LaunchCuts

LaunchCuts is a powerful, customizable, and elegant launcher for shortcuts on iOS. Organize your shortcuts into folders manually or automatically generate lists of them using keywords.

Download the latest version of LaunchCuts from RoutineHub.co.

Notable features of LaunchCuts include:

  • Folders: Create a nested folder hierarchy for storing your shortcuts.
  • Keywords: Use keywords to automatically populate your folders with shortcuts whose name contains your keyword phrases.
  • Interface: LaunchCuts sports an elegant interface that shows off the colors and icons of your shortcuts and folders.
  • Sort: Arrange your shortcuts alphabetically or in the order they were organized within the Shortcuts app.
  • Share Sheet: Want to access your LaunchCuts folders and shortcuts from the iOS Share sheet? Install the included LaunchCuts Mini shortcut and get a fast, lean interface to LaunchCuts when sharing.
  • Rerun: Chain together multiple shortcuts by having LaunchCuts run again after selecting a shortcut. The output from the first shortcut becomes the input for the next shortcut.
  • Import and Export: Save and import your folder settings.
  • Per Device Caching and Configuration: iOS devices connected to the same iCloud account share the same set of folders, but preferences are separate.
  • Developer Mode: Switch between running and editing your shortcuts.

Table of Contents


Getting Started

Download and Installation

The latest version of LaunchCuts can be found at its RoutineHub page. You can also configure LaunchCuts to check for updates automatically via UpdateKit.

Language Selection

The first time you open LaunchCuts, you’ll be asked to choose your language if more than one language is available. If you want to help localize LaunchCuts in your language, send me a note.

Welcome and Permissions

Following the initial welcome screen, you’ll get an alert informing you that LaunchCuts requires the following permissions enabled with the Shortcuts app:

  • Contacts: In order to display beautiful menus of your shortcuts and folders, LaunchCuts displays items as vCards (the file format for your contacts). LaunchCuts does not access your contact database.
  • Notifications: LaunchCuts displays details of its operations and progress via banner notifications. You can further disable all non-critical notifications from Settings.

If you do not have these permissions enabled with Shortcuts, you will be unable to use LaunchCuts. Enable them from the Privacy section in the iOS Settings application.

Choose Installation Method

You are now prompted to choose one of three installation methods:

  1. 🗂 Install Current Folders: Use the existing LaunchCuts folders file on your device.
  2. 🍱 Install Sample Folders: Getting started with LaunchCuts? Install some sample folders to get a sense for how the application works.
  3. 📂 Install Empty: Veteran LaunchCuts user or want to start from scratch? Use this option to create an empty LaunchCuts Home folder.
  4. 📥 Import: LaunchCuts allows you to save your folders configuration. Choose this option if you want to import an existing LaunchCuts folders file into LaunchCuts.

LaunchCuts will now take a short time to create your configuration file, localize itself, and prepare the the Home screen.


Exploring LaunchCuts

When LaunchCuts first opens, it displays the following sections of information:

  1. Title bar
  2. Shortcuts
  3. Folders
  4. Folder Actions
  5. LaunchCuts
  6. Navigation

Title bar

This area displays the current folder path starting from LaunchCuts Home. For instance, if you were two levels into the hierarchy, the path in the title bar would read:

LaunchCuts Home / Work / Project X

If you have keywords assigned to the folder, they will also appear in the title bar. Each keyword will be separated by a comma.

Finally, if LaunchCuts received input when it was launched, the type of data will be displayed at the bottom of the title bar.


Shortcuts

A list of shortcuts that belong to this folder appears below the title bar. Manually added shortcuts and shortcuts matching assigned keywords will appear in this list. By default, shortcuts are sorted alphabetically with duplicates removed. You can change the sort style in Settings.

Run a shortcut by tapping on it in LaunchCuts. Any input that was originally sent to LaunchCuts will be sent to the selected shortcut.


Folders

Next is the list of any sub-folders of the current folder, sorted alphabetically. Tap on a folder to open it.


Folder Actions

Every folder has a number of actions that can be performed on it:

📂 New Folder

Create a new folder in the current folder. You will be asked to enter the following information:

  1. Name: enter the name of the new folder. Folder names must be unique.
  2. Description: (optional) enter a short piece of text to be displayed below the folder name.
  3. Shortcuts: manually choose some shortcuts you want to appear in the folder.
  4. Keywords: enter keywords separated by new lines. Any shortcut matching the keywords you enter will appear in the shortcuts list.
  5. Color: choose from one of fifteen colors for your folder.

