Copy Link

The Copy Link command copies a link to the current item (file, document, web page, whatever). “Current” means the item that was selected or open in the frontmost active window when you invoked Hook.

The Copy Link command is available from the Title menu of the Hook window, and from the selected Link menu. Here it is shown on the Title menu:

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Invoke Hook (with ⌘⇧SPACE or some other means) in the context of an app (such as BBEdit in the example above),
  2. Click the Title menu (or type ⌃T which shows the Title menu).
  3. From there, you can double click the Copy Link command.

That copies the link to the clipboard and closes the window.

Or, much more quickly: just invoke Hook and then type ⌘C, which copies the address of the item in the title bar and closes the Hook window.

Here’s what I did in the screenshot above:

  1. In BBEdit, I had a file open that was called Local links help you work faster.txt.
  2. I invoked Hook with ⌘⇧SPACE,
  3. I selected ⌘C

Then I hit return, which put a hyperlink in the clipboard like this: Local links help you work faster.txt. (That link won’t work for you however, unless you have a copy of that file on your Mac. It’s just an example.) Again, I normally would just do ⌘C in Hook. Much faster.

Here’s what Copy Link does:

The Copy Link command is a quick way to copy a formatted hyperlink (with its name and address properly set) to the object.

Where you can use Hook’s “Copy Link”

Not only can you use the command in a web browser, you can use it in any supported app! That means you can quickly get a link to :

  1. a web page,
  2. a file on your desktop (and the link will normally work even if you move or rename the file),
  3. an email,
  4. a task (in OmniFocus, TaskPaper, Things, etc.),
  5. an item in a personal information manager (like Evernote, or EagleFiler),
  6. a note (for instance in Tinderbox or Bear writer app),
  7. etc.

Here’s what you can do after “Copy Link” :

Once you have copied a link, you can:

  1. paste it wherever you want (for instance in a web browser’s search/address bar, in an email, in a document, or wherever else.)
  2. use Hook’s super handy “Hook to Copied Link” command to hook the link target to another item. This is like pasting the link in the Hook window of either item.

How will this change your life?

Hook’s Copy Link command is an extremely significant, quasi-magical, breakthrough in personal computing. Here’s why.

1. Pasting links so you (and others) can get things done

The Copy Link command means you can now paste links to almost anything, anywhere on your Mac, in emails, notes, shared Dropbox documents, etc. This is what hypertext was meant to do decades ago, but was never really possible across apps before Hook.

Before all your documents, notes, emails, etc. were in silos, sequestered from each other. Now you can link them together.

That means you can now quickly get from, say, a task (in your “todo list”, OmniFocus, Things, etc.) to the document that the tasks references!

So you can write notes to yourself or others that contain links to urgent / important information on your Mac (or elsewhere), such as

  • “finish writing this document” (where “this document” is a link to the document, and the name of the link is the name of the document, e.g., in Word, Pages, or anything)
  • “respond to this email” (where “this email” is a link to the specific email ; the label is automatically the subject of the email itself!),
  • “mark all the papers in this folder” (where “this folder” is a link to the Finder folder, and its name is the name of the folder),
  • respond to the comments on this blog post (where “this blog post” is a link to the blog post, and its name is the title of the blog post)
  • and so much more… there’s no end to what you can reference.

Yes. Thanks to Hook, with one command ( Copy Link) you have a well formatted link to almost anything!

That saves you eons of search time. Once you get in the hang of this, you will never look back.

2. Hook to Copied Link in the Hook window

Linking directly in the Hook window means that you can immediately navigate between linked items. Hook links are bidirectional!

With Hook to Copied Link, you don’t even need to read through a document to obtain key links. The Hook window shows you the links you’ve deemed worthy to forge.

See Hook to Copied Link

There’s more

There are more benefits. We’ve described some here. But just like no one in the early days of the web could understand it without trying it, you’ll better understand the value of desktop links once you start creating and using them yourself.

Before Hook, most people hardly created links

Before Hook, even most programmers, web developers and writers hardly created hyperlinks. Why? Because they could really just create links to web pages or files, and those links were brittle, and tedious to make.

because Hook makes linking super easy, its potential is transformative. It means you can link to web pages more rapidly than ever before, and you can use the same gestures to link to almost anything.

This makes both technical people and lay people much more cognitively productive.

Advanced information about URLs

Calling Copy Link on different types of resources may produce different types of addresses. In the context of websites and web pages, Copy Link will typically produce familiar https:// or http:// addresses (“URLs”).

