How to create and use Shortcuts in macOS Monterey: A beginner’s guide

How to use Shortcuts on macOS Monterey

What to know about the new Shortcuts app in macOS Monterey

  • You can now build and run shortcuts across Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
  • The app packs pre-built shortcuts made just for Mac.
  • It will support AppleScript, shell script, and Automations.

If there was ever a feature I missed in macOS, it was shortcuts. Yes, Automator was there, but nothing beats the ease of iPhone/iPad shortcuts. Thankfully, Mac had enveloped the feature, and now you can create and use shortcuts in macOS Monterey.

Moreover, you are privy to so much more with this new addition. You could perform a task within two quick clicks. I adore the possibilities that the macOS Shortcuts app offers.

So here’s a thorough guide that will help you master the Shortcuts app. Let’s start with the features.

Features of the macOS Shortcuts app

There is a reason why I am going gaga over the new Shortcuts app in macOS 12 Monterey – it offers way more than just running a simple shortcut.

  • Common Shortcuts – Run iPhone or iPad shortcuts on Mac with M1 or Intel chip. So, you don’t have to start from scratch; all the shortcuts you have collected come along.
  • Prebuilt Shortcuts – You’ll now have access to an updated library with some fantastic shortcuts for Mac that you can customize and use with ease.
  • iCloud Sync for the win – For seamless cross-device management, you can now create and manage shortcuts on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and it will automatically sync
  • System-wide support – A major plus, access and run shortcuts from the Dock, Spotlight, menu bar, Finder, desktop, and more.
  • Convert existing workflow – Good news for users who used workflows created in the Automator app; you can easily convert them into shortcuts.
  • Advanced scripting support – Pro users who rely on AppleScript or shell script can enjoy comprehensive compatibility.

Now, isn’t that just amazing! Well, now that is done and dusted, let’s get moving.

How to get shortcuts on Mac

The first step is to launch the new Shortcuts app. If it’s not available on the Dock, open it from Launchpad or the Spotlight.

Get shortcuts on Mac in macOS Monterey

Instantly you’ll see all the shortcuts saved/created on your iPhone and iPad. Head to Gallery from the sidebar to explore more shortcuts available for Mac.

A variety of shortcuts will be on display. Furthermore, they are divided into handy lists like Starter Shortcuts, Shortcuts for Accessibility, Get Organised, and more.

lists of Shorcuts available in on macOS Monterey

And if you want to find a specific one or particular app, tap the search bar and type in your query.

Can you add untrusted shortcuts on Mac?

Thankfully yes! There are some fantastic third-party or, shall we say, untrusted shortcuts out there, and I love that we can have them in macOS Monterey.

For this tutorial, I am taking a generic shortcut from Shortcuts Gallery.

  1. Go to the Shortcuts Gallery website and click Get Shortcut.

    Get Mac Shortcut from any third party app
  2. You will be directed to the Shortcuts app and click Add Shortcut.

    Add Shortcut on Mac

Note: There’s a reason they are called untrusted shortcuts; you can’t blindly trust something on the web and add that to your Mac. Try and download shortcuts from a trusted source and read the reviews and comments.

How to create shortcuts in macOS Monterey on Mac

Sometimes, in the sea of available shortcuts, you might not find the right match. So, you might have to create one tailored to your exact needs.

To explain, I am making a shortcut to get my upcoming reminders, listen to them, and play my favorite podcast.

  1. Launch the Shortcuts app and click the + icon at the top right.

    click the + icon in Shortcuts app on Mac
  2. In the search bar at the top right, type in the action/app you want.
  3. Select, drag, and drop the action to the shortcut editor (left-side window).
    Note: The options highlighted in blue are variables, and you can change them.

    search and add Shortcut on Mac
  4. Look for the subsequent action/actions, drag and drop them to the editor as well. Hit the Play icon to test the shortcut and make edits accordingly.
  5. Once all is smooth, click Shortcut Name at the top and name it.
  6. Click the icon next to the name to bring a host of customization options, select color/icon from here.

    Hit Play and run shortcut on Mac
  7. Once you are satisfied with your shortcut, click the Close button at the top left.

