Just wanted to say hi

Hey folks,

I’ve been terrible about using this forum and just want to say hi to you all – I want to post more here in the future and want to know what you all are looking for!

Say hi and share your favorite shortcut right now and/or something you know is possible and haven’t yet built!


I’m looking for an option to execute shortcuts without showing the Shortcuts App (at all).

It would also be nice if I could export large amounts of HealthKit data again. That’s the only shortcut I use right now, but it’s crashing (just like the export of the Health App itself) every time.

I think that’s going to be one for Apple to make happen as it would have to be built into the system and app to do that sort of thing.

This could be to do with the volume of data, a bug in Shortcuts in general, or an issue on your device.

In software systems it is quite normal to only offer partial downloads and/or delta extracts (things that have changed since last extract). If your issue is down to that, it would be prudent to work with smaller extracts and recombine them in the system you are using to analyse the data. You could just be hitting a device memory constraint for example. Look at splitting the extract into multiple consecutive parts, and only extracting what you absolutely need.

If you share the exact shortcut you are using (I’d consider posing this in a different topic so as not to hijack Matt’s thread), I’m sure a few people on the forum could try it out. Based on the data volumes and success it might be possible to determine if this is a common issue across all Shortcuts users or with the particular shortcut. I know I can export sub sets of Health data for a week, so it isn’t an issue for all Health extracts.

The former testing may also yield an alternative insight if the issue is with your installation. I’ve certainly had some issues with Shortcuts since iOS13 released that were down to the migration process. While I stayed clear of the betas in the end (including public), I know lots had even more issues if they had. I deleted Shortcuts and levelled my shortcuts collection to zero, then reinstalled. This fixed quite a few ‘odd’ issues and crashes as well as my entire lack of sync. But I still get regular crashes even now. It could be that your issue is similar to some of my earlier ones and is local to you.


This is more of a throwback, but when I was studying for my comprehensive exams last year a few Shortcuts helped me stay motivated.

My favourite one might have been the simplest. I created a text file where each line described a scene I was looking forward to once I’d finished the exam-sprint. Things like “a stress-free summer day with the dog on a hike.” There were probably about 20 or so. I created a shortcut that split this text file by lines and showed me one of them at random.

The point was to quell procrastination by reminding myself that I’ll have all of those things once the exam was over. It worked well!

*Of course, it was embedded in a whole framework that kicked off certain playlists, locked my Mac down to only productive apps, set Pomodoro-style timers, opened Forest on my iPhone, and so on…

** Who knows how much better I might have done if I didn’t waste so much time making shortcuts…

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I have posted this elsewhere here, but am quite proud of it on the whole (I am not a Shortcuts expert by any means - I am a historian)…

I created a shortcut (with help from @jayelevy) to allow me to dictate podcast notes (with timestamps) while listening to Overcast, then compile all of those dictations into a single text file to be filed in my note app of choice. Afterwards you can click on the link to the timestamp and be taken right into the moment where I took the note.

Dictate Podcast Notes

However, what I also want (and am currently working on with thanks to Toolbox Pro) is to be able to “pause” the note taking session and pick it back up at a future date, all the while still only creating one note in the end. I commute long distances and it would be nice to not have 2 or 3 different note files for a single podcast and have to compile them after the fact.

Update: Resume note taking with a different session & log of podcast note UUIDs.

I now added a feature that allows you to pick up where you left off on a podcast and a pen and those new notes to the old note. This however requires toolbox pro. I am using the global variables feature to log whether I have taken notes on a particular podcast already, and if so, it grabs the UU ID to append to. I am sure you could save the variables or data somewhere else, instead of using Toolbox Pro, but this was the quickest way to do it for me. Now because I am always worried about Shortcuts crashing, both versions log the important information into text files in Drafts.

Dictate Podcast Notes v2.0


I guess I’m hoping Matthew still talks to his former colleagues who are now at Apple :wink:

I never paid much notice to the contents of the shortcut and unfortunately I can’t remember where I got it (Federico Viticci?), but I do see that it tries to put all values in a single “text”.

