In iOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3, Apple updated its iWork suite of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers app to include improved actions for the Shortcuts app in all three apps, bringing the feature to macOS for the first time and improving the previous iOS. -only set of actions for the sequel.
Each app has To open and Create actions to allow users to open files and generate models, and Apple has included specialized actions to interact with their Keynote presentations and insert values directly into tables in Numbers.
Read on to find examples of shortcuts using these actions, explanations of how to integrate unique Keynote and Numbers features, and find out what to know about password-protected files as well as improvements that may be added in future releases.
For Pages, Apple has two actions: Open Document and Create a document.
With Open Documentusers can create a shortcut that uses the File parameter to select a file to open each time, or create a shortcut that passes chosen .pages files elsewhere in your file system and opens them as well.
With the Create Document action, users can specify an individual template from the options list and create a shortcut to create that document each time, or create a shortcut to prompt each time to choose a template and create one one on the fly – templates include categories like reports, books, letters, resumes, flyers and posters, newsletters, cards, envelopes, business cards, and certificates.
Together, this set of actions makes it easy to generate new documents from all kinds of document templates made available by Apple, as well as retrieve them for working or viewing at any time – all great templates to take advantage of. one of the best writing apps for the Mac.
For Keynote, Apple has four actions: Open presentation, Create a presentation, Open the presentation in rehearsal modeand Open the presentation in View mode.
With Open presentation, the action works the same as Pages above – users can open a specific presentation (perhaps you’ve been working on one for an entire month), or choose from a list of files and open that presentation. Keynote presentations can also be password protected, so there is an additional Password field on Open presentation so you can unlock if needed – Shortcuts may prompt you for a document’s password before trying to open it.
With Create a presentation, users can choose from the themes available in Keynote and generate a new presentation from one of them every time. I do, however, recommend that you check out the samples in the app before deciding on one to use on a regular basis. Moreover, users can choose from any template and create it on the fly. You can choose from Basic, Minimal, Bold, Editorial, Portfolio, Craft, and Textured themes.
Also, in addition to the two basic actions, Keynote has actions for opening presentations in rehearsal mode and show mode, so you can practice a presentation and even start the show for the actual event when it’s time – a great set of shortcuts to use on your favorite iPad.
Numbers actions provided by Apple for shortcuts include Open spreadsheet, Create a spreadsheetand Add a row to the top or bottom of the table.
With Open spreadsheet, shortcut users can easily find and reopen a specific worksheet to view your data; Additionally, shortcuts can extract a set of documents or a folder, let you choose from those options, and open any spreadsheet you want (note: spreadsheets can also be password protected, and shortcuts add a parameter for it).
Create a spreadsheet is incredibly useful due to the wealth of super useful templates available for Numbers. You can create shortcuts to generate a new pivot table or set of charts, choose from worksheets for personal finance or business, track personal or educational information, and even generate new worksheets based on your own models. Here is a shortcut to choose from the template options.
Add a row to the top or bottom of the table is perhaps the most useful of all iWorks actions because it actually lets you add data to your files, especially since updating spreadsheets is often the worst part of creating them. Thanks to shortcuts, it can be much easier now.
Using the action with a template like personal budget, a user can add a transaction to the table on the second sheet of the document — each column of data can be added to the “Value” area of the action, then you can specify the Table name, Sheet name and if the information goes at the bottom or at the top.
Using the other Shortcuts script steps, you can create/prompt for these values on the fly using a series of Prompt for Input actions, with prompts such as “What is the description? ” and “How much is it?”, then add the results (and the current date) in the Values field (note: leave the columns blank if you don’t want to add values).
When you run the shortcut, get the prompts and enter all your data, the action will then take you into the Numbers app and insert your values directly – this requirement to manually open the app is the only downside to the action and a strange limitation from Apple, as inserting values behind the scenes would be much smoother.
Despite the manual entry, this action is extremely useful – you can use the scripts and shortcut numbers to perform all sorts of data entry that would otherwise be very laborious to enter manually, especially from an iPhone or a iPad. Plus, your “journaling” shortcuts work on both mobile and desktop, so your workflow can be seamless anywhere.
All in all, these sets of Shortcut Actions for Pages, Keynote and Numbers are welcome – every app is on equal footing on iOS and Mac, they provide great access to app files and templates , and Apple has given Keynote and Numbers additional attention for their app-specific features.
In the next iteration of these, I’d like to see more ways to interact with my iWork files: extract data, insert data, and be able to extract details from file parameters would allow much more programmatic access to everything . Also, Numbers should be able to insert data in the background without opening the app – this experience is very antithetical to the Shortcuts experience and unfortunately means many people won’t be using it.
However, these iWork actions are a big deal for proprietary apps – Apple has demonstrated its intention to ensure that apps like this have feature parity when it comes to shortcut support, they’ve pushed the Quality-of-life updates for users who want to get more out of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, and they focus on each app’s particular use cases and make them easier.
Get the shortcuts listed in the article: