What’s New in Shortcuts – Issue #020

This week was somewhat quiet on the Shortcuts front – there’s likely a new version of iOS coming out soon so we’re in the calm before the storm – but that won’t stop us from having fun with it.

This week I’ve got a set for better note-taking habits, working through Item actions in the Scripting category, links to Automations, some of my streaming shortcuts, and handwriting shortcuts for Members:


As we’re headed into the last week of January, I wanted to help reinforce the building of new habits aided by technology – especially with a bit of smarts built in so there’s no setup required:

  • “Hey Siri, daily entry.”
    In one of my recent streams, somebody asked about Day One shortcuts – this one from my main LaunchPad folder helps me keep a quick log of things that happen throughout my day – the entry builds itself, or opens back into the same open after it’s already been created.
  • “Hey Siri, weekly note.”
    Similar to above, this shortcut creates a scratchpad for the current week – I like to use Calendar Weeks as a framework for the progression throughout the year with that incorporated right into the title each week.
  • “Hey Siri, Craft project template.”
    The folks at Craft are continuing to update their shortcuts, now adding in the ability to create a full document – I figured out that the text area accepts Markdown formatting, so I put together this project notes template based on the GTD methodology to fill out when starting something new.


This week in our progression of learning Scripting actions, we’ll be looking at Items actions – these are used after any other action to tally them, tweak the Name, and understand the content type:

  • **Count**
    Count can be used to, well, count the number of items passed in as input – this allows for options like changing behavior whether there’s 1 or more, none, and all sorts of mathematical conditions.
  • **Get Name** and **Set Name**
    Get Name can be used to identify the title or main identifying piece of the content used as input. In contrast, Set Name can be used to overwrite that Name to something new; you can also change a content’s file type entirely by giving it a new extension (like .csv).
  • **View Content Graph** and **Get Type**
    These actions let you understand and act on/create conditionals based on the type of content being used as input. The Content Graph is a full peek under the hood of how Shortcuts works and breaks down content into various types automatically. Get Type lets you use that type with actions like If for shortcuts such as “If this is an article, do X; if it’s a File, do Y”.
    Make sure to check out the View Content Graph shortcut and try it out for yourself – this is the engine that makes Shortcuts work right here.


This week’s links are full of Automations—something I need to lay out more on my Catalog—but until then here’s some that range from cheeky to quite helpful:

  • **The Bezos automation**
    This clever automation from Katie on Twitter works using the Open App trigger – every time you open Amazon, it opens a search for Jeff Bezos’ face on Google. All I can really say is that using this will certainly make you think twice about Amazon purchases.
  • **Battery automations on TikTok**
    This one’s actually from last October, but I always get served tech TikToks from this guy who’s speaking into his headphone jack – this one’s about using the Battery automations to have your phone automatically speak something when you’re done charging.
  • **Do Not Disturb for Fitness+ workouts**
    Lachlan Campbell has a post on their website about their new Apple Fitness+ habit – and how they’re using the Workout automations to automatically trigger Do Not Disturb. Check out the full post and follow them on Twitter.


I’ve been optimizing my streaming experience based on the last few member’s streams—sign up for the annual plan now and you’ll get access to them for the entire year—and these shortcuts are helping me manage it all:

  • “Hey Siri, open the Shortcuts Live doc.
    As I’m live I’ll occasionally have my notes on the side to keep track of the agenda and any pertinent things I want to remember – this will automatically create the note, plus open back in there at a moment’s notice from the Home Screen.
  • “Hey Siri, set this device up for a stream.”
    I’ve developed this over time for quickly setting up my devices for livestreams is using Shortcuts to open deep links into Settings for each option I want to tweak – things like auto-brightness, notification previews, and auto-lock.
  • “Hey Siri, tune into Shortcuts Live.”
    One problem I always have directing people to YouTube livestreams is the ever-changing URLs. Whether they’re the occasional public stream I’ll do or my members-only streams, I can use the domain Shortcuts.Live that I purchased to redirect people as needed – this shortcut opens that link for you so you can tune in at just the right time.


Here’s what’s new for Members this week:

  • **Handwriting shortcuts**
    I’ve uploaded a new folder for Members of Handwriting shortcuts – they’re, ahem, handy for using the Apple Pencil with iPad more often and keeping your notes nice & tidy each time. Look for the shortcut links on the Extras page.
  • **Saturday’s livestream**
    Members who couldn’t attend can check out the livestream from yesterday on the Extras page – I ended up walking through most of the Scripting actions in one go, so I recommend checking it out if you want to learn about those in a more casual environment. (For these streams, look for timestamps in the description a few days after publishing).
  • Clubhouse room for Shortcuts?
    I’ve been playing around with the Clubhouse app the last few weeks and have been getting tons of advice in YouTube chat rooms – would you all be interested in Shortcuts rooms? I could host interviews and answers questions on the fly – but right now the app is invite-only and I literally only have 3 more invites ? Let me know by replying here or on Twitter!

Hope you all end this first month of 2021 well.

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