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Category: Shortcuts (page 1 of 2)

Finally Making Sense of Magic Variables in the Shortcuts App →

Dr. Drang:

All those green bubbles come from a single Magic Variable and its many parts. I’m going to show how to put them together—partly because it might help you, but mostly in the hope that doing this will reinforce the use of Magic Variables with me.

The introduction of Magic Variables in version 1.7 of the Workflow app was supposed to make the use of variables easier. Magic Variables never clicked with me, though, probably because I never spent the time to understand them. I finally grasp how to use them, thanks to this post by Dr. Drang. If you want to use Magic Variables in the Shortcuts app (the successor to the Workflow app), Dr. Drang’s post is a great place to start.


Apple Frames: A Shortcut for Framing Screenshots from Every Apple Device →

Federico Viticci writing for MacStories:

When I published my iPhone XS Frames shortcut two weeks ago, I noted that my goal was to eventually support screenshots and device templates from other Apple devices, starting with the Apple Watch and MacBook Pro. After two weeks spent rebuilding the shortcut and asking Silvia to prepare several more templates, I’m happy to re-introduce my shortcut as the new and improved Apple Frames – a comprehensive custom shortcut to frame screenshots taken on every Apple device. Well, at least most of the current ones that the company is still selling.

Stop looking for a way to create nicely framed screenshots for Apple devices, and just use this. I used the previous incarnation for iPhone screenshots, and it was fantastic. I could lament the absence of support for the 15 inch MacBook Pro, but that would be greedy. This is a completely free tool, and a good example of what you often can find at MacStories, and its subscription service, Club MacStories.


7 Sources for Ready-Made iOS Shortcuts

With the release of iOS 12, the Shortcuts app was released into the wild. Unlike Siri Shortcuts, through which you can assign simple voice commands to frequently used actions on your device,1 the Shortcuts app empowers you to build simple and complex automated workflows with a building block interface.

If you are intrigued by the power of the Shortcuts app, or you just want some inspiration, you’re in luck. Like the communities around other automation tools, Shortcuts users are generous with their creations and have shared their shortcuts online in several locations. Here are the seven best places I’ve found so far for downloading shortcuts:

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  1. Yes, I know that’s a gross oversimplification.


Siri Shortcuts and Things →

Marius Masalar, at his blog:

“Hey Siri, Add a new Writing task”
This example creates a new task in Things within my ‘Writing’ area, assigned to Today, and presents me with a pre-filled quick-entry window where I can add the title and hit save.

I’ve already created almost 50 Siri Shortcuts, but I haven’t done much in the way of integrating Siri Shortcuts with Things. I’ve only set up a couple Siri Shortcuts to filter my tasks with particular tag/list combinations. Follow the link above, though, for some really good examples of Siri Shortcuts set up to create tasks in Things. The post inspired me to set up a few.

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Use Shortcuts to Set a Custom Do Not Disturb (and to Hush Walkie-Talkie)

iOS 12 added some great functionality to Do Not Disturb, including the ability to set Do Not Disturb for an hour, until the evening, or until you leave your current location. Since my phone is silent and I get all notifications through taps from my Apple Watch, I can ignore most distractions pretty easily. As a result, I never bothered to activate DND when entering a meeting or starting a phone call on my office phone.

The introduction of the Walkie-Talkie app in watchOS 5 changed all this. Walkie-Talkie messages from a pre-approved contact blurt out from your Watch, unless you’ve either activated DND or changed your availability in the Walkie-Talkie app. I’ve started activating DND for an hour before I make phone calls on my office phone, but what I really need is the ability to set DND for a brief period of time.

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