How to Get and Use Links to Email Messages

Do you send and receive a lot of important emails which are like needles in a haystack? Emails in silos are useless. You need to copy and paste links into your to-do lists, and to bidirectionally link them to project information.

Hookmark enables you to copy links to emails. It also enables you to create two-way contextual links) between emails and other resources; two-way links are called “hooks“.

 Hooks are two-way bookmarks that are associated with a pair of documents or other information resources.

Here’s a video on How to Get and Use Links to Email Messages using Hookmark. You’ll also learn how to create “aliases” on the Finder to emails (actually, they’re “.hookmark files”):

Here’s a forum topic on the matter:

Benefits of email links

Copying email links comes in handy in many ways. With a copied email link you can

  • past the link in a task list or task app (like Todoist or OmniFocus). This lets you quickly get back to the email when you return to this project.
  • save an email attachment somewhere and hook the email and attachment together for easy future access of one given he other.
  • hook an email to a document draft (e.g., hook the draft to an email from an editor or co-author). That makes it easy to consult messages about your draft while you are working on the draft.
  • hook the email to a new document or object (e.g., in DEVONthink or Obsidian) so that you can take notes about the email.
  • create a deep link between the email and an exact location in a PDF to which the draft
  • open links to an email in iPhone or iPad.


In short, email links enable you to make quicker and better use of emails. They eliminate the need to search for pertinent emails or resources to which the email pertain.

How to copy a link to an email

With Hookmark, copying a link to an email couldn’t be simpler. Simply

  1. select or open an email message in a linkable email app
  2. invoke Hookmark’s Context window (⌃H)
  3. and type ⌘C (or choose Copy Link from the Action ☰ button).

This puts a link of the form hook://email/ in the clipboard, or of the email app’s custom form.

If you are markdown user, then you can choose the Copy As Markdown Link instead of Copy Link.

Now you can paste the email wherever you want or hook it to a copied link.

About email drafts (messages that have not been sent)

It is not possible in any email app to copy a link to a draft email. The reason is that the RFC-5322 compliant ID that Hookmark uses (for most mail apps) depends on the email message having been sent. It is the SMTP server (not Hookmark or macOS) that assigns ID’s to messages.

The only work-around for this is to edit one’s emails in a rich text editor and to get the link to the draft. That requires saving the document at least once, of course. But that is normally overkill of course.

The reason is that in order for Hookmark to get the ID of an email app, it needs to be sent.

Choose the email app with which to open hook://email/ links

Hookmark enables you to choose the email app with which to open hook://email/ links. This is configured in Settings > Email tab:

This “future proofs” your email links. If you switch to a different fully linkable email app down the road, your hook://email/ links will still work!

URL scheme of email links

When you copy a link to an email in Apple Mail, Airmail, MailMate or Postbox, Hookmark will create a URL of the form hook://email/. However, if the app has its own custom URL scheme, Hookmark will create a URL with that custom scheme. (See also: Principles That Determine the URL Scheme Returned by Copy Link for a Given App – Hookmark).

Apps with their own URL schemes

Some email apps provide their own email links. Notably, Mimestream and Fmail. In that case the link created is not of the form hook://mail/....

Mimestream is a native macOS email client for Gmail. It has its own custom URL scheme which is a universal link format. Here is an example Mimestream URL:


Those links can only be consumed by Mimestream. For more information see Using Hookmark with Mimestream – Hookmark.

Fmail for Fastmail links also have their own custom URL.

Older versions of Microsoft Outlook fall in this category too. See Using Hookmark With Microsoft Outlook – Hookmark.

Hookmark’s hook://email/ links are shareable!

Hookmark’s hook://email/ URLs — which are created with Apple Mail, Airmail, MailMate or Postbox — are shareable. This is a unique and powerful feature of Hookmark. It means you can send a link to an email to anyone who has received a copy of the link.

All they need to open the link is the free version of Hookmark, Hookmark Lite, and a copy of the email.

