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What’s new in Shortcuts on macOS?


Apple introduced Shortcuts for Macs running macOS Monterey at WWDC 2021. The newest Mac operating system isn’t available yet, but here’s what you need to know about Shortcuts and how it may help you get things done once Monterey arrives.

How can I run a Shortcut on my Mac?

Apple has built in Shortcuts across the system. When you use your Mac, you’ll be able to run Shortcuts using the Menu bar icon, Spotlight, from within the Finder, through Siri, and using contextual menus. You can drag regularly used Shortcuts to your Dock to run them from there.

In an application of contextual machine learning, your Mac will make what it believes are relevant Shortcuts available in the lower right of the Finder menu when you select a file, document, or image. Finally, if you have a Mac with a TouchBar you’ll see icons for recommended Shortcuts appear there.

What kind of things can Shortcuts do?

During the WWDC keynote and in various reports since, we’ve learned a few ways in which Shortcuts can be applied:

  • You can create a Shortcut that will share selected files of images to a group thread in Messages.
  • Use Shortcuts to manage work windows — so when you have too many open applications you can ask Siri to sort it out for you.
  • Shortcuts are invaluable for batch editing images.
  • If you use smart lighting you may want to create a lighting setup for video conferencing calls, which can then be invoked with a Shortcut.
  • Create a Shortcut to open two frequently used apps alongside each other in Split Screen.
  • You can even create Shortcuts to share digital business cards.

Where can I create Shortcuts on a Mac?

The new Shortcuts app on your Mac provides you with a gallery of prebuilt shortcuts and an editor that lets you create your own. Pre-built shortcuts include such tasks as adding batches of reminders or turning text into audio, but you may need more specific automations.

The editor lets you create your own, stringing actions together from a menu of options. So, you can receive photos from a gallery you are exploring in Photos and turn them into GIFs or automatically crop and share those images, for example.

If you use an M1 Mac, shortcuts created on your iPhone and/or iPad will run on your Mac.

One more thing, the Shortcuts creation user interface looks much, much easier to navigate on the Mac, boosted by a much smarter Shortcuts editor; it suggests what might be relevant “Next Action Suggestions.”

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