To learn how to do this, read on.
Setting up Address Book
Before we start building the Automator workflow, let's make sure that your Address Book contacts are set up properly. By default, Mac OS X's Address Book doesn't include a field to fill in the birthdays; so let's set up the default template to automatically include this:
- Open Address Book
- Go to Preferences (Address Book > Preferences or use command + , )
- Click Template
- Then in the "Add Field" drop-down box, select "Birthday"
Now let's set up the Automator workflow that will make the "magic" happen. You will need the following Automator actions in the same order as they are listed:
- "Find People with Birthdays"
- "Send Birthday Greetings"
Saving the workflow
Now let's save this workflow as an application. Click File > Save. Specify a name, and chose "Application" from the "Format:" drop-down box. This will save your workflow as a Mac OS X application.
Running the workflow
Double-click on the application you just saved to run the workflow. The workflow will prompt you for a search interval. Use the drop-down box to specify how far ahead to search for the birthdays. I chose "This week" to search for birthdays occurring this week.
The workflow will then search for all birthdays that are occurring this week. If it finds more than one person, it will pass it through the workflow as well -- so you can have more than one birthday greeting when it is finished running. Once it has finish searching, another dialog will prompt you to chose a birthday greeting image, and write a short message. Notice that if you have more than one recipient, this message will be copied to all of the messages; so if you want to personalize the message, it's best to wait until the workflow sends it to Mail. Notice that you can also choose to send a random image to each recipient and have the computer randomly pick images.
If you encounter many birthdays each week, consider placing this application in your dock and setting it to run on startup -- then you will be sure to never miss a birthday!