Hook turns 3!

On July 10, 2019 Hook 1.0 emerged from public beta and officially launched.

Hook has remained true to our original vision, as quoted in the original press release on PRMac:

“Deep work requires quickly accessing documents from your Mac. Unfortunately, filing and searching are distracting, slow and effortful,” shares Luc Beaudoin, a cognitive scientist and co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. “Hook allows you to skip these steps by immediately linking and accessing contextually relevant information.”

and then …

“Before Hook, links were essentially ‘out there’ on the web. Links could not connect your personal files, emails, tasks, and other important documents and information sources,” continues Luc. “Hook supplies the missing links in macOS so you can instantly access the documents that are most relevant to your current task. Hook allows you to you focus on creating, learning and solving problems.”

Looking back over the years, we have added a ton of new features to Hook and software integrations.

Like any deep venture, much of the pleasure we gain from developing Hook directly involves people.

We’re also fortunate that Hook has been covered widely on the web and in podcasts.

New features over the years

Here’s a look at some of the features we’ve added to Hook over the years.

  • The Hook window today looks significantly different from Hook 1.0. One of our big insights was to introduce a menu for each link, and a menu for the title item, which are parallel to each other. And we turned Hook into a new kind of navigator: users can navigate the hook network from any node.
  • We introduced several functions that turned Hook into a powerful bookmark manager. Users can search for any bookmark. Users can pin bookmarks. And users have the option to automatically add new Hook bookmarks to other bookmark managers, starting with Pinboard, Instapaper and GoodLinks.
  • We made several rounds of improvements to Hook’s search (and another round is in public beta).
  • We also added a new configurable toolbar, QuickLook (⌘Y), additional commands, improved menus, added ability to copy links with a keyboard shortcuts without even invoking the Hook window, extended General Preferences tab,
  • Hook was graced with a beautiful new app icon.
  • We made it possible to add folders to your Hook to New template, enabling you to create and mesh link new items. We’ve made templates more flexible in other ways too.
  • We made Hook itself scriptable via AppleScript API.
  • We shared actions and extensions so you can access Hook via LaunchBar and Alfred.
  • We added deep PDF linking which is quite popular with knowledge workers.
  • We made it possible to Hook to New entire folders. Just drag and drop a folder into Hook’s template folders, and you’re off to the races.
  • We introduced a foreground mode to Hook.
  • We updated several Hook to New integrations such that Hook now adds linkbacks in new items in a number of apps, like Apple Notes, Craft, DEVONthink, Drafts, Obsidian and OmniFocus, (And Hook Pro users can customize Hook to add or remove linkbacks).
  • We made it possible to invoke Hook from Safari and Finder share menu, with more planned.
  • We added a badge to Hook’s menu bar icon to reflect how many bookmarks are hooked to the current item.

And several other enhancements.

While many of the features in Hook come from our internal analyses, many of them also come from your feedback via email and the Hook productivity forum.


Hook works out of the box with many apps. This means that when new apps appear, Hook often works with them. Examples include Diagrams and the very new Bike app, a Tool for thought by Hog Bay Software.

We added support for the following apps amongst others: 2do app by Beehive Innovations, Accordance, Anybox, Apple News, Apple Photos, BibDex, Books app, BusyContacts, Calibre, Canarie Chrome , craft, Curio, Daylite, DEVONagent, DEVONthink 3, Firefox Developer Edition, fmail, GoodLinks, Goodtask, HoudahSpot, IntelliJ, , Keep app by Reinvented Software, MacJournal, MailPlane, Margin Note, MarsEdit, Merlin Project, Microsoft Edge, NetNewsWire, Nitro PDF, Notenik, Notion, nvUltra, obsidian, Quiver (note-taking app for developers), Reminders, SideNotes, SideNotes, Slack, Soulver, TheBrain, Timing, Tinderbox, Trello app, Trickster, Twitter, VLC, Voodoopad, Wavebox, Workflowy, Zoom and Zotero.

We also frequently improved initial and subsequent integrations.

Community input

Meanwhile a large number of knowledge workers have gravitated to the Hook productivity forum, and contributed an immense amount of wisdom to each other.

Many, like Brett Terpstra and Zsolt Benke have contributed automations helpful automations to help you get even more out of Hook.

Coverage on the web, in podcasts, etc

Hook has been featured in many websites and podcasts all over the world. For example, I was interviewed by David Sparks and Stephen Hack on Mac Power Users to discuss Cognitive Productivity and Hook.

In a live session on the The Ultimate Productivity App, Tim Stringer explained that Hook enables all your macOS apps to be used together as if they were part of one big interconnected app. Tim’s website contains a growing list of resources showing how Hook can be used to pursue a software-enabled holistically productive life: Hook – Learn OmniFocus.

Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking

In the Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking, Angel Vu, Brett Terpstra, Brian Fisher, Brian Shi, Daniel Gorin, David Sparks, Eric Böhnisch-Volkmann, Frank Blome, Frode Alexander Hegland, George Browning, Jacob Gorban, Jay Miller, Jeff Rivett, John Nesbit, Ken Case, Lee Garrett, Luc P. Beaudoin, Mark Bernstein, Michael Tsai, Monika Pudlo, Patrick Woolsey, Rajesh Karmani, Rich Siegel, Rochelle Broder-Singer, Tim Stringer state:

We affirm that the ability to copy a link to a resource is as important for cognitive productivity as the ability to copy other types of information. This applies to all persistent digital information.

We invite software developers to do their part, by

ensuring their users can conveniently obtain a link to the currently open or selected resource via a user interface; and >
providing an application programming interface (API) to obtain or construct a link to that resource (i.e., to get its address and name).

To help people benefit from the information they process with software, we advocate ubiquitous support for linking of information resources. This would help realize the potential of hypermedia that was envisioned by information technology pioneers such as Ted Nelson and Douglas Englebart.

We invite you to sign the manifesto, and thank you for your joining us in our mission to keep you focused and in psychological flow !

Upcoming for macOS, iPadOS and iOS 😊

This is just the beginning. Our product road map calls for many significant developments of Hook. Some of them are mentioned on the Hook productivity forum. We can also point to Hook 3.7, which is about to re-enter public beta..

Meanwhile, the iOS/iPadOS companion to Hook has been in public beta since Dec 2021. It now mostly requires us to put together the customer documentation and marketing materials. Stay tuned!


Thank you to everyone who has participated in the Hook productivity journey. We look forward to hearing from you over the Hook productivity forum, Twitter and other media !

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