Gets sheets from a group in Ulysses, asks which one to use, then adds it into iA Writer via their URL scheme. Only accepts text, so you’ll have to move over any images.
I’ll be using this to move my iMore articles out of Ulysses and into iA Writer when I want to edit them, add images according to iMore’s file naming system, and prepare them for uploading to the web.
Ulysses doesn’t allow the actual filenames of images to be renamed, so I have to use iA Writer near the end. Ulysses does allow for adding titles to images, but I want the actual file itself renamed for SEO purposes – so I built this shortcut to move my pieces over.
The day after iOS 13 launched, I was a guest on the iMore show to talk all about the updates to Siri Shortcuts (and a bit about the new iPhone):
Shortcuts expert Matthew Cassinelli is here with a wealth of information for making life better with iOS 13! He guides Lory Gil and Georgia Dow through the basics of shortcut creation and shares some of his own creations from matthewcassinelli.com.
I had a really great time talking to Lory Gil and Georgia Dow – Lory is the editor at iMore and corrects the mistakes in my freelance articles, and Georgia does a wonderful job as Senior Editor there too.
We also recorded this as a livestream, so here’s the video if you want to follow along – I even turned on my main camera with a top-down shot for part of it:
I gave them step-by-step instructions on how to make a GIF with Shortcuts, explained how the redesign makes things a lot easier to learn, and covered cool new Automations that are now available too.
We all got more and more excited as the episode went on, which was truly awesome – I could tell that the new changes made a lot of things click for them, which was fun to experience in real time.
While the Shortcuts app is primarily a touch-based system—where are you drag and drop actions around to create your scripts—there are a few keyboard shortcuts for iPad users that can speed up the experience of creating and managing their Siri Shortcuts.
Whether you’re opening the Gallery to view suggested shortcuts, searching for a shortcut in your list, or quickly controlling parts of the shortcuts editor, these simple keyboard shortcuts are worth learning.
Hopefully anyone building shortcuts checks out this piece for iMore and sees what’s possible in Shortcuts via the keyboard now. I try to use them as much as possible to help with ergonomics, plus it does speed tings up a bit.
Near the end, I also listed some keyboard shortcuts I’d like Shortcuts to adopt in the future. Full keyboard control of the app would be a massive boon to productivity, especially when these iPad screens sit propped up at such steep angles.
For this update, Apple reworked some the fundamentals of Siri Shortcuts, taking the Shortcuts app’s powerful actions and offering those capabilities to other apps on the App Store. Plus, they all work fully in Siri, marking another step forward in Apple’s voice strategy.
The Shortcuts app has been redesigned, making it easier to understand and get started with, there’s powerful new Automation capabilities that let you run your Siri Shortcuts based on a series of triggers, and the Gallery now has new automatic recommendations based on your personal usage.
With about 2,500 words and 24 screenshots, I covered everything that’s new in the betas so far. I’ll be revisiting each topic over time, but this is the best way to get all the news in one place.
For users who’ve updated to the latest version of Adobe Lightroom for iOS, there is a special surprise waiting – a new dedicated Lightroom action for the Shortcuts app, Apple’s newest automation tool for building custom Siri Shortcuts.
This enables users to batch import photos to Lightroom, apply the built-in Presets, and otherwise act on your photos in the process of custom shortcuts in the Shortcuts app, opening up mobile photography to deeper automation potential.
Lightroom is the first native action from a third-party app added to Shortcuts since the days of Workflow, so hopefully this is a sign of more actions to come.
Some things to note:
RAW support is RAW-only, otherwise the RAW+JPG gets imported as a JPG
The action passes content through as output, so you can put Delete Photos right after and they’ll be removed from Photos too
Applying the Presets only takes advantage of the defaults, but hopefully this will change one day.
I’m super excited, because this was a big sticking point in The Verge’s review, and it’s hopefully the first of many Shortcuts actions.
