Help with Things 3 URL Scheme for Project Templates


Without a doubt my very favorite thing about @MacSparky’s OmniFocus Video Field guide was the part on using TaskPaper and Workflow to create Project Templates. SO GREAT!

I have switched to Things 3 and I am trying to accomplish the same thing using Things URL Schemes and the Link Builder Tool. Wondering if anyone has successfully made this happen?

I have been able to accomplish everything except create the Headings. I LOVE Headings in Things 3 and want to automate the creation of headings as well as tasks, but can’t seem to figure it out.

Any Help?


Hey @bodiequirk, being a new convert to Things myself I just wanted to chime in to ask if at some point you would be able to share what you’ve acomplished. Being a newbie to URL Schemes I’m on a quest to get the most out of Things!

Unfortunately, headings is one of the few things that can not be created with the Things url scheme.

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Hi @bodiequirk! I’m using a combination of Shortcuts, iCloud Drive and Drafts to make my project templates happen with Things. A little complicated and involved, I know, but this project template workflow includes the ability to create projects with headings and dynamic fill-in fields.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Use the following Shortcut ( to kick-off the process. The Shortcut will ask you to select the .txt project template you’d like to use.
  2. I’ve pre-written all my project templates in a specific syntax that was created to work with a specific parser in Drafts called “Send to Things” – – You can see in the notes for the actions that you can use the parser to create projects in specific areas with headings, tags, due dates, when dates, and notes. Your finished template should look something like this:

    You can see I have some dynamic fill-in fields in the template wrapped in these symbols: «»
  3. Shortcuts will check the template for any dynamic fill-in fields and ask you what those values should be.
  4. Shortcuts will then push that template over to Drafts to run the “Send to Things” action.
  5. Your template should now appear in Things!

Hope this helps!


P.S. I can send this over as a Workflow as well if you don’t have access to the Shortcuts beta. It works the very same way. The key is having Drafts 5 with that “Send to Things” action loaded.

Wow. That’s impressive! Can you share a Workflow link please?

Thanks @andveg38! Here it is:


@Mark!! Whoa man, this looks awesome. Can’t wait to play around with it tomorrow. Thanks so much for creating and sharing this workflow. You are the man.

@bodiequirk: No problem! I was in your very same boat after switching over from OmniFocus to Things earlier in the year. It’s not the perfect solution given that I have to use 2 different apps to make it happen, but it definitely gets the job done.

Let me know if you hit any snags. The only issue I’ve seen is if I include a long URL in a note for a task it could break the entire template due to the way URL schemes work.

@Mark Wait so I put the project template file in iCloud Drive and choose it when the workflow launches? What about all the text, is that in Drafts? Can you send me an example file to work from (so I don’t have to type it all out manually from the jpeg attacment).

Do I need the text all ready in Drafts to make the template work or does it pull it from a separate file? Or do I put it in the shortcuts file itself?



I didn’t realize that the template was only necessary if I wasn’t using the Workflow, but with the workflow, I just need to point it to the .txt file and BOOM.

Bro, you have no idea how epic this is for me, THANK YOU!

P.S. The only thing that didn’t come through was the tags on the project. Do they need to be put in a certain order?



You’re right about the tags. I don’t have many tags – if any – in my templates. But, I just tried a number of ways to add tags and I can’t figure out how to get them to pass through. I’ll spend more time on this later though!

This is so great, @Mark, I am truly geeking out here. This is so much better than using the Link Builder and I GET HEADINGS!! Woo hoo!

Thanks for the confirmation on the tags, couldn’t figure out if it was just me. I shot a tweet to the dev of Send to Things about it, too. I can easily add them, just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something obvious.

Now, we build!!

What do you use the template for? I’m not trying to pry into your business, but what would you use a template for? Any examples??

@Jjm No worries, thanks for asking!

As a pastor, I have a lot of recurring work. So I have a ten-week teaching series coming up and I have the same steps that need to be completed for each week, but the data is different. The template allows me to organize and clarify all the steps and then put placeholders in for the data that changes from week to week, which is essentially the dates and content.

These templates allow me to generate a full project, fill in the name and Scripture for each week and then put in the dates for the different parts of it. Like what is the start date, teaching date and publish date for the content I teach to put on my website.

So templates are amazing for recurring projects that have new data each time.


That’s pretty cool. Thanks for sharing. I have things I can use a template for, now I need to figure out how to make a template.

@Mark’ s instructions at the top of this thread did the trick for me. You just use the workflow instead of the shortcuts file if you are not on iOS 12 beta.

Wow, just tried this and needed to reply to say thank you for this! I’ve recently converted to Things from Omnifocus and this works so well and will save me a ton of time when I do my lesson plans. Thanks so much @Mark :vulcan_salute:

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@mau just curious why you went from OM to things?

Hey @Jjm I’m trying to make Things my task manager by using it exclusively and I’m REALLY liking the simplicity vs. power balance.

I just ran out of time on the Things Mac trial but will try to ask for an extension to make my final decision to fully jump ship (I have so much money in OF that it’ll hurt and Things 3 Mac isn’t cheap but…).

OF 3 is coming out very soon and it has some nice improvements but in my case I know I would spend tons of time playing with settings, perspectives and all the features instead of doing my tasks. I love its power (Perspectives are amazing, I wish we could filter tasks like that in Things) but I think it’s just too much for my needs.

I definitely fall into the category of someone who would rather live in an app with clean, friendly design even with less power and Things excels at that. I do wish Cultured Code were a bit less restrictive in certain areas and that I could read my tasks in full on my phone instead of having to guess what they are when the text overflows but I know we can’t have everything so I’m ok with that.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m simplifying and reducing the friction to actually get my stuff done and I’m enjoying the process while I’m at it. Hope this wasn’t too much of a rant.