Hyperlink handling overhaul for consistency and more intuitive use

Hyperlinking in RemNote is currently non-intuitive and inconvenient. Here are some examples:

  • hyperlinks can be attached to a document, but with no way to know this and no way to follow the hyperlink source unless the rem is opened in its own window (i.e. the rem itself has no hyperlink, and the source only shows when the rem is opened individually)

  • deleting the document powerup tag (so the rem doesn’t show in the sidebar) also deletes the hyperlink source. This use of “document” is overlapping and confusing, leading to lost information. Not all my documents have hyperlinks, and I don’t want to display all my documents.

  • hyperlinks are not listed as metadata when using /data

  • text cannot be converted to a clickable URL (or made non-clickable if it is a pasted URL)

There are many instances where I wish to save a hyperlink in my knowledgebase, but do not want a long URL cluttering up my view. I would like to be able to simply highlight text or a rem, then right-click to add a hyperlink. Even better would be functionality to automatically handle a hyperlink with the option to change its text.

Here are some ideas for better hyperlink integration:

  • A hyperlink could be considered a rem with a “one-way” reference. This would be a handy feature to add to RemNote anyway. For example, I might have an old term that I might like do link to the newer term (but I would not be interested in a bi-directional link, since I am just interested in the updated term). A “one-way” hyperlink could link to another rem or to an external URL.

  • A hyperlink could be implemented as metadata for a rem or as inserted code (such as latex), but I think a better implementation would be as powerup tag similar to a highlight. It would be nice to be able to link both a rem and also an individual word or string within a rem.

  • Right-click functionality for adding, removing, or changing a hyperlink would be best, though including linking in the text selection pop-up with other formatting options bold, italic, highlights, etc. would be intuitive (as well as access through the / menu). In general, I think RemNote is best implemented to be as close to a typical word-processing editor (such as Google docs) as possible to minimize the learning curve.

We should not confuse the concepts source, (hyper)link and reference:

  • Source is a special rem (aka power up) for documents to remember where the information in this document came from. Just like any rem, it can hold any information - not just hyperlinks (or references). The source for a recipe could be Grandma Susan for example. Here one can argue
    • why only documents have a source
    • why there can be only one source (or if using linebreaks is fine)
    • how one could display if a document has a source or if knowing the source outside the context of a document is useful at all.
  • (Hyper)links are external links to websites ([title](URL) in markdown or <a> in html). After you paste an URL a hyperlink is created with the title of the website as link text. You can edit this text but the URL is fixed.
  • References are internal links (like wiki links) connecting rems of your knowledge base. They are more powerful than mere hyperlinks (they can generate backlinks for example). People asking for aliases usually mean reference aliases (since you already can edit link text).

Thanks for the clarification, hannesfrank. I had forgotten that it is possible to erase and simplify the link text. My points have mostly to do with ease of use. This last year I’ve been moving away from using classic google sites as my personal knowledgebase, where making and editing hyperlinks was easier. RemNote is better in most every respect, especially references/backlinks and flexibility of use.

I’ll have to study Source as a rem – I guess I don’t really understand it. I’ve found it to have limited use for the reasons I mentioned in my original post, since I thought that was the primary way RemNote handled hyperlinks (as when using the clipper).

Documents and sources, however, is one area I do not find RemNote to be very flexible. One is sort of locked in to using source a particular way (only with a document, etc. – as you mention).

Part of the reason I’m interested in better hyperlink handling is that I’m trying to figure out a way to use text documents with RemNote, since so far RemNote is not very handy for writing tasks (though I think with some tweaks it could be, and I’d love to use it as a place to develop my rough drafts). I’ve been thinking of maybe linking to Google Docs or Word docs via Sharepoint, keeping my “metadata” and study notes for the document I’m working on in RemNote. I’d much rather just do it all in RemNote – perhaps someone has a good solution in another part of the forum for this application.


+1 here for more intuitive/consistent linking to external URLs, as well as to local files/folders, for the desktop app (of course, I understand the actual opening of the files and folders would be handled by the OS).

In other words, I want to be able to select an arbitrary piece of text, and link it to either a URL, a local file or folder.

This is because RemNote is starting to become my starting point for most things I do in my laptop. For example, if I see in my to do list that I need to work on Project X, I can just go to it’s page (Rem), and there I will find all information I need, plus links to access resources, both online and locally.

I agree that external link handling should be more intuitive. Adding hyperlinks is a constant source of friction and sometimes even frustration in my experience with RemNote and it should be a very simple task.

I have 3 main issues with hyperlinks in RemNote:

  1. Why is it assumed that I want to display a link alias (the page title) when I paste a link? Sometimes page titles are less explanatory or even confusing and I often prefer urls
  2. Why is an external link not automatically recognized when I enter it manually?
  3. Why is there no (obvious) way for me to change the url behind the hyperlink alias? (i.e. edit the source of the hyperlink)

All of this wouldn’t be much of an issue for me if you could just enter links in markdown format in the form [Alias](url) which makes it completely transparent where and how to edit source and alias of the hyperlink, no additional UI required.

