Multi-step short­cuts

Do much more with a sin­gle spo­ken com­mand

Mac Format - - FEATURE / IOS 12 SUPERGUIDE -

The third-party app called Work­flow, which Ap­ple bought in 2017, has been re­named Short­cuts and gained new

ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Other apps ex­pose to it ac­tions that can be taken within them. You stitch to­gether a se­quence of ac­tions, po­ten­tially in­volv­ing mul­ti­ple apps, to achieve a task.

These se­quences can be run within Short­cuts it­self, from the Share Sheet, from a Home screen icon, from Short­cuts’ wid­get in the To­day view, or – like the one-step short­cuts that iOS it­self sug­gests – by say­ing your cho­sen phrase to Siri.

1 The gallery

Not sure how to use the app? A good way to learn is by ex­am­ple. Tap Gallery in the bot­tom bar to browse pre­made short­cuts you can down­load. Tap one, then Show Ac­tions to see what it can process and the steps it takes to ful­fil its pur­pose.

2 Down­load & edit

Tap Get Short­cut to down­load an ex­am­ple from the gallery. Tap Li­brary in the bot­tom bar to find it. If you tap a short­cut’s tile in the li­brary, it’ll run right away. Tap the el­lip­sis (…) in the top-right cor­ner of a tile to open the short­cut for edit­ing.

3 Ac­tion de­tails

Ac­tion names should give you a fairly good idea of how a short­cut does its job. For a slightly more de­tailed de­scrip­tion of an ac­tion, what in­put it can process, and what it out­puts, tap the icon at its top-left cor­ner.

4 Ac­tions li­brary

On iPhone, drag up from the search bar to see com­monly used ac­tions, or tap the search bar to browse all ac­tions by cat­e­gory. On iPad, this panel is al­ways open on the left when you’re edit­ing a short­cut. On ei­ther de­vice, drag an ac­tion from the panel to the de­sired po­si­tion in your short­cut, or tap it to insert it at the end.

5 Per­son­alise it

Tap the icon of two switches to make the short­cut avail­able in var­i­ous places in iOS and set a voice com­mand. For the Share sheet, what you spec­ify the short­cut ac­cepts de­ter­mines where it’ll be avail­able for use.

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