So where do I start?

Hi everyone,

Noobie here who has heard about Drafts for a while and finally jumped in to take the trial and see what all the fuss is about :slight_smile:

My question is mainly, how would you suggest I go ahead and make the most of my trial. I’ve gone through the key parts of the user manual and the videos on Vimeo but, if I’m honest, I’m still feeling a little bit lost.

I’ve got the core part of creating texts and pushing it out to the core apps that I use, which has left me hungry for more. But I’m a bit lost when it comes to setting up and playing with the pro features.

Any suggestions or links to workflows/setups that you’d recommend?

Thanks in advance for the help - and hopefully I’ll get to you know you all better as I go further down the rabbit hole!

Welcome to Drafts! Re: pointers on use— it might make it easier for people to offer thoughts if you can say a little more about what you’re hoping to get out of Drafts? There’s a fairly broad set of use cases. Some people use Drafts simply for short term storage before pushing notes elsewhere. Others use Drafts more as a destination than a short-term stay, or lean on Drafts much more heavily (e.g. Drafts as an operating system - #4 by scripts4drafts).

What intrigues you most about what you’ve heard? Where do you think Drafts might fit into your workflow? It’s likely that other possibilities will suggest themselves as you get to know Drafts better, but everything needs to start somewhere…. :wink:

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Hi @jsamlarose - thanks for the warm welcome and the response!

Yeah, it’s a good question. I would say that at the moment, there are probably three main use cases for me.

  • Firstly, (and what brought me here is) just having somewhere to write those random lines, sentences, email address etc that I always opened up Notepad for. I never really knew what to do with those files though - so the opportunity to have an inbox of stuff that I can return to and then decided where I want that information stored is very appealing.

  • Next, having looked through the forums and the list of Actions, the ability to parse text into different apps is exciting. I like the idea of being able to take notes in a meeting and then process that information so that tasks are sent off to my To-Do list, dates of follow ups can be put in my calendar, Contacts can be added etc etc all with one click

  • And then spawning out of those two use cases, is just the app’s flexibility. The potential to be able to customise my work flows through scripting to be able to tailor exactly how text is processed and where it goes.

To your point though, other possibilities will suggest themselves as I get to know the platform better, and I guess that’s part of the reason for my post. The interface is so deliciously minimal, that I wonder what I don’t know.

Or, equally I’m not quite sure how to access particular features or where they sit. How do tags work with Workspaces? How do I set up particular keyboard shortcuts to load up templates?

All that kind of fun stuff in the background, that can really help me optimise the way I work, which is what I’d like to try to uncover over the course of my trial.

Anyway, thanks again for your response - much appreciated!

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All good. I’ll take a stab at some of these and I’m sure others will jump in to add on and/or correct me…

Tags <-> workspaces: along with raw text (query strings), tags can be used to help define filters for workspaces. So I can have a “people” workspace based on all drafts that have a “people” tag. Workspaces can be defined through the “manage workspaces” panel (top of the workspaces menu on iOS) or via actions. I’m going through a phase of trying to keep my workspaces menu as minimal as possible, so I’m experimenting with a limited, base set of primary workspaces in the workspaces menu, with an action group that serves as a launcher for a series of secondary workspaces.

Workspaces don’t have to be defined by tags or text queries. They can be defined by date queries, too. So it’s pretty simple to set up a “Modified Yesterday” workspace, for example.

For your thinking around capturing stuff in Drafts then returning at a later date to file or process things, you may wish to consider the easiest way to discern what you have/haven’t already processed. Some people like to work with an “Inbox” workspace that only displays untagged drafts; as they add tags to their drafts, the inbox is cleared. Others simply archive processed drafts. Any Drafts action can be set to automatically add tags or archive a draft when run successfully.

As far as customisation goes, @Andreas_Haberle has already signposted two of the libraries I consider essential for my Drafts usage: Great Libraries for Draft, which points towards @sylumer’s TADpoLe and @mattgemmell’s html menu system. Pretty advanced, but if you’re even just okay with Javascript, they’re both good to make use of and to learn from.

Hope that’s a helpful starter. Apologies if any of it is more beginner-ish than you needed!


Oh, and templates: not sure if this is what you meant, but if you’re loading/invoking a boilerplate text or a new draft from template via an action, the option to define a keyboard shortcut for that action is just past halfway down the “edit action” panel.

Note: pretty much all of my references are based on Drafts for iOS; things may not be in exactly the same place in the Mac version…

Not necessarily tailored to your needs, but you might get some good ideas from a couple of the practical application tip posts on the forum, like: