Mac Shortcuts app

The Shortcuts app, added with macOS Monterey, gives you easy ways to improve your productivity. Whether you want to share your availability, track your time, or email your schedule, you can do these things and more with a click.

While Automator on Mac is a terrific tool for similar types of tasks, Shortcuts is a more user-friendly alternative. Plus, you can browse a whole Gallery full of premade shortcuts and eliminate setting them up from scratch yourself.

So, let’s take a look at a handful of options in the Shortcuts app on Mac that can help you start your workday, progress through it easier, or end it on a high note.

Using Shortcuts on Mac

Before we go through the list helpful shortcuts, here’s a quick rundown of how to use the app on Mac.

RELATED: 8 Mac Shortcuts Actions You'll Actually Use

Open Shortcuts and click the Show Sidebar icon. On the left you’ll see the Gallery for browsing shortcuts, My Shortcuts for those you have already, and Folders for organizing them.

Shortcuts app sidebar on Mac

When you add a shortcut from the Gallery, you’ll do so by simply clicking the Add Shortcut button. To see the steps involved in making the shortcut work, click the three dots on the top right corner of it.

Shortcut details in the app

Once you add some shortcuts, you can view and run them from the My Shortcuts area. You can also right-click a shortcut to rename, edit, or delete it.

By opening the Shortcut Details (right-click > Open,) you can also choose where to place the shortcut using the Details tab. This lets you assign a keyboard shortcut, use it as a Quick Action or pin it in the Menu Bar. You can also change items you set up initially on the Setup tab.

Details for a Shortcut

Note: Depending on the shortcut, you may be asked to allow access to the required apps the first time you run it.

Now that you know the basics of Shortcuts on Mac, let’s see which ones can help you be more productive.

1. Create a Meeting Note

Do you often start creating meeting notes when your meeting begins or is already in progress? This shortcut will look up your next meeting, confirm you don’t have a note for it yet, and create one.

Create Meeting Note shortcut

When you add the shortcut, select the calendar you want to use or pick All Calendars. You can also change this later on the Setup tab of the Shortcut Details.

Create Meeting Note setup

Run the shortcut and if no note was created for your meeting notes, you’ll see one made for you. It will include the name of the event as the note title with the date, ready for your additions.

Meeting note created

2. Email Your Schedule

Maybe you check your email more than your calendar or maybe you need to provide your schedule to someone else regularly.

Email Schedule To Yourself shortcut

With nothing more than a click, you can send your schedule to the email address you set up when you add the shortcut. You can also use more than one email address or change the address later in the Shortcut Details.

Email Schedule To Yourself setup

You may briefly see the email pop up and send when you run the shortcut. However, you don’t have to take any action other than running the shortcut. The email is sent automatically.

Schedule email

3. Track Your Time

If you’re a freelancer, contractor, or similar where you need to track your time, make it the simplest task on your list with a shortcut.

Time Tracking shortcut

Pick how many tasks to track when you add the shortcut. If needed, you can change this later on the Setup tab of the Shortcut Details screen.

Time Tracking setup

Then, just choose which task you want to add time for, enter when the task started, and how much time you spent.

Use Time Tracking

The details will be added to a note in the Notes app.

Time Tracking log

4. Start Your Next Meeting

If you want the ultimate meeting shortcut, this one is for you.

Start My Next Meeting shortcut

It looks for the next virtual meeting in your calendar, connects you directly to it on the web, creates a meeting note in Notes, and enables Do Not Disturb for the duration of the meeting. How’s that for productivity?

Connect to meeting and create note

When you run the shortcut, you’ll see your scheduled events if you have more than one. Simply select the meeting you want to join, click “Done,” and let the shortcut do the rest.

Select the meeting

RELATED: How to Schedule a Meeting in Google Meet

5. Share Your Availability

Have a busy schedule? You can share your availability for any day using Mail, Messages, Notes, or Reminders on Mac.

Share Availability shortcut

Run the shortcut, select the date using the calendar, input box, or arrows, and click “Done.” Choose the app you want to use and click “Done” again.

Use Share Availability

The app will open with your free time on that particular day, ready for you to share.

Share Availability in Messages

Hopefully these starter shortcuts will have you on your way to a more productive workday on your Mac. And, if you use the Shortcuts app on iPhone and iPad too, you’ll be glad to know you can sync shortcuts with Mac using the same Apple ID.

RELATED: What Are iPhone Shortcuts and How Do I Use Them?

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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