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Scripting Events has been developing automated solutions for a wide variety of clients since 1998. Unfortunately, many companies consider the solutions so valuable that Ray Robertson is asked not to disclose them to others, for fear of revealing competitive secrets.

Time and time again, Ray has entered companies at which workers felt nothing more can be automated. But after patiently listening to descriptions of the present workflow, he delivers dramatic improvements -- sometimes fully automating an entire workflow, and other times allowing for necessary human decision-making at stages but taking the tedium out of the process. Ray considers his background as a typesetter and Macintosh systems manager as one of his most valuable assets when working with printing clients. More information about his background can be found here.

Below are some solutions Scripting Events has developed (often in partnership with others) which can be revealed.

For anyone with experience working with tables in page layout programs, this solution has to be seen to be believed. It is always a jaw-dropper when shown at seminars and other venues. This script searches an entire catalog for tables of varying widths with varying numbers of columns. Individually, it then figures out the longest item in each column of a table, and then calculates the tab setup precisely to add gutter space between each column. Now a catalog that used to take weeks to set up can be completed in less than a day.

Display Ad Importer
For yellow pages, magazines or other publications with complicated display ad layouts, ad placement is very important. There are many rules to be followed about what goes where, often requiring human intervention. Display Ad Importer is an AppleScript program that floats over page layouts and allows the user to choose where ads should be place individually. And it doesn't matter if the ad artwork is not ready yet-it will still reserve the spot and then later fill it in automatically once the ad is ready. The script also works to update cross-references-such as See our ad on page...-and even updates the references if ads are moved.

Directory Automation
Phone books and other directories can be automated with special XTensions or Plugins in combination with AppleScript. The result is a book that can be built in a matter of minutes, with AppleScript then running afterwards to "clean-up" the text: looking for overflow lines, squeezing type when it is possible for a listing to fit on one line, etc. And AppleScript can help in the proofing stage as well-automatically generating PDFs and sending them to the client via e-mail or FTP.

Pie Charts And Graphs
So you need to do really nice looking graphs and charts showing statistics for 50 states, or 150 counties, or 1,000 cities? And they need to be prepress ready instead of some trash generated out of Excel? AppleScript can help there, too, driving Adobe Illustrator to produce customized graphics, and automatically importing them into a page layout program or uploading them to a web site.

There's More...
Much more. In a couple of cases, Scripting Events clients have cried tears of joy when they realize how much time a solution is going to save them. All automation jobs are a challenge, and many require tremendous creativity. What is your worst job? Please send a note and give Ray a chance to tell you what automation can do for your workflow.

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