Shortcuts

At our 26th November meeting, Robert talked about using the Shortcuts app newly available on Mac in Monterey. He demonstrated creating a couple of simple shortcuts to automate common tasks. In addition, DaveK showed some updates to his app in development and members gave a number of handy suggestions.

App Development Update

DaveK gave us another update on the new iOS app he’s currently developing including how he acted on feedback given by members at the last meeing. You can find details of Dave’s currently available Mac and iOS apps on the Zenopolis web site.

Shortcuts on Mac

Robert showed the Shortcuts app, available on Mac for the first time in macOS Monterey after having been on iOS for several versions. Shortcuts lets you easily automate many common tasks by chaining together a wide range of simple actions. Robert showed the Gallery which contains many pre-made shortcuts and how shortcuts can be run via Siri, a manu bar item, as Finder Quick Actions and from the Services menu in apps.

He went on to demonstrate creating a couple of simple shortcuts, one to copy the current date to the clipboard and the other to resize images in the Finder. During the demo he highlighted some of the features of the Shortcut editor including:

  • How actions automatically pickup input from the previous action.
  • Many options are available by right clicking on values in actions to, for example, ask for user input or get a value from another action.
  • Shortcuts have privacy features so users are warned if one tries to send data to an online service or access a folder on their computer.
  • Shortcuts can be shared in many ways including Messages, email and links.
  • Setup questions can be used to prompt a user for settings when they install a new shortcut.

XDA Developers has a guide to Shortcuts on macOS.

During the demo Robert had a problem with the “Copy to clipboard” action not working. DaveK pointed out a workaround adding an otherwise needless “Get Clipboard” action to the end of the shortcut that solved the issue.

Member topics

  • Elliott recommended using a Pages template to easily create invoices.
  • DavidB mentioned reports of memory leaks in macOS Monterey.
  • David also pointed out a couple of handy features on Mac:
    • Text replacement using the option in System Preferences, Keyboard/Text to automatically insert commonly used texts such as addresses, legal disclaimers or even words you find difficult to spell when you enter a shorter code.
    • The new networkQuality terminal command built into macOS Monterey which tests your Internet connection.
  • DaveK mentioned the song Windmills of Your Mind from the film The Thomas Crown Affair.
  • DavidB recommended Apple’s festive shot on iPhone video Saving Simon.