Quick Capture with Launch Center Pro

I’ve got a new favorite Launch Center Pro action. It’s called Capture. When invoked, it displays a text entry box. Enter some text, tap Next, and select which text editor you want to send your text to.

Capture Workflow

Setup

For it to work, you must have Drafts, Simplenote, Byword, and Day One installed. You’ll need to install this Drafts action, too.

I use a variant of Capture on the iPad that also includes Editorial. You’ll need this Drafts action to send text to Editorial.

I also use a variant to send my clipboard contents directly to a specific editor.

Byword, Day One, and Simplenote actions come with Drafts, so you don’t need to install any specific actions to work with them.

Why

Using Day One alongside any one of these other editors makes sense. But why use all of these editors at the same time? It’s about creating content silos.

  • Stuff related to the work I do for my company goes into Simplenote where I can share it with my wife/partner.
  • Beginnings of blog posts and articles go to either Editorial or Byword depending on which device I’m using.
  • Occasionally, things need to be sent to Drafts for further processing.
  • And journal entries go into Day One.

Both Byword and Editorial are pointed at a Writing folder in Dropbox that contains separate folders for blog posts, work-related articles, and notes (which are just lists of things—places I want to go, books I want to read, etc.).

That’s complicated and kind of a messy way to organize bits of text. As a result, jotting down ideas and notes on iOS was a bit of a pain in the ass. I didn’t want to have to decide which app to open before I started writing.

Note taking is all about speed. I can decide where it should go after I’m done jotting; deciding as a first step caused a (small but annoying) pause while I figured out what app I needed to launch.

My capture routine used to start with Drafts, but this Launch Center Pro setup requires fewer taps and is a bit easier on the eyes. Also, finding the right action to use in Drafts once you’re ready to hand off the text was a bit more tedious than simply picking from a short list of options.

For quick note taking, this workflow is the closest I’ve found to mimicking the speed and ubiquity of pen and paper with my iPhone.