search Safari Reading List

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I have a pretty long Reading List and Spotlight often fails to find things in it. For that reason I came up with this little script which you might find useful.

1. Open up Automator by typing auto in Spotlight.

2.  Click on ‘Service’ (the big cog wheel) and then ‘Choose’.

Automator Service

3. Change the Service receives option to “No input” from the dropdown menu.

4. In the small filter bar to the left, type ‘run app’. You should see an action called ‘Run AppleScript’ in the second column. Drag it to the big pane on the right.


5. Select all the purple text inside the window and delete it. You don’t need any of it.

6. Command click on the image below, and copy the code from the pastebin page that opens up in another Safari tab. Paste the code into the Automator pane.


7. Hit ‘Command-S’ and give it a name like ‘Search Safari Reading List’. Click ‘Save’ (note: you do not specify a location for the save as it will automatically be saved in your ~/Library/Services folder).

8. Now click on the main menu for any app and have a look in the Services submenu. You should see your new service there (to add the keyboard shortcut, see Step 10 below).

9. Test it to make sure it works as expected. You should end up with something that looks like this:


10. If you want to assign a universal shortcut key like mine in the screenshot from Step 8, do so by going to  > System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard shortcuts. Look in Services for the name you gave it and add the shortcut by clicking in the empty space to the far right of the name.


A note on usage:
The reading list is really just a list of special bookmarks, with one difference: they contain short snippets or previews from each page. This has an impact on the way my script works in the following way: if the search string is in the preview snippet but isn’t in the URL, you’ll get back the line from the snippet but you won’t get the URL. It might be possible to code round that, but I haven’t had time to figure it out yet. If that’s a feature you want, send me a nag mail and I’ll put it on my list of things to do! ;). Otherwise it appears to function quite well as a workaround for the lack of a proper search facility.


About philastokes

Independent Software Developer, Technical Writer and Researcher at SentinelOne. Explaining the unexplainable with images, video and text. Scripting anything imaginable in AppleScript, Bash, Python and Swift.

Posted on April 9, 2013, in AppleScript, Mountain Lion, Safari 6.0, Scripts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on search Safari Reading List.

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