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Hi @ognsya, I agree that linking to files/folders would be handy! Recently I’ve moved most all my files/folders to either Google Drive or (mostly) OneDrive (with the OneDrive desktop app to keep files locally accessible through my Windows Explorer). This way, I’m able to link to any file via RemNote (using a share link). Not quite what you are asking for, but it allows me to use RemNote as my starting point for most everything. OneDrive can be frustrating at times, but it works pretty well.

Yeah, I also use GDrive and OneDrive for files I want/need to share online.

My request for linking to local files/folder is for the files I want to keep locally (I’d link to them from my local KB).

Hyperlinking is the main thing keeping me from switching from Workflowy right now. That and some funky keyboard navigation problems. I really want to be able to see and copy them (and occasionally edit the actual URL).

Super pet peeve for me is the inability to copy a hyperlink once it is converted to page-title. There is no way to even see the URL (wtf?). You can only open the page. But i don’t want to open it in that browser. I want to open it another, so i have to open it in that browser, copy it and paste it in another. Or i literally copy the rem, paste it in Textedit, and right-click “Copy Link” - please someone tell me i’m missing something obvious.

At least let me click or right-click on a hyperlink in RemNote and “copy link” - please.

I have discovered that undo (cmd-Z) sometimes cancels the auto-generation of hyperlink as page-title and just leaves a simple link. If i could just do it consistently i would prefer this as a stopgap.

That does reveal that the link really is just the tittle of markdown. And on the iPad app this often ends up being revealed.

Maybe just add Settings option to “leave hyperlinks as URLS” - seems simple enough. Since clearly it is an extra step.

Ideally of course, i need the ability to cmd-K to add or edit a link. This is because i type essays first and then go back and add links to things later. Right now it is very cumbersome and annoying to have the links transform and add icons and things (especially if the thing i’m linking to has a weird icon that is unrelated to the context i’m writing within).

Again: Setting option: “Turn off URL icons”.

ps. if these work with a css trick or i missed something, i will eat crow :slight_smile:

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You can use this: https://hannesfrank.github.io/remnote-library/#/scroll/com.github.hannesfrank.remnote-library.link-tooltip

Thanks! is there any way to make it copyable. It pops up now, but i can’t select it.

No. The CSS just generates a pseudo element (:before). To add an element which can be copied would require some JavaScript.

I’m pretty sure you can just left click a link, then right click on the Open Link (Ctrl + Click) and Copy Link.

And a workaround for editing: Paste inside `` quotes, edit as you like, then select and paste again.

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I can’t update my original post (I’d change some things after other’s responses). Perhaps, however, a detailed clarification of my original feature request would be helpful.

I’d like:

  • to easily edit the reference as well as the link text/title within RemNote (this would include removing the title or URL). A right click with two fields (URL and text/title) would be ideal;

  • to easily toggle display of the site icon (perhaps with a check box after right click). I usually like the icon showing up in my notes (it is a nice visual cue about which site I’m dealing with), but I’d like to be able to turn it off when I’m writing a draft;

  • a control in settings to change the default presentation of a link (apologies if this is already there, and I’m sure hannesfrank has an easy way to do this with css, but this is a common enough need to warrant a setting);

  • to paste a reference or text/title for the link (currently, when I try to paste new text in the title, RemNote splits the link into two links on either side – this may be a bug). Here again, the “two field” right click mentioned in my first bullet would be a convenient way to accomplish this;

  • to highlight text and add a URL (either manually or by pasting). I think this could be added to the context pop-up when highlighting (which contains bold, italic, colors, etc.) without overly cluttering the pop-up;

  • the leading space that RemNote inserts between the icon and text when pasting a link should be left out. It does make the text a little easier to distinguish from the site icon, however, it messes things up when, for example, I’d like to the rem sorted properly. It would be more elegant (if needed at all) for the icon itself – the graphical element – to have more right padding;

  • to use the arrow key to advance past the link title. Currently when editing text, I have to reach over to my mouse to “click” past the link, otherwise RemNote just keeps adding to the text in the link. I think it would be ideal if RemNote would add a single space at the end of a rem when using the arrow key to advance past the title even when no space currently exists. This would make it much easier to continue touch typing at the end of a line.

  • similarly, RemNote should add a trailing space when pasting a link so the user can continue typing without text being added to the end of the link text.

  • the “front edge” behavior when editing around links seems a little wonky to me. This may be a bug. Advancing into a link with the arrow jumps in two characters (perhaps this is to accommodate editing past the inserted space, but I’ve already mentioned my dislike of this added space). Sometimes advancing from the line before puts one into the link rather than in front of it. I appreciate the ability to quickly edit a title, but it is always a bit of guesswork for me where text will be inserted and what will happen. Here again, experienced users will be more productive if they can touch type and don’t have to go back to fix up links.

Thanks again for this fantastic program! My feature request is definitely in the category of “fine tuning,” but link handling in RemNote is one of the things that regularly slows me down.


I’m loving the new version! I gather hyperlink updates are still coming, but I’ll add one feature request.

I notice both right and left clicks will follow a link to a web site (without the intervening verification click, which I’m glad to see gone). A right click which does not follow the link would make it easier to edit the link text.

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