Using Shortcuts with Workspaces

Shortcuts, is a low-code programming system designed to make automation more accessible to the general public. It enables users to create short command sequences using building blocks from applications. Or, specialized blocks can be created using AppleScript or JSX. It was first introduced in iOS 12 and macOS 12.

Workspaces allows you to customize Shortcuts to streamline your workflow. These Shortcuts can be tailored to your needs, such as managing application location and size on the screen, setting light/dark mode for the project, entering and exiting focus mode, and more. This can help you save time, stay organized, and stay focused on the task at hand.

Window Layouts

It would be beneficial to have a Shortcut for customizing the location and size of programs when they launch on Workspaces, as many programs do not remember the last used location and size, and the default or last used location may not be suitable for the project.

This example will launch an editor and a reference source, positioning them on the screen for optimal use. The editor should occupy 2/3 of the screen on the left, and the reference source should occupy 1/3 of the screen on the right. To begin, open the Shortcuts application.

Shortcuts Main Window

Click the + symbol in the top middle of the window to create a new shortcut, titled 'Position Yank Note'.

Get the Yank Notes Application

This is the Shortcut Editor screen, which allows you to construct a Shortcut visually using the blocks on the right. To begin, select the application you wish to position. This Shortcut will position Yank Note to the left two-thirds of the screen. To do this, the window must be identified using the Find Window block, followed by a Move Window block to move it to the upper left side of the screen. Finally, a Resize Window block is added to set the window size to 1134 × 1003 to achieve the two-thirds screen size.

Position the Yank Notes Application

Next, a new shortcut is created to position the Bike outliner. Click the + symbol in the top middle of the main Shortcuts window to create a new shortcut, titled ‘Position Bike’. This shortcut is created just like the last one, except it is looking for the Bike application and setting it’s size to 567 × 1003. If you system used has a different resolution or trying to work around other programs, the numbers used for location and size will have to be changed.

The Bike Application Shortcut

To put it all together, create a new Workspace titled “Writing” that will launch the Yank Note application and the Bike application. Then add a Shortcut by clicking the + symbol in the bottom middle screen and click “Shortcuts”.

First Step to Add a Shortcut

Then click on the shortcut for positioning the Yank Note application.

Second Step to Add a Shortcut

When the second Shortcut to position the Bike application is added, then the "Writing" Workspace is complete, with application launching and window positioning through Shortcuts.

Final Results

Now the two application are ready for some serious writing!

Dark/Light Mode setting

It is beneficial to set a different desktop mode depending on the project at hand; dark mode for some projects and light mode for others. Creating a shortcut to quickly switch between the two modes is a simple task.

Setting Dark Mode

The above screen shot creates a dark mode shortcut, and duplicate it to set it to light mode for a light mode shortcut. Place the appropriate shortcut for each of your projects.

Entering and exiting Focus Mode

It is essential to maintain focus when working on a project. To facilitate this, it is recommended to create a shortcut with the name 'Project Focus', which will enable the user to quickly close all unnecessary programs and focus solely on the required programs.

Focus Using Bike

Add this shortcut to every project that needs strict focus. Remember to change the application that you don't want closed. This shortcut shows how to use a program's specific shortcut to enter a focus on line mode for Bike.


By utilizing the shortcuts in Workspaces, work can be completed more efficiently. To further optimize productivity, experiment and create additional shortcuts for use with Workspaces.