Workflow Fun


In my Saturday post I described a blogging workflow I created to use with iOS Scrivener. It’s been most helpful, and I’ve even created a version of that extension which adds the default introduction for my fiction Tuesday posts. I can’t wait to test it out this week!

Workflow is one of those apps which I find myself coming back to explore over and over and over again. It’s incredibly simple 1, yet incredibly powerful. In fact, I’m not certain why I don’t spend more time in the app, working on ways to make my iOS productivity more automated.

Aside from the blogging workflows I’ve already mentioned, here’s a run down of the some of the more useful Workflows I’ve created with the app.

QR Code Creator

The business cards I make for ABCNJ each contain a QR code to the biographical information of that staff member. Rather than creating these with an online site or dedicated app, I created an action extension which takes the URL, converts it to a QR code, asks for a file name, and saves it in a specific Dropbox directory. This is an incredible time saver!

Sermon Recording

I haven’t used this yet 2, but my sermon recording Workflow records audio 3, saves it to a specific Dropbox folder. It then texts the gentleman who posts our sermons to the website, alerting him of the new file’s presence. This is automation at it’s finest.

Image count

I create slides to go with my sermons, and in my manuscript I will add a specific tag in places where I want an image to appear as I speak. This workflow scans for the tag, and returns a count for the number of times it’s found in my manuscript. It creates an alert, informing me of the number, and then returns back to the app from which the workflow was activated. This works perfectly with Scrivener.

Word Count

I got this idea from someone in the Literature and Latte forums. I select text and copy it, then run the image count script to return the number of words selected. It’s rudimentary, and I’m certain a selected word count will come to iOS Scrivener, but for now it works fairly well.


I find myself using Google Translate a great deal when I’m interacting with the Brazilian congregation which is part of the Central Baptist family. It works, ok, but the interface is a bit clunky. I wanted something similar, so I built it in Workflow. This application sets the translate from language to either English or Portuguese, presents a box in which to type text, and then speaks a translation which is also displayed in an alert. The translation is then copied to the clipboard for use in other applications.

It’s simple and straightforward, just what I needed.

Use your imagination

The most wonderful thing about Workflow is how it opens up creative ways to automate tasks in iOS. There are hundreds of actions, ways to manage scripting, and even the ability to execute Python scripts as part of the flow. If you’ve ever wished iOS did something you really would like to have included in the operating system, this is an app worth checking out.

  1. So much so I’m often tripping over my feet by trying to make it more complex than it needs to be. 
  2. Mostly because I need better Internet in the Church, and I’ve been having problems with my external mic on my iPhone. 
  3. I have one which compresses the audio, and another which does not