The Quickest Way to Get Text from Your iPhone into a Fargo Outline on a Desktop Computer

I often jot down little text notes into Drafts on my iPhone -- a book I want to read, something I need to buy, an idea for my blog. I've previously written Drafts actions that convert text into OPML that can be imported into an outline in Fargo, but now that's no longer necessary. Dave Winer just introduced a scripting language that allows a user to add their own menu of actions. It's all based on javascript, but you don't need to know this language to get stuff from your iPhone into your Fargo outline.

After you follow these steps, you'll be able to jot something down in Drafts, send it to your Fargo folder using a Dropbox Action, and then insert the text wherever you want. All you need to know is the hour you initiated the Dropbox Action.

Create the Dropbox Action

If you're on your iOS device right now, tap on this link. It will import the Dropbox Action into your version of Drafts. If you'd rather create the Action yourself, here are the parameters:

  • Name: text-fargo

  • Path: /Apps/Fargo/[[date|%a %b %d %Y]]/

  • File (predefined): [[date|%I]] <-- that's an uppercase i

  • Ext: txt

  • Write: Append

  • Template: [[draft]]

Add the "Import Text" Script to Fargo

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  • If you haven't already, create a new outline called menubar.

  • Create a headline called Scripts.

  • On the next line, hit Tab and write Import Text.

  • Paste the following as children nodes below Import Text (i.e., make sure they're indented again):

    • var d =;

    • dialog.ask ("Enter the hour in two digits", "", "Disregard am or pm", function (name) {

    • file.readWholeFile (d + "/" + name + ".txt", function (data) {

    • op.insert (data, down);

    • });

    • });

  • In a few moments, a new menu bar will be created next to the Docs menu.

Create a Draft and Import It into Fargo

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  • In Drafts, create a note.

  • Tap on the text-fargo action.

  • Put your cursor on a headline in Fargo underneath of which you would like to import your text.

  • In Fargo, open the Scripts menu and click on Import Text.

  • A dialog box will pop up. Enter the two-digit hour in which you initiated the Dropbox Action.

    • If it's 2pm, enter 02 and hit OK.

    • If it's 11am, enter 11 and hit OK.

    • If it's 11pm, enter 11 and hit OK.

    • Click this wedge if you want to know why I'm using the hour.

    • I was trying to figure out the least amount of mental effort necessary to import the contents of the text file. It defeats the purpose to enter the contents of the text file as the name of the text file; I also didn't want to use a #tag because people tag their drafts differently. For example, I might put a book title in the first line of my draft, and then #book in the second line. Do I then tell Drafts to make line 2 the title of the text file? That seems too limiting because what if my draft has multiple lines? Also I didn't want to put a tag in the first line of the draft, because naturally I put my tags at the end and I didn't want to cut and paste it into the beginning just so that I could use the first line as the title of the text file. So I decided to just use the hour in which the Dropbox Action is initiated. If I'm sitting at my computer and want to get a draft into Fargo, I know what time it is. I just hit text-fargo and enter the current two-digit hour. (Military time, e.g., 14 for 2pm, is too much work for me!)

    • The only downside to this solution is the case in which I perform a Dropbox Action more than once in the same hour. I have the action set to "Append" to the text file, so I will have imported the previous text as well as the current text. In this case, I will just have to delete the previous draft from the headline.

  • Your text will be inserted into a new headline.


Special thanks to Dave Winer for help with an earlier version of this script.

And Eric Davis, whose script for writers inspired me to create a folder in Dropbox with the day's date.

Last built: Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 2:05 PM

By Jeffrey Kishner, Monday, July 29, 2013 at 2:29 PM.