Shortening links?

Occasionally, I drag some file to TaskPaper. Clicking the link opens the document. This is handy. Some links however are really long. Is there some short form I could use? If yes, how? Something like a Markdown link, where only the title is displayed?


There’s no way to hide the link behind a title (though maybe someday, I like the idea, just work!). But you can make links shorter by using relative links:

  1. Make sure that you’ve saved your document. Links are relative to this location.
  2. Drag and drop the file into the document.
  3. Shorten the link using relative link syntax.

For example I’ve just saved a TaskPaper file to my Desktop, and I also have an app named on my desk that I’d like to link to. When I drag that app onto my TaskPaper document I get the link:


Since both my TaskPaper document and are in the same folder (on the desktop) I can shorten that link to:


The nice think about relative links is they will continue to work if you move the related files (all together) to a different location, or different computer.

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Sounds great. :slight_smile:

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I’d like to add a +1 vote to this… most of my tasks are associated w/ a Google Doc file, which have super ugly links. I really wish that TaskPaper supported markdown link formatting, like the way Typora does.

Can you give me some examples of your long links? And perhaps the ideal way to shorten them?

It will help me design the “Smart Links View” of Todo.taskpaper:

I’m thinking of keeping the:

  1. domain
  2. last few words of link
  3. subdomain
  4. and first word(s) after domain

in that order, fitting as much as possible up to a certain character limit.)

This view will be read-only (the initial version, anyways):

  • You can view them in Todo.taskpaper’s links view…
  • and edit them in the built-in CodeMirror editor view…
  • OR edit the links as usual in any external Taskpaper app/editor (via Dropbox sync)

All the views will be synced together (and if Dropbox is enabled: with any external apps).

How would you like links to Google docs files shortened? Would the algorithm I described above work?


I guess links to Google docs don’t have much human-identifiable information…

I was about to post a request for embedded links when I saw this thread suggested.

I too like the OP idea of embedded links, not so much the relative links. Using this forum as an example, how convenient it is to add a link to some text so that those who want to follow the link, can easily follow it. But the active link in no way interrupts the reading of the section.Even shortening the link is still showing a link. Better to do as this forum does and the result highlights a linked text and activates it when clicked on.

I find linking to be very important, for URLs and for Curio hyperlinked documents. And, lets face it, there is no reason to read the link once it has been correctly posted in a TP document. It isn’t like I am writing active HTML documents here, the link - is, the link. Why stare at it over several line wraps? This is especially true when you are designing for visual continuity and for visual simplicity.

FYI the automatically shortened links I described are implemented here:

I think it makes documents with long links more legible (esp. those not meant for human consumption).

I appreciate all the hard work that must have gone into that. The code page looks a little too complex for me to understand. I am still holding out for the hyperlink capability similar to using this forum.

I think I am coming from very much the same place as mylevelbest: I love the simplicity of TaskPaper, the folding, the tags, the searches and the way that everything is explicitly defined in text, and I love the fine-grained control that editable less stylesheets give, but I miss ad hoc styles (bold, italic etc). TP gives you an unsurpassed way of gathering information and slicing and dicing it in many different ways, but it does not let you articulate the text on the page in the optimum way to be readily digestible. Links, the subject of this thread, are perhaps the best example. There have been several instances where I would like to have used TP but have had to use something else instead because of the clumsiness of long links. (Relative links are a very partial and imperfect solution.)

I know that it is on Jesse’s roadmap to provide hidden links, but I wonder whether there is a sense in which hiding links is seen to run counter to TP’s nature as an explicit text editor? I can see that there could be seen to be a sort of dishonesty in typing A and ending up with B, but maybe if the invisible link (represented by the link text) is seen not so much hidden as folded, it could be more warmly welcomed into the disparate family of TP capabilities?

This is probably all kicking at an open door in view of Jesse’s declared intentions. Roll on TP4 I say.

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My current suggestion would be to do it like in Dynalist: Showing the underlying markup only for the item under cursor and hiding it everywhere else. Once implemented, this setting can be toggled in the LESS style sheet, i.e.:

item {
  hide-markup: true;

item[underCursor] {
  hide-markup: false;

item[mouseOver] {
  hide-markup: false;

Yes, as I have recently discovered - again, some people feel very strongly about a plain text environment. I still don’t get the whole markdown thing, but many are very serious about it. What TaskPaper can do, and that it happens to be in a plain text environment, are two very separate capabilities. It is similar to apples and oranges, where one has nothing to do with the other.

When Jessie recently suggested this could get resolved in a still quite distant version of TaskPaper it gave me some hope.

I too enjoy using bold, italics and hyperlinks occasionally and other modern “normal” type styling elements in my writing. It isn’t that it has to be there all the time, but it does help in the preparation of the story. To me writing in plain text that cannot be styled, but only prepared for later consumption, is like cooking a great meal in a cramped kitchen with inadequate pots, pans and cooking utensils. Well yes, you might say, I can’t really see what I am doing, but after all, the proof is in the eating of the meal. The proof is in the pudding is another way of saying this. Similar to my cooking and eating of the meal example, we could also say of the writing process, so long as when the results get viewed they look great, why does it matter to style text while you are writing it? Who cares if you are working in a small kitchen with no fuss and no frills or, who cares if you are writing in a plain text environment with code that will show the presentation well - when the work is finally consumed?

