Office 2011 has dozens of Automator actions to make scripting tasks possible without necessarily having to know AppleScript. Outlook for Mac alone has more than 20 actions that you can use individually or in combination with other actions. Let’s look at creating a very simple but useful workflow to attach messages to a new Outlook for Mac mail message.
First, launch the Automator.app application found in the /Applications folder. You’ll first be asked to choose a template for your workflow. For this simple workflow, we want to select Service. A Service will appear as an item in a contextual menu when you right-click or Control-click something. Click the Choose button to continue.
Workflows read from top to bottom as a sequence of steps. So, let’s start at the top.
Look at the top of the workflow window for Service receives selected followed by a couple of drop-down menus. Set this part of the workflow to read: Service receives selected files or folders in any application.
This tells the Automator workflow to act on whatever files or folders we select.
The left pane of the Automator window is called the Library. Locate Outlook in the Library and select it. This will display nothing but the Outlook actions in the second pane of the Library.
Locate the Create New Outlook Mail Message action and drag it into the right pane of the Automator window.
The new action will attach itself to the above action. This indicates that anything from the first action, which receives selected files or folders, will be passed along to the second action, which is to create a new Outlook mail message. Congratulations! You’ve just created a workflow!
If you’d like to further customize the addressees, the Subject or the Message then enter that information now. I suggest you leave this blank so that you can use this workflow for sending attachments to anyone for any purpose.
Select Save from the File menu to save your new Service. Name it something descriptive such as “Attach to new message in Outlook”.
Automator will automatically save your new Service workflow to your home folder: ~/Library/Services.
Now, let’s test it. Locate a small file on your Desktop such as a picture or PDF and right-click or Control-click the file to view the contextual menu. At the bottom of the menu select Services and then select the name of your newly created Service.
Within a few seconds, your selected file should appear as an attachment in a new Outlook mail message. This will work for multiple files too! Folders will be automatically compressed into .zip files before attaching.
Try variations of this workflow for different purposes. You may want to consider including a default addressee and subject in the workflow if you know you’ll be sending files to this same person repeatedly. You can even add the Send Outgoing Outlook Mail Messages action to the end to send the message immediately if you have no need to edit it.