Over the past couple of years, we have seen quite a transformation in the Mac lineup. Gone are the days where the Mac felt like it was forgotten about, as Apple’s transition to the M1 and now M2 processor have provided some of the most powerful computers on the market today. But that’s only part of the story, as the continued improvements being made to macOS are just as important as the hardware driving the system.
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What Are Quick Actions?
With the release of macOS Monterey, Apple finally brought Shortcuts to the Mac. This app had been available on the iPhone and iPad for a while, dating back to the Workflow days before Apple acquired the developers. However, now that Shortcuts has been integrated as part of the system with iOS and iPadOS, it only made sense for Shortcuts to come to the Mac.
But Shortcuts isn’t the first automation app to land on the Mac, as AppleScript has been around for about as long as we can remember (introduced in 1993.) Between AppleScript and the various other tools built into macOS, there’s another feature known as Quick Actions. These allow you to perform certain tasks from Finder and across the OS without needing to open another app.
Quick Actions are accessible by right-clicking on any file, dragging your mouse cursor down to highlight Quick Actions, then selecting one of the options listed. The options that you’ll find are also dependent on the file that’s being modified. For example, you can right-click a picture and rotate an image, all without needing to open a photo editor just to do the same task.
How to Use Shortcuts Quick Actions on Mac
When Apple announced that it was bringing Shortcuts to the Mac, the company confirmed that this would eventually replace AppleScript. But in order to do so, Apple needed to offer the same level of flexibility and versatility that we’ve come to expect with automation on macOS. Because of this, you can actually use Shortcuts Quick Actions on Mac. It just requires a bit of set up before you can do so.
Add or Create a Shortcut
Before you can start using Shortcuts Quick Actions on Mac, you’ll first need to actually have a Shortcut or two available and accessible. If you want to create Shortcuts, doing so on the Mac is arguably the easiest way, but thanks to the power of iCloud syncing, any Shortcut that you create on the iPhone and iPad will also be available on the Mac. That being said, here’s how to go through and create a Shortcut on the Mac:
- Open the Shortcuts app on your Mac.
- Click the + button in the toolbar at the top.
- Enter a name at the top of the window that appears.
- Go through the toolbar on the right side to add actions that you want to be performed.
- Once you’ve finished adding the different actions, click the Close button.
- Test the Shortcut by clicking the Play icon.
- Stop the Shortcut (if it’s currently running) by clicking the Stop icon.
The last two steps in the process above aren’t entirely necessary. But it’s nice to make sure that a Shortcut that you just created will actually work properly when you find yourself needing to use it.
Use Shortcuts Quick Actions
Once you have created or added a Shortcut to your Mac, then there are a couple of more steps that you need to take in order to make it accessible and usable with Quick Actions. The first step doesn’t require you to leave the Shortcuts app, as there is a pre-generated section right within the app.
- Open the Shortcuts app on your Mac.
- Locate the Shortcut that you want to use with Quick Actions.
- Drag and drop the Shortcut into the Quick Actions section in the sidebar under Shortcuts.
It’s important that you make sure that you add the Shortcut to the Quick Actions section, as it might not appear when you go through the next series of steps. With the Shortcut added to Quick Actions, you’ll need to jump into the System Settings (previously System Preferences) app on your Mac and enable said Shortcuts to be used in Finder.
- Open the System Settings app on your Mac.
- In the left sidebar, click Privacy & Security.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page until you reach the Others section.
- Click Extensions.
- At the bottom of the page, click Finder.
- From the window that appears, click the checkbox next to each of the Shortcuts you want to use with Quick Actions.
- Once selected, click the Done button in the bottom right corner of the window.
Now, you can open up Finder, navigate to the file that you want to use the Shortcuts Quick Actions with, right-click on the file, highlight Quick Actions, and click the Shortcut that you just created. It may seem like an arduous process, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This can really help to speed up your workflow, as you no longer need to open different apps just to perform simple tasks.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.
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