Org protocol: following Org links from outside Emacs

| org, emacs

_xor had an interesting idea: can we use org-protocol to link to things inside Emacs, so that we can have a webpage with bookmarks into our Org files? Here's a quick hack that reuses org-store-link and org-link-open.

(defun org-protocol-open-link (info)
  "Process an org-protocol://open style url with INFO."
  (org-link-open (car (org-element-parse-secondary-string (plist-get info :link) '(link)))))

(defun org-protocol-copy-open-link (arg)
  (interactive "P")
  (kill-new (concat "org-protocol://open?link=" (url-hexify-string (org-store-link arg)))))

(with-eval-after-load 'org
  (add-to-list 'org-protocol-protocol-alist
               '("org-open" :protocol "open" :function org-protocol-open-link)))

To make exporting and following easier, we also need a little code to handle org-protocol links inside Org.

(defun org-protocol-follow (path &rest _)
  "Follow the org-protocol link for PATH."
  (org-protocol-check-filename-for-protocol (concat "org-protocol:" path) nil nil))

(defun org-protocol-export (path desc format info)
  "Export an org-protocol link."
  (setq path (concat "org-protocol:" path))
  (setq desc (or desc path))
  (pcase format
    (`html (format "<a href=\"%s\">%s</a>" path desc))
    (`11ty (format "<a href=\"%s\">%s</a>" path desc))
    (`latex (org-latex-link path desc info))
    (`ascii (org-ascii-link path desc info))
    (`md (org-md-link path desc info))
    (_ path)))

(with-eval-after-load 'org
  (org-link-set-parameters "org-protocol"
                           :follow #'org-protocol-follow
                           :export #'org-protocol-export))

Now I can use org-protocol-copy-open-link to copy a link to the current location, and I can put it into my Org files.

Example bare link to the Org manual, which will work only if you have open in the org-protocol-protocol-alist:


With a description:

Org manual - Protocols

This is part of my Emacs configuration.
You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at