TIP: Using Shortcuts to Route Tagged Drafts

NOTE: _This example requires iOS 13.1 and Drafts 15.1 or greater to work properly.

Apple’s Shortcuts app has received significant updates in iOS 13, and the latest version of Drafts is ready for those updates with powerful shortcuts actions which allow you to search and modify content in Drafts from Shortcuts. Combine these new powers with the Shortcuts “Automations” feature, and you can schedule shortcuts to run automatically in the background based on a variety of triggers. This tip provides an example workflow to use Shortcuts to route drafts from your Drafts inbox to Reminders based on tags assigned in Drafts - automatically archiving the drafts once they have been created in Reminders.

Consider this example a starting point. The same principle could be applied to route drafts to other locations (files, a task manager, etc.). It also allows you do things like create a draft on the watch, assign it a tag, and later have it automatically processed by the Shortcuts automation on your iPhone.

By setting up workflows like this example, you can freely capture text to Drafts - from the Watch, the Share extension, or just in the app - and just assign tags to have those drafts automatically processed and archived without any additional action on your part.

Drafts Tagged “Reminders” to Reminders Shortcut

To start, install the example shortcut from the link below (NOTE: To install third party shortcuts in the Shortcuts app, you will have to enable “Allow untrusted shortcuts” in iOS Settings > Shortcuts):

Install Example Shortcut: Drafts Tagged “Reminders” to Reminders

Modifying the Shortcut

The example shortcut consists of several actions (see attached). These actions might need to be modified to suit your needs. Let’s review what each does and what modifications you might want to make…

  • Search Drafts: This action searches for any drafts in your drafts list which match the specified criteria. In this example, the action has been configured to only search the “Inbox” for drafts with the tag “reminder”. If you wish to use a different tag to identify drafts for use in this shortcut, you can edit the tag value.
  • Repeat with each item in Drafts: The search returns a list of drafts matching the search. Using the repeat action, you can loop over each of those drafts performing a set of actions on each.
    • Add Title to Reminders: This is a shortcut “Add to Reminders” action configured to create a reminder in the Reminders app, in the list “Reminders”. The reminder with use the Title property (first line) of the draft, and include a link to the draft in Drafts, and the full content of the draft in the notes. If you want to route to a different list in Reminders, tap on the “Reminders” entry to select from your available Reminder lists. This action could also be replaced by another shortcut action if you wanted to route to a different app or file.
    • File Repeat Item in Archive: This File Draft action moves the draft out of the inbox to the archive in Drafts. This item could be modified to assign an additional tag, or even moe the draft to the trash.
  • End Repeat: Complete the loop

Test The Shortcut

To test operation fo the shortcut (assuming you have made no mofications above), do the following:

  • Open Drafts
  • Create a one or more new drafts, assign them the tag “reminder”.
  • Go to Shortcuts and run the “Drafts Tagged ‘Reminder’ to Reminders” action.
  • Go to the Reminders app. Your “Reminder” list should have new tasks for each of the draft you created in the first step.
  • Go to Drafts. The draft you created should now be moved to the Archive.

Automating the Shortcut

Now you have the shortcut installed, and possibly tweaked to route your tagged drafts in a particular manner. You can run this shortcut manually as needed anytime to do your routing, but you could also use the new Shortcuts Automation feature to have that routing done automatically based on a trigger. There are many triggers available, what makes sense for your needs may vary, but you might make a timed trigger that sweeps your inbox and converts those reminders once a day at a certain time, for example. To setup automation, just open the Shortcuts app, and “Create Personal Automation” on the “Automation” tab.

Conclusion

This example exactly as configured may not suit your needs, but hopefully it will give you some ideas of how you can use the powerful new Shortcuts integration features to process all those snippets you grab in Drafts!

Like this example? See some other Shortcuts examples in this thread

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Nice. I like the idea of a “daily sweep” or one kicked off by Pushcut driven by IFTTT from the watch. (I tested a Pushcut-driven Shortcut kicked off by a IFTTT Webhook very recently.)

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If you don’t want to go the automation route, you could also open Reminders via a shortcut instead of the app. You would then run this type of shortcut first within the shortcut that then opens Reminders so it is up to date each time.

This also opens up a lot of possibilities for regular review type shortcuts.

You could have a “Sunday Review” tag for items you only want to deal with at a specific review. Then include a routing shortcut like this within a shortcut that also starts your review music and fires up your latte or whatever.

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