How do you use Drafts?

I’m late to the party with Drafts! How do you use it and why?

I’m thinking of learning how to use it as a replacement to Apple Notes but imagine there are many other ways to use it. For some context, I’m a regular user of OmniFocus, Airmail, Fantastical, and Evernote so would love to hear about integrations with these tools. Thanks!


I believe many people including myself use Drafts to capture “Actionable” text. In other words, whenever you want to type text fast, focusing on writing and not the presentation or where and how to store it, start with Drafts.
As Drafts is integrated with almost any app, you can easily then move that text to any app, or in other words “action” it.

Drafts is great, but it’s not a notes repository, Evernote would be.

So to answer your question, you can easily find many actions in the Actions Directory that can move text from Drafts to any of the other apps you mentioned. For instance, this is a very strong Action Group created by @RosemaryOrchard to list actions in Drafts then process them and move them into Omnifocus.

I hope that answers your question.


Since Drafts 5 I have been using it to store a considerable number of notes very successfully - the workspaces are key for me.


I use Drafts and am happy with it but I have found Notes better for the sort of thing I used to put in Evernote.

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Personally I couldn’t see myself doing that. I use Drafts to um, draft something then immediately send it off somewhere (iMessage, email, a full-fledged text processor), but I use Apple Notes to make and retain notes, saved inside folders.

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Some of the ways I use Drafts (although I want to use it more than I am):

  • Already mentioned is Rosés Drafts 5 Taskpaper with Omnifocus. I’ve adapted it for my specific needs to create projects in Omnifocus. I have series of projects I do over and over (episodes of a show) and thus the same sets of tasks. It’s perfect for creating the templates with some variables.
  • I have an action to text my family
  • I use it as an inbox for Omnifocus for getting quick ideas. I record it with my voice using the Apple Watch complication and the process it later into Omnifocus
  • Sometimes I jot down things that I’m not sure where they will go to later
  • Compose social media posts, especially if I want to take some time writing them before entering them into the site’s interface.
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This is what I don’t get with Drafts. Why would you want to start text in Drafts, only to “action” it into another app for use? For example, write an email message in Drafts, then send it to your email app. Why not just write the text directly in the app you want, like your mail app? Seems to me like using Drafts like this just adds steps, and makes things more cumbersome and less efficient. What am I missing??? :thinking::thinking::thinking:

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Because Drafts opens right to a text box, there are fewer steps between when you make the decision to write something and when you start inputting text. It can be worth additional complication to lower the friction on the front end.

That said, depending on what you’re writing and how you have things set up in Drafts, it can actually be fewer steps to input it there and action it to an app, rather than starting in the app. For instance, I use Drafts as my primary way to enter tasks into OmniFocus on iOS. To enter a task in the app I have to launch the app, hit the quick entry button, enter the task, perhaps add tags and a due date. With Drafts I just launch it and enter the task. Some of the tags are built in to the Drafts actions I use (tagging it as being a work task for instance. I can use TextExpander snippets to enter other tags and due dates more quickly than using the date picker in OmniFocus. So in this case Drafts actually reduces the number of steps.


On the Mac, it’s a it’s a text entry scratchpad. I type a keyboard shortcut, a Drafts quick entry window pops up, I type some stuff in it, and usually cut-and-paste it elsewhere although sometimes I just let it sit there a bit. I used to use SwiftText for that, and SwiftText is still a great app. But I can more easily store snippets in Drafts.

On the iPhone/iPad, I use Drafts for a standing grocery list, and a standard packing list for travel. Also, like @DomBett, I use Drafts to compose short blog and social media posts, and I have a couple of automated actions to format and send the posts when I’m done.

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I found Drafts a bit puzzling for a long time and haven’t found it useful until I began using it to quickly capture thoughts/dreams for work I’m doing in therapy. I only use it for that right now.

So, throughout the week, I jot things down really quickly, either on my phone or computer, and then when I go see her, I look at all the drafts and report out how the week’s been. Then, when the appt is over, I archive all those notes and begin again. I also tag dreams, so I’ll be able to look at those as a collection at some future point if I want to.

