been trawling the forums and online articles trying to figure this out but haven't managed. I'll be very grateful if someone can point me in the right direction!

Objective: To create an option in the print menu that will output a PDF and open it immediately in a specified application. That's it.

I believe Automator should be able to do this by:

  1. New Automator flow created - 'Print Plug-in' - This enable the option to come up in the Print menu (success!). And the description - Print Plugin receives PDF files from the print system sounds perfect - i.e. - It will input a PDF into the plug-in flow.
  2. ...? This is where I must be doing something wrong. Tried so far:

    a. 'Set application for files - 'This action selects the application used to open the specified files.' - However, when I run the plug-in, nothing happens.

    b. 'Launch application' - When I use this, the application I want to output the PDF to launches, but the actual PDF output doesn't open in it.

    c. A combination of a and b - ie - Launch application then set it for files - This has a similar result to b.

I'm at a loss of what to do here. I suspect it must be something very simple! Would appreciate any help.

Thanks in advance!

Update with the how-to

Added as answer..

  • Righto - as always with these things, the moment I decided to take to the community to help, the problem got solved! Editing my question above with the fix... – Hemal Aug 24 '16 at 3:49
  • Please don't add the fix to your question. Post it as an answer and accept the answer. – tubedogg Aug 24 '16 at 3:50
  • Ah ok.. will do (sorry, a bit of a noobie here, still getting the hang of things..) – Hemal Aug 24 '16 at 3:55


Kept playing around after asking and found the right set of actions to add to the workflow to get the result I want. In case anyone has a similar question/requirement in the future, the way to do this is:

  1. Create new Automator flow and select 'print plug-in' - This will add the option to the bottom left button when in the print dialog.
  2. (In Automator) - 'Open finder items' - There is a dropdown there to specify the application you wish to open the newly created PDF to. E.g. Evernote (which I used to test to make sure this flow is working) will create a new note with the output PDF within it.
  • 1
    This works PERFECTLY. Great instructions, by the way. – TMHahn Aug 24 '16 at 4:14

When I hit Command⌘-P, I get the following print menu. In the lower left, it says "PDF." If I click on that, a dropdown opens and I am given the choice to open the document as a PDF in Preview.

In your original post, you stated you're trying to, "create an option in the print menu that will output a PDF and open it immediately in a specified application."

Does this option do what you need it to?

PDF Opening

  • Yup so I got to adding the automator workflow I wanted to the menu you've highlighted - the issue I had was trying to get the automator workflow to open the newly created PDF in the application of my choice. Finally figured it out and have updated my question with the solution. Cheers for the help! – Hemal Aug 24 '16 at 3:54
  • Ah, "of your choice!" Gotcha. Like Adobe Acrobat. That would be useful! – TMHahn Aug 24 '16 at 3:56
  • Yuppp exactly! Extremely simple in hindsight - doing the same thing on Windows requires the user of virtual printers and Ghostscript/Nova PDF. – Hemal Aug 24 '16 at 3:59
  • I'm so glad you figured it out. It helped me, too! – TMHahn Aug 24 '16 at 4:15

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