Drafts 30 Released - Transcribe Audio-Video, Extract Text from PDFs

Drafts 30.0 has been released:

Details below. For a complete history of updates, visit:


What’s New

Transcribe Text from Audio and Video Files

Drafts now registers itself to open most common audio and video formats. If you open an audio or video file in Drafts, you will be prompted with an option to transcribe text using speech recognition. Speech recognition will process the audio in the same way as dictation, so dictation commands for punctuation, etc., are supported.

This is most useful for transcribing the content of single-speaker voice audio, like a voice memo, or recorded lecture, but it will happily attempt to transcribe other forms of audio as well, though the quality of the results may vary.

To try it out:

  • iOS
    • Tap and hold the “+” button, and select “Transcribe…”. You will be prompted to select an audio or video file.
    • Share any audio or video file from other apps, including Files and Voice Memos, to Drafts.
  • Mac
    • Select File > Import... from the main menu, and choose and audio or video file.
    • Drag and drop an audio or video file on the Drafts app icon.

If you plan to use this transcription, please read the full documentation to understand its capabilities and limitations.

Extract Text from PDFs

If you attempt to open a PDF file in Drafts, you will now be offered the option to extract text from the PDF into a new Drafts.

To try it out:

  • iOS
    • Tap and hold the “+” button, and select “Import File…”. Select any PDF file.
    • Share any PDF file from other apps, including Files, to Drafts.
  • Mac
    • Select File > Import... from the main menu, and choose a PDF file.
    • Drag and drop a PDF file on the Drafts app icon.

Extraction will only grab actual text content from the PDF. Some PDF files have embedded image content and will not work with this feature.

Learn more about PDF Text Extraction

Other Changes and Updates

  • Change: Replaced microphone icon on Apple Watch complications and buttons. Since Apple has made it so it is not possible to launch input directly to dictation on watchOS 8.1, it no longer makes sense to use microphone icon. (PS: Please let Apple know if you do not like this change! We’d love to get back the ability to go straight to dictation.)
  • Change: Change sort order of trash to use accessed date/descending to make it easier to find and restore items recently added to the trash.
  • Change: [[line]] template tag when used with specifying a line argument, now returns the text of the current selection extended to the beginning and end of the lines. Useful for grabbing the current line text in an action without needing to select the text first.
  • Fix (iOS): Issues sorting actions upwards in the action list.
  • Fix: Issue appending to files in Bookmark folders from different devices.
  • A variety of performance improvements and fixed for visual glitches.
8 Likes

The changes are really nice, especially combined with an OCR scanner app to digitalize simple documents.
I think the “What’s new” is missing for Drafts 30, still shows the Drafts 29 changelog for me.

3 Likes

On the Apple Watch is there any way when you append or pretend to a draft to use the new built in series 7 keyboard? I only get the other options.

Not currently. It’s a very weird situation with input on the Series 7 and watchOS 8 right now. If Apple does not address in an update soon, I will alter the app, but allowing access to all the options on Series 7 would require having two different buttons - which would only really be needed on Series 7, as previous versions don’t have the keyboard and can access all the available input options from the current implementation. I vented about the weird setup on Series 7 on Twitter a couple of weeks ago.

1 Like

Very nice and useful, thanks

Nice update as always, and much thanks for all the work you put into making it. I have been using Drafts since 2014 or so and I’m not sure what I’d do without it.

3 Likes

Congrats on the 30 release. I am so impressed with your continued innovation and attention to this app. For what it’s worth, I just renewed my Pro subscription as a modest way to thank you for your efforts. Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday season.

4 Likes

Two more features I don’t have to look elsewhere to accomplish. Thank you! I especially love how the transcription is visible as it’s processing.

1 Like

So I totally missed this but will definitely try it out myself real soon.
Have been using the iOS exclusive Group Transcribe app by Microsoft which handles multiple speakers really well. The only downside is that I have to play the audio for it to transcribe. It cannot import audio files like Drafts.

This is epic.

Could you shed some light on the privacy settings of things like added audio?

The Drafts documentation note that transcription uses the Siri engine the same as it does for dictation, so it would be Apple’s own policy for Siri privacy that fundamentally sets this.