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One odd use I’ve found for Drafts: I travel 3-5 nights a month for business, and I write down my hotel room number in Drafts. Just the number, nothing else. And I take satisfaction in moving that number to the Trash when I check out!


The key as you said is using it.

Drafts is, for me, a personal discover app. It demands use to get to the this is useful moment. Of course, you may spend the time only to decide forget this. The slogan “where text starts,” though true, does not get to the heart of the matter.

To me Notes is an obvious app. Drafts isn’t obvious. I have written about things I like in Drafts, but it is a waste of time for the reason listed above. And I don’t give a rip if others find it wonderful or not. (Shortsighted as that may be)

On the other hand…

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Drafts is a great tool for me. I use it multiple times a day. One, to capture things that pop in my head that I need to make a quick note about, and two, a nightly ‘Journal’ entry that I type up about the positives that happened in my day, then “send to ICloud Journal”.

The Journal helps remind me that the “news” and real life, are not the same.

I have Drafts on my list of things to deep learn about this winter, when my daily task usually slow down. That, and Scriptable. :+1:t2::+1:t2::+1:t2::grin::sunglasses:

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One idea I want to explore is using Drafts for longer form writing. Viticci said he used it for longish work


I’ve always had Drafts on my phone but have been hot and cold using it since its release. I always understood the “text starts here” idea but it never fully clicked with me. Since Shortcuts came out I’ve actually been using Drafts to write emails in combination with a Shortcut.

Also, since the Mac beta has been out I’ve been using it for notes as well. I’ve always hated the Apple Notes app and Bear, Ulysses, etc were always a little heavy for just notes. Drafts have been able to fill in that void as well.

The more I’ve used it for those things the more I’ve found other uses for it. I think starting small and building from there is the way to go.

Thanks Chris. I agree with you, I think it depends on what apps you are using and what you were writing. For me, it doesn’t seem to be a useful app, likely because I don’t use some of the power user apps that you do. I can see how Drafts might make sense in conjunction with those other apps. But for me, Drafts seems like a solution in search of a problem.

I use Drafts for three things:

  1. to compose an email in Markdown and export as formatted text because has no formatting features save bold, underline and strikeout. No bulleted lists or tables.

  2. When I’m taking notes on an article, book or audio for future writing. I store it then as a text file in Dropbox (via Byword). Byword is pretty limited, but I haven’t found anything to replace it yet.

  3. When I want to to regular expression functions.

At some point I’ll learn how to use Javascript within Drafts. I know Javascript, I just haven’t taken the time to learn how to do it in Drafts.


My main uses:

  • Create a note that then can get sent to Evernote (with tags and to the proper notebook) and Todoist at the same time.
  • Have a text message to a group of leaders I work with prepoplulated with their numbers so I don’t have to find that particular group message or add six names.
  • Have another action that will allow me to hook into a shortcut that will separate that same group of people out to individual messages.
  • Send an email to our office manager that populates her email address.

I was very much the same way for a long time. The real magic was that first action I have because I only had to interact with one input method instead of 2. Then I decided I would just find things I did over and over again that didn’t need me to receive text, only Input it at first (sending an email or messages), and went from there.


I was a bit “meh” about it, imagining I’d use my Watch to capture text on the fly more.

But I’m writing more and more javascript - and Drafts has become in many ways a replacement for Editorial as a writing vehicle where I can automate certain aspects.

For example, making tables from CSV.

But, in writing terms, I’m mainly using it as a diary - creating (automatically) a new dated draft every day. I use a Siri Shortcut to kick this off.

Also, in writing terms, I’m starting blog posts in Drafts. The limitation here is that it can’t do pictures - but then few of my posts actually have pictures.

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I use drafts for the following:

  • capture actions to go into omnifocus from the iphone, ipad and apple watch
  • capture reminders to go into a specific reminders list from the iphone, ipad and apple watch
  • capture shopping lists and send to shopping lists shared with my wife
  • write down ideas for reports or assessments
  • write the body of reports in chapters and order them in Drafts before I send it to ms word (need to use that for work)
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