Connect Your Files Across Applications With Hook

Screenshot: Brett Terpstra

Mac: I’ve developed a lot of systems I use to keep files and projects connected on my Mac: Wiki-link services that connect notes to to-do items, Curio projects that connect emails to projects, and extensive tagging systems to keep all kinds of files together.

Each one is, in one way or another, limited in scope (and linking emails is an eternal struggle). That’s why I’m so excited about Hook.

[Full disclosure, I’ve been a beta tester for Hook over the course of its development, and their blog discussed integration with two of my own apps recently, unrelated to my reporting for this story.]

On macOS, Hook is a tool you can use to connect all the parts of a project together: Documents, notes, emails, web pages, and even to-do items in your favourite task manager. It does this by using file system bookmarks and a database to create links between these items.

Hook’s only interface is a menu bar item and hotkey-triggered popup window that you can use to connect files or access anything connected to a file — whether you’re copying links, opening files, or revealing files in Finder.

To create a link between two files, open Hook on one file and select “Copy as Link”, then open Hook’s window when selecting another file and select “Link to Copied Address”. You can also pop Hook open in the menu bar and drag multiple files to its window.

They become cross-linked, and opening Hook on any of those files will show all of the other related files so you can quickly open or reveal them, just like Spotlight.

You can copy links to files as RTF or Markdown links, and these links are “robust” — moving a file doesn’t break the link. You can even send someone else a link to an email or a shared Dropbox file. If they’re using Hook, the link will open their own copy of the file.

When I was communicating with Hook’s developer, Luc Beaudoin, he used this to reference me back to a previous email thread. The link in his email tracked down and opened our previous correspondence in my own email app (MailMate) without any searching on my end.

Hook open on the Markdown file for this article in MultiMarkdown Composer, with links to notes in iThoughtsX and Sublime Text. (Screenshot: Brett Terpstra)

Hook can also generate new associated files using templates. For example, if you’re reading a web article, you can open Hook and create a new mind map in iThoughts (or a Markdown file in your favourite text editor) and start taking notes, using Hook to jump between your browser and your notes.

Add a few more reference web pages to the collection, and when you start writing your own piece based off of the research, add the working document to the list. You’ll then have all your references a hotkey away while you’re writing.

While you can always link files from Finder, Hook supports linking files across a wide array of common applications. It’s possible to add support for new apps with a little Applescript, but Hook’s developers are also constantly working to expand its list of supported apps.

Hook is currently in public beta and free to use. Expect to see a paid version (hopefully alongside a free version) once the app’s final version arrives.


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