5 Switch Automation Tips

5 Switch Automation Tips

Sometimes projects come to a point where it seems the task is impossible. You have all the hardware and software but there is still that one project you have that needs something extra. Don’t worry if the plugins you are looking for in Switch aren’t available for every task. There are always ways to get around sticky situations when using Enfocus Switch on MacOSX.

Sticky Situation 1 – Need to activate fonts for automated processing with Illustrator.

Research in font managers uncovered Font Agent Pro 5 for Macintosh. This font manager is scriptable by Applescript and can use the Switch Scripting Module to create applescripts to control Font Agent pro from within Switch which then can file fonts, open fonts, gather font information etc. Font Agent Pro will be able to determine the fonts used in Indesign and we will have control over collecting them and filing them in their folders. This font management software comes with its own Font Agent Pro plugins for programs like Quark and Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop for auto activation of fonts and works inside Switch.

Sticky Situation 2 – Need to automate Excel sreadsheet information for production.

We don’t always have xml or jdf data. Some workflows are driven by Excel files. Switch Scripting using Applescript can control capture and format of data from Excel spreadsheets as well as create Excel files if required. Excel on the Mac has an Applescript dictionary and you can see exactly what commands you can use.

Sticky Situation 3 – You need to post data to a website and do not have the capability.

The unix command line built into MacOSX has the capability to interface with websites using commands like cURL. The cURL command will transmit securely with passwords and can upload data to any website. It can also download data if customers supply URLs for download instead of FTP. You can plug cURL into the element Execute Command in Switch then add the passwords and other data required in your command line.

Sticky Situation 4 – You don’t know javascript or applescript but need a custom solution.

Switch has built in variable data that it can access at any point in a flow. This variable data spans information about the system from date and time to embedded statistics inside a PDF like fonts, page size and number of pages. You are allowed to set up multiple statements using AND / OR to logically arrive at your specific information. This is the same window that allows you to visually step through XML or JDF data if the metadata module is installed. It is also the same window you can use to step through your database when the database module is installed. Switch variable data allows you to pick and choose your data, no programming or scripting required.

Sticky Situation 5 – You want to have something automatically print to a proofer.

Simple tasks like laser printout should be easy but if the printer does not have a hot folder, not so easy. Looking at the tools in Switch there does not seem to be an element that just prints a file for you. Look closer and you will see it is built into the Acrobat element of Switch. Print is one of Acrobat’s built in commands and will go to the printer and use the settings that you have as set up as default in the printing preferences of the Mac.

Approach Switch with the attitude that anything can be done. It is more powerful than its list of elements and combined with a little know how it can accomplish most of the projects you thought were impossible. Join up on www.crossroads-world.com and meet other people in your industry testing out automation on the same platform as you. There are examples to get you started, blogs, forums and all important contacts as well.