Parallel processing and "Key wait" combo

Sounds like quite an appetising dish for the Automator!

Using this technique you can choose to run separate pathways in an automation, all at the touch of a button.

Here’s how to prepare:-

The "Key wait" is very useful in itself in that it allows you to pause in an automation until you have tapped any or a specific key.

Here is the task below.

If you’re looking for it now, take a peak in the "Extras" menu in the Automator – now can you see it?

You may remember that a few months ago I mentioned parallel processing in an automation, where you can ask the Automator to carry out two tasks simultaneously.

Why not combine the two features?

Here’s a simple automation that I have written to illustrate its potential.

I have used verbal Tell tasks to illustrate the presence of separate pathways, but you can make them as complicated or as simple as you like. (The presence of null tasks is purely to tidy the automation so you can see what is going on.)

To set which key to use in the "Key wait" task, double click on the task to open the set-up dialog.

Select "This key" then press the set button.

Now press the key that you want to use to activate the task.


In the example shown above, I set up the "Key wait" tasks using different keys to activate each command. Hitting the "Y" key will activate the Tell task to say "Yes please" and hitting the "N" key will activate the Tell task to say "No thank you".

As the automation splits into two branches, both pathways pause because of the presence of the "Key wait" task.

By hitting either "Y" or "N" on the keyboard the user can decide on which pathway to use.

The "Key wait" task can be used in many ways. Some examples are:

1. To make choices on what flourophore to capture instead of asking questions using "Input" tasks.

2. To choose whether to delete a layer from the Image Document.

3. To view or select different layers within an automation.