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If You Do The Same Thing Over and Over Again and it Involves a Computer, Consider Automation


At work, my coworker had to create a bunch of documents for customers. The certificates were needed soon, but he ran into many issues, biggest of which was that there are over a thousand of them.

The certificate was designed in illustrator and I wondered if there was a form of automation in Illustrator and it turned out there was. Using a combination of batch actions and variables as well as some Excel polishing skills, I was able to generate all of them in a couple of hours. They aren’t perfect, but even after doing it properly, it would take me half a day, a far cry from 2 weeks.

In fairness, he didn’t have a newer version of Adobe Illustrator, but the same thing could be done in Word. Not sure how, but it should have some sort of batch automation.

Moral of the story is that we should capitalize on the fact that computers are very fast. They’re also very stupid so we should be specific in what we tell them to do, but one we get it up and running, we’ll save so much time. The time saved depends, but in my case, we can all agree that 4 hours is much shorter than weeks.

You don’t need to be some l33t haxor, a bit of googling and preparation goes a long way in being able to do this. If I can, I want to try and draft some principles for doing this.