Apple’s Shortcuts app has been on iOS for years, but in MacOS Monterey, it eventually ends up on the company’s computers. This powerful app is at home on the Mac as it lets you simplify complex tasks and perform powerful operations with just one click – or even with your voice.
Today we’re going to show you everything you need to know to create and use effective shortcuts on your Mac. Download the MacOS Monterey Public Beta, open the Shortcuts app and follow our instructions to start automating tasks that make your life a little easier.
The Shortcuts app comes with a number of pre-made shortcuts that can be used right out of the box. Many of these are excellent tools, but you may want to create your own shortcut and customize it to suit your needs. That’s how it’s done.
Step 1: add components to the canvas
In shortcuts’ main menu, press the plus Button. This opens the window for creating shortcuts. We will select the components that make up a shortcut from the menu on the right. You can find components sorted by category or search for one that is associated with a specific app. There is a search box above these options.
Here we are creating a simple shortcut that you can use Change your desktop background. Enter in the search box Find photos, then click and drag the resulting component onto the mate area.
Step 2: define some behaviors
Some link components have options that you can customize. For example, you can use the Find Photos option to add filters, sort the results, and limit the number of photos.
click Add filter. This adds the phrase “album is up to date” to the component. Notice that each word is highlighted in blue – this means that it is a variable that can be changed. click Current, and a pop-up window will appear. In the list, select a folder from the Photos app that you want to use as the wallpaper repository. Shortcuts use this folder to show you pictures that you can set as your wallpaper. Leave the other options unchanged.
Art Set wallpaper in the right search field and drag the resulting component underneath Find photos on the canvas. This step will tell your Mac to use the photo you selected as your computer’s desktop picture.
Step 3: take a spin
click Link name at the top of the Canvas and give your shortcut a new title. Press the symbol left to change the icon and icon color of the shortcut.
Now click on play Symbol. A window will appear with images in your defined background image folder. Choose one and click Choose. If this is the first time this is done, you may need to allow the shortcut to run in a subsequent window. this time click Always allowed.
And so your wallpaper was changed!
The nice thing about the Shortcuts app is that there are so many ways to start your creations. Let’s look at some of the most useful.
In the Shortcuts app
The easiest way to run your shortcuts is to do this through the connections Home page. Click in the left sidebar All shortcuts under the My abbreviations Header. To run a shortcut from here, hover your mouse over it and click play icon displayed (or double-click to edit settings).
Shortcuts that you added to the quick action menu or menu bar are displayed in separate sections in this sidebar for easy access (more on these functions later).
Talk to Siri
The greatest strength of Shortcuts is their ability to make complicated, multi-step processes much easier. Siri is a great ally in this endeavor. Instead of digging through menus and settings to get even the first step in your shortcut, easy talk to Siri.
On your Mac, the trigger set is the name of the shortcut, so make it descriptive. Press the Sirius Icon in your menu bar or say “Hey Siri” followed by the name of the shortcut. Example: “Hey Siri, change my desktop picture” or “Hey Siri, text last picture”.
Use quick actions
Open a shortcut, then open that the settings Top right menu. Tick it Use as a quick action Check box. The Services menu The checkbox is checked automatically. Now open any app and click on its name in the menu bar, then move the mouse pointer over the Services Menu item. You will see that the shortcut has appeared. This is a quick way to access shortcuts no matter what app is running.
Tick it finder Check box and the shortcut is added to the context menu. Whenever you right-click in finder, find the link under a section at the bottom of the menu titled Quick actions.
Alternatively, press command + place then to open Spotlight, enter the name of your shortcut and press return to start it.
There are even more great features in the Shortcuts app. Here are some of our favorites.
Add a shortcut to the menu bar
A great option is to add your most frequently used shortcuts to your Mac’s menu bar. Of the All shortcuts Page, double-click the shortcut you have chosen. In the top right, click the the settings Slider icon and then click pen in the Menu bar. Press the connections Menu bar icon and you will now see your shortcut. You can add multiple shortcuts to this menu so that you can quickly access your favorites.
Use a keyboard shortcut
An even faster way to trigger your shortcut is to activate it Keyboard shortcuts. Of the the settings On the menu in the previous instruction, click Add keyboard shortcut. In the box that appears next to Run with, enter your preferred keyboard shortcut.
Don’t worry, you can’t overwrite existing keyboard shortcuts. If you select one that is already in use, nothing will be entered in the field. If the keyboard shortcut is available, its component keys will appear in the box. Press returnand it will be saved.
Note that this was a small buggy MacOS Monterey beta when we tested it. We assume Apple will tweak it when more updates are released.
Sync your shortcuts
Some shortcuts work just as well on your iPhone or Apple watch like on a mac. All of your shared shortcuts will automatically sync with your other devices, but there are ways to make them a little more visible.
In the settings menu, check the box next to Show in share sheet on iOS. Now whenever you click click share on your iPhone or iPad screen, the shortcut will appear.
Or you can check the box next to Show on Apple Watch to place it on your watch’s home screen. If the shortcut is not compatible, the Shortcuts app will give a warning.