly interface for writing and testing scripts. It includes features like syntax highlighting and auto-completion to help you write code more efficiently.

Basics of Apple Scripting Syntax

Apple Scripts are written in plain text format with an “.applescript” extension. The syntax consists of commands, objects, properties, and parameters. Let’s look at an example:

tell application "Finder"
    display dialog "Hello World!"
end tell

In this example, we are using the “tell” command to specify which application we want to interact with (in this case, “Finder”). The “display dialog” command displays a dialog box with the message “Hello World!”.

Controlling Applications with Apple Scripting

One of the primary uses of Apple Scripting is controlling applications. You can automate repetitive tasks and interact with various macOS applications. For example, you can tell Safari to open a specific URL, or iTunes to play a particular song.

To control an application, use the “tell” command followed by the name of the application. Here’s an example:

tell application "Safari"
    open location ""
end tell

This script tells Safari to open the URL “”. Similarly, you can control other applications and perform specific actions based on your requirements.

Creating Custom Scripts

In addition to controlling existing applications, you can also create custom scripts using Apple Scripting. This allows you to build your own automated workflows and applications tailored to your needs.

To create a custom script, start by defining handlers and functions. Handlers are reusable pieces of code that perform specific actions. Functions return values based on input parameters.

Here’s an example of a custom script that converts Fahrenheit temperature to Celsius:

on convertTemperature(temperature)
    set celsiusTemperature to (temperature - 32) * 5 / 9
    return celsiusTemperature
end convertTemperature

set fahrenheitTemp to 75
set celsiusTemp to convertTemperature(fahrenheitTemp)
display dialog fahrenheitTemp & "°F is equivalent to " & celsiusTemp & "°C"

In this script, we define a handler called “convertTemperature” that takes a Fahrenheit temperature as input and returns the equivalent Celsius temperature. We then set a variable “fahrenheitTemp” to 75 and use the “convertTemperature” handler to calculate the Celsius temperature. Finally, we display a dialog box with the converted temperatures.


Apple Scripting is an incredibly powerful tool for automating tasks on your Mac. Whether you are a power user or just looking to save time, learning Apple Scripting can greatly enhance your productivity. In this tutorial, we covered the basics of Apple Scripting syntax, controlling applications, and creating custom scripts.

Now that you have a solid understanding of Apple Scripting, it’s time to explore further and unleash its full potential. Experiment with different commands, explore the extensive Apple Scripting documentation, and automate tasks that make your life easier. Happy scripting!

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