When you have selected the folder color, LaunchCuts will create your folder.

Note: This operation may take a few seconds to complete. If the Display Notifications preference is enabled, a banner notification will appear at the top of your screen.

LaunchCuts will reopen to the newly created folder.

➕ Add Shortcuts…

You can always add new shortcuts to a folder. The display order for shortcuts in this picker is controlled by the Sort preference in Settings.

➖ Remove Shortcuts…

This menu item appears when you have manually added some shortcuts to a folder. Uncheck the shortcuts you wish to remove and tap Done.

🔑 Add / Edit Keywords…

Keywords are a powerful way to collect multiple shortcuts in your folder. Say you are working on a collection of shortcuts. If the name of each shortcut shares a common phrase like “My App”:

  • MyApp
  • MyApp Documentation
  • MyApp Maker
  • MyApp Maker test – 20181207
  • MyApp Maker test – 20181206
  • MyApp QA

You could assign the keyword “MyApp” to the folder instead of manually selecting each shortcut. Now, every time you create a new shortcut with the word “MyApp”, it will automatically appear in the folder.

This menu item is labeled “Add Keywords” if no keywords have been assigned to the folder. Otherwise it is labeled “Edit Keywords”. Tapping on it will prompt you to enter some keywords.

Separate keywords with new lines. Keyword searches are case-sensitive. This means if you have a shortcut named your “Morning Routine” but enter the keyword “morning”, the “Morning Routine” shortcut will not appear in your list.

✏️ Rename Folder…

This action allows you to change the name and description of an existing folder. Remember that folder names must be unique.

Note: The Home folder cannot be renamed, so this folder action is not visible when you are viewing the LaunchCuts Home.

🗑 Delete Folder…

This action will delete the current folder and all of its subfolders. It cannot be undone. None of your shortcuts will be affected. When complete, LaunchCuts will open to the parent of the deleted folder.

Note: The Home folder cannot be deleted, so this folder action is not visible when you are at LaunchCuts Home. If you wish to start all over, you can use the Reset LaunchCuts action from the Settings page.

🌈 Change Folder Icon…

This allows you to select another color for your folder. Choose from one of fifteen available colors.

Note: You cannot change the icon color for the Home Folder, so this folder action is not visible when you at LaunchCuts Home.

⚡️ Rebuild Folder Caches…

If Cache Folders setting is enabled, any time you make changes to a folder, the folder (and the parent if you deleted, renamed, or changed the folder color) will be rebuilt.

This operation may take a few seconds to complete. If the Display Notifications preference is enabled, a banner notification will appear at the top of your screen.

The Rebuild Folder Caches action gives you the option to rebuild the folder cache for the current folder or every LaunchCuts folder. If you choose to rebuild every folder’s cache, be aware that it can be a lengthy operation. LaunchCuts will proved a notification for when each folder has been cached, along with an estimate of how much time is remaining to complete the rebuild process.


LaunchCuts Menu

This section contains useful information about the app.

About

Displays the LaunchCuts about screen, with version and build information.

🙋🏻‍♀️ Help

Opens the LaunchCuts documentation page that you are reading now.

🧧 Donate

This has been a very rewarding project to make, and I hope you enjoy using LaunchCuts to organize, run, and edit your shortcuts. If you find LaunchCuts useful, consider sending me a donation.

Share

Share the LaunchCuts shortcut with friends, family, and co-workers.

⚙️ Settings…

Open the LaunchCuts Settings page.


Navigation Actions

This section allows you to navigate through your folder hierarchy in LaunchCuts.

🏠 Home

Returns you to the LaunchCuts Home folder.

⬅️ Back

Returns you to the previous folder. This only appears if you are three levels deep in the folder hierarchy.

Tip: LaunchCuts can be configured to display the navigation menu items at the top of the screen.


Settings

Highly configurable, LaunchCuts can be tailored to suit your workflow. Settings are stored on a per-device basis, meaning you can have LaunchCuts configured one way on your iPad and another way on your iPhone.

