Scripting across multiple apps, triggered from within an App?

Hi Everyone,

I’m new, so please don’t flame me if I’m not posting this correctly :expressionless:

My fiance recently started a new job in a secretarial position and after her first day, I’ve decided her office REALLY needs to upgrade the way they do things.

First off, it’s a personnel company. So they will advertise job positions and then receive applications for those jobs.

Here is the current workflow:

  • email applications come in
  • sec. (secretary) then opens cover letter (which is usually a .doc or .pdf)
  • copies in the email body text (which is actually an auto generated one created by etc) into the new doc + page break
  • opens the persons CV and copies that into the cover letter doc.
    – So basically you end up with a document that has the original email on the first page, then the applicants cover letter, followed by their CV.
  • this doc is then printed
  • sec. writes the date on the front page, the consultant who is looking after those applications & also L1 or L2 (see below).


Depending on if the application is a reply to an advertised job, then
Letter1 option:

  • sec. replies to the email (to the applicant),
  • opens the L1 template email they have saved,
  • copies this template into the reply email
  • edits the applicants name, the job description and the consultants name
  • sends email.

OR if the application is just a general application asking for whatever work is going:
Letter2 option:

  • sec. replies to the email (to the applicant),
  • opens the L2 template email they have saved,
  • copies this template into the reply email
  • edits the applicants name
  • sends email.

As you can see, this is a lot of cut & pasting. On a busy day, they may receive 100+ applications for one position. So she spends most of her day, cut & pasting stuff.

This can OBVIOUSLY be done a better way

A couple of things:

  • They are using old computers (7 years +)
  • Running Windows 2000 (I believe)
  • Office (a really old version)

I’ve searched around the web and tried to find information regarding exactly what is possible with macro’s but my knowledge is very limited.

I was also thinking that if they upgrade their computers, the could use OpenOffice to save upgrade costs. But if they do, would it be possible to create “something” that runs when the emails come in, runs through all the above steps across say, outlook and OpenOffice?

I’m totally open to suggestions or other idea’s to achieve this. My background is in Apple stuff, so I’d be inclined for them to upgrade to Apple gear :slight_smile: But my experience with Applescript is zero.


Model: MBP 2.16
Browser: Camino
Operating System: Mac OS X (10.5)


on this board we usually welcome new users, not flame them :wink:

That’s the problem.
First of all, of course AppleScript doesn’t work at all on windows machines.
On an Apple computer all these tasks can be automated with AppleScript.
On a windows machine it could be possible to write a macro in Visual Basic even with older MS Office versions,
but as far as I know you can’t exchange data with other applications like an email client

Yeah I’m hoping they upgrade their machines with maybe some Mac mini’s.

Does Applescript allow focused decisions, such as if the emails subject has XXXX-BNR, with the last 3 digits being a consultants initials, will it add that consultants details to the file etc? I suppose that is a more of a question as to whether applescript can handle wild-cards / variables?

Sorry if this seems basic, but I almost melted my brain trying to research all this :slight_smile:

Let’s say they do go with the Mac option, what would be the basic outline of the workflow? As in, emails come to outlook, applescripts runs and sends them to OpenOffice, prints, replies to emails etc?

Following on from this, the big question, would this be a difficult script to write?

Also, thanks for the welcome :smiley:

Of course, that’s the power of AppleScript.

To get a smooth workflow there’s one requirement that all involved applications must be scriptable, which is not be sure.
On the Mac you must use an appropriate email client like MS Entourage or Apple Mail, which are both fairly scriptable.

So they could use MS Entourage or Mail for the email.

Do we need to go out to another application to create this email / cover letter / CV file? They make it a word doc at the moment, but I think a .pdf would easily suffice and offer some flexibility? This would rule out using OpenOffice / MS Office, BUT would they need Acrobat?

An additional question to this, the OS can handle pdf by itself, but would it be able to pull the contents of a .doc file without a copy of office? I didn’t think the OS could do that?

If you’re dealing just with plain text, AppleScript itself can create a text template using its read/write capabilities
and the OS could also create PDF files without any additional tool.

If you don’t have MS Office on the Mac (there’s also a Mac version which is extraordinarily scriptable) Apple’s can also read .doc files

Awesome, it’s all sounding very doable.

So the big question, how hard would it be to create?

It’s hard to judge :wink:

As mentioned above, if the emails contain only plain text, it doesn’t seem to be very difficult.
But if the email templates must be rich text or html, it’s quite difficult

Thanks for that.

Now I’ll have to go back to them and see if they would consider going to Mac when they upgrade. :rolleyes: