Shortcuts for Tangible Life

These are shortcuts for use on Apple platforms (iOS, iPadOS and macOS). They’ve helped make my life more efficient and I hope by sharing them they may do the same for you. Feel free to download them and tweak them to your needs. If you have questions about how they work, feel free to email me.

Writing Shortcuts

My blog is published on Blot, so many of these shortcuts are focused on generating or formatting of plain text/Markdown files. iA Writer is my writing app of choice. You can likely edit many of the shortcuts to work with other blogging platforms and writing apps without too much trouble.

iA Writer Draft

This shortcut is designed to prompt for a post title and then create a draft post in iA Writer with YAML front matter in the specified directory.

It relies on the Actions app by Sindre Sorhus for trimming whitespace from around the title. This can easily be removed if you want to keep it more simple.

Edit the Text block values for YAML front matter and the path variable for where you want the posts created. You can easily get the proper path in iA Writer for any folder you have in the Locations section of the sidebar by right-clicking and selecting Copy Library Path

This shortcut has been tested and works on both iOS and macOS.

Shortcut Download

iA Writer Linkpost

This shortcut allows you to highlight a selection on a webpage in Safari and using the Share Sheet option in the toolbar on iOS, or the Safari share button > Shortcuts on macOS, it will create a new post Markdown file in the directory set in iA Writer. One caveat is that on macOS, you need to first hit Cmd+C or right-click copy the selection text so that it is in the system clipboard. There’s a bug in Shortcuts on macOS that prevents the Page Selection option from returning the value of what you have highlighted.

The shortcut can also get confused if you have multiple Safari windows open, from my testing. My guess is that it doesn’t know which tab is the active tab in multiple window instances.

The shortcut asks you for tags, which can be entered one per line and then will be comma separated in the YAML. The filename, title, slug, date, draft, linkpost and tags all get populated and the YAML template can be updated as needed. In the body of the post, you’ll get the linked H1 title to the page, a placeholder author writing at” the site name and the blockquote.

This shortcut has made writing linkposts almost effortless for Tangible Life.

Shortcut Download

iA Writer Micro Post

This is my shortcut for posting a fleet, which is just a clever name for micro post. On my site, these are published here. I wrote more about why I created this functionality on the site. It also mentions that I have a flow for posting a fleet via SMS. Here’s how that works:

IFTTT SMS Trigger -> Create a new text file in Dropbox

The key with the creation of the new text file is that the Markdown or HTML formatting you want the file to have needs to be baked into the recipe.

The file looks exactly the same whether I create it with the SMS flow or the shortcut. The only functions that the shortcut has that the shortcut has over the SMS flow is that it can be scheduled for later.

Shortcut Download

Unsplash Shortcuts

Here are two shortcuts that I use for posts where I think images add something. I don’t use images that I don’t capture myself often, however, these can be useful for other workflows as well.

The first is a helper” shortcut for the second, but that can be run on its own.

Unsplash Search will prompt you for a search term and then bring back a photo from Unsplash and display it in Quick Look. From there, you can either share it or just click Done (on iOS) or close the preview (macOS). A menu presents the following options:

  • Search again: Starts the shortcut from the beginning.
  • Continue: Copies the image that was previewed to the clipboard and ends the shortcut.
  • Cancel: Self-explanatory.

Unsplash Save & MD will first run Unsplash Search, but the Continue option presented after previewing an image will launch Toolbox Pro to manually crop the image. This is a Pro (paid) feature in Toolbox Pro, but the step can be removed if not desired, or optionally replaced with the native Shortcuts resize (fewer resize options than Toolbox Pro). After the crop is completed, it will prompt for a filename and then a caption. The file is saved to the directory set in the shortcut, which can be set to different values for iOS and macOS. A Markdown link to the image (with the caption inserted to the alt text value) is copied to the clipboard. This is extremely useful for Blot since the image caption can be set to render from the alt text. The final menu presented has options to start the process over, open iA Writer or close the shortcut. This flow allows you to search, crop and generate Markdown links for several images in a loop. If you use a clipboard manager, the links will be there to retrieve and inject into your writing.

Unsplash Search Download
Unsplash Save & MD Download

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