Note Taker

Type a thought, search for a notes to add it to, in one smooth motion.


At any given time, a random idea may come to me that I need to capture. When capturing the thought, I have a few goals:

  1. Get it out of my head and into a text box, as soon as possible, before I forget it
  2. Capture the thought in a note with related ideas

This shortcut helps with that.


Capturing a Thought

You can run this shortcut directly from the shortcuts app, from the share sheet, or add it to your home screen.

From the Home Screen or Shortcuts App

If run directly, Note Taker will prompt you for the thought you want to capture and then append it to a note.

From the Share Sheet

If run from the Share Sheet, Note Taker will not prompt you for a thought to capture with the shared input. In the future, I will update it so that, even when passed input from the share sheet, it will ask you for your own thoughts before adding it to a note.

Adding to a Note

Once Note Taker shortcut knows what thought it is capturing, it will search for notes with the text shortcuts-tag-thoughts, and:

  1. If 0 notes are found, it will offer to create one
  2. If 1 note is found, it will append to that note
  3. If > 1 notes are found, it will ask you which you would like to append to

See it in action:

In this case, the shortcut found 2 notes matching the shortcuts-tag-thoughts tag, so it prompts me for which note I would like to add the thought to.

Read my blog post.

Advanced Usage

As explained above and by default, Note Taker searches for notes that contain the text shortcuts-tag-thoughts. But you might want to create a customized version that searches a different tag. I do exactly that for work so that I can capture notes for things I need to bring up in a 1:1 or upcoming meeting.

Download the shortcuts-work-note version of this note here (iCloud share link). Note: You will need to install the Note Taker shortcut for the customized shortcuts-work-note version to work.

How Does it Work?

Note Taker normally accepts input from the share sheet, or nothing at all, but if you create a Dictionary and pass it to the "Run Shortcut" action, you can customize Note Taker's behavior.

  "ACTION": "append",
  "tags": [ "shortcuts-work-note" ],
  "allowMultiple": true,
  "note": "<shortcut input>",
  "defaultNoteTitle": "Work Notes"

Each option in the shortcut's input is explained below:

Option Type Description
ACTION append | search 1. append this shortcut will behave as described above.
2. search, this shortcut will exit early with all of the notes that match the tags.
tags string[] A list of tags to search for. When finding notes to append the message to.
allowMultiple boolean When selecting which note to append your idea to, should Note Taker let you select multiple notes or just 1?
Why? For work, I have 1:1's with a few people. Sometimes I have a thought that I want to bring up in my 1:1 with multiple people. Configuring the Work shortcut with allowMultiple: true allows me to capture the thought into multiple 1:1 notes.
note <anything> | <shortcut input> What should we append to the note? Typically you will want to pass the shortcut input along here, but if you are using Note Taker in a more complex use case, you can pass anything here.
defaultNoteTitle string Used as the title of the created note when no notes matching the tags can be found. This will usually only matter the first time you run the shortcut for the configured tags.

Below is a screenshot of the full contents of the shortcuts-work-note shortcut:

Latest Release Notes

2.1 - Jan. 13, 2021, 7:22 p.m.

Strip some bug fix logic, rename the default note, add updated iCloud links and comments.

Version history