You can use Apple Shortcuts together with Things to create workflows that enhance your productivity.

You’ll build all your shortcuts inside Apple’s Shortcuts app. A shortcut is composed of one or more actions, and Things makes four actions available to you:

  • Add To-Do
  • Show To-Do
  • Show List
  • Run Things URL

These actions are your building blocks. They can be used on their own to create simple shortcuts just for Things, or you can string them together with actions from other apps in more complex workflows.

In their simplest form, shortcuts can do things like:

  • Create a to-do in a specific list.
  • Create a to-do based on the contents of your clipboard.
  • Open a list that’s automatically filtered by a tag.

Below you’ll find more examples and some ready-made shortcuts that you can download and try out immediately.

The samples on this page require at least iOS/iPadOS 15. If you are stuck on iOS/iPadOS 14 or older, please read this.

Shortcuts is a very powerful app and this page assumes that you have a basic understanding of it. If you need help to get started, please read Apple’s documentation.

Add to-dos

Each of the four actions that Things provides has parameters. You can either pre-set the content of those parameters, so that the action’s output is always the same, or you can use variables if the content of the parameters keeps changing every time your shortcut runs.

  1. Create a new shortcut in Apple’s Shortcuts app.
  2. Use Things’ Add To-Do action.
  3. Adjust the parameters.
  4. Give your shortcut a memorable name.
Left: Setting up the shortcut in Apple’s Shortcuts app. Right: In Things, the content of the clipboard (“Arashiyama Bamboo Grove”) has been inserted into the title of the new to-do. The project (“🇯🇵 Japan Trip”) and tag (“Activities”) are already pre-set according to the shortcut.
Presets

Pre-set parts of your to-do

If you find that you create similar to-dos over and over, presets can help you speed up that process. Here’s a generic sample in which the Today list has been pre-set as the destination for new to-dos.

Sample shortcut to add a new to-do to the Today list.

Pre-set everything in your new to-do

In some situations, you’ll want your to-do to be an exact copy of something you’ve done in the past. Everything – from the title to the notes, tags, checklist and area/project – will be the same.

Such shortcuts can serve as templates. Here’s an example that creates a to-do in your Inbox and contains a packing checklist for your next trip.

Sample shortcut to create a travel packing checklist in Things.

Need a project instead of a to-do? That’s something you can do via our Link Builder or JSON in combination with the Run Things URL action. Learn more here.

Variables

While presets allow you to define some parameters before you even run the shortcut, variables allow you to set a parameter’s content at the time when the shortcut runs. Here’s an example:

Conversational Shortcuts

For the greatest flexibility, you can engage in a conversation with Siri. In a back-and-forth, Apple’s AI can ask you about each part of the to-do.

To trigger questions from Siri, insert the Ask Each Time variable into a parameter, like the title or checklist field.

Sample shortcut that’ll ask you for input while creating a new to-do.

When you speak your checklist items, separate them by saying “new line”: milk new line bread new line butter

Presets and variables are not exclusive: you can combine both inside a single Things action for maximum efficiency.

Show lists

This action allows you to launch Things directly to a project, area, or the view for a specific tag. You can also jump directly into one of our default time-based lists.

  1. Create a new shortcut in Apple’s Shortcuts app.
  2. Use Things’ Show List action.
  3. Tap Today to select a list.
  4. Optionally, filter your list by tag.
  5. Give your shortcut a memorable name.

Here are a few ideas where a shortcut can help you reduce taps:

  • Open Today filtered by your important tag.
  • Preset a project that you need to consult all the time.
  • Open Things to the search results of a tag, like a the name of a colleague that you work with closely.

To help you get an idea of how it works, here’s a shortcut to jump to the Tomorrow list, which is a Quick Find list for all the to-dos you’ve planned for the next day.

Sample shortcut to open Things to the Tomorrow list.

Run Things URL

We provide extensive documentation about Things’ URL scheme for advanced users.

One useful application of this action is its ability to create Projects, which can be done quite easily via the Link Builder. If you want to take it further and create a project with headings or to-dos with checklists, the JSON documentation will help you set this up.


Current limitations

Due to bugs in iOS/iPadOS, some of the features that Things supports are currently not working inside of Apple Shortcuts.

  • The Ask Each Time variable can’t be used to dynamically select a list.
  • When using the Clipboard variable in the title, notes, or checklist, the shortcut will abort.

As these issues originate with Apple Shortcuts, they cannot be fixed by us. We hope that Apple will address these problems in subsequent updates of the Operating Systems.