I tested this on my Mac and iPhone, and it worked flawlessly on both!

Well, this is a primary shortcut; you can build upon it as you like. Plus, various scripting options like repeat, if, etc., help you build complex, multilayered shortcuts.

How to use Siri Shortcuts on Mac

On your iPhone and iPad, the quickest way to run a shortcut is via Siri. However, the assistant can’t seem to do that in macOS Monterey as of now.

Use Siri Shortcuts on Mac

But don’t be disheartened; there are other smooth ways you can use.

1. Run the shortcut directly from the Shortcuts app

Another nifty way is to launch the Shortcuts app, take the cursor over the shortcut and click the Play icon.

2. Use the Dock

If you have the app on your Dock, right-click or double-finger tap to bring the contextual menu. Here, either select Run Shortcut or Open Recent to get the list of available shortcuts.

Use the Dock to run Shortcut on Mac

3. Access from the menu bar

When enabled, a Shortcut’s icon will be placed at the screen’s top. Click it any time and select the shortcut to run.

Access shortcut from the menu bar on Mac

And here’s how you can add the shortcut to the menu bar

  1. In the Shortcuts app, double-click the shortcut to open it.
  2. Click the Adjustment icon (three lines) at the top right.
  3. Here, check the Keep in Menu Bar option.
  4. Click the Close icon once done.
Add the shortcut to the menu bar on Mac

4. Create Quick Action

This means you can create workflows that are accessible from Finder windows, Services menu, and Touch Bar.

Create Quick Action for shortcut on Mac

From the shortcut editor windowAdjustment icon Details, check the Use as Quick Action and select either or all of these options.

  • Finder
  • Touch Bar
  • Services Menu
  • Add Keyboard Shortcut
shortcut editor window on Mac

How to edit a shortcut in macOS Monterey

Whether to make changes to a native or third-party shortcut, these tricks will help you personalize the shortcut to the T.

  1. Open the Shortcuts app, double-click the shortcut.
  2. In the editor window,
    • Add an action – Search, drag, and drop it in the main window
    • Delete – Take the cursor to the action and click ‘X’ to delete it.
    • Customize action – Click Show More (when available) and edit it from the available options.
    • Change variables – Click the blue text to reveal available options and select accordingly.
  3. Click Close to save the changes.
Edit a shortcut on macOS Monterey

Manage shortcuts on Mac running macOS Monterey

During my exploration, I found a few options, which might make using the app simpler. So, let’s get onto them.

  • Share across devices – Open the shortcuts’ editor window, go to Adjustment icon Details.
  • Show in iPhone/iPad Share Sheet – Check the box to show/hide the shortcut on your paired devices’ Share Sheet.
  • Show on Apple Watch – View/run the shortcut on the watch or make it a handy complication for quicker access from the watch face.
Share shortcuts on Mac across devices
  • Switch View – You can view all shortcuts in either grid or list view. The option for the same is plotted at the top right.
Switch View of shortcut on Mac
  • Enable/Disable iCloud Sync – Open the Shortcuts app, tap Shortcuts from the Menu bar → PreferencesGeneral → check/uncheck iCloud Sync.
Enable or Disable iCloud Sync on Mac

You can also enable Privacy Sharing from this section, allowing your contacts to share their shortcuts with you privately.

  • Allow other scripts to run – Go to Preferences from the menu bar → Advanced tabAllow Running Scripts. This will enable a host of features from AppleScript to Automation support, including Split Screen.
Allow other scripts to run on Mac
  • Edit Sidebar options – In the app, go to ShortcutsPreferences Sidebar tab → Select the items you want to see in the Shortcuts app sidebar.
  • Share Shortcuts – Right-click or double-finger tap the shortcut. Select Share from the options → choose a suitable method.
Share and delete Shortcuts on Mac

Delete Shortcuts – Right-click and select Delete from the contextual menu → click Delete Shortcut to confirm the action.

I hope this guide helped you create and use shortcuts on your Mac. I have already confessed my love for the new Shortcuts app in macOS Monterey. And now, you may have guessed the reason behind my affection.

Did you feel something similar? Share your feelings, suggestions, questions, and more for macOS shortcuts in the comment section below.

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