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Apps News

Apple adds Shortcuts for Mac support to Pages, Numbers, Keynote

Today, Apple released updates to their iWork suite of apps that adds actions in Shortcuts for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on macOS, bringing powerful first-party actions that Mac users can take advantage to automate their work:

New First-Party Actions

Across all three iWork apps, there are now actions for “Open” and “Create” – plus Numbers has added “Add Row to Top or Bottom of Table” and Keynote has added “Open in Rehearsal Mode” and “Open in Show Mode.”

The Create actions all also include the templates/themes available in the iWork apps, which makes it quick to generate 40+ samples from Pages, Numbers, and Keynote each for a total of over 120+ templates.

Here’s the full list of actions:

  • Pages
  • “Open Document”
  • “Create Document”
  • Numbers
  • “Open Spreadsheet”
  • “Create Spreadsheet”
  • “Add Row to Top or Bottom of Table”
  • Keynote
  • “Open Presentation”
  • “Create Presentation”
  • “Open Presentation in Rehearsal Mode”
  • “Open Presentation in Show Mode”

One Weird Things

One oddity worth mentioning is that the “Add Row” action requires Numbers to physically open the spreadsheet and insert the data, just like it does on iOS – Apple should make this action work in the background without opening the app, otherwise it creates an inconsistent experience with every other action in Shortcuts that doesn’t require opening the app to insert data.

Shortcuts was specifically designed to create a smooth user experience and avoid opening apps to insert data in the foreground (as it did in the previous iteration as Workflow) – this seems like a step back for Shortcuts and users should be able to append data to the spreadsheet via the filesystem.

What This Means for Shortcuts

These new actions are incredibly important to Shortcuts for Mac and the automation ecosystem on Apple’s desktop computing platform – these actions were sorely missing from the release of macOS Monterey and are representative of how Apple thinks about first-party actions for Shortcuts.

Without them, one of the core tools Apple offered simply didn’t integrate with its new automation platform – now, Apple users (and third-party developers) have an excellent set of actions to use as an example for how to integrate with Shortcuts; I want to see more of this from Apple.

More Please

I hope we see more actions like this set from all of Apple’s first-party apps, plus an extension of these actions to go even deeper – I’d love actions for pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic, plus Apple should add actions for more utility apps like System Preferences.

We’ve also seen existing iOS actions come to the Mac, but many for apps like Safari don’t work the same or actions aren’t taking much advantage of Mac-specific features. Making all these actions work in the background, adding in support for things like appending/prepending to your documents/inserting pages into your presentation would be great, and adding truly powerful functions like pulling data out of spreadsheets are the ultimate goal – I should be able to automate every aspect of these apps, not only be able to perform these simple (but welcome) actions.


I’ll be releasing a full set of shortcuts to take advantage of these actions soon, so look out for those on my Shortcuts Catalog or sign up for my newsletter to get updates when I release any new shortcuts.

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Links

What’s New in Shortcuts: #32

New issue of my Shortcuts newsletter is out:

Welcome to Issue 32 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” – what a week for Shortcuts tweets!

Florian BĂĽrger shared his Fjorden automation (say that five times fast), an important SOS shortcut is making the rounds on TikTok, there’s a handful of new apps with great Shortcuts support, and an impressive list of ideas straight from the community.

Plus, stay for the end as I guide you through my super-intelligent choice to delete my entire Shortcuts database on the Mac – and learn how I barely made it through the other side with my library (partially) intact:

Read the full newsletter on Revue (~2800 words).

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Newsletter Offsite

“What’s New in Shortcuts” #29

New issue of my Shortcuts newsletter is out – come for the generative soundscapes, stay for the mind-mapping enthusiasm:

Welcome to Issue 29 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” – this week is the last iteration of the current iOS and Mac beta cycles, meaning soon we’ll have new versions of Shortcuts with bug fixes out.

As I mentioned last week, Shortcuts seems to be mostly stable now and I’ve been able to rely on more shortcuts that were previously broken – things like Copy to Clipboard and Convert Time Zone are fixed.

I am unfortunately still having sync issues (my folders lost their sort order twice this week) intermittently, so I hope you all don’t run into that after the update.

