Creating Customized User Preferences Using Automator

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the May, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Don Smith, of, sent me the following technique. As with any scripting program, make backup copies of your preferences and test this first, before running it on a production system.

In these instructions, I’ve listed the Automator steps and then included a graphic of the Applescript so that you’ll see it’s not as scary as it sounds. I’ve never done Applescript before. I’ve never done Automator before either, for that matter. 🙂


First, set your FCP Prefs as you like.


1. Right-click on the prefs folder and compress them into a ZIP archive.


2. Name the compressed file something unique to help you remember what the prefs were set up for or for whom.


3. Run Automator and start stacking its big window on the right.


4. Drag the FCP prefs folder into the big window on the right side of Automator.


5. From the Actions column, drag over “Move to trash


6. Move the compressed file now into the big Automator window.


7. From the Actions column, drag over “Open Finder Items


8. From the Actions column, drag over “Pause“. Set it for one second.


Smith 1


9. From the Actions column, drag over “Run AppleScript” Within the window, erase the place-keeper words between and including the parenthesis and insert:

tell application “Finder
close very window
end tell.


Smith 2


10 Finally, from the Actions column, drag over “Launch Application” Set the drop-down to launch Final Cut Pro


11. Save this as an application. Change the name of the application to reflect the purpose of that set of FCP preferences. Now, double-clicking on that application resets the FCP prefs for that purpose and launches FCP at the same time. One stop shopping.


This movie tells how to make an Automator icon to both refresh your FCP prefs and then, at the same time, launch FCP. It also includes my expansion of the idea to create different versions of FCP for different users to simulate FCP having a “User” function.


View the movie here:

Larry replies: Very cool. Thanks for sharing this.


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