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Posts tagged with "automation"

Obsidian Shortcut Launcher 1.1 Brings Support for File Properties and Backlinks

The updated Obsidian Shortcut Launcher with support for passing document backlinks to Shortcuts.

The updated Obsidian Shortcut Launcher with support for passing document backlinks to Shortcuts.

Two years ago, we released Obsidian Shortcut Launcher, a free plugin to trigger shortcuts from Obsidian with the ability to pass input text to Apple’s automation app. In case you missed it in January 2022, here’s how I described the plugin:

With Obsidian Shortcut Launcher (or ‘OSL’), you’ll be able to trigger any shortcut you want from Obsidian, passing along values such as the text of the document you’re working on, its name, text selection, and more. Obsidian Shortcut Launcher is free to use and works on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.

Obsidian Shortcut Launcher is the result of weeks of planning and work from me and Finn Voorhees, and it has created an entirely new dimension in how I use Obsidian and Shortcuts on a daily basis.

I’ve been using Obsidian Shortcut Launcher every day for the past two years, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to integrate my favorite text editor and note-taking app with Shortcuts. I’ve built launchers to publish articles to WordPress, upload images, perform backups of my iOS reviews, and a lot more. You can read more about my examples and find a usage guide for the plugin in the original story.

Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’re releasing version 1.1 of Obsidian Shortcut Launcher with two new integrations: properties and backlinks.

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Apple Frames 3.2 Brings iPhone 15 Pro Frames, Files Picker, and Adjustable Spacing

Apple Frames 3.2.

Apple Frames 3.2.

Today, I’m releasing version 3.2 of Apple Frames, my shortcut to put screenshots taken on Apple devices into physical device templates. If you want to skip ahead, you can download Apple Frames 3.2 at the end of this story or find it in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive.

Version 3.2 is a major update that introduces brand new frames for the iPhone 15 Pro line, improves the reliability of framing screenshots from devices with the Dynamic Island, and, perhaps most importantly, extends the Frames API with new configuration options to give you even more control over framed images.

Let’s dive in.

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MultiButton 1.1 Makes the Action Button Change Its Behavior Based on the Currently Open App

The same Action button; multiple behaviors for different apps.

The same Action button; multiple behaviors for different apps.

What if the Action button could change its behavior depending on which app is currently open?

That’s what I started wondering months ago after I released MultiButton, my shortcut for toggling between two commands assigned to the Action button rather than being limited to only one. Having the choice between two distinct commands is great, but can you imagine if MultiButton could become a truly contextual shortcut system that adapted to whatever app is currently on-screen?

I’ve spent the past few months working on this idea, and I’m happy to report that I was able to get it to work. In the process, I realized that what I’d designed was a comprehensive, advanced automation system that can be extended beyond MultiButton to a variety of use cases.

Later this week in MacStories Weekly and exclusively for Club MacStories members (of all tiers), I will release my latest creation that makes contextual app automation possible. It’s called CAPS, which stands for Contextual Apps Plugin System.

CAPS is comprised of three standalone shortcuts that allow you to define rules for which shortcuts should be run when the Action button is pressed while using a particular app. CAPS supports creating an unlimited number of rules for as many apps as you want; best of all, it’s based on an open file format that can be integrated with all kinds of shortcuts.

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GoodLinks Adds Even Deeper Shortcuts Integration with Ability to Retrieve Current Article, Selections, and More

The new Shortcuts actions for GoodLinks.

The new Shortcuts actions for GoodLinks.

A few weeks ago on AppStories, I mentioned to John that I was looking for the “Things of read-later apps”. What I meant is that I wanted to find an app to save articles for later that felt native to Apple platforms, had a reliable text parser, but, more importantly, featured deep Shortcuts integration to let me create automations for saved items. As I followed up after a few episodes, I realized the app I’d been looking for was the excellent GoodLinks, which we’ve covered on MacStories several times before.