Otherwise, this week we’ve got a lot of goodness to cover – I shared some soundscape and mind mapping shortcuts, we saw some new apps adding actions, Six Colors put out more podcast notes follow-up, and there a very, very cool spotlight from the App Store:

Read the full newsletter on Revue (~2100 words).

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Newsletter

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 14

Originally posted as What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 14 – sign up for the newsletter here.

Welcome to issue 14 of “What’s New in Shortcuts?”

This is the week! Once iOS 14.3 drops, millions of people will update their smartphones and suddenly be able to create their “app ideas” by adding them as shortcuts to their Home Screen.

The main change? The limitation where “custom icons always open into Shortcuts first” is now gone!

Shortcuts added to the Home Screen actually behave like you’d expect, opening into apps immediately – plus they run all the scripting actions perfectly, just like the Shortcuts widget.

Other than that, here’s what’s new in Shortcuts this week:

🎧  SHORTCUTS TO THE MAX

Apple Fitness+ comes out tomorrow, Apple’s releasing AirPods Max, and M1 Macs are still shipping out to new users every day – here’s how to take advantage of Apple’s latest updates:

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Newsletter

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 13

Originally posted as What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 13 – sign up for the newsletter here.

Welcome to Issue 13 of “What’s New in Shortcuts?”

As the betas of iOS 14.3 keep chugging along with the promise of better Home Screens coming soon, the community has rediscovered some new features that snuck in around iOS 14.1.

Plus, I’ve got some tools I put together for my own workflow – and a fun one for getting in the Christmas spirit.

Over on Reddit, we’ve got more creative uses of Shortcuts – and for members, I’ve updated my Routine checklists to use Reminders and Notes (which I’m quite excited about, not going to lie ).

đź’ˇ AUTOMATIONS, ICONS, AND ADAPTIVE LIGHTING

The new Personal Automations for Email and Messages haven’t seemed too useful – but a few more details make the difference. Plus, two actions you might not’ even used:

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Apps Links

Transit’s Apple Watch app returns after two-year hiatus

Jon Fingas, writing for Endgaget about Transit for iOS releasing a new version of their Apple Watch app:

The popular public transportation tool is now a native app, of course, but it also gives you considerably more detail than just arrival times, including future arrivals and a map indicating where to go. 

I’m glad to see more apps slowly returning to the Apple Watch (or adopting it for the first time). Will be trying this out over the weekend ?.

Read the full article.

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Apps

New DuetCam app shoots video with both cameras at once

Today, as first noticed by 9to5Mac, developer Marcel Schmitz launched a brand new app called DuetCam for $2.99 that takes advantage of iOS 13’s ability to record video with both the front-facing camera and one of the back cameras at the same time.

Schmitz’ app basically lets you film what’s in front of you while also recording yourself in a smaller picture-in-picture box, creating an immersive experience where you can talk to the camera while showing what you’re looking at.

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Apps Links Tips & Tricks

Audible update lets you use credits to buy books in iOS app

In the latest app update on iOS, Audible now lets users actually buy audiobooks inside the app using existing credits.

According to a tweet from Chris Fralic of First Round (originally sourced by Joshua Topolosky of The Outline), the “Add to Library” button in Audible will show the message “You can now use credits without leaving the app!”:

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Links Podcasts Offsite

Android Just Smells Like Home (feat. Julia Skott)

New episode of Supercomputer out:

Matthew hosts special guest Julia Skott – quite literally in his home. Julia’s all about Android, but uses an iPad and Mac, so the two have a lot to talk about. Plus Julia is just amazing.

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Apps Links Tips & Tricks

“Make your Mac dance” with MacSparky’s Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

Yesterday, David Sparks released the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide, the seventh paid course offered through his Learn MacSparky site1. This 4-hour block of videos covers 76 different screencasts about Keyboard Maestro, the Mac automation application that provides significantly deep capabilities and makes them available to use across your Apple desktop or laptop.

As usual, David’s course is well-paced, insightful, and makes it easy to learn complex topics like Keyboard Maestro’s slightly esoteric design language.