Mac Format

HOW TO Create and use your first Shortcut


Explore the Gallery

Launch the Shortcuts app and click Gallery in the sidebar. Explore the available shortcuts as you would apps in the App Store. Click one to find out what it does. Click the ‘+’ to add a shortcut to All Shortcuts.

Start a simple shortcut

This shortcut will take text from the clipboard and read it aloud. You will need to copy the text before running it. Click the ‘+’ in the toolbar to create a new Shortcut. Click in the Shortcut toolbar and type a name for it.

Modify the shortcut

You can now play around with the shortcut to modify it. For example, you could reduce the volume of your Mac’s speakers. Find the Set Volume action, drag it above Get Clipboard and choose a value to set the volume at.

Examine a shortcut

Having a poke around under the hood is a good way to understand how shortcuts work. Choose one in All Shortcuts and double-click it. Examine the way actions fit together. Press the Play button to run it and see it in action.

Add actions

Click Action Library (a ‘+’ inside a box) on the sidebar and search for ‘clipboard’. Drag the Get Clipboard action on to the main window. Next, search for ‘speak text’ and drag that action on to the window under Get Clipboard.

Add it to the menu bar

There are a few ways you could activate this shortcut, including using a keyboard shortcut or adding it to the Services menu. We’ll add it to the menu bar. Click Settings > Details (in the sidebar), and check ‘Pin in Menu Bar.’

Organise shortcuts

Once you have lots of shortcuts, you should put them in folders. Hover the pointer over Folders and click the ‘+’. Give the folder a name and press ®. Drag shortcuts from All Shortcuts on to the folder to add them.

Finish and test

The variable in the Speak Text action should automatica­lly change to Clipboard. You can now test the shortcut by pressing the Play button. You should hear the text you previously copied being read back to you.

Share the shortcut

You can share a shortcut with other Mac users by generating an iCloud URL. With the shortcut edit window open, click the Share icon in the toolbar. Click Copy iCloud Link, then click Share. The link is now in the clipboard.

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