A step-by-step iOS Shortcut to Quickly Email Links to Yourself

Creating iOS shortcuts is surprisingly difficult (at least for me). Here's how I created one to send emails to myself in (very great) detail.

In its gallery, the iOS Shortcuts library already provides an “Email Myself” shortcut. When enabled, you can select it from the iOS Share Sheet and let it, as the name says, share input to an email address of your choice.

It has (in my case) one flaw: the emails are sent as plain text. Many email clients parse plain text emails and make them clickable, but Fastmail, my email provider of choice, doesn't – which is a sensible decision if you think about it.

The always outstanding Fastmail support team pointed me to a blog article that provides the same shortcut that includes a trick to convert plain text to rich text.

Since I've always just downloaded pre-made shortcuts, I decided to replicate it this time by myself, and because I never found the Shortcuts App to be super intuitive, I'm sharing the process step by step here. You can create the shortcut on your iOS device or a Mac - thanks to iCloud, it will be shared across all your devices.

The following steps will be very verbose… on the one hand, I wanted to be sure that I got it right; on the other hand, I struggled with searching, finding, and configuring the single actions, so I prefer to be rather too verbose than not detailed enough.

First, create a new shortcut by clicking  + on the Start Screen of the Shortcuts app and, on the next screen, give it a name and an icon:

The start screen when creating a new shortcut. The name field shows "Email Mayself", the color- and icon picker shows blue as the selected color and an envelope as the selected icon.
Creating a new shortcut and selecting an icon and a name

In the “Search for apps and actions” field, search for “Share” and select the “Share“ action by tapping, double-clicking, or dragging it onto the shortcut canvas.

The search field in the sidebar shows “share”, the “Share” action is selected, and the shortcut canvas shows a new action captioned with “Share” and has a variable named “Input”
Selecting the “Share” action

Tap on the Input variable and select Shortcut Input

The selection list for the “Input” field showing “Clipboard”, “Current Date”, “Device Details”, and ”Shortcut Input". A red arrow points to “Shortcut Input”
Selecting the Input

This adds a new “Receive” action before the “Share” action. In it, tap on the variable labeled Nowhere and change it to Show in Share Sheet by clicking the checkbox in the sidebar.

Instead of “Share Input”, the action now shows “Receive Any input from Nowhere”, followed by “If there's no input: Continue". A second option labeled “Share Shortcut Input” has appeared as well. A red arrow points to a checkbox labeled “Show in Share Sheet”
Selecting from where the shortcut should receive its Input

For the Any variable, select the content types for which you want the shortcut to be available (I've selected Images, Media, Safari Web Pages, Articles, and App Store Apps, but realistically, I use it for Web Pages most of the time).

After tapping the “Any” variable, a selection screen is shown where you can select the content types. The selection shows not all available options, please forgive me that I don't spell out all of them.
Selecting the content types for which the shortcut should be available

You can now delete the “Share shortcut input” action. Search for the “Get name” action and drag it below the “Receive” action. It should read “Get name of Shortcut Input”. Tap the ”Show more” label and enable the “Get Web Page Title” checkbox.

There are two shortcut Actions: The first action shows that the shortcut receives Images and 4 more inputs from the Share Sheet, the second action gets the name of the shortcut input including web page titles.
Enabling the Shortcut to get the Title of a Web Page

Next, search and add the ”Get URLs from Input" action. It shows “Get URLs from Name by default, but we'll change that.

After adding the “Get URLs from Input” action below the previously added actions, it shows “Get URLs from Name"
Adding the “Get URLs from Input” action

Tap the Name variable and then the Clear button.

A popup to change details of the input variable. At the top left there is a button labeled “Clear”, on the top left a button labeled “Reveal”. Below both buttons there are fields labeled “Variable name”, ”Type” with Text being pre-selected, and a list of what to get from the input with the following options: Text, File Size, File Extension, Creation Date, File Path, Last Modified Date, and Name.
Clearing the input variable

Instead of Name, the variable now says Input – tap on it and start typing “Short”. You will be presented with auto-completion suggestions: Shortcut Input is the one we want.

The shortcuts edit window now shows the previously added actions. The last action's label shows “Get URLs from Shortcut Input”
Selecting the shortcut input as the source for URLs

Now, search and add the Text action, then tap/click into the text field. On iOS, you will be presented with a list of variables you can add; on macOS you need to right-click inside the text field and select the “Insert Variable” option.

A nested context menu: the first level provides the options “Cut”, “Copy”, “Paste” and ”Insert Variable”. “Insert Variable” is selected. The second level has “Select variable” as a title and is followed by the variable names “URLs”, “Name”, “Ask Each Time”, “Clipboard”, “Current Date”, “Device Details” and “Shortcut Input”. The “Name” variable is selected.
The macOS way of adding a variable to a text field

As a short explanation: it is not possible to create Rich Text directly in a shortcut. Because of this, we need to add the intermediary step of creating a plain text field with Markdown (a plain text markup language for formatted text), which can be converted to Rich Text later.

Select the “Name” option, add two line breaks and then write []() . This is the Markdown Syntax of writing a Hyperlink — the round brackets will hold a URL, and the square brackets will hold the URL's label.

Within the square brackets, insert the variable “URLs” (even when we have just one URL). Withing the round brackets, you can insert either the “Name” variable or the “URLs” variable a second time. I like to see where a URL points to, that's why I put the “Name” variable in the first line, and the spelled-out URL in the line below.

The text field should now look similar to this:

The text field has three lines: The first line holds just the “Name” variable, the second line is empty, the third line reads “[URLs](URLs)” with “URLs” being variables.
The completed text field

We have only two more actions left! Search and add the “Make Rich Text from Markdown” action. Here, for once, we don't have to make any modifications.

The sidebar shows the results for the search term “make rich text”: “Make Rich Text from HTML”, “Make Rich Text from Markdown” (selected), “Make Markdown from Rich Text”, and “Make HTML from Rich Text”. The newly added action reads “Make rich text from Text” with “Text” being the variable pointing to the previous text field.
Adding the “Make rich text from Markdown” action

Finally, search and add the “Send Email” action. It will have the previous “Make rich text from Text” set as input already. When you tap inside the “Recipients” variable, you can select an item from your address book. Tap the “Show more” label and unselect the “Show Compose Sheet” checkbox. You then can select the email address the email will be sent from.

(Even though I don't use the Apple Mail client, it's still configured with my iCloud email address that I can send emails from. This has the advantage that I can filter the incoming emails at Fastmail and apply a “Read later” label to emails coming from my iCloud address.)

Finally, tap the “Subject“ variable, start typing “Name” and select the according variable.

The “Send email” action reads “Send Rich Text from Markdown to Jérôme Gamez as Name” with “Rich text from Markdown”, “Jérôme Gamez” and “Name” being variables. The checkbox labeled ”Show Compose Sheet” is deselected. The “From” field is configured with my blurred email address. The other Fields “Cc”, “Bcc” are empty, and the “Save as Draft” checkbox deselected.
The configured “Send email” action

And with this, we should be done! If you now open Safari, open a website and use the share screen, you should see the “Email myself” shortcut, use it, and find an email with the title and clickable link to the website in your Inbox.

I hope this (very verbose) description of the steps to create a shortcut was useful to me – it certainly will be for me the next time I want to create a shortcut.

If you find errors or that certain steps are not described well enough, please let me know!

Until then: Happy self-emailing!