Drafts Question

Drafts Question
0

This is probably a very stupid question, but hey I don’t mind looking silly. So I keep looking at Drafts but I keep failing to understand the point.

If I want to send an email why would I type it in drafts first just to send it to the email app?

If I want to add a task to things or OmniFocus, why not type directly in their respective inboxes.

If I want to add a note to notes, why not go straight to notes

Hoping for some enlightenment

Thanks in advance

Peter

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I prefer to type emails out in Drafts due to TextExpander integration in Drafts. I also find that if I type it out in Drafts, I don’t have the anxiety of having to finish it in one go as I do in the Mail app. In Drafts, I can start it, go away, come back and finish it then sit on it for a while. Once I’m ready, I hit the action for email, populate the addresses if I’m not using an action with predefined recipients. I often send emails daily to the same group of people, so I have an action that takes the first line of the Draft as the subject then the rest of the draft as the body of the email. Then puts it in the new email popup from Mail, with the Recipient filled out, Subject, and Body, all I have to do is hit send. Saves a little bit of time, but when you are sending to the same group of people day after day, that saved time adds up.

I hate OmniFocus input on iOS. Worst implementation ever, and as someone who had been using OmniFocus from when it was an OmniOutliner document template, that is saying something. So Drafts eliminates the OmniFocus new task UI, and via actions allows you to type the task or tasks in natural language, then one of the many actions on the actions directory allow you to send the parsed natural language to OmniFocus. No more tapping for individual fields, no more annoying scrolling with the date picker. Actions also allow you to send multiple tasks over at once via natural language. So instead of going through the new task input twice in OF, you write two or more sentences in Natural Language which is much quicker, fire off the action and your multiple tasks are added to OmniFocus.

I don’t use Notes so I can’t speak to advantages there, I use DEVONthink, and it’s nice to use the URL scheme to add text as markdown, plain text, rich text, or formatted document with one action without having to use the share sheet. Also, the ability to append to a specific item in DEVONthink is crucial to some of my daily routines.

Drafts simplifies the process of getting text into other apps. Drafts stand alone wouldn’t be that significant other than syncing text from one device to another, where it stands out is actions. If you are only using the Share Sheet action, then yes there wouldn’t be an advantage to Drafts, but custom actions, even by going to the Drafts Action directory and downloading examples are way more powerful and useful than any share sheet extension.

Take a trip over to the Actions directory and search for OmniFocus and try a couple of actions. I think that Drafts will make a lot more sense to you once you’ve done an immersion trial.

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Thanks for the long and comprehensive answer and yes that has certainly given me food for thought

I will dove deeper

Thanks

Peter

1 Like

And what do you do if you need to write something down and you don’t know what it is? One of the reasons why I use Drafts is because this way I write, then I can tweak what I’ve written into an email and send it, instead of having a task in my OF to send the email.

For me there’s also the advantage of avoiding the lure of these apps - if I open Mail then I can see all the other emails I ought to read and perhaps answer, if I open OmniFocus I see my tasks, and with Notes (well, I use Drafts and DevonThink) I can see all my notes. I’ll grant you, I can be easily distracted, especially when working on a task I’m not enjoying (which is one reason I’m in this forum right now!) - Drafts is an easy way to help me avoid those distractions.

The actions are also extremely helpful, I’m working on writing a longer course out at the moment, being able to pull in information from AirTable with just a few taps, and send it back later means I can get on with the writing. When writing articles I can pull in the image references from a Dropbox folder with a tap, instead of trying to upload the image somewhere and work around that.

It depends on what you need, I rarely use it to write messages to people - because Messages isn’t an app that sucks me in, but I do use it to send Tweets (which was advantageous when I switched to posting on my site and syndicating it, I changed the action in the background rather than my actions).

David Sparks did videos to introduce people to Drafts and they’re all collected here in a free course: https://learn.macsparky.com/p/drafts-field-guide. It’s definitely worth having a look :wink:

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This is the #1 reason I’ve stayed using Drafts for various things – I don’t get distracted. That is, unless I open my phone to go to Drafts and get pulled into something else (but that’s another story…) :laughing:

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New member here - this question inspired me to stop just browsing and make an account.

For me the main purpose of using Drafts has been for templates. I used to use Things 3 and I wanted to keep templates somewhere out the way - the Things Parser for Drafts 5 lets you create templates for projects that even include headings, which you can’t create with the Things URL scheme.

I’ve now switched to TickTick and am using hidden lists for my templates instead.

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I love being able to use my Apple Watch and dictate something to capture later. Very handy when I am driving around and I can’t fumble for pen and paper to write down something that will disappear after a few minutes.

I’ll worry about processing it later when I have time.

Drafts allows me to capture audio to text for a longer period of time than the iOS keyboard microphone.

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I would agree with all those above – not being distracted, actions with iOS is fantastic, Apple Watch dictation (yes!!!), etc.

However, with OmniFocus, using Taskpaper format for project templates and task input is far quicker. Especially if you use Rose Orchards Drafts 5 action menu for iOS!

My main purpose is for distraction free writing of emails, OmniFocus tasks, notes. But I still use quick entry windows for Fantastical and OmniFocus sometimes because there is not an appreciable difference between the quickness of Drafts and these quick entry windows.

One maybe overlooked element might be the automatic workflows with actions in iOS. For example, what do you do with the text once you have moved it on to another program. For me, I love having a record of all the actions I do in Drafts 5 as I can sometimes discover a needed template or reuse the text in another way.

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