Head over to my friend Shawn Blanc’s site for a good example shortcut – he selects photos and uses the Shortcuts action extension to add them, but what he doesn’t mention is this works great with drag & drop on iPad too.
You might’ve seen a few weekly recaps that I started up on this blog – in order to avoid as much weekend work as well as the monotony of similar posts, I’m combining those into this new monthly recap.
At the end of each month, I’ll be sharing things that I’ve published across the web, whether it be a post here, an article on The Sweet Setup or iMore, an appearance on a podcast, or anything else I might be up to.
I’m also sharing great work I find elsewhere (plus a few things of my own) in my new newsletter. I’ll be sharing it twice a month, but I’m not setting specific dates – once near the beginning and another near the end — so look for the first near the end of August!
Inside, I’ll be curating articles, tweets, videos, podcasts, and music, plus new shortcuts that I’m building. These shortcuts will be exclusive in the newsletter for 10 days, then I’ll be sharing them elsewhere online so everyone can get them even if they don’t want to sign up.
The main theme will be technology, but it won’t just be about Apple stuff – subjects will change over time but I’m also into topics like philosophy, data visualization, marketing, video games, and more, plus I want to expand as time goes on.
I also want to hear from you if you’re on the mailing list. Please reply if you have anything to say and I’ll read your emails (I may even feature some with responses in the future, if you’re open it).
Anyway, here’s what I wrote in July (and here’s the workflow/shortcut I used to generate this list):
In case you can’t tell from my crack headline writing, swiping on the popover that appears when you go to copy and paste menu makes it easier to access the Share button.
I had fun making a simple GIF to show the interaction, and I think that went a long way in making the post useful for people – just reading about it is nice, but seeing it in action makes a difference.
This is mostly useful since I use that menu all the time with Workflow – now it’s going to be even handier to use with Shortcuts. It’s great to select text, share it into a shortcut, and act on it with the features like Make Rich Text From Markdown or Change Case.
Getting Started with Shortcuts
But the big fun came later in the week, when the beta for Shortcuts dropped and everyone started playing around what’s essentially Workflow 2.01.
All the new features were discovered right away:
More highlights from Shortcuts beta:
– Scriptable Do Not Disturb (!!) and other device settings
– Third-party URL schemes fully supported
– Show Result for Siri with Magic Variables
– New payment actions based on SiriKit pic.twitter.com/qwyiBFM7eb
Eventually, I was able to stop jumping up and down, sit down, and write up an introduction to the Shortcuts app for iMore2 – this went into the very basics of installing the app, what happens to your old workflows if you used Workflow, and where to start looking for more ideas for custom shortcuts.
I have lots of other pieces coming about Shortcuts on both iMore, The Sweet Setup, and here on my own website (plus some scheduled podcast appearances!).
But until then I’ve started a Twitter thread where I’m sharing some of the bigger concepts or examples of shortcuts I’ve made over time in one place. Click on it, scroll through, add it to your Twitter bookmarks when you’re done, and come back again later:
Friends, I am fully available to help with Shortcuts.
I’m not working full time so that I can do this for all of you. Do not ever hesitate to reach out, I would be happy to be drowning in requests.
My goal joining Workflow was to tell people about this – nothing has changed 📱
In my piece, I talked about some of my vision for where I see Shortcuts taking Siri in the future. It’s not about the nitty gritty of building shortcuts, but instead about the end result of adding useful shortcuts into your routine with Siri – actually getting things done.
I’ve been reading TechCrunch for years and it’s one of the earliest technology website I remember devouring when I first got into the scene – I am extremely honored to see my name there after I was invited to write at WWDC.3
Links from the week
In case you noticed, I’m moving this weekly recap to Sunday instead.4
So Sundays it is – it doesn’t technically fit the calendar week as nicely for this to go out the day after, but also I can recap the entire week if I do happen to publish something else on Saturday.
