Focus on Copied Link: hidden feature in Hook

There’s a hidden feature in Hook that we feel some of you will appreciate. Hook can focus on a URL that is in the clipboard.

Here’s how:

  1. copy any URL.
  2. Invoke Hook
  3. Type ⌃⇧⌘L (Update 2021-10-27: this was later changed to ⌃⌘L and added to gear menu)

This will focus Hook on the link, i.e., put the item in Hook’s Title bar. At that point you can do whatever you can normally do with items in the title bar (“the focus”).

A common use case is renaming the links.

This is particularly handy for many apps that don’t have a convenient copy link API (i.e., are not linkable in the sense we have defined, where Hook users fall back on UI scripting. Instead of UI scripting, you can copy the URL, such as Ulysses, Slack and Notion.

We haven’t mentioned it previously because we plan to augment the feature (and expose it in keyboard shortcut configurations). But we ourselves find it convenient enough that we felt it is only fair to make it public.


So here’s another use for this. Suppose you come across a plain text link in Obsidian, nvUltra, or somewhere else . something like this for ex.:

[Safari 15 vs. Vivaldi When Matching the Web’s Colors](

You want a RTF and HTML version of this, and you want the plain text , all at once, because you want to paste it in a few different places.


  1. focus on it with Hook: ⌃⇧⌘L
  2. Copy Link: ⌘C

voilà !

  • paste it in a RTF pane (text edit,, etc) and you have a nice RTF link
  • paste it in a plain text location, and you’re good

want the markdown again:


  • focus on it again
  • use Copy Markdown Link

Hook is a Swiss Army for linking. This particular feature helps you get data into it so you can manipulate the link in Hook.

This is a bit tangential, but I was recently reflecting on keyboard shortcuts, and found myself thinking that I don’t use some of them much because they are physically awkward on my keyboard. I wonder if certain shortcuts, such as those which include the shift key, are easier on a North American keyboard than they are on my British one (which has a short left shift key). I found myself pondering this because the inclusion of Control-H to activate Hook was such a relief to me, as I’ve always found the previous default physically awkward to manage. But perhaps this is only a personal difficulty, and not more widespread. (I know it is possible to change some of the shortcuts, but I am usually wary of doing this because of the danger of clashes or conflicts, which you sometimes don’t discover until you have built up a habit which is then difficult to change.)


This is interesting, but I cannot get any response out of Hook 3.2 with ^⇧⌘L. The copied link is definitely on the clipboard – I can see it there and I can paste it from the clipboard, but when I use the keyboard shortcut mentioned in the OP, nothing happens.


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Did you invoke Hook before applying shortcut? it’s not a global shortcut.
if so, how did you copy the link?

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I read this as “copy any URL from within macOS” – i.e., using ⌘C or the copy menu.

Obviously the real meaning is “use Hook to copy any URL”.

Clarity is helpful. :slight_smile:



thanks for pointing that out, Katie. we’ll write a web page about it with more information.

You can actually also copy a URL from Safari for instance, and focus on that URL, and then do stuff, like hooking it to something; and when you visit the URL or the hooked item, you’ll see it working (and you can find the bookmark in Hook, etc.).

If the buffer just has a plaintext URL (e.g., copied directly from the address bar or BBEdit), then Hook may treat the leaf of the URL’s path as the name of the item; but when you invoke Hook on that URL in an app that can provide the name of the item (e.g., Safari), Hook will update the title accordingly (unless of course you’ve renamed it).

It’s not exposed in the UI yet so it’s a bit of an “extra”, but we wanted to share it with you. We do intend to round the feature out out to deal and build other features around it, and consequently document it more.

I don’t know of any research on that.
I did my phd in Britain and used on various UNIX keyboards. I also used a Mac, but I had brought it with me from Canada.

You can remap keys in System preference. I map the caps lock key to ⌃ (control) which is what it is on a UNIX keyboard.

no that is not the meaning.

What case didn’t work for you @katie_v ?

Also, this is so “handy” that in 3.3

  1. we’re making the default shortcut easier to type : ⌃⌘L
  2. And exposed in Gear > Advanced > Focus on Copied Link.

that will also allow users to change the shortcut via System Preferences.

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The confusion may have been that this step was missing:

2. Invoke Hook

i.e., Focus on Link in Clipboard is a Hook command, not a global one. I’ve updated the OP accordingly.

There’s now a help page on the feature: Focus on Link in Clipboard – Hook

I’m still a bit confused by this feature. Similar to @katie_v I haven’t seen any behavior at all as a result of ^⇧⌘L. The functionality I’m searching for that brought me here is to be able to copy a plain text link previously created by Hook (for example stored in a page in Notion, which does not support Hook hyperlinks), and then have Hook read that plain text as a Hook link, and open the corresponding file. Can this feature accomplish that, or is there another way to do that in Hook that I’m missing?

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Sorry the shortcut is ⌃⌘L.

You can also access this function via Hook window ->Gear button->Advanced ->Focus on Link in Clipboard

yes, you can do that.

With ⌃⌘L, which is in the Gear menu of Hook’s Contextual window (bottom right), the copied link goes to the title bar. From there , Hook will show you whatever you’ve ‘hooked’ to that URL, and you can access Hook’s title bar function as you normally would.

I absolutely agree with you: some key combinations are more awkward to use (for me, anything requiring two hands while using the mouse) which I find disruptive to my workflow. Unlike you, I have zero patience for this and so I just remap my shortcuts through Keyboard Maestro.

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I go a bit further than that when I have the time to set things up. I have got to the age when it is getting difficult to remember shortcuts, so I try to create palettes using Better Touch Tool and Keyboard Maestro instead. The idea came from this video, which is in German, but the visuals make the method easy to understand. Swiping with three fingers to bring up a personalised palette is almost magical!

Keyboard Maestro - Makro Gruppen ohne Shortcuts - mit BetterTouch Tool _ #36

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@ mbbcam I’m with you there. I use palettes as well or I’ve set-up contextual triggers to display application specific help text or reminders for programs I use less frequently where I then so often tend to forget why, for example, I use a certain set of tags for that program or, using a program like Hazel, I keep my files organized or have timed and automated to-do lists put together for me - it’s kind of like designing a personalized AI for my system that acts like a behind the scenes admin - all in order to keep my work flow as frictionless as is possible.