Saving can be twice as nice

Reader Robert Fulkerth asks two questions, and I answer one. He (partially) writes:

Is there a way for one Save action to save a file to two separate places? Boy, I’d sure like to be able to do this. It’d create a file and backup in two locations with one action.

Indeed there is. You can easily do this with Automator.

Begin by creating two folders on your Desktop. Call one Save Here and the other Backup Here .

Control-click on the Desktop and choose Automator -> Create New Workflow. Click the Finder entry in the Library pane, if Get Specified Finder Items doesn’t appear in the workflow area, drag it there from the Action pane. Drag the Save Here folder into this action.

Drag Get Folder Contents from the Action pane into the workflow area and enable the Repeat for Each Subfolder Found option. Finally, drag the Copy Finder Items action into the workflow area, click the To pop-up menu, choose Other, and navigate to the Backup Here folder you created. Enable the Replacing Existing Items option so the workflow doesn’t constantly bother you with questions.

Choose File -> Save As Plug-In. In the resulting sheet name your workflow, choose Folder Actions from the Plug-in For pop-up menu, and from the Attached to Folder pop-up menu select Other and navigate to your Save Here folder. Now when you save a file to Save Here, that file will be duplicated to the Backup Here folder.

But you’re not finished yet because while this scheme will save new files added to the Save Here folder, it won’t update files you save as you work on them. For this I suggest employing a timer. Automator.us offers just such a timer with its Automator Loop Utility.

It will take workflows (which it converts to workflow applets) and repeatedly run them at an interval of your choosing). Just save your work as a workflow to a convenient location. Go to the Finder and drag the workflow on top of the Automator Loop Utility icon. When you do, the Automator Loop Utility will ask you to save the workflow as an applet. It will then ask you to enter the number of seconds to wait between workflow executions. Enter something like 300 so that the workflow is run every five minutes.

  
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