Would that have a limit that I exceed by exporting all HealthKit data of a certain category?

(I try BMI, Water, Weight, Caffeine, Fat%, blood pressure, which should each have at most 1-10 entries/day)

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There are some shortcut functions (I don’t know which ones) that when executed from the widget area never take you to shortcuts. But I imagine this is not what you are hoping for.

Everything has a limit. I’ve given you some options above, but it’s up to you what you want to do.

True. I’m a bit busy now, but I’ll put in on my Next Actions list (or maybe Someday/Later).

If you could do something about how to make and use the menus from Toolbox Pro. That would be cool.

My daily listen to Italian sentences while running shortcut system hasn’t worked for 4 months because Speak Text bug prevents the shortcut from continuing with the screen off. Sad after years of building and use and worried they might not fix it.

Couple of automations for recording run and starting news bulletin playing. Automations work sometimes!

And shortcuts to share videos from phone to iPad via an archive, and just move them around in files.

My hunch was right: I’m using a shortcut from MacStories.

I created a new topic for my issue. Hope you can help me there:

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I’ll be posting a tutorial soon!

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This is a great idea. I have a couple of “randomize” shortcuts that are designed similarly, but I like the inspiration. Especially since Siri can tell you at any time :slight_smile:

Mind sharing your version?

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I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t gone deep enough on Toolbox Pro – I am still slogging through my whole library and cleaning things out.

It’s one of the next things I’m tackling soon though.

Gotta get @mralexhay on a video perhaps :slight_smile:


Have you tried triggering it from Siri? Does that continue out loud? The Show Result action also lets Siri speak back text, that might work better.

Do you have one for sharing videos as an archive? Or is that a request? If you have it, I’d like to check it out.

Sure! I’ve been meaning to publish this anyway, so thanks for the excuse.

One trick: how does installing a Shortcut that runs other Shortcuts work? Do users need to manually download all five, then stitch them together themselves?

I have cross-posted this writeup to Github, where I’m slowly growing my little collection of “augmenting cognition” automations.

Using Shortcuts to remember the future

A Shortcut—or collection of Shortcuts—to help you push through a stressful milestone using (short-term) futures thinking.

Basic edition

I mean, the basic edition is simple. List a few nice visions as Text, Split Text by new lines, Get Item from List randomly, and Show Result.

Getting fancy

My version is a little fancier. I put my items in a DEVONthink markdown file to make it easy to add to it anywhere, and I used recursion to make it easy to loop. This made it more complicated, of course. There are five (five!) interlocking Shortcuts.


The first part of the “controller”. This runs two shortcuts: Get Visualizations to pull the list from the DEVONthink file, and then it runs Recursive Visualization to give me a looping prompt.

Get Visualizations

The “model”. Give it a DEVONthink item link and the markdown heading level of the images of the future in that file, and it feeds that link to a Get list from DEVONthink md headings Shortcut that pulls them into a nice list for you.

Get list from DEVONthink md headings

This is a helper function I’ve developed to make it easy to grab headings in a markdown file saved in DEVONthink. I use it elsewhere too. It accepts:

  • a Dictionary containing…
    • a Heading value indicating the level of headings you want to parse (in the form of a number of # symbols).
    • a File value in the form of an x-devonthink-item:// link.

It switches that item link into an x-callback-url to, grabs and decodes the text content of the DEVONthink item, grabs each of the appropriate heading lines, cleans the hashtags from each line (so they don’t appear in your resulting list), and outputs that final list.

Recursive Visualize

The second part of the “controller”. This shortcut receives a list and then runs the Visualizing Positive Futures sub-shortcut (to facilitate recursion). It then offers a simple menu with “Another?” as a prompt, and the options yes or no. If you chose yes, it runs itself again, looping without having to re-do all of the above shortcut actions (speedy!)

Visualizing Positive Futures

The “view”. Nice and simple. This shortcut accepts a list, gets a random item, and shows the item as a result.