Drafts vs Drafts Pro – and the seemingly vast difference between the two – how to catch-up?

Hello all… bit of a silly query, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Years and years ago – I was an avid follower of Federico Viticci and the like, when I was still using my iPad in a far more “advanced” fashion than what I am am currently. And Drafts was very much serving as a part gateway into automation on the iPad for me – this then along with the forerunner of Shortcuts (was it Workflow?), and Launcher Pro and those other scriptable apps, that were the flavour of the day back then.

Long story short – my usage changed, and I went far deeper into using my MBP for the automation side of things. My 12.9" iPad Pro played a massive role in helping me finish up my PHD – but this was more in the sense of annotating all the PDFs I was reading at the time, and extending Scrivener, Bookends and Devonthink over onto a device that I could use almost as productively to work on my thesis, when I was away from my MBP.

Somewhere between all of this, Drafts went subscription (with a very fair and reasonable approach, I must be quick to add) – but at the time, I opted not to jump in to Drafts Pro, since I simply wasn’t using it for anything other than a very good, and quick, place to capture thoughts, or snippets, that were going somewhere else, in the very next step.
So, in short, virtually none of the workflows and actions etc. that I had created before, were still being used. To be clear, this is not a criticism of Drafts, but rather the simple fact that my use of the iPad had changed.

Fast forward to the present. And several weeks(?) back, I thought I would give things another go, with that amazing 10 year Anniversary special pricing that was on offer. Figured it was reasonable enough for me to give all the Pro features a go, despite there being a good chance that I never actually get round to doing anything further – and if so, then not much money spent on the experiment.

Which brings me to this post:
It has been so long since I really delved into the world of Drafts, that I honestly cannot really remember what the key differences were between the standard version, and the Pro version.
And when I look at the comprehensive version notes (there was a recent update – it is incredible how Greg keeps knocking them out!), and the new features that are being tweaked, added etc., it might as well have been written in greek – since I am so far behind what has been changed over the years, that I cannot even begin to comprehend what the “low-hanging fruit” are, anymore.

And same then for their discourse forum (again, no criticism!) – there is just so much going on there, and inside the app, that I’m actually struggling to isolate a few simple uses that I could even begin to dabble with, to check if the Pro version is something worth keeping after the end of my years’ subscription…

So, I guess what I am asking is this: If you (as a Drafts Pro user) were to have a few pointers for someone, who was curious about examples of actions/macros/workflows that could be set-up inside of an iPad/iOS app – and you wanted to show/point them in a direction with a few examples from Drafts.app – what would those be?

Anything fairly “simple”, that is nonetheless using the Pro functions, that you care to share? This will hopefully give me some inspiration and ideas, to tinker with, over the course of the next few months.
Or, maybe a good YT channel – or what to even search for somewhere in the forums? That all would be much appreciated!

Oh – and I fully acknowledge this possibly being a case of me trying to think up solutions for problems I clearly don’t have – but as mentioned, more a case of my wanting to see what I might be missing, that could very well provide solutions to problems I never realised I had!!


Interesting that you posted this because 40 minutes ago, I posted:

Looks like we are thinking along the same lines. :grinning:


Oh wow!

I’ve popped up one post in that thread, linking back to this thread of mine, because I haven’t yet listened to the episode – and didn’t want to spoil anything by reading through it!

So completely serendipitous that I started this without my having seen your comment, but I’m quite relieved to know that I am not alone.

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“Great minds…” you know!

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Drafts Pro has additional automation capability.

For example, it can send a webhook and thus can integrate with Zapier and other web apps.

I was able to use this as an example to create a simple Action to send a Draft to Monday.com. You could similarly use this to send to any web app that works with Zapier or which can catch a webhook.

According to the description for Drafts in the Mac App Store:


Drafts is always free to use, but you can get more out of Drafts with a Drafts Pro subscription:

  • Create and Edit Actions
  • Themes and Icons - suit the experience to your tastes with themes, custom app icons, and more
  • Workspaces - Apply preferred tag, query, and sort settings for your drafts list with Workspaces
  • Extra widgets and better share extension options
  • Enhanced Automation

We are always working hard to expand the capabilities of Drafts and keep it up-to-date with the latest technologies. Your support helps
keep the app growing thank you to Drafts Pro subscribers!

Personally, the only one of those I ever see myself caring about is the first one (create and edit actions). That said, at this time, I have no need to create and edit actions. The built-in actions are serving all my (rather simple) needs just fine. Therefore, at this time I am not paying for the Pro version. Of course, if my needs change in the future I will reevaluate; although, I have a hard time justifying any subscription (but that is another matter).

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Thanks, yes – looking at it like that – seems to be quite clear what the differences are.

That said, bullets 2-4 are fairly(?) self-contained, and easy to get the lie of the land (although, I think one can get into the weeds pretty quickly with setting up very customisable “workspaces”, if memory serves).

But it’s the 1st and last bullets, where things get hairy – at least for me… That’s really where so much has changed between then and now…
I have however listened to the show now – and it has already had me thinking about somethings I should start looking at…

For instance, I find it convenient to walk around my office, dictating into Drafts on my iPhone (I’m one of those wandering thinkers) – as a recap of a meeting/conversation/consultation that was had, and eventually getting this into one of my DT3 DBs, to associate with a particular client/project/meeting… That seems like something ripe for an action or two, or related automation – so is probably as good a place to start as any…

Thanks for this!

Whilst I use Zapier together with Calendly, to feed info into a particular Google sheet, there’s not much more at this point.
But webhooks are not something that would’ve occurred to me to consider, so will make a note.

Pro subscriber here. YMMV, but I personally find workspaces to be really useful. Drafts can function as something like a text database, and workspaces offer some very quick ways to slice, dice and filter datasets (aka collections of notes). The fact I find that valuable might also be a function of the way I use Drafts to store notes (and a lot of other information), rather than just capturing things for later filing elsewhere.

I’ve also found syntaxes and the ability to author my own actions to be crucial in my usage of Drafts, but I appreciate that not everyone finds it necessary to build out a system in that way. I’ve always been a tinkerer, and I think that maybe the facility to customise workflows is a productive way to engage the distractible part of my brain, with the potential for meaningful output. The “tinkering” I’ve done in Drafts has both kept me entertained AND had an incredibly transformative impact on the way I get writing/note-taking/work done for a number of years now….

Perhaps it’s a matter of “ask not what Drafts can do for you; ask what you want to do with Drafts…” :wink:

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Plus for the most part the “tinkering” you do either in setting up Workspaces or in creating actions works on both iOS and Mac. There are a few exceptions which are discussed in the documentation - but overall the degree to which Draft functions on both platforms is unusually well-executed.