For some of us who also enjoy preparing the meal, it is also a pleasant thing to work in a well ordered environment so that we can see the structure in our cooking - our writing, as it unfolds. When we write we like to use the text flourishes using a bullet point or a bolded word in a paragraph. It is more fun to cook in a well laid out and spacious kitchen with good equipment. A good meal can be the result either way. As it is with my cooking example, with writing, some of us enjoy the environment that we write in - when we write, as much as we enjoy the results of having written.

It sounds like Jesse is on board at least in principle with this idea. It sounds like he has already found a solution which would keep everyone happy which would be a great thing. It also sounds like he is no where close to this in his workflow or that he has offered a solid commitment to it. But, there is hope at least.

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Using the LESS StyleSheet to do this makes the most sense, as it allows the end user to make their own choice without cluttering up the menus or the UI. Good idea @saf-dmitry

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I know this is an older post that I am replying to but this mention of Typora is the first I have heard of it. This is how markdown should be, what you type gets done immediately. Very impressive.
This is a nice review on YouTube about what it can do.

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Don’t worry or feel offended by opposite opinions here. Markdown has historically been divided in two camps.

The first camp (early adopters and most zealous) group stands for the simplicity behind the philosophy of Markdown. Some of them are even opposed to things like MultiMarkdown that add key features to Markdown.

The other camp is of users that love the programs that make use of Markdown and would love to see more features added.

Although TaskPaper is NOT a Markdown editor, part of the beauty is that it is based on some of the same principles behind Markdown. Specially that the files behind are agnostic.

I think that @jessegrosjean is very open to both groups and has managed to do great in pleasing both groups. Some of the features requested require a complete redesign of TaskPaper and interesting work arounds to remain file agnostic. For that reason, if you are looking forward to some of the features behind the new TaskPaper, you might have to wait for a while. This is because Jesse is planning on first rewriting WriteRoom.

I honestly don’t know what will ultimately be implemented and what will not. This is because some of the features requested are more in the WriteRoom realm. Remember that TaskPaper is NOT primarily a text editor. Think of Word vs Excell.

I do appreciate people asking things outside the box, because only by doing something like that does the programs evolve into unforeseen places; specially because I am not doing the programming :slight_smile:

Thank you very much for the Typora reminder. When I first looked into, there wasn’t a Mac version. Looking forward to try it now!

I agree, Typora is another nice example how to handle markup transparently.

Thank you. I am a little disappointed that a relatively recent post I made, asking the differences between WriteRoom and TaskPaper went unanswered - at least as far as anyone weighing in to compare them with Jesse’s other apps. There was a very satisfying discussion about the actual writing habits which people use. I was also hoping to learn a bit more about WriteRoom, FoldingText, and TaskPaper and where they differed and where they converged. All I can tell about WriteRoom is that it gives a simple, focused, distraction free writing environment which frankly, doesn’t interest me at all.

I have done professional technical writing and editing so I know well that TaskPaper is not a text editor like Word, Pages, Nisus, et al. Those kinds of apps are still very important to me. Typinator however fits into a niche that I was previously unaware of, it helps me to organize my thoughts and my writing. With the LESS files giving me quite a bit of styling choices and the tags allowing me to separate out sections for various reasons, and with the folding and outlining that TaskPaper does, I am in Hog (Bay) heaven right now. :wink:

I am sure that when I get this story all put into shape and the outline is clear, and the sections are in order, and everything makes sense, I will simply copy and paste it into a Nisus document (or Scrivener) and go the distance. But this current phase, this organizational phase, is where I have always stumbled around in the dark with my own work. Typinator has finally changed all that.

If what Jesse is thinking about in the future, write in styled text but save it in plain text, is like what Typora does, then I am all for that. Seeing Typora is the first time I have understood a practical use for markup. Before this it was always, write here, and display over there (later). Typora also uses CSS similar to how TaskPaper uses LESS. But, with the tags, searches, and especially the folding bits, I don’t think I will be leaving TaskPaper for Typora any time soon. I only present it here as an excellent example of what can be done in markdown. You can put plain text and styled text together, so it turns out you can have your cake and eat it too - after all. :wink:

Added: Because TaskPaper has a simple text, plain text, etc, heart, I have accepted that I cannot put graphics into a TP document. Sometimes I wish that I could, right now it would be helpful to paste in a flow chart graphic. But I accept that TaskPaper was not designed for this purpose.

It would be a huge benefit to bold, underline, or italicize items I am seeing that I still need to put my attention to. As those items are often in a paragraph or a block of text, there is no way to call out any element of text right now within a body of text, to focus on in TaskPaper. I can put attributes on a tag and add the tag - but of course this will affect the entire paragraph or line that the tag is in. Style in the way that I am referring to it is about focus more than it is about styling embellishments. It is the same way with this thread’s OP, shortening a link. Reading with the ability to focus on things that need attention - but not loosing focus on the reading, is what we are talking of here. At least, it is what I am trying to say.

Is it possible to add a way for TaskPaper to present hyperlinks as clickable text instead of raw markdown links?

It looks quite ugly and breaks my flow. Ideally I would love it if TaskPaper did it this way, where only if I am on the same line as the hyperlinked text does it show it as raw markdown text. But if my cursor anywhere else, it would render it nicely as clickable links without the raw markup.

I hope you agree on the usefulness of this. Thank you.

Not in TaskPaper 3. But in TaskPaper 4 it’s possible (planned, but not implemented) that I’ll add this. The idea in TaskPaper 4 is that inline formatting (bold, italic, links) will work like rich text, while still being saved out to a text file using Markdown formatting.

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