Exploring the actions pane
With actions being the building blocks that power your workflows, it’s important to understand what types of actions there are and what they can do. With a little browsing, you can get a better sense of what’s possible and gain inspiration for new workflows.
Tap one of your workflows to open it, or tap the “Create Workflow” button to make a new one.
In the workflow composer, locate the actions pane to the left of your workflow. On iPhone, swipe left (or tap the “Actions” tab) to see it. Initially, you’ll be placed in the Suggested section.
Tap the back button in the upper left to view all the available sections. At the top level of the actions pane, you’ll see a Search field, Suggested and Favorites, the 12 action categories, and All.
When you find an action you want to add to your workflow, tap and hold on it to grab it, then drag to the right and drop it into an empty space in the workflow.
Accessible within every section of the actions pane, Search helps you quickly locate actions by keyword.
Try searching for “get”, “find”, or “add” to explore a variety of actions across multiple categories. You can also search for specific topics like “music” or “events”, or apps and services you use like “Evernote” or “Twitter”.
The Suggested section displays suggested actions based on the current contents of your workflow. Suggestions continuously update with actions that could logically come next in your workflow. As you build your workflow, the app predicts which actions you may want to use next and offers them here for easy access.
For example, if the last action in your workflow was a Contact action, Suggested would update to show actions like Call or FaceTime, which you may want to use next. A workflow ending with Get Current Song would have suggestions such as Add to Playlist or Get Details of Music.
For empty workflows, the Suggested section offers possible actions to start your workflow.
Once you’ve created a few workflows, you’ll likely find yourself using similar actions repeatedly. Tap on an action you’d like to reference quickly and hit the Favorite button to star it.
Any starred actions will show up in the Favorites section, meaning you won’t have to tediously navigate through the action categories to find them next time.
Every action in Workflow is grouped into 12 different categories (Apps, Calendar, Contacts, Documents, Health, Maps, Music, Photos & Video, Scripting, Sharing, Text, and Web). Tap a category to browse the actions inside. Or, tap “All” for a list of every action that’s available in Workflow.
When you’re just starting out with Workflow, it’s helpful to open All and scroll through to get a sense of what’s possible.
Within a category, all the included actions are grouped by topic. For example, the Maps category has topics for Location, Maps, and BlindSquare.
You can tap an action’s name or icon to reveal a description of what it does.
If the action expects certain content to be passed as input, the supported content types will be listed under a section entitled “Input”. If the action outputs content, the type of that content will also be shown here under “Result”. To learn more about inputs and outputs, see How workflows work.
You can also access this information from an action that’s been placed in a workflow. Just tap the action’s name or icon.
Now that you have a greater understanding of the actions pane, it’s time to begin assembling a workflow together. Continue on to Building out your workflow.