Otherwise, here’s a few links from elsewhere around the web to check out – this week I’m focusing on Shortcuts because of the launch, but I’ll keep it to a wider range of topics in the future:
Automators #1: Automating Calendar Events: The Automators podcast from Relay.FM just launched their first episode on Friday and it dives into different ways to use your calendar. I’ve never subscribed to a podcast so fast – they have a great forum, they’re making blog posts and videos for each episode. I’m sure it will be a great resource for the Shortcuts app and a bunch of other types of automation for iOS, Mac, and the web too.
Initial observations of Shortcuts: Jordan Merrick has a good quick reaction to the new features Shortcuts gained over Workflow and how they affect usage. I agree that it’s slightly odd that the action groups are hidden within the search field – I hope people aren’t confused and think there’s a limited set of options.
r/shortcuts: There’s a new subreddit for Shortcuts that popped up over the weekend – I joined as moderator to help with the transition from r/workflow, guide the community as best I can, and try to establish a positive tone for the submissions.5
I’m trying to set up my cellular plan on my iPad Pro after my last one was stolen, but T-Mobile is being difficult and says “Your account is not set up for logging in.” What?! Anyone go through this and have suggestions?
I’m saving a bunch of my shortcuts as files and cleaning up my library – funny how the fact that sharing by link isn’t available is prompting me to do this now, when it would have been helpful to do all along.
I’m still hard at work on a few new projects, which are slow but steady. I’m getting super excited and hope to launch sometime soon!
Despite calling it a weekly newsletter and accepting names for the list months ago, I haven’t yet published a single issue.
I’m still taking sign-ups though and waiting for the right moment to launch it, so add your email here and you’ll get it in your inbox when the time comes.
I was waiting for a friend and just said hi to the person closest to me – it was Sarah Perez, and after we talked she grabbed the editor Matthew Panzarino, I mentioned I worked at Workflow, and he said I should write something up. ↩
That’s partially because that’s when my TechCrunch piece was going out, but also anyone who’s run a website probably knows it sucks to try and write on the first day of your weekend. ↩
I saw some people in the Workflow subreddit who could be too critical of new users or repeated questions, so I’m going to push things towards an air of openness and learning – this app is damn confusing and we’ll all be better off in the long run by lifting one another up. ↩
I’ve had the privilege to write for The Sweet Setup the last few months and now iMore, so I wanted to share some of the links here.
Primarily I’ve been writing about Workflow, trying to get some of the ideas in my head out and into the world so other people can take better of the app – especially now that it’s free. But I’m also dabbling in product reviews & photography, a new challenge that’s proving lots of fun and hard work.
Things for task management
I started writing about three workflows for Things templates, meant to act as quick ways to copy items into the task management app. They’re also good examples of using Split Text,
I followed it up with a deep dive into Things for iOS’s new URL scheme, which enables a huge set of automation capabilities for optimizing the capture and review processes for my productivity system. I tried to write about it in a way that people new to deep linking and automation might be able to learn as they go, partly echoing the way I wrote the documentation for Workflow.
HomePod in the house
After that I did my first product review, trying to capture the experience of what it’s like to own a HomePod and use it with Siri in the house. I also produced 30 photos for the review, taking way too much time but leaning into my other side business of product photography.
I really enjoyed taking the time to think about how the new product category fits into a consumer’s life, and I’m hoping HomePod gets better soon because I want to push it further. I’ve got a few articles in production about how I use HomePod beyond the practical parts of using the smart speaker, and I’m eagerly waiting for AirPlay 2.
In there I shared a cool Brightness by Battery workflow1 that dims your screen according to your power level, and a few others for tweaking your system settings programmatically. These are great for using with Run Workflow in the middle of other workflows, like little mid-automation widgets you can reuse across your different workflows.
Finally, today I published my first post for iMore detailing step-by-step instructions for 5 different workflows related to the Reminders app. I show you where to find the actions, explain how to place the actions & tweak the parameters to get it right, and include links to each of mine so you can get them yourself and follow along.
Reminders are helpful on their own, but Workflow takes things to the next level — here's how to use them in tandem! https://t.co/FVBzI2ULRz