A simple change in scenery can do wonders for productivity. For me that sometimes means sitting in a recliner in the corner of my office, using my MacBook and my office phone headset to make and receive calls. That’s possible because my firm’s VOIP phone service, Mitel, offers a Mac app that lets me trigger outgoing calls on my office phone. As long as I have my MacBook and telephone headset with me, my actual telephone unit can be across the office.
This process doesn’t work if I want to use my iPad to initiate calls. The Mitel iOS app won’t trigger calls on another device, such as my office phone. Not to be deterred, I put together a workflow to accomplish this. It sounds much more complicated (and much slower) than it really is.
Workflow in Use
The workflow involves two broad steps. First, the Workflow app on iOS takes the phone number off my clipboard and saves it to Dropbox. Next, Keyboard Maestro on my Mac reads that phone number out of Dropbox, and dials the number using the Mitel Mac app. The whole process takes just a few seconds.
I can show the workflow in action with two screenshots. First, I long press on the telephone number in Filevine, my firm’s case management system, and choose “Copy Phone Number.” As you can see in the screenshot, I keep Drafts open in split view for taking notes.
Next, I swipe in from the right side of the screen, bringing the Workflow app into slideover view, and tap the “Play” button. A few seconds later, my desk phone chimes, and I can tap my headset to connect the call. The whole process takes no longer than if I were at my desk, looking at the phone number on the screen and keying it into my phone.
Nuts and Bolts
The iOS Workflow
Here’s a screenshot of the iOS Workflow workflow, which you can download:
Step 1 of the workflow reads the phone number off the clipboard. Step 2 uses a regular expression to strip out anything but numbers (sometimes the number gets copied over with “tel:” on the front). Step 3 names the file, and the final step saves it to Dropbox. Steps 3 and 4 might be redundant, but it works so I’m not messing with it.
The Mac Workflow
Here is a screenshot of the Keyboard Maestro macro, which you can download (you’ll need to unzip the file after download):
The first step of the Keyboard Maestro macro reads the contents of the file sent over from my iPad, and saves those contents (the phone number) to the clipboard. The second step opens the Mitel app, while the third step consists of a pause to make sure the app has time to get front and center on my Mac. I will probably decrease this pause over time, as I become confident that it’s long enough.
The fourth step uses Keyboard Maestro’s ability to click on the screen based on the location of an image. This puts my mouse courser in the phone number entry field, so that the fifth step can paste the clipboard contents (the phone number) into that field. The sixth step simply hits the Enter key, which dials the number. The final step moves the Dropbox file to the trash, so I can run the process again for the next call.
This sounds very convoluted, and seems like it would take too long to run. In reality it’s pretty simple and pretty fast. Although I’ve included the Workflow and Keyboard Maestro files for download, above, they probably won’t be directly usable by anyone who doesn’t have my exact setup. I’ve found that even Keyboard Maestro’s “found image” feature doesn’t always work if you use an image you took on one machine, and try to use it on another. Hopefully, though, the downloads and screenshots will provide some guidance to someone who wants to give this a shot.