So if you want to refer to a past email, do your recipient a favor and send them a copy of the link to the email. What’s more this will help you spread the word about Hookmark leading to more and faster development of Hookmark.

Alternative email format : message://

Some users prefer the traditional message:// email URL format. Therefore, we have published this alternative integration script that Hookmark Pro users can apply in the Mail app:

Mail links format – Discussion & Help – Hookmark Productivity Forum.

You’d paste the script in Hookmark’s Scripts Tab – Hookmark for

This creates a link that you can open in Apple Mail on iPhone and iPad, and other Macs, without even needing a copy of Hookmark on the device.

Deficient email apps (UI-Scripted integration)

The email apps above are fully linkable via proper automation. Unfortunately, Missive and Spark 2 by Readdle do not conform to the Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking: they do not provide automation for linking ☹️. Hookmark resorts to UI-scripting to interact with them.

If you use those apps and would like automation, we invite you to contact them to request it.

Hook to Copied Link

With an email link link in the clipboard, you can invoke Hookmark on any other linkable item and use the handy Hook to Copied Link command. This will bidirectionally link the other item to the email. This allows you to instantly navigate back and forth between the email and the other linkable item.

See Hook to Copied Link for more information.

Hook to New …

Sometimes, an email is so long or important that you want to take notes about it. Enter Hook to New, ⌘N (or ⌃⌘N for Hook to New...). Hookmark enables you to instantly create a file or object and bidirectionally link it to the current email message. Hookmark gives the new file or object a sensible name, which you can configure. And as usual, Hookmark will bookmark both items for future reference.

For more information on this command, see Hook to New.

Make Hookmark File

.hookmark files are like aliases, but even better. They are plain text files stored in Finder that contain a URL. When you double-click on the file, Hookmark will open the URL.

  1. Select an email
  2. invoke Hookmark (⌃H)
  3. Click on the Action ☰ button and select Make Hookmark File

Bingo! Hookmark will create a .hookmark file that points to the given message. You can store this file anywhere on the Finder.

.hookmark files are like aliases but

  1. they are more general. They can point to anything; not just files, but emails, web pages, and arbitrary information.
  2. they are plain text, and can be edited by hand.

An example use case is when working on a project, in the project’s folder, you can store .hookmark file links that point to various project-critical emails. I.e., the link in the .hookmark file will be of the form hook://email/ (or a custom email link).

See Make Hookmark File.

Configuring the names of email links generated by Hookmark

By default, email links created by Hookmark have the following form:

YYYY From <sourceOfEmail> <destinationOfEmail> <subjectOfEmail>.

For example: [2024-03-27 From to Deep links in Microsoft Word](hook://email/

If you don’t mind editing AppleScript, we have made it easy for you to configure the names of Hookmark’s email links for Apple Mail. Here’s how:

  1. Open Hookmark,
  2. Open Hookmark’s Settings,
  3. click on Scripts tab.,
  4. click on Mail,
  5. Click on the Get Address tab, and
  6. edit the variables listed at the top of the script:

    — set longFormName to false to exclude source, destination and date from the names of links to email
    global longFormName
    global placeMetaDataBeforeSubject
    set longFormName to true
    set placeMetaDataBeforeSubject to true

    — you may replace these labels if you like, such as “de” and “à” respectively in French
    global sourceLabel
    global destinationLabel
    set sourceLabel to “From”
    set destinationLabel to “to”

Yep, Hookmark is extremely versatile and configurable 🙂 .

Search for email bookmarks in Hookmark

Hookmark automatically bookmarks links it creates. If you use Hookmark to copy links to emails or hook emails to anything, then Hookmark will automatically bookmark those emails for you. Hookmark becomes a treasure trove of links to the information you value the most. You can find those bookmarks using Hookmark’s search, on any device with which you sync Hookmark’s bookmarks!

  1. invoke Hookmark
  2. click on the Bookmarks button, or do ⌥⌘F to enter the search field.
  3. type: url:/email
  4. hit the enter key

of course, to find custom mimestream email links you would search for links.mimestream.