Links to Drafts notes as hyperlinks readable within longer docs


I work with long docs in Google Docs, Word etc and want to include links to references by using notes in Drafts.

My problem is that the x-callback-URL generated is not recognised as a link by Word or Google Docs.

Is there a way to overcome this, or to generate a ‘full’ URL to a note as I can do in e.g. Simplenote, Evernote, Medium etc?


Use to shorten and convert your Drafts link to an HTTPS link. That link then works fine.

Hope that helps.


Thanks for a very useful tip!

It works like a charm with Drafts and some other URL schemes. Regarding the file:// protocol I was not authorized to follow a link from a Google Doc though. Any hints?


Let me try and explain what’s going on and suggest an alternative.

If you try and navigate to that link ( in a desktop browser it gives a 311 error. An unsafe redirect.

This is because file: protocols are not typically (I don’t know of any exceptions these days, but there probably are some, and some may have deply buried override settings) enabled for browsers as this is a security risk. It is effectively a pointer to a local file system.

Basically, it is a good thing and if you value device security you should probably be hapy that is the case. For those who don’t like this … well they’re probably the people who can implement overrides with their browser of choice.

You can always check the original URL validity in Safari on iOS. If you enter anything with file: you’ll get the following.

If you want to work with the iOS Files app, then shareddocuments://, in Safari will give you the following.

But I’ve never seen anything to that URL scheme beyond launching the app.

If you wanted to do something specific with a file on iOS, then consider using something like the originating app where iCloud sandboxing rules apply (i.e. Drafts for files in the Drafts iCloud folder structure), or something more generic perhaps like Shortcuts for say Dropbox (though Drafts also has great power here). Create some sort of automation (e.g. a Drafts action), then build the URL to trigger it, shorten that URL, and place that in your Google doc.

If you’re working on the Mac, I would assume you could apply a similar approach using Keyboard Maestro’s URL trigger capabilities and a bit of scripting/macro writing.

Hope that covers everything.


if the idea is to access files, on iOS in particular the best way to do that is still what I call a finder replacement.

Over the years I’ve used Goodreader, Documents and most recently file browser for this. I also use oneWriter as my main notes store, since it’s Dropbox access is brilliant while also working flawlessly offline and it has a great URL scheme.

The only thing I can think of off the top of my head to do this in a cross platform way would be Devonthink, Keep It or maybe at a pinch something like Evernote or OneNote.

Depends what sort of files you’re accessing and what you need to do with them.


Thanks again, for a very helpful response (also yvonnezed). The file:// protocol was mainly for testing, because I didn’t know tinyurl could be used for similar purposes, but could be of some use even if I value security.

Now, if I try file:// in Safari (on my Mac) pointing to a local file that file is at least revealed in Finder or even opened directly in Safari if it’s a pdf.

My main reason for dealing with these kinds of links and URL schemes is not for use in Google docs or Word but for an “Agenda” workflow integrating Drafts, OmniOutliner, Alfred, Keyboard Maestro and Hazel to some extent, which I covered briefly in another post Questions/Suggestions for Drafts for Mac Beta - Drafts for Mac - Drafts Community.

Happy New Year


The suggestion is a great tip and it works – although via a dialogue with, so not exactly a frictionless open.

But a helpful workaround until the protocols catch up with one another…


However, there is an Alfred workflow Shorten URL that reduces the friction somewhat. I just found out that it relies on the syntax"{your very loooong URL}"

which you may adapt to your own needs. E.g. instead of letting Alfred copying the link to the clipboard it may generate a markdown version that may be processed even further to an RTF snippet as in my “Agenda ecosystem” mentioned above.


I don’t think you’ll get a frictionless approach unless there is a radical change in the security infrastructure. Every time you get a pop-up where you have to confim something, consider if it is something that may be in place to stop malicious activities from ensuing. It often is.

Using arbitrary URLs to trigger action on a user’s device after following a redirect (or even just selecting an innocuous looking link)… Yeah, I think I’d like to confirm that before it just fires off and runs something on my device.

Security almost always generates user friction, but without it there would most certainly be worse issues to deal with.


This may be off topic but I agree friction may be a good thing for security reasons (especially for me right now in a car on icy roads and heavy snowfall in the north of Sweden).

I don’t think I would mind though a brief confirmation dialog—and/or the possibility of granting access to certain “trusted” URL:s via some preference and may be some encrypted information, like a certificate and face recognition—and not complicated—if possible.

By the “way” (with very low friction right now) my wife has a driving licence and I trust her completely so I can safely run some scripts on my computer in parallell. Also, economists use to refer to the “transaction costs” due to a lack of trust. Thus, trust acts as “lubricant” reducing friction and costs.


But you actually control very little, if anything, on the Internet and the web.

If you make an exception, you would presumably want to be able to tie that exception back to the specific somewhere you trust. If you don’t then it would be trivial to exploit that exception, and even then not everything is unhackable.

There’s a reason we have an approach to encrypt important data at rest, so if you aren’t doing that for whatever is linked to the exception, then I’d be hoping for bulletproof security, along with two factor authentication and a strong password to go with it.

In regards to cost, then it is absolutely a case of a minimal cost regularly vs. a potential (hugely?) significant cost one or more times. I personally try not to gamble with such things. I have enough to worry about :joy:


Sorry, I must have been mistaken or was there any misunderstanding? The links to Draft and other URL schemes WORK in Word 16.2 on my local drive—without tinyurl. (Google Docs is another story which is comprehensible.)

Even my previous construction yielded a fully functional clickable link pasted into a Word document, as expected (but not tested before).

echo -n '[My local document](file://...)' | pandoc -s -f markdown -t rtf | pbcopy

The only annoyance is that you have to allow access to the document repeatedly and not once and for all.

Since yesterday I must have allowed access to various parts of my system 30-40 times or so, after finally upgrading to Mojave and running a number of programs affecting most other parts of my automized workflows. That’s OK with me, as long as I don’t have to do it again.

However, Word doesn’t seem to remember or know that I created the document with links to my local drive and am the only one with access to both the document and my local drive, (as long as within my jurisdiction) and the one who allowed access. Even the annoying dialogs may be “automized away” to some extent but I won’t go into that since it is easier for me to avoid Word altogether and not that much friction to press a key or two, s.a. tab space if I really have to.

So what was the original question about? Sorry about the confusion.