Using capture to perform initial edits of a new draft

I was using “capture with options” to type a note about an article that I was reading. The window was on top of what I was reading and beginning to get just a little bit in my way so I decided to close it feeling confident that the text would still be there when I reopened the capture window, but when I opened the window it was blank. I searched for ways to get it back but was unsuccessful. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Closing the window would be the same as clicking cancel. If you did not click save, I can’t imagine how you could get it back without re-entering the content.

I can see this could be a bit confusing, since the appearance of the capture window is the same whether used via Services/Share, and when using the dedicated capture window from the menu bar.

In the first case, they open as modal dialogs, essentially, and are discarded when closed, while the single-instance capture window from the menu bar remembers your last state.

The modal ones should probably have an “Are you sure?” warning if you have text entered and try to close them without saving to prevent accidental discard.

I don’t think what you say is exactly correct. I was using the feature as I best understood its design according to this statement quoted from the documentation.

“The capture window will persist the text you are working on until you explicitly save or clear the text, so you can open and close the capture window as needed without worrying about that text being lost.”

agiletortoise, Yes! This at least explains my experience. You are saying that when this feature is used via services, such as with Launchbar activation, that the text will not persist if you close the window. Am I understanding correctly?

Yes, that is correct. There is a single “capture window”, that is accessed via menu bar or global keyboard shortcut that persists it’s contents.

This is not used for the services/share extension, because you would be overwriting content you already have in that. When using those options they create new dedicated instances of capture windows just for the purpose of that capture. Those are not persistent.

I’ll definitely address this in the docs and with better warnings in a future update. I get that it is confusing…but, in either case, these capture windows are designed for quickly capturing snippets in a transient fashion, not working in on-going sessions. They do not maintain version histories, allow you to work with actions, or sync/backup. If you are creating content you are better off committing it to a draft (you can use “Open” from the capture window to do so) and edit in a normal draft window.

I love the fact that you replied to me in so complete a manner, and promised to do something about it. It almost completely makes up for the frustration I do feel about having lost what I had written, but most importantly, I now understand what happened and why. Thank you!

1 Like

In Drafts on mobile devices after you have typed or otherwise inserted just a single character then there is a draft and it won’t get deleted until you say so. The fact that the Capture window does not mirror that behaviour has the potential to cause loss of text liked it happened to @phantastes.

Of course there is no capture “window” on iOS/iPadOS but like I have said before from my point of view the Capture window is the equivalent to a just fired up Drafts on mobile devices, most of all iPhones, with not much more than the empty document ready to write in. You tap, you start to write, you get interrupted, you continue later, it doesn’t matter, the text waits for you.

Could it be an option for a future version of Drafts if the Capture window became an actual drafts window, just not with all the bells and whistles like the Action Bar? Not only would that make every text started here a draft that will be kept, also it would allow the (keyboard) actions missed by some.

The equivalent of capture services on iOS are share and action extensions which are transient and behave the same way as using share and capture services on Mac.

The “Capture to Drafts” service goes directly to create a new draft without the options dialog. The point of the “Capture with Options” is to allow you to preview and confirm the contents you capture are what you meant to capture, and/or assign tags/edit it before completing the process. That is a desireable option.

It is also desireable to keep these options light-weight for performance and memory-use. More of an issue on iOS, but also true on Mac.

It is also totally possible to create workflows via many tools that use URL schemes, AppleScript, or Shortcuts to create alternate methods of capture that go directly to new drafts and not the capture window if that is so desired. It is also just a tap of the “Open” button (or shift-⌘-return) from any capture window to go directly to modifying that text in a saved draft in the full draft window.

But sharing means the content comes from another app. That is true for Capture Clipboard but not for Capture alone. You click on the menubar icon or type the keyboard shortcut and then there is a new note or better: a looks-like-a-and-might-become-a-note.

Are you suggesting to use another light weight writing app to get content into the light weight writing app—Drafts—from which the content will be sent elsewhere?

I don’t follow. If you don’t like the capture window, don’t use it? The menu bar has options for and global shortcuts can also be used to go directly to new drafts. If you want to always create and edit new drafts that are saving and have full action acces, then do that. The capture window is another, lighter-weight option by design that many people prefer.

And this user was specifically asking about using the capture services designed to capture content that, as you say, comes from another app.

I stand corrected: The equivalent to the Capture window on mobile devices is dictation by widget (did not try that one before so I didn’t know). Because dictation by widget too needs the user to confirm creating a draft.

But to return to @phantastes initial post: Why not add a setting for the behaviour of the closing button of the Capture window? With options like Delete/Create Draft/Ask. I guess we all agree on preventing to lose content is of prime importance. And a setting like this would help a lot to do so.

You might also consider to add a Capture window setting that handles its float behaviour and add a float icon to the right corner of the window like to the main window.