Universal Links

Hookmark Pro enables users to generate universal links of the form `https://hookmark.net/hm/`. Hookmark’s universal links are particularly useful for (a) sharing links to emails and (b) using in websites like Notion and Google docs. (a) sharing links to emails and (b) using in websites like Notion and Google docs

Here are some relevant FAQs.

What are universal links?

Universal links are a feature of iOS and macOS, provided by Apple that allows apps to handle content rather than having the operating system load the link in a web page of a browser. This means that when a user clicks a web link that is associated with a particular app, the app will open instead of the website. This improves the user experience by providing a seamless transition between the web and the app. (Technically: Universal links can be set up by app developers by associating a website with apps using the Apple App Site Association.)

On macOS and iPhone, universal links are supported only by Safari. This is not a limitation of Hookmark, but of current browsers. You cannot use these links in Firefox or Chrome. If Firefox or Chrome are your default browser the links won’t work.

When should I consider using universal links?

Universal links are handy when you want to share links to emails.

Universal links are also handy when you want to paste a link to an app’s resource in web sites like Notion, gmail, google or other websites that break custom links. For example, you might be taking notes about a project in Notion online and want to include a link to your OmniFocus project in the Notion web page. You could copy the OmniFocus link and then use Hook to Copied Link in Notion’s web site; but that would associate the OmniFocus project with the entire page. It’s often handy to paste a link directly in a web browser resource.

Here is an example of a custom link:

[Welcome to OmniFocus](omnifocus:///task/gAExjGGiv-S)

If you paste that in Notion, gmail or Google Docs, the omnifocus:///task/gAExjGGiv-S URL will be inert, not clickable.

However, if you select that same item in OmniFocus and use Hookmark’s Copy As Universal Link or Copy Markdown Link command, it will turn that into a clickable web link like this

[Welcome to OmniFocus](https://hookmark.net/hm/omnifocus//task/gAExjGGiv-S).

Those links will trigger Hookmark to open the link.

Use Univeral links for sharing links to emails

If you want to share a universal link to an email (that you both have access to) or to a shared file (that you both have access to), it’s a good idea to use Copy As Universal Link. That is particularly the case if you’re not sure whether the user has installed Hookmark. That way, if the recipients do not have Hookmark installed, they will at least be told they can install the free Hookmark Basic to be able to resolve the links.

What happens when you click on a universal link?

In Safari, when you click on a universal link on a web page (such as in Notion web app or Google Docs), Safari will asks the app registered with the link’s domain (if any is registered) to handle the link. If you click on a link whose address (URL) starts with `https://hookmark.net/hm/`, then if Hookmark is installed, Hookmark will be invoked with the entire link. Hookmark will then convert the link into a custom link, and cause it to be applied. In other words, it will have the same effect as if you activated the custom link.

So if you click on https://hookmark.net/hm/omnifocus//task/gAExjGGiv-S`, Hookmark will decode that link asomnifocus:///task/gAExjGGiv-S, and will ask macOS to activate the link. macOS will look up the app registered to handleomnifocus` links. That app will handle it. If OmniFocus is installed, OmniFocus will open that link. If it is not installed, nothing will happen.

What commands does Hookmark provide for generating universal links?

Hookmark provides two commands to generate universal links:

  • Copy As Universal Link ⌥⌘C and
  • Copy as Universal Markdown Link ⌥⌘M

You can view them by clicking the Action ☰ button and then holding down the option (⌥) key.

Notice that each command has a keyboard shortcut..

What do Hookmark’s universal links look like?

The address (URL) of Hookmark’s universal links look like this:


The /hm/ part of the URL tells you it’s a universal link.

the next part of the link tells you about the app that can resolve the URL. For example consider this univeral link:


the /hook/email/ part tells you that you are dealing with a hook email link. It translates to:


Check out the list of Hookmark’s URL types.

Limitations of universal links

  1. You cannot generate universal links for web pages or in web browsers. That means you cannot use Hookmark’s Copy As Universal Link or Copy as Universal Markdown Link in web browsers or on https & https links. (This is a logical restriction.)
  2. I you paste Hookmark’s universal links in a web browser’s address bar, the link will not be opened.
  3. Hookmark does not store its hook:// links internally as universal links. Therefore: (a) you cannot use Focus on Link in Clipboard when a universal link is in the clipboard; if you search for Hookmark’s universal links you will not find anything; (c) Hookmark will not add its universal links to your bookmark managers.
  4. As noted universal links cannot be activated in web browsers other than Safari.

Custom links, web

CogSci Apps is not retiring its custom link support. This feature is simply an additional convenience by popular demand to be able to use Hookmark’s links in web apps.

If you have Hookmark 5 or newer installed, you don’t need to be connected to the Internet to use Hookmark’s universal links.

Relationship to Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking

Our co-founders were amongst 24 developers, professors and influencers who originated the Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking. Co-founder Luc P. Beaudoin is its editor. Support for universal links is part of our mission to make links ubiquitously available so you can remain focused and do deep work. (Searching for information takes you out of the zone.).