Creating Useful Helper Actions For Mac Numbers

By using JavaScript in Automator you can change the value of selected cells in Numbers. But a little more coding you can place specific or random values in the cells, reorder them, insert data from the clipboard or even an Internet location. There are allo sorts of ways to use code like this to do things you couldn't easily do in Numbers otherwise.



Download the text of the scripts here.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Creating Useful Helper Actions For Mac Numbers”

    Scott R
    5 months ago

    Interesting video. Can you give some quick recommendations on the best way to start learning the JavaScript language you showed for automating Numbers? Do I start with learning Automator first? Is JavaScript the primary or only language for Automator? Is there a JavaScript language documentation feature within Automator similar to the function browser in Numbers? I’ll starting watching your Automator videos ASAP. Thanks.

    5 months ago

    Scott: You can use JavaScript, AppleScript or shell scripts in Automator. There is no documentation in Automator, but there is in the Script Editor app (the Library) and Script Editor is a good place to play around and learn “JavaScript for Automation,” which is what is used in Script Editor and Automator. But a basic background in JavaScript is helpful, and that is easy to find all over the Internet since it is used everywhere.

    Dan
    5 months ago

    Awesome as always! Thanks.

    Question: Pretend I have a single column of 10,000 words (1 per row) and I want to put that data into a 100X100 table. Is there any way to simply paste the data and have it fill the first column, move the the next, and so on, or would I have to copy/paste one row at a time? Thanks!

    5 months ago

    Dan: One idea: Add a second column. Put an XXXXX in every 100th row of that second column. Then export as a CSV. Then open it in TextEdit. Then find and replace every line break with nothing, so it is one long list off items on one line. Then find and replace every XXXXX with a line break. Now you have 100 lines of 100 items. Save and import that CSV into a new Numbers document.

    Brenda Brooks
    5 months ago

    I found this subject really interesting and immediately found a use for 3 of your examples (Date, Actual Value and Reverse Cells). I would love to be able to do the same in Numbers on my iPad. Any ideas how I could achieve that?

    5 months ago

    Brenda: You can’t automate on iOS like you can on a Mac. There is no Automator app, just Shortcuts, which doesn’t do much for Numbers. And you can’t write scripts like with JavaScript or AppleScript.

    John
    1 month ago

    The last part about setting a background color automatically is almost what I’m trying to do! I have a spreadsheet of weather data, and I figured out how to calculate a color for each number. So I have one column with numbers and the next column with hex codes. Is there a way I can write a script so that when I select a bunch of cells in a column, for each cell it will take the value of the cell directly to the right (something like “#953AAC”) and use that as the text color for this cell?

    1 month ago

    John: Yes, you should be able to do that. Try working it out.

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