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:
The iWork apps for Mac just got support for Shortcuts. Most notably the Numbers app got an action to append a row to a table ??
— Simon B. Støvring (@simonbs) April 7, 2022
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:
- “Open Document”
- “Create Document”
- “Open Spreadsheet”
- “Create Spreadsheet”
- “Add Row to Top or Bottom of Table”
- “Open Presentation”
- “Create Presentation”
- “Open Presentation in Rehearsal Mode”
- “Open Presentation in Show Mode”
One Weird Thing
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.
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.