Shortcuts are the fastest way to do a lot of things in macOS Monterey, but there is little at first that tells you how to run them. Here are all the ways to start a shortcut quickly.
Even if you’ve never used a shortcut on iOS, you’ve heard of them and are possibly tired of people saying how good they’ll be on Mac. When you’ve got macOS Monterey, chances are you’ll at least give them a try.
And there, right there, is where you find your first problem. It’s not that it’s hard to come up with a few shortcuts to try, there’s a whole gallery of them waiting for you, but it’s hard to find where to start.
Interestingly, when you are used to it, you might even think that there are too many ways to run shortcuts. But at first, with the macOS Monterey desktop in front of you, there is nothing to see.
Get started with the Shortcuts app
This is where you will create, edit, and save shortcuts. It is also where you can get a lot of them as this app contains a button to access an online gallery of them.
For now, however, it opens with a section called All shortcuts and there will be at least some in a folder called Startup shortcuts.
With those or whatever you’ve created, you can run them by hovering your mouse over the very large icon and clicking the play button when it appears.
However, this is almost the opposite of what you do with shortcuts on iOS. On Mac, hover over Touch to run it, or double-click the middle of the icon to edit.
On iOS, if you tap a shortcut, it runs. To edit it, you need to find the little ellipses icon that appears at the top right of the icon.
You’ll get used to that difference if you go in and out of the Shortcuts app a lot, but you don’t have to do that. You have seven other ways to run a shortcut.
This is one of those areas that tells you that macOS Monterey is still in beta, because it’s a bit unstable. But for the most part, you can choose to have any shortcut appear on your Mac’s menu bar.
You can’t just put one there, the Shortcuts app appears in the menu bar, but then it drops down to list the shortcuts you’ve said you want there.
To add a shortcut to the menu bar, you have two options.
You can open open shortcuts and find the one you want. Then drag it from the icon group and drop it on the Menu Bar heading in the folder and shortcut list on the left.
Or you can double click to edit a shortcut and then choose your own Settings icon in the upper right of the window. Within that, there is a checkbox that allows you to choose Keep in menu bar.
It is when you work in the menu bar and when you also use shortcuts in iOS that it currently becomes a bit unstable. Currently, you can only put a shortcut in a folder or section, so if you put it in the menu bar, you can’t have it anywhere else.
Which is a problem because shortcuts in iOS don’t have a menu bar. What you have are widgets, which are perhaps the closest equivalent in how they can give you quick access to a shortcut.
You can have a widget folder on the Mac, but if you put a shortcut there, you can’t put it on the menu bar as well. If you put it on the menu bar, it’s not surprising that you can’t have it either. in widgets.
But this is meant to sync across devices so you can find that you have an empty widget folder on iOS. Or because you need the shortcut more like a widget, you suddenly have an empty menu bar on the Mac.
Also, sometimes during beta, you may end up with a shortcut folder on Mac that has no name.
You know this will be fixed when macOS Monterey officially launches. But for what we can cross our fingers is a kind of aliases for Shortcuts.
How to make shortcuts available in the Finder
You still can’t take a shortcut and drop it somewhere on your Mac, or keep it on the desktop or put it in the dock. On iOS, you can create an icon on the home screen and treat it as an app, but you can’t on Mac.
However, what you can do is turn a shortcut into a quick action in the Finder. Quick Actions are options that appear when you right-click on any file in a Finder window, and now you can have a shortcut like one of them.
You can also, or alternatively, say that you want a particular shortcut to be a service. Then whatever you are doing and in the app you are doing it in by choosing the app menu you can select Services … and see your shortcut.
To do any of these, open the specific shortcut and click on its Settings icon. Tick Use it as a quick action, and then one – or both – discoverer, Y Services menu.
How to run a keyboard shortcut
That same shortcut configuration panel has a button called Add keyboard shortcut. If you click that, the button disappears, the Use it as a quick action The option is checked automatically, and also Services menu.
Where the button used to be, there is now a small dialog box asking you to enter the keystroke you want to use to run the shortcut.
If you change your mind, you must uncheck both Use it as a quick action other Services menu, click the Privacy or Settings tab, then click Back. Only then will you get the Add keyboard shortcut button again.
Keyboard shortcuts are great, they are transformative on a Mac. But there are a limited number of key combinations, and once you access the shortcuts, you will likely go a long way toward creating a ridiculous number of them.
So be stingy with what you give a keystroke. On the one hand, it will end, and on the other, you will never remember them all.
How to add a shortcut to the Dock
You can not. There is currently no way to add a shortcut to your Dock, but you can add the Shortcuts app to it.
Drag the Shortcuts app from the Applications folder to the Dock and you’re done. Alternatively, when you’ve launched the Shortcuts app, right-click on it and choose Choices, Keep on the dock.
Thereafter, when you want to run a shortcut, you can right-click the Shortcut app on your Dock. Choose either Recently opened, or Run shortcut.
The latter offers you a pop-up menu of every shortcut you have. It also has a list of folders at the top, so even when you have hundreds of these shortcuts, you can find them this way quite quickly.
Interestingly, you can run any shortcut, but you can only open recent ones. That is, if you have shortcuts that you use a lot, they will be in the Open Recent menu but you will not be able to run them from there.
You have to open them, then click the Play button to run them.
How to use Siri to run shortcuts
There’s the fact that when you say “Hey Siri” to your Mac, your HomePod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch are likely to say “Yes?” Still, using Siri can be a quick way to run a shortcut.
To ensure that it is the version of Siri on your Mac that is responding, you can hold down the Command key and the space bar until Siri appears. Alternatively, you can click on the Siri icon on your Dock, or the Siri icon on your Menu Bar.
Just one more thing, there’s also the Apple Watch
Open a specific shortcut, click on its Settings icon. Then check Show on Apple Watch.
Now you will be able to run a shortcut from your Apple Watch, possibly.
In practice, although the shortcuts are synchronized on all devices, they still do not work on all devices. If the Apple Watch can run its shortcut, checking that box will make it possible.
If the watch can’t, you can dial Show on Apple Watch, but you will get an explanatory description of exactly why you will be disappointed. “This shortcut uses an action that is not supported by Apple Watch,” it will say.
And then it will list the action that will not work. For example, if your shortcut does something with copy and paste, it will tell you that Apple Watch does not support Get Clipboard.
All the ways to run a shortcut on a Mac with macOS Monterey
- Click Play on the shortcut in the Shortcuts app
- Add a shortcut to the menu bar
- Do a quick Finder action
- Add a shortcut to services
- Choose a keystroke to run the shortcut
- Run any shortcut from the Shortcut app in the Dock
- Open a recent shortcut from the Dock, then click its Play button, or
- Ask Siri
- Run on Apple Watch
Even with all these ways to run a shortcut on a Mac, there is room for one more, but we don’t have it.
Shortcuts in iOS can be activated automatically at certain times or in certain places. It is not yet clear if this will make it to the final version of macOS Monterey, but it does not appear to be in the current beta.