Note: LaunchCuts uses the Device Name to identify your iOS devices. Make sure you have a unique name assigned to your devices or they will share the same LaunchCuts configuration file

General Settings

Display Options

Advanced

Tools


General Settings

Open to Last Viewed Folder

LaunchCuts will return to the last folder you were viewing when you reopen the app.

Rerun After Shortcut Completes

By default, LaunchCuts closes after choosing to run a shortcut. Enabling Rerun After Shortcut Completes will keep LaunchCuts open. It will take the output from the selected shortcut and provide it as input for the next shortcut you choose.

Note: If the user cancels out of the selected shortcut at any time, LaunchCuts will stop running too.

Note: Toggling this feature requires you to restart LaunchCuts for changes to fully take effect.

Check for Updates Automatically

Enabling this will cause LaunchCuts to check for updates using UpdateKit whenever you run LaunchCuts. The auto-update check will not run while you are navigating throughout LaunchCut’s interface.

This feature is turned off by default, so you can get to your LaunchCuts folders and shortcuts more quickly.


Display Options

Display Notifications

There’s a lot going on in LaunchCuts. Some operations take several seconds to complete, such as saving folder caches to disk, creating new folders, and updating the shortcuts list. LaunchCuts uses notification banners to inform you on its status and progress. If you do not want LaunchCuts to notify you, disable this preference.

Note that critical alerts will still be delivered by LaunchCuts.

Display Navigation at Top

If you have long lists of shortcuts or folders, you may find it useful to display the Back and Home navigation items at the top of the LaunchCuts menu.

Sort Shortcuts

When Sort is enabled, all shortcuts in a folder are sorted alphabetically.

Disabling it will cause LaunchCuts to display shortcuts according to their position in the Shortcuts application. You may prefer this if you have painstakingly arranged the order (and color) of your shortcuts.

Shortcuts does not alter the order of the keywords you have assigned to a folder. As a result, shortcuts are retrieved by keyword order and are not otherwise re-sorted. Shortcuts matching “Utilities” and “Fun” will be displayed differently than if you assigned “Fun” and “Utilities” keywords to the folder.

Note: Toggling this feature requires you to restart LaunchCuts for changes to fully take effect.

Remove Duplicate Shortcuts

The Sort preference automatically removes duplicate shortcuts for you. Disabling sort allows you to preserve duplicates. This can be useful if you want to have manually added shortcuts at the top as well as in the list of keywords retrieved shortcuts.


Advanced

Enable Developer Mode

This enables the Shortcut Mode toggle at the top of the list of shortcuts. Tapping on it changes what LaunchCuts does when you tap on a shortcut.

  • ▶️ Run Shortcut Mode: Run the selected shortcut.
  • 🛠 Edit Shortcut Mode: Open the shortcut in Shortcuts for editing.

Developers will find Edit mode very useful. You can, for instance, create a folder with a list of all of your shortcut projects. Activate Edit Mode and tap on the shortcuts that you want to edit without having to find it in the main Shortcuts interface.

Note: Tapping on a shortcut in Edit Mode will open mobile Safari, which will prompt you to open the shortcut in Shortcuts.

By default, Developer Mode is disabled, so this menu item will not be visible when you first install LaunchCuts.


Caching

There are two ways you can speed up LaunchCut’s general operations. Each caching option is not without some downsides, so they are disabled by default.

Cache Folders

By default, LaunchCuts will build the menu containing your shortcuts, folders and actions dynamically every time you open a folder.

Enabling the Cache Folders option will cause LaunchCuts to cache the folders and action menus to iCloud Drive. This can speed up LaunchCuts when moving between folders. Shortcuts continue to be retrieved dynamically with this setting turned on.

Note: Cached folders are stored on a per-device basis. Since the cached folders can be large (~800KB), you don’t want to wait for this information to sync if you’re using LaunchCuts on both an iPhone and iPad.

⚡️ Rebuild Folder Caches…

This rebuilds the folder caches for the current device.

Note: This action is visible only when the Cache Folders option is enabled.

🧹 Empty Folder Caches…

This deletes any cached folders on the device.

Note: This action is visible only when the Cache Folders option is enabled.

