Question concerning the open Drafts Siri shortcut

In the open Drafts Siri shortcut;

  • what is the key?
  • Can I run multiple actions?
    Thank you very much for your time and help

The key is a security measure for URL scheme activation. It had to match a key specified in Drafts to run.

But this comes back to Greg’s point one of his response to you recently…

It is an out of date Shortcuts action that you have selected.

In terms of running multiple actions, consider creating a combined action or one that queues other actions up to run and then call that one.

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Thank you very much for the detailed response. I Will have another go at it. I’m having a lot of trouble digesting the idea of using Drafts actions in shortcuts to process drafts. I doubt that I knew only one.

I am embarrassed to say this, but I am totally confused.
I understand the part about adding a Shortcuts actions to the drafts app with the add to draft shortcut.
What I still don’t understand, is which iOS 13 Siri shortcut you use (outside of Drafts) to create a new draft, open an existing draft, create a new draft with clipboard content etc.
I have been gently reprimanded twice, once by Greg and once by yourself for using outdated shortcuts, but I still don’t understand what those outdated shortcuts are replaced with.
I apologize for taking your time.

Have you read the Shortcuts Drafts documentation about the updated shortcuts?

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Sorry to say, the documentation in reference is incomprehensible as far as I’m concerned. There are no examples.

Please consider my comment addressed to Greg, and once again thank you very much for all your efforts to address my questions

It’s much easier to be helpful if you have a specific request. What are you trying to accomplish? As with all things that are essentially programming, abstract examples are not typically that helpful or applicable to other problems.

It may be shortcuts integration is not the best way to approach the problem you are trying to solve. It has a lot of useful applications, but is still a pretty limited scope.

An excellent suggestion Greg.

I am obviously frustrated because I am told that I am using updated methods and have no clue as no that the up to date method would be. I see outdated shortcuts but no up to date shortcuts (version 2 of the same shortcut)

IOS 13.2
Drafts 15.1.8
Device iPhone
subscription: Pro

I read many scientific journals, and publish quite a lot.

Please note that in all cases below, I am working outside drafts.

1- I am currently working on the backbone of a manuscript in Drafts. The Draft is entitled (first line) ‘Flecainide update’ and has a unique UUID.
I would like to be able to say Hey Siri open flecainide (or some variant). The outdated shortcut above works, and I was just asking about adding more actions. What is the new up to date way to call up the draft via siri (outside Drafts) ? Please consider that Flecainide is just one example or a project that I am writing up. There are more than 10 more that I want to call up with Siri. I mention this in case you were going to suggest one in extremis solution for one draft.

2- I would like to be able to say Hey Siri, search for a draft containing ‘Flu vaccine 2019-20 guidelines’. This is the first line of the draft. I would like Siri (outside Drafts) to list a series of Drafts containing those key words from which I pick the one of interest.

3- Some journal articles display the share arrow along with the article which allows the user to to share the article (or more often just the abstract) in text mode. If I share → export as text (an option with some journals) → click on drafts icon in the share menu, I end up Drafts but I have to add a tag, save, etc which is not efficient because it interrupts my workflow.
Whilst in the journal, reading the article, how can I share → click on a shortcut which would create a draft + assign a tag + flag if necessary + run some actions if necessary (basically using a template) all in the background.
I am already doing it with the ‘outdated’ create draft with shortcut input shortcut with which I am allowed only one action (I use it to add a tag), which I added to the share menu. What would be the new up to date way to call up the draft via siri (outside Drafts) ?

4-, I want to be able to tell Siri to send the content of the clipboard to a draft template with pre assigned tags, actions etc.

thank you Greg

Honestly, I’m not much of a Shortcuts expert/user and most of what you are trying to accomplish would be specific to Shortcuts.

I think you would would have to say “Hey Siri, run my pick draft shortcut” or something like that to trigger a shortcut? Assuming then the shortcut could prompt for you to dictate your keywords, then you could slice them up with shortcuts actions. Once you do that, the “Search Drafts” drafts shortcut action could perform searches and get results you could display to selection from, then use “Open Draft” to open the specific one you selected.

I don’t really know how to do that in Shortcuts. You might have more luck on the Automator’s Talk forum or Shortcuts Reddit where people are more focused on what Shortcuts can do.

I’m sorry Greg. I don’t understand the logic: you told me a few times, as did the excellent @sylumer that I am using outdated Shortcuts, which suggests that there are more recent up to date Shortcuts to create, open, modify drafts, and now you say that you prefer not to discuss Shortcuts and refer me to Shortcuts forums.

I’ll see if I can find some time over the next few days to post some examples in case that helps.

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thank you. Very kind of you.

Until the Shortcuts team removes the old pre-iOS 13 URL-based Drafts actions, it can be a little confusing selecting the right ones, but there are only a couple of them, and you can always tell you have the wrong one if it is asking for a “UUID” as a value, or has an “Edit in Drafts” option.


