Some uses of .hook files

We’ve had a few questions recently about the uses of .hook files, (such as here).

See Make Hook File – Hook.

There are lots of uses for .hook files. e.g., one might

  • put them in cloud shares (Dropbox , etc.) , version control system (Git, SVN, etc.) to point anywhere (in the same shares /VCS repositories, or anywhere else you want), so that your colleagues can use them for navigation purposes.
  • store them in a “links” folder of a project to keep cross arbitrary references. This makes the links unidirectional whereas hooks are bidirectional. Also it allows you to see at a glance, without invoking Hook, what’s linked to this folder. [A side window could achieve a similar function, but the updates to it would be distracting, and the visibility scope is harder to control],
  • include them in disk images you create, zip files, DEVONthink folders, Evernote folders, etc.

beyond context: make better use of search tools ( Spotlight, HoudahSpot, LaunchBar, Alfred etc.)

The Hook window is largely for contextual information access. I.e., it shows you what is hooked to the focal item.

.hook files are one way to extend the reach of Hook beyond this context.

They are also very handy (quicker, more versatile) alternative to manually defining LaunchBar and/or Alfred abbreviations. Just make sure that the folder in which .hook files are created / stored is indexed by LaunchBar or Alfred. Name the file according to how you want to find it in LaunchBar , Alfred or Spotlight. I.e., in fact, this allows you to get some of the benefits of launchers via Spotlight: define the abbreviations as .hook files.

Also, it allows you to get quick ‘random’ (non-contextual) access to content that is not indexed by Spotlight or launchers. E.g., if LaunchBar or Spotlight are not indexing your OmniFocus projects/tasks, CulturedCode Things tasks, or Drafts docs, you can create select .hook files for them. As long as the search tool (spotlight , LaunchBar, Alfred, HoudahSpot, etc.) can find your .hook file, you’ll be able to reach the target via them.

Having said that, Hook 2.0, around the corner, provides a search function, which further extends the scope of Hook beyond contextual information-retrieval.

For writers and other creatives: Include a “hooks” folder in your documentation template folders

I recently wrote a blog post containing a screencast on using Hook with TaskPaper: How to Turn a TaskPaper File into a Project Information Hub – Hook.

It shows how useful it is to create new documents based on a template folder. I write a lot of papers, blog posts, functional specs and chapters. I’ve been using such folders for most of my writing for years. Recently @stevelw requested that Hook’s template system be extended to enable users to store folders in their Hook template folders. I agree.

Here I note: it useful for such folders to contain a “hooks” folder. There you can store .hook files for pertinent resources.

I’m sure that many people already use the type of system I described, and that their template folder includes an “aliases” folder. A “hooks” folder has a more general intent, because .hooks files can point to web pages, files and anything that has a URL. Of course, you can name this folder whatever you want, and also include aliases and .weblocs there. Anything that can help you quickly access related information is potentially useful for keeping you in the zone. The goals are (a) make use of helpful related information, to maintain/improve the quality of your writing (and more generally: creating) ; (b) be able to access it quickly (for the efficiency side); (c) to stay in the zone. Those are all components of cognitive productivity.

The use of templates folder is also described in Cognitive Productivity with macOS: 7 Principles for Getting Smarter with Knowledge. There I used OmniOutliner documents as examples.


once you get the hang of .hook files, their uses multiply.

Please feel free to add your uses here, and/or ask questions about them.


This is very helpful. Thanks!

Can a “hook file” store and open more than one link/file? Or is it just for one link/file?

I wanted to open all files that are linked to a particular task. I could go to one of the files and open the remaining files via normal Hook links but this won’t be as efficient as just clicking on a hook file that opens all files related to the task.

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currently only one at a time. we’ll take this as a vote for opening multiple URLs.


This is definitely the most useful missing feature in Hook. Hope they implement this soon.


You may be interested to try Bunch alongside Hook.