When an app has a custom address “scheme”, Hook’s Copy Link tends to use that. So if you invoke Hook in OmniFocus, for example, Copy Link will typically produce an address with the scheme, “omnifocus://”. Those links can be pasted and opened anywhere without Hook being involved as a proxy. Many other apps have custom schemes (e.g., bear:// , drafts5:// , evernote:// , ulysses://, bookends:// , addressbook:// , and things:///). Hook will typically return the custom scheme if it can, though in some cases it is normally better for Hook to use a different scheme like hook://file/.

Hook Pro is highly configurable, however, so Copy Link for any given app can be customized in Hook Pro’s script editor.

hook:// addressing schemes

In some cases, Hook will produce addresses with its own “scheme”, i.e. hook:// followed by a “sub-scheme”, meaning hook://<sub-scheme>/<identifier>. The “sub-scheme” portion of the address corresponds to the application or type of resource that is being addressed: email, file and potential other types of information.

For example, links to emails look have the form, hook://email/<identifer> and files are hook://file/identifier. This allows you to refer to email messages uniformly regardless of the particular app in which you copy the link (e.g., Apple Mail, MailMate or AirMail). It also means that you can send hook://email links to other people and they can open the email by clicking on the link, regardless of their email client, so long as they are using Hook and they have a copy of the same email. This is because every email has a unique identifier (as defined by an “RFC”). (Microsoft Outlook however does not respect this. So in that case, Hook reverts to Microsoft’s custom email addressing. Also currently Spark email client does not programmatically expose the information required for users to do this. However, Hook covers the vast majority of email cases.)

Similarly, Hook also defines a “file” sub-scheme: hook://file. When you click those links, Hook acts as a proxy and finds them. Hook uses sophisticated mechanisms that enable its hook://file links to be robust even if you rename the file or move it around. In fact, you can even unmount the file system, version control system repository, or cloud storage folder in which a file resides, and remount it later, and Hook can typically resolve the hook://file link. And you can also email hook://file links to other people.

Links to shared files and to files on removable/mountable folders

Links with hook://file/ URLs can typically be shared between users and resolved if all have access to the same file. However in that case, if the target file’s name changes on a different account Hook may be unable to resolve the link. And if there are multiple files that have the same name as is implicitly referenced by the hook://file/ URL, when you activate the URL (a) Hook may show multiple candidate target files for you to choose from ; (b) Hook could potentially resolve the link to a different file than one expects (particularly if there are several matches, or the target file is deleted and a new identically named file appears elsewhere).

Also in some third party apps (e.g., TaskPaper), when a user uses the “Save” command, that app might actually create a new file (new in so far as the operating system is concerned), as if a “Save As…” action had taken place (i.e., which creates a new file as far as the operating sytem is concerned); this can in some cases lead to false negatives.

In our experience and analysis, hook://file/ URLs perform at least as well and often better than Apple’s Finder aliases (which are notoriously poorly documented). Hook does its best to adapt to filename and folder changes, and resolve hook://file/; and we at CogSci Apps tweak Hook’s algorithms from time to time. It should be noted that there is an inherent heuristic element and virtualization involved in resolving adaptive file URLs (and Finder aliases for that matter), and different users (and indeed different software developers) may have different expectation of the identity of files.

Technical information about links in the clipboard

Copy Link writes both a plain text and rich text (rtf) link to the clipboard. The rich text link is a hyperlink and the plain text link is just the URL.

macOS will paste the format which matches the text field, so if you paste into the subject of an email in it will paste plain text, and if you paste into the body it will paste rich text.

For example, if you invoke Hook on this web page and use its Copy Link command on it, Hook will put the following in the clipboard:

  1. `` — a plain text address (URL),
  2. Copy Link – Hook, that is: a formatted link which includes the name of the resource (meaning, of this web page, Copy Link – Hook), and its address ``, and
  3. custom link information.

So, if you then

  1. open a plain text editor (like TextEdit in plain text mode; or BBEdit) and use its paste command, you will get the first option,
  2. if open a rich text editor (like TextEdit in RTF mode, or Pages) and use its paste command, you will get the second option (a formatted link),
  3. if you invoke Hook on another resource, like an email, and then use Hook to Copied Link, Hook will use the third version (though Hook can also work with the others).

Related commands

The concepts described here also apply to Copy Markdown Link. One can think of the Copy Link function as being the underlying foundation of Hook to Copied Link and hooking items together via the menu bar icon.


If you are using a clipboard manager, you might want to add Hook to its list of apps to exclude from managing. (See this topic.)

Benefits of Copy Link function

For more benefits of Copy Link, see this blog post: Hooked on the Copy Link Habit.

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