Hi Lucas, I think part of the issue is the way Shortcuts (the Apple app) has changed the way it does things in iOS 13. It seems they tried to update some actions to the new standards, but left some alone so as not to break existing shortcuts. I imagine it’ll take some time for everything to settle, and anyone who had an extensive library of shortcuts before the change will likely need to spend some time reconfiguring them to use the newer actions. This is also due to the fact that shortcuts can’t be automatically updated; because shortcuts don’t have to go through a review to be shared, Apple doesn’t want someone nefarious to be able to “update” a shortcut to add something malicious after someone else has installed it.

As for your questions, I’ve tried to come up with solutions as best I can.

  1. You’ll need to create a shortcut that opens the “Flecainide update” draft, using the “Open Draft” action (I think this is where the confusion is starting; there are now 2 available actions with this title: one is the old version where you would specify the UUID, the other is the new version. In the new version, you tap the “Draft” text and then search for the one you want to open). You can create a separate shortcut for each app you want to open and name it whatever you want; the title of the shortcut will be what you tell Siri to do. For example, you could create your shortcut to open “Flecainide update”, and name that shortcut “Open Flecainide.” Then, you’d just say “Hey Siri, open Flecainide” and it will run your shortcut and open up that draft. Example here. If you have a small list of drafts you open frequently, you could also have a shortcut that gives you a list to choose from. The way to do that would depend on your organization, but here’s an example where you manually choose which ones to include in the list.

  2. This one depends on if you want to search for that specific phrase every time or if you want to be able to search for any phrase. Either way, you’ll use the “Search Drafts” action, followed by the “Choose from List” action, and the “Open Draft” action. If you always want to search for the same phrase, you’ll just type that right into the search action. Example here. If you want to make a more flexible search, you can start with the “Dictate text” action and pass the Dictated Text to the “Search Drafts” action. Example

  3. I’m not sure if this would work for your use case, but the easiest way to do this would be to use the Drafts Share & Action Extension settings (Settings > Share & Action) to have it automatically assign a specific tag or set of tags. If you want to run an action on the created draft, you’ll need to use a shortcut. You can start with the “Create Draft” action and pass the Shortcut Input as text into the body of the draft. You can choose to always assign a set of tags, flag the draft, or have the shortcut ask each time. You’ll then need to use the “Run Action on Draft” action. Choose the action you want to run on the draft, then tell it to run on the draft created by the previous action. To do this, you need to hold down on the input area until it pops up an option to “Select Magic Variable.” If you turn off “Show When Run” for both actions (under “Show More”) everything should run in the background. Example (This one might have some issues depending on how the article text is passed to the share sheet.)

  4. Start with the “Create Draft” action again, and when you tap into the area to type the “Content” you’ll see an option in the Variables toolbar above the keyboard for “Clipboard.” If you want to add any other text to the draft, just type around the “Clipboard” item. Then you can choose which tag(s) to assign, and whether to flag the new draft. You can also add the “Run Action” action as before. Again, if you want all of this to run in the background, make sure you turn off “Show When Run” for each action. Example

Hope this helps!

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I am very (extremely) grateful for your detailed post which I will carefully review and get back to you. Thanks again very much !!

If you search for Drafts shortcuts in the Shortcuts app they will be listed alphabetically. I would suggest just favoriting the up to date ones and choose them from the Favorites menu option until Apple scrubs the URL ones, which again, is out of Greg’s hands. Some photos below. Someone let me know if I messed that up.


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An excellent suggestion! Thank you very much.
I was looking for a way to isolate outdated Shortcut actions but could not find any means to either disable or rename them. Using favorites is a great solution.
Thanks again very much

Hello Greg,
Alex’s post is absolutely outstanding. Very intelligently explained, and Alex took the time to write multiple examples of Shortcuts. He is brilliant. Perhaps an idea to consider converting his pos to a Tips and Tricks newsletter. Alex’s Shortcuts and his ideas are exactly what I was looking for: he opens the door to working with Drafts from outside Drafts.
Please consider having a Drafts related Shortcuts Section in the Draft Community Board alongside Actions, Issues, General Discussion, etc.
And thank you again Alex !

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Hello Alex

Your open drafts list shortcut works perfectly, but I am perplexed as to why.

As per the image, the variable ‘draft’ appears four times In the list action. Logically, I would have thought that the list would end up displaying the same draft four times, namely the get draft selection immediately before the list action i.e. inherited by the list action.

Thank you again

Prior to that in the shortcut are four separate actions that get a draft. Each should be a separate, different draft that you have specified. Then each list entry corresponds to a different draft, not the same draft four times.

If you do not know about the concept of magic variables in Shortcuts, which is what is being utilised here, I would recommend a quick search in your favourite search engine to familiarise yourself with it :wink:

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