Tuesday, June 8, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Shortcuts for Mac


Shortcuts is coming to macOS, and your apps are a key part of that process. Discover how you can elevate the capabilities of your app by exposing those features as Shortcuts actions. We’ll show you how to build actions for your macOS apps built with Catalyst or AppKit, deploy actions across platforms, publish and share shortcuts, and enable your app to run shortcuts from other apps. We’ll also take you through how Shortcuts fits in with existing Mac automation technologies like Automator and AppleScript.

Mitchel Broussard:

Shortcuts will be integrated throughout macOS Monterey, in the menu bar, Finder, Spotlight, and even with Siri. Apple also noted that users will be able to import existing Automator workflows into Shortcuts, and Automator will remain supported.

Stephen Hackett:

Developers of traditional Mac apps — even those built with AppKit — can add Shortcuts support to their projects via Intents, just like support is added in iOS apps.

That might seem surprising, but considering that Apple pitched this as the start of a longer transition, getting traditional Mac apps on board is going to be required if Apple wants to discontinue Automator somewhere down the line.


Moving workflows from Automator to Shortcuts couldn’t be easier. Drag and drop your .workflow file onto Shortcuts, and it will be transformed into a Shortcut automatically.

This seems to be because Apple has re-implemented its own built-in Automator actions in Shortcuts. Third-party Automator actions don’t work in Shortcuts.

Maynard Handley:

Does it have debugging?

Does it have logging?

Does it have the ability to cut and paste SECTIONS of a shortcut?

To duplicate then modify a shortcut?

As far as I can tell, the answers to these questions are No, except that you can duplicate shortcuts and then edit them. I wasn’t able to play around with Shortcuts much because it kept crashing in SwiftUI (which it’s implemented using). I was curious to try the new SwiftUI focus and keyboard navigation features, but alas they seem to be a work in progress.


Update (2021-06-13): Jeff Nadeau:


Mert Dumenci:

Because I’m so excited about this (and Shortcuts for Mac in general), another fun tip: try chaining shortcut runs!

shortcuts run "Resize" —input-path photo.jpg | shortcuts run "Resize" | shortcuts run "Resize" —output-path resized.jpg

Update (2021-06-29): Dr. Drang:

All in all, this looks like everything I wanted in Mac Shortcuts. As I said in the post two years ago, the ability to run every kind of automation from every other kind of automation is key to making a fluid system, where you can use each tool for what it does best. Also, it means that third-party automation tools like Keyboard Maestro, which has a good AppleScript dictionary for running its macros, will fit in well with the new environment even before they incorporate Intents that are directly accessible from Shortcuts.

There is one oddity left unresolved. The emphasis Apple put on being able to run shell scripts from Shortcuts and vice versa seems to be at odds with its declaration with the release of Catalina that built-in scripting languages are being deprecated[…]


Update (2021-09-07): Jason Shell:

On the Mac side it is also really, really rough, even on the latest beta. I got a crash within 30 seconds and there’s also a lot that doesn’t quite work right...

Steve Troughton-Smith:

While I’m on the topic of macOS 12 & SwiftUI frustration, there is… a lot of work… the Shortcuts app still needs, to be ready to ship in a macOS 12 RC. It feels like Shortcuts is really struggling with SwiftUI too, which makes me feel a little better about my apps


RIP AppleScript

Old Unix Geek

Cynical thought: Letting previous solutions to problems die through lack of maintenance, and Sherlocking are two easy ways to have "innovations" to show at WWDC.

IMO Shortcuts fulfills the promise of Automator. I'm glad to see it's been chosen as the path forward on the Mac. (Particularly as it can run Applescripts & shell scripts.)

Shortcuts has become incredibly useful to me on the iPhone, and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of it on the Mac.

Stupid question: does the shortcut tool work in a headless session?

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