Today, GoodLinks developer Ngoc Luu released a small update to the app that, however, cements it as the premier solution for people who want a read-later utility for iOS and iPadOS that also features outstanding Shortcuts support.

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Introducing MultiButton: Assign Two Shortcuts to the Same Action Button Press on iPhone 15 Pro

MultiButton for iPhone 15

MultiButton for iPhone 15

I got my iPhone 15 Pro Max last week, and I’m loving the possibilities opened by the Action button combined with the Shortcuts app. But as I was playing around with different ideas for the Action button, I had a thought:

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of just one shortcut, I could toggle between two shortcuts with the same Action button press? That’s exactly what my new MultiButton shortcut does.

With MultiButton, you’ll be able to assign two separate shortcuts to the Action button. Unlike other solutions you may have seen that always make you pick shortcuts from a menu, MultiButton automatically cycles between two shortcuts if you press the Action button multiple times in rapid succession. You don’t need to pick shortcuts from a list; just press the Action button and MultiButton will take care of everything.

Toggling between two shortcuts with MultiButton.Replay

Allow me to explain how MultiButton works and how you can configure it for your Action button. In the process, I’ll also share some new shortcut ideas that you can start using today on your iPhone 15 Pro.

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S-GPT 1.0.2 Brings Date and Time Awareness, Integration with macOS Services Menu, Passthrough Mode, Better HomePod Support, and More

S-GPT 1.0.2.

S-GPT 1.0.2.

I just published version 1.0.2 of S-GPT, the shortcut I released last week to have conversations with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and integrate it directly with native features of Apple’s OSes. You can find the updated download link at the end of this post, in the original article, and in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive; before you replace version 1.0.1 of S-GPT, save your existing OpenAI API key somewhere as you’ll have to paste it again in the shortcut later.

I’m going to include the full changelog for S-GPT 1.0.2 below, but long story short: S-GPT is now aware of the current date and time, and I’ve heard all the requests about improving interactions with the HomePod and Siri, so I made that part much better. S-GPT can now perform a variety of date/time calculations with natural language, and you can end a conversation by saying “no” or “stop”.

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Apple Frames 3.1.1 with Support for Passthrough Mode

The 'Shortcut Result' variable, used as an image variable in a shortcut that calls Apple Frames.

The ‘Shortcut Result’ variable, used as an image variable in a shortcut that calls Apple Frames.

I just released a small update to Apple Frames 3.1, which came out earlier this week, with a new output command: &passthrough. With this output command for the Apple Frames API, you’ll be able to generate a framed image (from whatever source you like) and simply pass its result to the next action in a shortcut as a native image variable.

I wrote about this as part of my Extension column in MacStories Weekly today, where I also covered the ability to run Apple Frames from the command line on macOS. Here’s the excerpt about version 3.1.1 of Apple Frames and the new passthrough mode:

As I was researching this column for Weekly, I realized there was an obvious candidate for an output command I did not include in Apple Frames 3.1: a passthrough command to, well, pass framed images along as input for the next action of a shortcut.

Here’s what I mean: when you run Apple Frames from a helper shortcut using the ‘Run Shortcut’ action, that action produces an output variable called ‘Shortcut Result’. If you’re running Apple Frames as a function, thus turning it into a feature of another workflow, it can be useful to take the framed images it produces and use them as a native variable in other actions of the shortcut. The problem is that the output commands I launched with Apple Frames 3.1 all involved “storing” the framed images somewhere, whether it was Files or the system clipboard.

This is no longer the case with the &passthrough output command I added to Apple Frames 3.1.1, which you can redownload from the MacStories Shortcuts Archive or directly from this link. If you run the Apple Frames API with this command, framed images will be passed along as native output of the shortcut, which you can reuse as a variable elsewhere in a shortcut that’s invoking Apple Frames.

And:

Any shortcut or longer workflow that involves running Apple Frames in the background and retrieving the screenshots it frames can take advantage of this method, allowing you to bypass the need to store images in the clipboard, even if temporarily. Essentially, passthrough mode turns Apple Frames into a native action of the Shortcuts app that returns a standard image variable as its output.

