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How to tailor Launch Center Pro to fit your specific needs

It didn't take long before people started tailoring App Cubby's recently overhauled iOS shortcut tool Launch Center Pro to fit their specific needs. Users of OmniFocus will appreciate Michael Schechter's templates that bring some degree of desktop snippet customization to iOS. Schechter created a custom group tailed to OmniFocus features, such as adding a task with a prompt.

Veritrope's Justin Lancy created a Storify account of OmniFocus' Ken Case's tweets documenting how URL schemes can be utilized to create deep links into the app. You can see other examples of OmniFocus workflows on Launch Center Pro from Hack/Make's Nick Wynja and MacStories' Federico Viticci.

One thing that might cause some new Launch Center Pro users to scratch their heads is how to add such deep customizations to begin with. The app comes with a few built-in tasks, and as Dave Caolo's review shows, it's easy to add more. To go beyond the suggested shortcuts, you'll need to know a bit about iOS's support for URL schemes and be familiar with the list of Launch Center Pro's supported apps.

What is a URL scheme? It allows apps to interact with each other using links. For example, tapping on a phone number in Mobile Safari will launch the Phone app. In Launch Center Pro's case, using a URL scheme from a supported app will launch that app, and supported actions encoded into the URLs will automatically perform tasks within the app.

Here's how to add one of Schechter's custom OmniFocus tasks:

How to tailor Launch Center Pro to fit your specific needs

1. From Launch Center Pro's start menu, tap the pencil icon and create a new action. If you want to create a number of actions, create a group for them first. Under the action menu, select the "custom URL" option.

How to tailor Launch Center Pro to fit your specific needs

2. Name your action, then type in the URL beneath it. You can do everything from launching a specific website to performing certain tasks within an app, as long as it supports URL prompts. Here, I've entered the first of Schechter's prompts.

How to tailor Launch Center Pro to fit your specific needs

3. Save the action, and it will appear in your group. In this case, the OmniFocus app button is automatically added to the action to make it easily identifiable.

However, this is not the end of the customization that's available. You can edit the action you just created, or change the icon or schedule the action to occur at a specific time. For example, schedule the above action to happen at noon. A reminder will pop up in the notification center at that time. Swipe the reminder, and it will launch Launch Center Pro and automatically bring up the create new task screen.

How to tailor Launch Center Pro to fit your specific needs

Here's one of the shortcuts in action. This one is the second shortcut that Schechter came up with, which automatically adds text from the clipboard as a note. Here, I used the prompt in Launch Center Pro to name the task. It then switches to OmniFocus to complete the task, but has automatically filled in the note field with text I copied from a work email.

To learn the latest about URL support within Launch Center Pro, follow the app's Twitter feed.

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