Shortcuts for Mac Webinar Series

I’m starting a five-part webinar series this Friday for the Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide, Plus Edition customers. If you signed up for that course you should have received an email with a sign-up link. I’ve also added the sign-up link to the course under the “Shortcuts Webinars” Section. Let me know if you have any problems.

The Webinars will be new materials on Shortcuts for Mac. All of the webinars will be edited and added to the course. So if you can’t make the webinars, you’ll still get all the content as part of the Shortcuts For Mac Field Guide, Plus Edition content.

Duplicate an Event to “Busy” Calendar with Shortcuts (MacSparky Labs)

I’ve had several Labs members ask me about an easy way to duplicate existing calendar events to a second “Busy” calendar so they share their availability without sharing event details. Here you go…

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Using AppleScript to Open a Specific Mailbox in Apple Mail (MacSparky Labs)

Shortcuts for iOS 16 is adding a feature that lets you open a specific Mailbox in Apple Mail on your iPhone or iPad. Shortcuts for Ventura, however, doesn’t have that function. What gives? Never fear. Sparky figured out a way to duplicate the feature using AppleScript…

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Project Setup with Craft, OmniFocus, and Shortcuts (MacSparky Labs)

Some of the labs members are interested in Craft. Good news! I’m using Craft for some of the Labs back-end. Here’s a Shortcut that builds out a new project using Craft and OmniFocus along with some basic training in Craft…

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Announcing the Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide

I’m so happy to announce the release of the Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide. (Standard Edition) (Plus Edition) I first started production on this Field Guide last August, and it is now ready for the world.

There are 132+ lovingly crafted screencasts totaling over 8.5 hours of content. Where appropriate, the tutorials also include downloadable Shortcuts that you can install and run alongside the video.

This Field Guide is releasing with two different versions. The standard version includes all the 132+ videos, 8.5 hours of content, and downloadable shortcuts. There is also a “Plus Edition” that includes everything in the standard version and an extended webinar series on Shortcuts just for Plus Edition customers. The webinars (there will be hours of them) will also get added as downloadable videos to the Plus Edition of the Shortcuts Field Guide.

You can buy it now and, for a short time, there is a launch discount.

The Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide is normally $49, but on sale for $44.

The Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide Plus Edition is normally $99, but on sale for $89.

I believe Apple when they say they view Shortcuts as the future of automation, and the good news is Shortcuts is the most accessible automation platform Apple has ever shipped. I spent a lot of time building this course, and I’m thrilled to now be sharing it with you.

Here are the links:

The Shortcuts for Mac Standard Edition

The Shortcuts for Mac Plus Edition

Early Access for the Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide (MacSparky Labs)

I’m happy to announce the early release of the Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide for MacSparky Labs Early Access members only. With Early Access, you get to see the Field Guide as it works through the final stages of getting built and prepared for release… This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Creating a Quick Action to Convert Images

On this week’s episode of Mac Power Users, the topic of HEIC vs. JPG images came up. Sometimes you’ll end up with an HEIC image on your Mac that you want to upload or otherwise share somewhere that only accepts JPGs. So I made a simple Quick Action in Shortcuts to do the conversion. A link to the video is below and you can download the Shortcut with this link. If you dig this sort of thing, you should check out the MacSparky Labs.

Running a Shortcut from a Keyboard Maestro Script

Recently, I’ve had several nerd friends ask me about kicking off a Shortcut from a Keyboard Maestro script. You can do that using the Execute AppleScript action with the following text inside:

tell application "Shortcuts Events"
run the shortcut "Shortcut Name"
end tell

You’d need to replace “Shortcut Name” with the actual Shortcut name, while retaining the quotes. That is all it takes to launch a Shortcut from Keyboard Maestro.

Want to get better at Keyboard Maestro? I have something for you.

BBEdit and Shortcuts Adoption on the Mac

BBEdit recently released a nice update (version 14.1) with, among other things, Shortcuts support. You can now create a text document and create a note in BBEdtin from Shortcuts on the Mac. As Mac applications go, BBEdit is one of the standard-bearers. (It was first released in 1992.) I know people that switched to the Mac for the exclusive purpose of using BBEdit.

Seeing apps like BBEdit begin to adopt Shortcuts is a good sign. Granted, the initial Shortcuts actions, relating to file creation only, are not super deep, it’s a beachhead. Talking to Mac app developers, I get the impression that will be the case for many apps. They’ll get some Shortcuts support in and then watch for Apple’s lead before going into deeper waters. I think that is fine. The last attempt at Mac automation for the masses (Automator) never really took off not as a result of any problem with the underlying technology but, in my opinion at least, a lack of enthusiasm from the suits at Apple. That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around and initial signs for Shortcuts and third-party developers are promising.

The Difference Between Keyboard Maestro and Shortcuts for Mac

I’ve had a lot of questions about the relationship between Keyboard Maestro and Shortcuts for Mac. Specifically, is Shortcuts for Mac going to replace Keyboard Maestro? In a word, no.

I’ve spent a lot of time working with Shortcuts for Mac. It’s had a rocky start, but the Shortcuts team has the right idea for Shortcuts for Mac, and they are increasingly overcoming the significant technical changes between the iPhone/iPad and the Mac. I fully expect they will get things sorted out over time, and in the end, we’ll have a stable version of Shortcuts for the Mac to go along with an already stable version of Keyboard Maestro.

Regardless, the two tools will remain very different.

If you’ve ever used Shortcuts on your iPhone or iPad, you get essentially the same toolset on the Mac with Shortcuts for the Mac. Some of the better uses of Shortcuts are for working with personal data like contacts and calendar entries. Those things are possible with Keyboard Maestro but in ways that are not nearly as user-friendly as Shortcuts. For example, I usually write AppleScripts when working with contacts in Keyboard Maestro. It can work, but it takes a lot of work.

Another thing Shortcuts is good for is inter-app automation, provided those apps have Shortcuts support. There is no faster way to create simple automations between applications than Shortcuts when you have robust built-in support in the participating apps.

All that said, Keyboard Maestro is significantly more powerful. With Keyboard Maestro, you can create conflict palettes, script menu bar selections, and do so much more that is not and never will be possible with Shortcuts. One of my Keyboard Maestro scripts looks at the website and pushes a button on the screen, no matter where it is. Don’t hold your breath for getting that feature in Shortcuts … ever.

I’ve come around to thinking a lot lately about the idea of Project Scope with regard to Apple products and software. From the outside, things are always a bit murky, but if you pay attention, you can see what they are aiming for with most of the things they make. To me, the Scope of Shortcuts for Mac is to help users create simple automations to help them be more productive with their Macs. Apple is aiming at things like opening a window or creating a calendar event. Shortcuts for Mac is not aimed at the Keyboard Maestro feature set. That is a power user thing that they’re happy to leave in the hands of Keyboard Maestro. Think of Keyboard Maestro and Shortcuts for Mac more like complementary tools. A mallet is nice. A chisel is nice. But it is all the better having both.