Drafts 36 Released: Action and Keyboard Shortcut Bar Updates, Template Helper

Drafts 36.0 has been released:

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



Action Bar Update

Requires iOS 16/macOS 13

The action bar is the row of actions that appears above the keyboard when editing on iOS and below the editor on Mac.

When running on iOS 16, the action bar selector button at the left of the bar is now menu-based and provides easier access to action group selection and common commands like find, pinning, and arrange mode.

Additionally, the keyboard dismissal button at the left of the bar now also has a long-press menu that provides quick access to run actions from any action bar visible group without the need to load the group in the bar, and, as a bonus, if you long-press an action button in the bar, a menu appears with options to open the action in the action editor to tweak the action’s options.

More on the action bar

iPad Keyboard Shortcut Bar Update

Requires iOS 16

On the iPad, the keyboard shortcut bar – the bar that displays commands along with auto-correct suggestions and floats over the interface when an external keyboard is connected – now also has a compact version of the action bar as a menu to the left, as well as a menu to the right like the long-press menu of the action bar, to run other actions.

In many cases, you may find this allows you to hide the action bar on iPad and use these features instead. This is particularly useful if you often use Drafts in split view, slide over, or Stage Manager, as the display of the action bar can make things a bit cluttered in those views. Find options to control the visibility of the action bar in the Aa editor settings.

More on the keyboard shortcut bar

Template Tag & Action Step Helpers

Requires iOS 16/macOS 13


Drafts uses templates in action steps to insert values dynamically when actions run. This update makes it easier to insert commonly used template tags when configuring actions by adding a template tag helper popup. This popup has a list of tags, basic. tag descriptions, and can insert them in your templates, including examples for more advanced tags, like formatted dates.

When adding new action steps to an action, the popup is now searchable and contains more detailed information about the available steps – and each step type now has an associated icon to help visually distinguish them in longer, multi-step actions.

Performance Improvements

Not a lot to say here, but we’re always working to improve the overall performance, and especially launch time, of Drafts. This update shaves another 5-10% off launch time – a little more on Mac – and makes a variety of changes to make more efficient use of memory while running.

Other Additions, Changes, and Updates

  • All Platforms
    • New: app.currentWindow.selectedDrafts property to retrieve currently selected drafts in the draft list. Useful to write an action the processes a set of drafts based on the user selection. Docs
    • Improve action step type descriptions and summaries.
    • Change: Open URL and Callback URL action step templates now support template editor options when editing.
    • Fix: Temporary workspace could be mistakenly displayed in workspace list when using Focus Filters to change workspace.
  • iOS
    • Fix: If main editor pane is dimmed, its elements should not be visible to VoiceOver.
  • Mac
    • New: “Recent” menu at the top of the “Actions” main menu.
    • Fix: Action groups in context menu not always updating properly.
    • Fix: placeholder option not working for prompt textfields on Mac.
  • Apple Watch
    • Increase allowed size of drafts transferred to the Apple Watch to 3000 characters.

Hey there! I lost all of my Drafts widget setup, seemingly due to this update. I didn’t lose any data, but now I’m having to organize my drafts in my notifications tap all over again. Is there a way to recover this, or to avoid this in the next update?

Not sure what might have happened, but widget configurations are all stored and managed by the operating system, not the app. There’s no way to snapshot, backup, or restore, any specific widget configurations, unfortunately.

I like the update. But, I miss having easy access to copy and paste buttons right above the keyboard. How can I restore those?

I just noticed that, I don’t like not having the paste button, did they move it or remove it?

I cannot see where if might have been moved to. I used the copy and paste buttons all the time… much more convenient than the long press in the text box waiting for the iOS options to pop up. I hope there is a way to customize that ribbon above the keyboard and restore those buttons…

I hope so too, I haven’t looked into yet

The default “Editing” action group has example “Copy” and “Paste” actions that serve those purposes, and could be moved to be the first items in that group, so be easily accessible under the new actions button that replaced the default system paste button.

I did not get any push back on this change in the beta group, but have received some since the release. I will likely provide an option to restore the system paste button in the next update.

There is a new option in v37, under the Aa editor settings called “Customize keyboard bar”. If you disable that option, you will get back the default system copy-paste buttons in the iPad keyboard bar.

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