Every few minutes I need to click a button on Yosemite's menu bar and select an option. I'd like to automate this task by somehow recording this action and scheduling it to execute via cron / command line.

I've tried creating an Automator workflow using the "Watch Me Do" feature, but although it executes fine inside Automator, when I run automator myclicks.workflow in the Terminal, it gives me this cryptic error message:

The action encountered an error.

How can I get automator action to work?

  • 1
    Welcome. I've edited this to have one question. If you want to ask a second question about software-recommendations feel free to link here and explain you want an alternative to Automator. Also, please edit this to show the "cryptic" error message or upload a link to the photo (imgur works well)
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 23:37
  • Not sure how much help can be given without seeing the actual myclicks.workflow file, however do you get any more helpful output if you run with debugging enabled? E.g.: automator -debug myclicks.workflow Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 0:36
  • @user3439894 the -debug didn't return anything meaningful, thanks anyway
    – Schrute
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


So this might be an Accessibility issue. I was able to resolve it by going to System Preferences>Security & Privacy>Accessibility and then making sure Terminal had a check in the checkbox under Privacy.

This link does a great job of explaining it. Automator in Terminal

And by the way console can be very useful in getting meaningful error messages.

Hope this helped.

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