Note: if you started to see an error massage after upgrading your iPhone to a new iOS, please see instructions added at the end of the article.
For many years we were using a free Time Stamp Text APP to insert current date and time stamp from clipboard (CB). Something happened to this simple APP and it is no longer available in the Apple store.
For over 3 months I had to type the date and time manually loosing 10 seconds or so on every new Notes entry. – Unacceptable.
Finally, I’ve learned that iPhone iOS 13.1 has new feature Shortcuts that facilitates automation. And these Shortcuts did not disappoint.
Here is a plan for the shortcut actions and attaching that shortcut to Notes automation procedure:
– every time we go to Notes, system should open the latest note and store current date and time stamp in the clipboard so that we can paste it into a desired spot in the note.
Here are the implementation details
First we create a shortcut “Send Timestamp to Clipboard” that has 3 actions:
– ACTION 1 – place current date and time into a Date variable
– ACTION 2 – format Date string to required personal standard (“EEE” in format string means Day-of the-week, for example Mon, Tue, Wed etc.)
– ACTION 3 – Place Formatted Date into clipboard
We will call this shortcut from Notes automation procedure later
Next, we will “code” actions required for Time and Date paste automation for Notes.
We will create a Personal automation for an event <<When “Notes” opened>>. It will consist of 6 actions
Details of first 3 actions displayed in the image to right:
– store current Clipboard content into a variable StoreClipboard.
– execute (or run) previously created shortcut “Send Timestamp to Clipboard” to fill CB with properly formatted Date and Time stamp.
– open latest note by searching All Notes by latest creation date and limiting result by one note only.
And the final 3 steps.
– open (or show) the latest note that was found
– wait 7 seconds for user in paste the Date Time stamp into the note
– restore original CB contend from variable StoreClipboard.
This solution works great. Not additional third party downloads are required, and 7 seconds appears to be a very good compromise between waiting and scrambling to paste the date. Besides, if you missed the opportunity to paste the date, you can always switch out and back into the Notes to have the fresh Date Time stamp in your CB for another 7 seconds.
Ideas and questions for further refinement:
– Is it possible to distinguish when Notes were opened and when user just switched to Notes from other APP(s)?
– How can I manipulate (compare, truncate, search by) portions of the strings stored in variables?
Your input is appreciated.
You see an error message after updating iOS
After taking a major version update, you will see an error message: “Can’t find a shortcut” or “Can’t find an automation”. You go to your Shortcuts, and you clearly see it is there. What you need to do is to go inside, make an artificial change and save your shortcut or automation. That will reset internal pointer and everything will be working again.
[This last note written 2021-01-27 WE while on version 14.3]