Changing Workflow

Ever since I first acquired my 12.9 inch iPad Pro in August, it’s become my computing device of choice. I still use my Retina MacBook Pro, but often for the purposes of “finishing” tasks 1 or “heavy lifting” 2. Most of my daily work can be done on my iPad Pro. It’s faster, quieter, and more intuitive 3.

The most notable “every day” exception to this iPad reality is Keynote. While I’m impressed with iOS Keynote’s features, I hate developing presentations in the app. My slides often require me to move my slide elements around with pixel precision in order to create the illusion of a slowly-unveiled photo book. Sadly, this is impossible in the iOS version of the software. Features like individual builds and presenter notes are also more klunky to use. For me, this is a problem. I want to use my software, not wrestle with it 4.

In 2017 this may change, and the reason is found in two excellent clipboard managers I’ve discovered in the app store Clips and Copied. Both can be downloaded as lite versions for free from the App store, but at $2.99 and $1.99 for the full apps are pretty much in the realm of “impulse buy.”

Both apps can be enabled under the iOS “share” button, have widgets for managing clips, and include keyboards for easy access while working in another app. This last feature is extremely useful when connected to an external keyboard. It allows a writer/creator to work without obstruction until a new snippet is needed. At which point they can activate the keyboard, select and paste the desired element, and then hide the keyboard to continue with the project. Both apps also work with split-screen multi-tasking, if that’s a more desirable work-flow 5.

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Having this clipboard management available to me will be especially helpful to me as I create my sermon presentations. Currently, I move though my manuscript, look for my image tags, search for an image in my Lightroom library, or though Flickr’s Creative Commons search, copy the image, and paste it into my presentation. If the image is from Flickr, I then go back and copy the image URL and paste that into my presentation credits. Over the years the process is second nature, but there are times when my head begins to spin around and around. Inevitably, this causes me to miss an image tag.

With both Copied and Clips I’ll instead be able to copy all my images and save them to the app before I ever touch my presentation. Better still, the both applications allow me to paste in the source URL for every copied image, meaning I won’t have to copy two bits of information for each image I copy. I’ll simply select and paste my desired image, then tap on my credits slide and paste in that image’s URL.

I’m still left, however, with the limitations of iOS Keynote. Having all my information a tap away is wonderful, but if I can’t present it well what good is it to me? Well, I’ve found a solution.

I’m going to create image-slide templates. Honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed I’ve not considered this before.

I’ll create a blank presentation with master slides for every worship element I need 6, and include seven or eight layouts on which I can insert my images 7. The images on each layout would be set as placeholders, meaning I could paste new images into each frame without causing it to shift. The blank presentation would be saved in my iCloud drive, and reused for each new week 8. Right now my biggest issue would be if I needed an image in my Lightroom library I did not, currently, have synced to Lightroom Mobile. Though Screens would come in handy there.

I also picked up another new clipboard manager for Mac, called “Pastbot,” which will allow me to create much the same workflow on my Mac, but that’ll have to be another post. Right now it looks as though 2017 is going to mark an interesting shift in my workflow.

  1. Such as organizing my Lightroom library. 
  2. Multi-track video editing or processing. 
  3. Although Accordance really needs to re-do their notes feature so I have access to my tools while writing 
  4. Incidentally, this is what drove me from Linux to Mac. I got tired of compiling my video editor from source code every time an update was released. 
  5. This is likely how I’ll make use of them. 
  6. I typically do one for each calendar season of the year — Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. 
  7. Or more, depending on how energetic I feel 
  8. Or another online cloud storage system like Dropbox. 


  1. Jamison says:

    You really have quite the workflow going there for all of this. It’s really quite impressive how you’ve managed to transition over to a completely new computing interface paradigm.

    1. wezlo says:

      It really all began when I stopping using an office suite on my laptop. Then I began writing my sermons on my iPad though DocumentsToGo and GoogleDocs. Then I shifted to Markdown.

      I guess the final big pin was when iOS Scrivener came out. That, combined with my iPad Pro and the Workflows app make writing on the iPad so much more productive!

  2. chrisjwilson says:

    I’ve been playing with Clips and copied recently and it’s now one of those tools which actually helps me to do a task which was easy on my Mac, easier on the iPad (I’m still on the air). I know there are great clipboard manager tools on the Mac but I just find the iPad more fun. I like the default slide idea as well. I’ve personally found keynote to work well for me but I can see how your needs would make it more difficult.

    1. wezlo says:

      Yah, in general Keynote is very nice. BUT, I can’t do pixel-perfect placement, edit master slides, or even change a background image.

      I’m really looking forward to playing with clips and copied – and pastebot on the Mac is very nice.

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