Zettelkasten Forum

[FEATURE REQUEST] Link to a file in a note

Dear Christian and Sascha,
as far as I can tell, at the moment it's not possible to create a clickable link to a (non-txt) file on my computer within a note. Through drag&drop the location of the file on my computer will be created in the note, but just as plain text, it's not clickable. Even if I add the syntax "![](file location)" I can't open the file through clicking on the location text.
Are you planning to change this in the future?
Best wishes,


  • Well, I do have an open task to deal with file-system links differently in the future. When the new Markdown highlighter is ready, I think it's time to tackle that. Will take some time, though.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • In the meantime, if you need a clickable link in The Archive, you can insert a file:/// link to the file instead of just the file path. They are basically a URL-encoded version of the file path and look something like this:
    (for the file /Users/basil/Desktop/Screenshots/Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 08.58.51.png)

    When you click on such a link in The Archive, the file is not opened directly, but it is revealed in Finder. A quick ⌘↓ (or ⌘O) then opens the file.

    Of course, creating these links by hand would be pretty tedious. Fortunately, there is (like for many other problems) a Keyboard Maestro based solution:
    Copy encoded URLs of selected files

    These links do not only work in The Archive, but in almost all other applications as well. I often include such links to files (or folders) in OmniFocus tasks, calendar events, etc. and find them immensely useful.

  • Thanks, Basil – that is a very helpful post!
    If I understand correctly, the file:/// link just works if there are no spaces in the file name or if you fill those spaces with %20 every time. That is indeed very tedious. I haven't used Keyboard Maestro so far and probably wouldn't buy it just for this purpose, but thanks for letting me know about this option.

    In the meantime, I have also learned about the option to put files into the "media" folder in my archive and then link to them with ![](media/filename), which would be a relative link that would also work on other devices.
    Again, the file name can't have spaces.

    Thanks a lot!

  • That's basically the trick: to "HTML-URL-encode" the path, which includes replacing spaces with %20.

    URL encoding the text or file from the clipboard can be automated with various tools.

    A combination of "take the selected file from Finder" and "make it a file:// URL":

    You can put this into a new Service in Automator and then assign to it a shortcut from System Preferences > Keyboard (instructions]. Et voila! No Keyboard Maestro needed, even though KM is great :)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • That's great, thanks!

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