Drafts includes action steps to create calendar Events using Apple's own provided Event creation dialog. This is great for occasional Event creation, but can require a lot of extra tapping. Many power calendar users on iOS have starting using alternative calendar apps with more powerful features, like natural language processing, to ease the creation of events. One of the best of these apps is Flexibit's Fantastical:
Fantastical has great natural language processing, which allows you to type simple text versions of events and reminders and have them parsed into events. It also has great integration features, so is a perfect companion to Drafts. Working together, you can quickly jot your text in Drafts - like "Meeting 12/5 10pm" and then send it to Fantastical to be converted to an event.
With advanced integration actions, multiple events can be typed in Drafts, one per line, then created in Fantastical with one action.
There a few different ways to to integrate Drafts with Fantastical, and this article covers to most common ones.
Using the Fantastical Share Extension
Fantastical provides an iOS 8 Share extension to create events. No additional setup in Drafts is required to use this extension. If you are not familiar with share extension, start by reading up on enabling and using the share menu in general.
To create an event based on the current draft using the share extension:
Type the event description in a draft. Type in natural language that Fantastical will understand. It is very flexible, but you can read up on tips at the Flexibits site.
- Tap the "Share" action (which ships with Drafts) to trigger the iOS Share sheet.
- Tap the Fantastical Share icon.
- Confirm and make any changes in the Fantastical share extension and tap "add".
If you wish to be able to use the Fantastical share extension with just the selected text from a draft, not the entire text of the draft, you can also install the Share (selection) action from the directory.
Using Fantastical URL Schemes
In addition to the Share extension, Fantastical has excellent support for direct integration via URL schemes. If you plan to create events regularly, you can install/create actions to create events that save the extra steps of finding and tapping the share extension to trigger Fantastical.
For creation of individual events, install one of these actions:
- Event in Fantastical: Create single event based on draft, with confirmation and editing dialog.
- Event in Fantastical-Quick: Create single event based on draft, without requiring confirmation.
- Reminder in Fantastical: Create a single reminder based on draft. Drafts' own Reminders integration can create reminders, but this version can parse times & dates and set alerts as well.
Once installed, just tap the action to send the draft text to Fantastical.
Creating Multiple Events from one Draft
Fantastical's URL schemes also support callbacks. When used in combination with Drafts' ability to fire actions via URL schemes, advanced actions can also be used to bulk create events based on lines in a draft.
This allows you to quick type a multi-line draft with one event description on each line, then tap one action to recursively step through each line and send it to Fantastical to create an event for each line. Note that these actions will end with an error message about not being able to run the action on an empty draft. This is expect and how the loop knows it's reached the end of the draft.
Install the following examples, the first with allow you to edit and confirm each event (or reminder), the "Quick" version will create each event without stopping to prompt for confirmation.
- Events in Fantastical
- Events in Fantastical-Quick
- Reminders in Fantastical
- Reminders in Fantastical-Quick
Because these actions call themselves via URL, you will have to enable the "Allow URLs to fire actions" setting in Drafts to use them. Details.