Automating Desktop tasks free tools

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

A few other programmes I have come across while exploring productivity tools.

Action(s)

Action(s) is an automation desktop tool that is written in Java. It was developed from 2009 to 2012 and has not been supported since (as it says on the website. It is a free tool and a desktop version can be downloaded. It can run on Win 10 but seems to demand a lot of resources. I had it started on my Surface 3 tablet and it was chewing into the CPU.

It is a single executable file. It has a list of actions in different areas and you can plug them together, if they are compatible, they link together, if not, they dont. I have only followed the tutorial in the only video I can find on YouTube below and it worked fine. There are a about 3 tutorial videos but they require flash and I do not have that enabled, so haven’t watched them.

The interesting thing with the above process, you save it as a workflow and it has a .WKFL extension. You can also save the workflow  as a type of executable with a .WEXE extension. I tried firing this up and it wouldn’t work, you need to associate that extension with the action(s).exe file and then it’ll start up the workflow without opening the main programme itself. That speeds things up as the main programme takes a couple of minutes to load, even on my computer with 16Gb RAM.

To configure the .WEXE file to open see screenshot below.  I tested it out, it worked quite fast on its own, it also renames the files quite nicely and quickly too.

I have a couple of File rename programmes that I use for images, and they are quite complex. What appeals to me about this programme is it can do a variety of different workflows, so you can create different tools for your specific requirements, so far more flexible. And if you do not have to run the main programme, then quite quickly too.

It is transportable to a point. You’d need to send a folder with the Action(s).exe file which is about 14Mb as a .exe and tell others to do the file association of the .WEXE with the programme. Not ideal but not too hard either.

Draw.io

Draw.io is an online diagram tool for sketching workflows and processes. I got distracted below when I saw a floor plan and had to load it in.


Here is an overview video:

At the beginning you are asked where you want to save your file, on your local drive or in Google Drive (there is one other).

You can choose Templates to start with under certain categories:  

You can also import/embed info from outside too and send links to your file.


A handy online tool to use if you are trying to workout a workflow that you want to put into a presentation (I normally just scribble them on a notepad for my own clarification).

Perfect Automation

I read this 44 Best Free Mouse Clicker Software For Windows article and a few of these “Free” programmes arte “Free to Test for a Trial Period” then you have to buy the programme.

I’m still trying to find Macro programmes that will work for me.

AutoHotKey and AutoIt are pretty powerful, but need coding. Pulover’s Macro Creator is good, but I find I’m spending a lot of time tweeking it. Tiny Task is quick and simple.

What I want, at the end, is something that will compile to an .EXE file, so it can be distributed to others. On reviewing the article above I opted to try Perfect Automation . It has some nice features

  1. Its free
  2. It compiles to .EXE
  3. It has a Recorder Macro (of course, including Keystrokes)
  4. It has a scheduler. I think I want to explore this more in the future.

I  was reading a well researched  article Top 10 Free Macro Automation Software for Computers to Perform Repetitive Tasks that has a couple of tables on different Macro tools, of all the ones I am exploring they are the ones with .EXE capability


It has a mini tab that pops up with a hotkey and also you can open the main panel from the mini tab. If closed it sits in the windows tray.

The only video on YouTube I could find.


The coding language is different and does not look that simple. I think I just want the mouse/keystroke process from this to test.

The programme sits somewhere between Tiny Task and AutoHotKeys (AHK)/ Pulover’s Macro Creator. I think it will be useful to set up quick macro’s with it and then make more robust ones with say AHK.

This will integrate with the Voice Macro’s. I get a smile on my face when I activate the Blog opening macro and it tells me that its doing it.

End thoughts

The more of these tools I explore, the more I realise that there is a lot more “hidden under the hood” in the programmes and Operating Systems that I’m using, as well as more available tools online. Each time I set one thing up, I find something else as well, and that I can add to masking my processes more streamlined.

Another win10 thing I learned today from the following video was using Shift + Click on Taskbar Icon  to open a second instance of the programme. I know I have been around the houses on that one a few times, especially with Revit. My workaround was to put a shortcut icon on the desktop and use that.

Another one in there is the shell:sendto to put a folder in the send To  . There is an article about it here.  Since I use Download folder a lot I’ll add that to it.

 

 

Add a Comment