Running Shortcuts from a Menu

I was experimenting with various methods for running shortcuts from a menu and came up with the shortcut below which seemed to provide a simple, but visually appealing way to do this.

It’s configured simply by putting the names of the shortcuts you want to select from in the second action.

Interested in what other techniques people have employed for doing this ?

I’m lazy and have hard time remembering the names of my shortcuts, so I use the ”choose from menu“ step. :man_shrugging: It also allows me to have submenus etc.

Then I place “Run Shortcut” step and/or other relevant steps under each menu option.

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My list driven launch options are two-fold - dynamic & static; and are tied together by three things. Those three things are naming conventions, LaunchCuts, and a master launch shortcut.

In the What does your LaunchCuts Folder Structure Look Like? topic, I referenced a supporting post that includes a but of detail, but what I have in place is a standard naming convention for my shortcuts. The first four characters define some meta data about the shortcut, the first character specifies the shortcut “type” (library, personal, example, etc.), with the following two characters defining a “category” (dictionary, podcast, travel). The final character is just a hyphen used as a separator from the descriptor part of the name. Even there, I try and standardise the descriptors so that helps with searching and for the launching as will hopefully become clear.

Naming examples can be seen in the ‘technical’ names of all of the shortcuts listed here.

With the shortcuts appropriately named, I then don’t need to build new menus of shortcuts so often. Instead I can search and filter them by name. For this purpose I have a master launch shortcut. If it is run standalone, it will alphabetically list all of my shortcuts and allow me to select one to run. If it is passed a text string, it will use that to filter my shortcuts and display an alphabetical list of those that match. This means that I can create quick shortcut that calls the launcher and passes in key information to get the sorts of shortcuts listed that I want based on matching parts of the shortcut names.

For example here’s my shortcut for building a menu of shortcuts that I use for working with and processing screenshots.

This was the exclusive approach I was using before the advent of LaunchCuts. I still use the approach and now have a LaunchCuts folder that holds my launcher shortcuts. Because my launcher shortcuts follow my naming convention approach, in that they all begin with a “+”, I’m able o use a dynamic folder in LaunchCuts to list them.

My static folders in LaunchCuts however have replaced the custom menus where I had to manually create them (as per the first post in this topic) rather than being able to dynamically produce them (as described above). Where I want to launch to those quickly, I can create additional launcher-based shortcuts which open a URL to navigate to the LaunchCuts folder and use shortcuts to put these in my widget or on the home screen.

e.g. the following URL opens a specific folder of shortcuts in my LaunchCut app. It utilises the unique folder UUID to do this.


This probably leads to two questions:

  1. Why do you not create dynamic folders in LaunchCuts to take the place of your shortcuts menus?
  2. Why do you not use custom shortcut launchers like in the first post over static folders in LaunchCuts?

In response to the first one, I find having the folder of launchers that work dynamically in LaunchCuts helps to keep LaunchCuts decluttered. I already have quite a few folders and this keeps me at a level where I’m not scrolling too much.

In response to the second one, I have so few static folders related to adding specific shortcuts, that it isn’t cluttering (at the moment), and LaucnhCuts gives me what I think is a slightly quicker and easier experience when I’m maintaining those static lists. I’m almost exclusively using LaunchCuts as my way into Shortcuts at the moment, so it’s a good fit right now.

In both cases I’m certainly open to things changing in the future, but currently the balance feels just right.


Thanks for the responses.

Understand @Kutrinet’s point that using the native “Choose From Menu” action is in many ways the simplest approach and agree it is probably the best way to go if you’re trying to perform other shortcuts actions rather than just picking a shortcut to run.

For me it has a couple of downsides as a shortcuts launcher…

  • It requires hard coding the menu choices plus the actions to perform for each choice and you have to do this every time you create a new menu. I was looking to create a re-usable mechanism that could be driven by configuration.
  • The menu that’s presented by the native action is a rather bland monochrome text menu, whereas choosing from a list of actual shortcuts includes the coloured icon. Appreciate this is a small point, but I find it makes it much quicker and easier to locate the desired choice particularly in longer menus.

I’m impressed with @sylumer’s approach and it certainly highlights some of the cool things you can do with LaunchCuts, however, it does require the creation of a fair bit of “scaffolding” and a level of discipline around file naming that I think I’d struggle to maintain.

Defining a type and category for each shortcut certainly sounds like a good idea, although to my mind it’s a pity that this has to pollute the file name and there isn’t another mechanism to associate this type of metadata with the shortcut (one for Apple methinks :grinning:).

I also wasn’t sure how easy it would be under this approach to create arbitrary menus of shortcuts drawn from multiple types/categories or vary the order of shortcuts from menu to menu ?

I think overall my conclusion is that there a number of good ways to do this and the one that’s right for you will be driven by your use cases and potentially also the size and complexity of your shortcuts library.

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That comes back to my use of LaunchCuts, and my mentioned need for only very limited numbers where an arbitrary match across multiple varieties of shortcuts is required.

My structure in naming really does drive things for m, but should I ever really require a custom order for a cross-functional set in the future I would create a custom menu driven shortcut.

Agreed. I brought up meta data with the Workflow team very early on, but it has not yet come to pass. LaunchCut’s tags via comments can mitigate this, but using the filename let’s me get some benefit in Shortcuts too.

But regardless, you have to be disciplined enough to maintain that data just as much as you would with a naming convention as I do.

I’m waiting for the day when Siri’s AI can automagically categorise and tag all my shortcuts for me…

Me: “Hey Siri show me all my calendar shortcuts”

Siri: “Searching the web for cauliflower sawdust”

…perhaps your way is better !