Cache Shortcuts List

By default, LaunchCuts will retrieve the current list of shortcuts installed on your device at launch. This provides several benefits:

  1. Shortcut icons: The colorful shortcut icons are visible in the LaunchCuts interface.
  2. Up-to-date: The list of shortcuts is always correct. If you add a new shortcut that matches a keyword in one of your folders, it will appear immediately when you open that folder.

The downside is that it takes a bit of time to retrieve that initial list of shortcuts from iOS (via the Get My Shortcuts action). LaunchCuts does smart caching while you’re working in the app, so any potential slowness occurs at initial launch. This isn’t a problem if you have a dozen shortcuts, but if you have multiple dozens or hundreds of shortcuts, Get My Shortcuts can take a noticeable amount of time.

Enabling the Cache Shortcuts List preference will cause LaunchCuts to write the list of shortcuts to disk. This greatly improves launch time, since the app does not have to make the lengthy call to Get My Shortcuts. There are two downsides:

  1. No Shortcut Icons: Those pretty and colorful shortcut icons? Say goodbye to them and hello to the generic ▶️ emoji next to the shortcut name
  2. Requires Manual Refreshing: LaunchCuts will not automatically update the list of shortcuts, so you will have to do it manually. If you added a shortcut after generating the list, it will not appear in any of your folders until you tap the Reload Shortcuts List action.

Note: Toggling this feature requires you to restart LaunchCuts for changes to fully take effect.

🔄 Reload Shortcuts List

This reloads and saves the current shortcuts list. The date of the last refresh will appear below the menu title.

Note: This action is visible only when the Cache Shortcuts List option is enabled.


Tools

📦 Install LaunchCuts Mini Shortcut…

LaunchCuts Mini is a shortcut that is designed for accessing your LaunchCuts folders from the iOS Share Sheet. It features many of the features of LaunchCuts but with a simplified interface.

Due to memory constraints, it’s not possible to display the full LaunchCuts interface from the iOS Share sheet.

Here’s what you get with LaunchCuts Mini:

  • Fast load
  • Access to all of your LaunchCuts folders
  • Run/Edit Mode (if enabled in LaunchCuts)

Here’s what’s different:

  • LaunchCuts Mini works as if the Cache Shortcuts List setting is enabled.
  • No icons for shortcuts or folders.
  • No ability to add shortcuts or folders to LaunchCuts.
  • No ability to filter shortcuts by the input type.

If you already have LaunchCuts Mini installed, the menu item will read Open LaunchCuts Mini.

💾 Export Folders…

Saves your current folder configuration to iCloud Drive and displays using Quick Look. The location and naming format of the saved file is as follows:

/Shortcuts/LaunchCuts/folders-{yyyyMdd-HHmmss}.txt

Where yyyyMDd-HHmmss is the current date and time:

/Shortcuts/LaunchCuts/folders-folders-20181209-125234.txt

📥 Import Folders…

Import an existing LaunchCuts folder file. If successful, this will replace your current set of folders with the imported folders. The process cannot be undone, so make a backup with Export Folders before importing.

If Cache Folders is enabled, LaunchCuts will ask you if you want to rebuild the folder caches now or later.

💥 Reset LaunchCuts…

This allows you to reset your LaunchCuts preferences file or erase all of your content and settings within LaunchCuts.

Choosing the former will preserve your existing set of folders while choosing the latter will delete your folders. In both cases, LaunchCuts will reopen following the reset and begin the installation process again.

**None of your shortcuts will be affected. **

🌐 Change Language…

Change the language for LaunchCuts. If you’re interested in providing a translation for the app, please contact support.

📲 Check for Updates…

Checks for an update to LaunchCuts on RoutineHub. Requires the shortcut UpdateKit in order to work.

You can turn on automatic updates by choosing Check for Updates Automatically in the General settings section.


Under the Hood

LaunchCuts was written entirely as a shortcut. With over 2,600 action steps, it’s likely one of the most complicated shortcuts around. I hope to have shown that with certain design methodologies and structuring of your code, you can create full-fledged applications using just the shortcuts framework on iOS. Notable features include:

  • Application loop
  • Function calls
  • Pseudo-global variables
  • Localization
  • Caching
  • Preferences
  • Custom menus
  • Import/Export

Learn more about the LaunchCuts and shortcut development »


Support

Have a question about LaunchCuts that you can’t find the answer for here? Reach me at:

Thanks for downloading and using LaunchCuts. Enjoy!

-adam