Automator: Combine Record Contents

I’m having problems figuring out how to use the Automator Combine Record Contents action.

In my ideal workflow, I will have a set of records in a folder that I want to combine. I’d like to select them all, run an action, and have the record text all added to the first record, so it now reads “Record 1 contents / Record 2 contents / … / Record N contents” (imagine line breaks rather than slashes). It would be acceptable, but not ideal, if the result were a new record with the contents of all the records instead of having the information appended to the first record.

I can’t figure out how to do the ideal option. For the option of creating a new record, I am using the following Automator script: Get Selected Records, Combine Record Contents, New Text Record, Move Records to Current Group. That workflow creates a new record, but it doesn’t seem to live anywhere - not in the current group, not in the inbox, not in the global inbox. I can search for the title I specified in New Text Record, but even when I search, right click, and select Move to, it doesn’t appear in the intended destination.

I’m sure I’m overlooking something simple, so I hope someone can help me.

Why not use the existing Data > Merge command?

I didn’t know about that command, thank you.

I’m still confused on why Combine Record Contents doesn’t work. I’d like to figure out how to use that properly so I can get better at using AppleScript to simplify my workload.

Not to be pedantic, but learning Automator is not learning Applescript (though AS code can be inserted). If you really want to learn Applescript, open Script Editor and the dictionary for the application. (And yes, the merge command is in there.)


I misspoke in my attempt to rephrase the question. While I appreciate the technical clarification, I would appreciate more some help with figuring out what this “Combine Record Contents” tool does and how it works. It obviously doesn’t work as I expected, as evidenced by the attempted workflow/script/Automator thing in the first post. I’d like to learn how it actually works.

Could you ZIP and post the workflow? Thanks.

This workflow works for me over here:

The resulting document is placed in the root of the database where the combined documents reside. The root is the parent of the Inbox and all other groups. Select Go > Top Group to navigate to the database root.

NOTE: the workflow (unlike Merge) merely takes the plain text out of the selected documents and places them into a single plain text document. The Combine Records Content does nothing more and cannot do anything more than that. A more complex workflow would be easily written, but I’ve no time or interest in that.

I never knew about the top group - now I can find the resulting document. In my original workflow, why did Move Records to Current Group not work as expected?