This is the only change in version 3.1.1 of Apple Frames, and I’m excited to see how people will take advantage of it to chain Apple Frames with other shortcuts on their devices. You can download the updated version of Apple Frames below.

Apple Frames

Add device frames to screenshots for iPhones (11, 8/SE, and 12-13-14 generations in mini/standard/Plus/Pro Max sizes), iPad Pro (11” and 12.9”, 2018-2022 models), iPad Air (10.9”, 2020-2022 models), iPad mini (2021 model), Apple Watch S4/5/6/7/8/Ultra, iMac (24” model, 2021), MacBook Air (2020-2022 models), and MacBook Pro (2021 models). The shortcut supports portrait and landscape orientations, but does not support Display Zoom; on iPadOS and macOS, the shortcut supports Default and More Space resolutions. If multiple screenshots are passed as input, they will be combined in a single image. The shortcut can be run in the Shortcuts app, as a Home Screen widget, as a Finder Quick Action, or via the share sheet. The shortcut also supports an API for automating input images and framed results.

Get the shortcut here.

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Apple Frames 3.1: Extending Screenshot Automation with the New Apple Frames API

Apple Frames 3.1 comes with a lightweight Apple Frames API to extend its automation capabilities.

Apple Frames 3.1 comes with a lightweight Apple Frames API to extend its automation capabilities.

Update, March 3: Version 3.1.1 of Apple Frames has been released with support for a new passthrough output command. This post has been updated to reflect the changes. You can redownload the updated shortcut at the end of this post.


Today, I’m happy to introduce something I’ve been working on for the past couple of months: Apple Frames – my shortcut to put screenshots captured on Apple devices inside physical device frames – is getting a major upgrade to version 3.1 today. In addition to offering support for more devices that I missed in version 3.0 as well as some bug fixes, Apple Frames 3.1 brings a brand new API that lets you automate and extend the Apple Frames shortcut itself.

By making Apple Frames scriptable, I wanted to allow power users – such as designers and developers who rely on this shortcut to frame hundreds of images each week – to save valuable time without compromising the accessible nature of Apple Frames for other people. This is why all of the new advanced features of Apple Frames are optional and hidden until you go look for them specifically. Furthermore, even if you do want to use the Apple Frames API, you’ll see that I designed it in the spirit of Shortcuts: it does not require any code and it’s entirely powered by simple, visual ‘Text’ actions.

I’m incredibly excited about what Apple Frames can do in version 3.1, so let’s dive in.

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Apple Frames 3.0: Completely Rewritten, Support for iPhone 14 Pro and Dynamic Island, New Devices, Multiple Display Resolutions, and More

Apple Frames 3.0.

Apple Frames 3.0.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of version 3.0 of Apple Frames, my shortcut to put screenshots taken on various Apple devices inside physical frames for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Apple Frames 3.0 is a major update that involved a complete re-architecture of the shortcut to improve its performance and reliability on all Apple platforms. For Apple Frames 3.0, I entirely rebuilt its underlying file structure to move away from base64 and embrace Files/Finder to store assets. As a result, Apple Frames 3.0 is faster, easier to debug, and – hopefully – easier to maintain going forward.

But Apple Frames 3.0 goes beyond a new technical foundation. This update to the shortcut introduces full compatibility with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max with Dynamic Island, Apple Watch Ultra, and the M2 MacBook Air. And that’s not all: Apple Frames 3.0 also brings full support for resolution scaling on all iPad models that offer the ‘More Space’ display mode in iPadOS 16. And in the process, I also added support for ‘Default’ and ‘More Space’ options on the Apple Silicon-based MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and iMac. All of this, as always, in a native shortcut designed for high performance that uses Apple’s official device images and requires no manual configuration whatsoever.

Apple Frames 3.0 is the biggest, most versatile version of Apple Frames to date, and I’m proud of the results. Let’s dive in.

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