Shortcut for Creating Zettels on iPad and iPhone (iA Writer)

Use an iPad or iPhone for your Zettelkasten? Want to make your workflow a bit quicker? I hear you. I made a shortcut that allows you to quickly create Zettels on iPad and iPhone which works in a similar way as the one in my post “Knowledge Management with Zettelkasten and iA Writer.” But please first read the following.

When you import the shortcut to your device, it will ask you two questions: the name of your Zettelkasten folder within iA Writer and your preferred file extension.

Then, there are two ways in which you can use the shortcut:

  1. The usual way. You tap on its icon within the Shortcuts app or the Today Widget. That will ask you for a title and create an empty Zettel with that title and an automatically-generated ID as filename, plus some front matter. Everyone has a different way of dealing with tags so I didn’t want to interfere with that.
  2. From the Share Sheet. You select text from anywhere and then click on “Share.” Then, you select the shortcut from the Share Sheet. This will create a Zettel the same way as before, except the selected text will be the body of the Zettel.

Simply tap on the following link and the shortcut will be imported to your device. Happy Zettelkasten-ing!

Please do let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see something different or new in the shortcut. I am a beginner myself at this but it’s been enjoyable learning so far!


  • 2020-05-13: Fixes lack of iCloud folder variable to x-callback-url (thanks Edoardo!)

7 thoughts on “Shortcut for Creating Zettels on iPad and iPhone (iA Writer)”

  1. Thanks for providing this information. I am not sure that I set my system up the way that you have. When I run the short cut, I get the following:


    Is this how it is suppose to look?

    • Looks like I can delete the short cut and runs fine the first time after I reinstall. Any idea on why it only runs once correctly and then does not run?

      • Hi Rob,
        The shortcut works reliably for me every time, so it might be that one of the inputs to the shortcut is making it go wild, or something about the setup it’s run in. You may try some different titles and different folder names and see if it makes a difference.

        • Rob, I had the same problem on iPad. I restarted Shortcuts and iaWriter and it worked as intended.

  2. Hello,
    Thanks for this and the other posts on using iA as a Zettelkasten archive. I just noticed a small bug in your Shortcut: the callback URL doesn’t contain the iCloud folder variable, so the file is created in a folder that most likely doesn’t exist.
    Thanks again for sharing ?.

    • Edoardo, you’re a life saver. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to figure this bug out. Thank you so much! I’ve changed the link.

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