✦ Using unicode symbols in the titles of my Services/Quick Action shortcuts has helped me find them in the right-click menu!

If you are like me, you may have created several Automator workflows or Shortcuts shortcuts that are accessed via the Services or Quick Actions menus. Quick Actions tends to be a bit easier to keep tidy, but Services definitely gets overcrowded, since apps populate that menu with their respective functionality too.

Recently, I started naming my shortcuts using unicode characters, like ✦ or ★ or ✓ or ✗. This helps me to find (1) a shortcut that I authored, and (2) which one I’m looking for. Here’s an example of my Quick Actions menu triggered by a right-click on a folder.

It may seem unnecessary or redundant, since Shortcuts is capable of adding an icon to the Quick Actions menu, but the icon doesn’t always display in other contexts, and old Automator workflows either have a generic icon or no icon at all. So the little unicode character helps me to easily identify my scripts. Here is an example of a right-click Services menu used on a web page where I process the PubMed ID of an article to download it from a library. Notice that the overcrowded Services menu does not use icons, but my little script stands out because of the unicode character ✦:

Lastly, the Quick Actions and Services menus get blended together as Services in the File Menu, as well as in the Finder extensions. (I still don’t understand Apple’s distinction between the two. The terms appear to be interchangeable. So why have two?) The unicode symbol makes “my stuff” easy to find here, too.

I toss that idea out into the Automators community. I find this tiny hack to be very convenient. It’s common sense, but I only now started to do it because I was getting annoyed at the Services menu. Hopefully, you’ll find it useful, too!

Best,
–Alexander.

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BetterTouchTool v4.564 added the capability to add entries to the right-click context menu. These entries are not stored under the Quick Actions or Services sub-menu, but rather sit in the main right-click context menu. Read more here: Extending Finder Context Menu · GitBook

I created a sample menu entry “BTT: Add new file here”, just to test it out. While BTT smartly allows you to add SF Symbols to your menu entries, unfortunately this doesn’t play well with dark mode (the icon will be black instead of white, so you can’t discern what it is). But the unicode symbol appears very legibly.

With various shortcuts/tweaks being added in different places (Quick Actions, Services, the main right-click context menu, the File Menu, buttons in Finder, etc.), I’m very much satisfied at having a little unicode symbol like ✦ to help me find “my stuff” more easily :slight_smile:

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