Snapshot Journal

Automated & flexible, modular journalling system


Snapshot Journal is an automated, flexible journaling workflow powered by Shortcuts.


Snapshot Journal allows the user to:

  • Choose from a growing list of data modules which capture a whole host of information - from music listened to, the weather, their current location, step count or even customised question prompts.

  • This information is formatted beautifully and can then be saved to a destination of their choice by selecting an output module (or more than one). For example: Day One, Bear or Dropbox.



  • Install the Snapshot Journal shortcut from this page

  • Install the SJ-Preferences shortcut

  • Choose a data module shortcut from the list below - this is the data that will be gathered (or install several - I recommend trying one or two first of all to get to grips with how it works)

  • Choose an output module shortcut from the list below - this is where the data will be output (you can install several and output to multiple locations simultaneously but it isn’t recommended)

  • Once you have installed the shortcuts, run SJ-Preferences

  • Select Choose Active Modules to select which of installed module shortcuts you wish to activate. You will need to do this each time you downloaded or create a new module

  • You can now run Snapshot Journal

  • Download more data modules or look at how to build your own using these templates. Please tag them #SnapshotJournal on here and post them on the subreddit Enjoy!


Snapshot Journal

  • This is the main engine that gathers information using data modules, formats it and then passes it to be saved with the output module of choice.


Data Modules

User Prompted Modules


  • User is prompted to answer a series of customisable questions

Quick Thoughts

  • Add thoughts in bullet points


  • Dictate your thoughts into your journal


  • User is prompted to respond to a series of customisable questions with a rating out of 5.

Food & Drink

  • Prompts entry of meals eaten. Automatically pulls calories, caffeine and water consumption from Health

Attach Photo

  • User is prompted to add a photo to the journal entry


  • User is prompted to select contacts to add to Bear tags for easy organisation

Automatic Modules


  • Displays user's location when posting


  • Displays current weather


  • Displays top 10 played songs of the day (from iTunes library)


  • Displays sleep hours logged in Health


  • Displays average weight, fat mass and BMI from the last 7 days


  • Displays step count and distance traveled


  • Displays top 3 BBC News headlines (or any other RSS headlines)


  • Displays any reminders due today


  • Displays any calendar events from today

HeartRate (coming soon)

  • Displays user's heart rate and resting heart rate and indicates if higher or lower than yesterday


  • Displays meditation data from Health app


  • Displays "days since" or "days until" a specific date


  • Manual goal lists to check off daily/on weekends plus automatic goal tracking from Health


  • Displays books on your 'currently reading' shelf


  • Displays today's Swarm/Foursquare checkins

Third Party APIs

YNAB Accounts

  • Displays all account with totals and net worth

YNAB Transactions

  • Displays all transactions from today including total spend


  • Displays links saved to Pinboard today

RescueTime (coming soon)

  • Displays your tracked time

Output Modules


  • Saves markdown to the Bear app. Generates tags based on location and date. See example tags.

Day One

  • Saves markdown to the Day One app.


  • Saves a rich text PDF to either Dropbox, iCloud or opens the Share Sheet


  • Saves a markdown text file to either Dropbox, iCloud or opens the Share Sheet


  • Saves either markdown or rich text to Apple Notes


I recommend running Snapshot Journal just before you go to bed so it's got a full days worth of data.

Some options for running it regularly (both of these methods still require tapping on a notification):

  • Press the three dots on the Snapshot Journal shortcut. Trigger Siri and say "Remind me about this every day at 11 o'clock"

  • Add a Launch Centre Pro action to run at a certain time or location.


  • It's slow!

The speed is directly related to how many modules you're running and what they're doing. If they're calling external APIs for collating a large amount of data, it may take some time. Just leave it running for a few seconds and it should process everything it needs.

  • Can I install all the data modules all at once?

I may add this as an option but for the first release I want to be able to keep a track of what bugs crop up a bit more easily

  • Can I change the order my information is listed in the output?

You can! The modules are processed in the order they're stored in Shortcuts so you can rearrange them there. If you don't want to do that then (after you're activated your modules) you can run SJ-Preferences and select "Reorder Current Modules". You can then see a list of the modules and can move them around with cutting and pasting. Please make sure you don't change the names of any modules or add any spaces. Each one should be on a new line.

  • I spent ages entering information and the output module crashed - do I have to do it all again?

If the data modules ran without crashing then they will have been autosaved. You can retrieve the autosave data by running "SJ-Preferences" and selecting "retrieve autosave" from the menu. You can then copy the markdown output from the data modules to the clipboard or save it somewhere using the share sheet.

  • Where can I get more modules?

You can request a module on the Snapshot Journal subreddit or write one for your self using the provided templates (coming soon) and instructions - it's easy!

  • Can you see my data?

I'm not responsible for any of your data and you use these shortcuts at your own risk. That being said, none of these modules use external APIs except for "Location" which queries an API to find an appropriate title emoji for the country you're in. Like any shortcut made by a stranger on the internet, I advise you to have a look to see what it's doing before running it. The SJ_Preferences shortcut creates a JSON file in your iCloud>Shortcuts folder to store settings & any temporary photo attachments. I don't have access to anything (nor would I want to!)

  • Is the data I'm exporting secure?

It depends where you're exporting it to. If, for example you export it to Bear, they sync using iCloud and your data stays on Apple's servers. If you export it to Dropbox or Day One, they have proprietary syncing software which sends your data to their servers. It's up to you who you feel happy to send what data to and when.

  • There are so many shortcuts in my app now...

I know, it's by design and it's what makes this a flexible system instead of one massive shortcut. I wish we had folders - hopefully in the next version of Shortcuts!

  • Can I change the name of these Shortcuts?

You can change anything after SJ-OM- or SJ-DM-. You can't change the name of Snapshot Journal or SJ-Preferences I'm afraid. However, you can change the colour or glyph to anything you like!

  • Can I turn off notifications?

There's no option to do this (maybe in a future version) in Snapshot Journal but you can scroll through and delete any "Show Notification" actions.

  • I've got a bug/it's not working/I have a suggestion

Let me know on the subreddit

  • Can I buy you a beer?

Of course, thank you! A lot of work went into building Snapshot Journal and it was built entirely on a phone! I really hope you enjoy it. If it’s something you find useful and want to buy me a drink to say thanks, then you can using one of these links: * £1.00 * £2.50 * £5.00 * £10.00

Latest Release Notes

1.03 - Jan. 27, 2019, 7:37 p.m.

Added updating framework for release in future version

Version history