Mark item as read programmatically (Applescript / Shortcut) in an RSS or read-later app for batch consumption

Hello, community help is needed on this one as it’s driving me crazy.

Do you know of a read-later or RSS app that would expose AppleScript or shortcut to get/open items AND mark them as read


  • Reeder let you get items using shortcuts, not possible to mark them as read “programmatically” (via shortcut)
  • Same for Goodlinks (via shortcut and Applescript - unfortunately read-only)
  • Same for Instapaper (via shortcut)
  • Safari only lets you add to the read later list
  • Abyss does not have anything
  • Netnewswire has some Applescript to let you get data from the app but not helpful
  • Devonthink has a property “unread” for records that is editable via Applescript. That should allow it but it seems fairly heavy…
    Does someone have a workflow?
    My main goal is to consume my read-later list faster: batch open my articles from the queue in the browser and commit to reading 20 (for example) of them and mark them as read at the same time.

Any suggestion? Thank you!

Tell me more about how exactly you’d like this to work? It isn’t difficult to manipulate these kinds of properties in DEVONthink AppleScript. Something like…

tell application id "DNtp"
	set theSelection to get the selection
	repeat with eachRecord in theSelection
		set eachRecord's unread to false
	end repeat
end tell

That won’t work, but it is not far off, I think. Edit: fixed it.

The above will mark all selected items as read.

So, the tricky part: how do you imagine splitting the selection out? You could open a selection—or programmatically just open “the next ten,” or something—in tabs in a new window, like this:

The script is actually super simple:

tell application id "DNtp"
	set theSelection to get the selection
	set theWindow to open window for record the first item in theSelection
	repeat with eachRecord in theSelection
		open tab for record eachRecord in theWindow
		-- set eachRecord's unread to false -- this is not necessary. Opening the item marks it as read!
	end repeat
end tell

This is actually a neat little workflow… I might use it myself, hah. Thanks for the idea!

So here is what I was trying to do via Reeder:

  • My current workflow:
    • Process all feeds and add the one I want to read using Reeder’s own read-later list (it’s pretty quick, I assigned read-later to a swipe on the article, works on both mobile and desktop)
    • Consume Reeder read-later list batch by batch over time:
      • On Mac: just press J (next article) then B (open in the browser in the background) a bunch of times and commit to reading all the tabs I opened. I also made a KM macro for it, but it’s rather dirty
      • On iPhone / Ipad: either read one by one, or I made a shortcut that opens the most recent X (settings) articles from the read-later list, but the issue is that it does not mark as read, and I have to go and do that manually after.

I’d like to have a single solution across all machines that can do the following:

  • RSS from Feedbin
  • A way to mark items as starred / read-later / anything to find them later
  • A way to retrieve articles in batch and open them in the browser (ideally via Shortcuts to have a single cross-platform workflow)
  • A way to mark said articles as read so that I can load the next batch and consume the queue over time

I hope that makes sense. I don’t mind changing RSS client and read-later service. I need the RSS to work with Feedbin as this is where I get my newsletters, Youtube, Twitter and feeds.

Agreed - the workflow is neat! I think we could achieve the same on Devonthink mobile via Shortcuts. The main issue: it does not seem like Devonthink would work with Feedbin…
Maybe as a read-later replacement? I am worried about the slight lapse of time it takes to add articles into the inbox compared to my current quick swipe in Reeder.

Maybe DEVONthink won’t work for you, for the following two reasons:

Yeah, DEVONthink won’t work for this, unless Feedbin itself can generate (1) local files or (2) feeds you can subscribe to in DEVONthink.

For newsletters, I use It generates an RSS from received email messages. There may be better services out there but it works well enough.

Shortcuts can’t do this with DEVONthink, as far as I can tell.

Oh, I just thought of this… I think Readwise’s upcoming Reader app is designed for exactly this kind of workflow. I believe they’re planning on opening up the beta more publicly in the coming months, so watch for that.

Yes, I have been meaning to try that out but no luck getting in the beta so far

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