44

In Apple Notes on the Mac, is it possible to reference a note from within another note (by way of hyperlink)?

So, for example, if I had two notes:

Thoughts about pastries

Pastries are great. Truly wonderful treats. But you know what my favorite types of pastries are? Donuts. I've even made a list of the types of [donuts I've eaten].

and

Donuts I've Eaten

Chocolate, Glazed, Frosted, Encrusted…

How could I link the text [donuts I've eaten] from the first note to the second note?

3
  • 1
    Such a shame that this is so complex / difficult in Notes. Apple used to have a Wiki (part of MacOS Server) that made linking pages so easy it was a joy to do. I think "Sharing" a note does some funky copying of the particular note (or folder of notes) somewhere, so it's probably quite messy behind the scenes. Feb 18, 2022 at 2:18
  • Caveat on security: Sam's and @Seamus's excellent answers work. However, the big heads up is that creating iCloud Links ofc makes your notes' content available to the world if someone else gets access to those URLs. So the provided answers work, but are a security hack. It's not a solution for everyday note taking. Apple should implement the actual feature of cross-referencing notes. Sep 6, 2022 at 16:16
  • a solution is coming: macrumors.com/2023/06/06/apple-notes-create-links-between-notes
    – schellmax
    Jun 22, 2023 at 14:55

6 Answers 6

18

This seems to be the only way to do it, as of macOS 10.13:

  1. You must have all the notes you want links to in your iCloud folder

  2. Go to your iCloud account, and find the note you want to link to: e.g. https://www.icloud.com/#notes2/0-mKJHuGHud53r4, or the donuts I've eaten note in your case. Copy the iCloud URL for this note Command+c.

  3. In your Thoughts about pastries note, select/highlight the passage donuts I've eaten, then do Command+k. Paste (Command+v) the URL in the Link Destination dialog.

Hope that helps. And yes, it is "sub-optimal" that Apple doesn't have a better way to do this (my apologies to Apple if you do, but you shouldn't keep it secret!)

2
  • Tried this on macOS 13.1, but when I then click on the link in the Notes App I get a message saying "This note is unavailable. - The owner stopped sharing, or you don’t have permission to open it." Jan 22, 2023 at 12:17
  • 1
    Possible to do natively in MacOS Sonoma Sep 26, 2023 at 21:41
45

Adding an additional method to Seamus'excellent answer from above… this one keeps you entirely in the Mac app:

  1. In the Mac app, go to the note that you want to reference ("Donuts I've Eaten") and click the Add people to this note button in the Notes toolbar.

enter image description here

  1. In the dialog box that pops up, choose Copy Link and then Share. The Share button may be disabled as soon as you click Copy Link. You must then enter at least one contact (an email address or a phone number) in the Add: field. Note that the contact must be different from the current iCloud user on your Mac, otherwise Share will be again disabled. This step also makes the piece of note permanently sharable until you remove the share. You can always come back to the note and copy link from what's behind the Add people to this note button.

enter image description here

  1. The note's unique URL is now copied to your clipboard. It should look something like this "https://www.icloud.com/notes/0-QF4Bf9jmhfersTKH16_2_kA#Donus_Ive_Eaten"

  2. You can paste that URL into the note that you want to have the reference in. But, even better, highlight the words that you want to become the clickable text, type Command+k to bring up the "Link Destination" box and paste it in there.

enter image description here

In this method, the note is technically shared now. But since it's not shared with anyone else, it will just serve as a quick link/reference for your other notes. It's a bit of a hassle, but it seems to work.


I should also mention that the first time I tried this, I think I was forced to add an email address in the "Add:" box before I could click Share… but in subsequent trials, this was unnecessary. So I'm not sure if it was a first time only kind of thing, or if I just goofed.

5
  • 2
    This works, too. +1 :) And you are correct that the Copy Link option does not always appear... I just saw it (not appear) again, but I have no idea what triggers it. Perhaps, as you say, you have to share by email first?? And minor point, but consider adding a <kbd>Command</kbd>+<kbd>k</kbd> sequence to place the link in a specific string of text in your note.
    – Seamus
    Aug 6, 2018 at 19:59
  • @Seamus Yes! Added the Command+k step. Good call!
    – Sam
    Aug 6, 2018 at 20:08
  • @Seamus Yes, you have to type in an email to share it to. I suggest typing in one of your own email adresses. See kakyo's answer below: apple.stackexchange.com/a/348170/111445
    – Magne
    Sep 21, 2019 at 12:29
  • 2
    I have a folder named Developer which contains several notes and several nested folders such as JavaScript, a series of project folders, Career, Training, etc. I added one of my emails to the Developer folder and it appears all the Developer notes and the notes in the sub folders are now all shared. Copying the link is as easy as clicking the Add People button the clicking the copy link. This makes it unnecessary to add an email to each individual note within the shared folder. I don't know what the implications are for security of the shared notes.
    – D. Geren
    Sep 2, 2020 at 4:00
  • 1
    I could only confirm this works in 10.15.6 and does not work in 10.13.5. I tried in 10.14 but I couldn't share from there at all, even when trying to share a single note. That may be due to Mojave running from an OWC drive dock connected to the same computer using the same Apple ID in iCloud as Catalina, but High Sierra is running on a separate machine using a different Apple ID and I could share a single note.
    – D. Geren
    Sep 2, 2020 at 4:45
4

As of macOS 14 Sonoma, the app has built-in support for linking between notes.

Either choose Edit > Add Link (⌘K), or type >> in the note's body, then type in a note's title to create a link to it.

3

You can share it with yourself simply by sending it too yourself, either via email or messages, then copy the link.

Apple really should make it easier to copy the link, for personal use.

Or: Here’s How and Why to Share Apple Notes With Yourself

1

There seems to be the possibility to use iOS Shortcuts to get a link different from the iCloud-link by using a shortcut with the following two actions (tested on iOS 15.6.1):

  1. Search note
  2. View Content Graph

In the content diagram, tap "note" (in the spiderweb diagram), then "INNote". INNote contains an "identifier" string whose value is a URL beginning with "mobilenotes://showNote?identifier=". The URL seems to function as a link to the note.

1
  • 1
    Unfortunately, as of IOS 15 Beta and Monterey Beta 2, this doesn't work.
    – chatnoir
    Jul 6, 2021 at 1:09
0

This does not really answer your question but it still a dirty hack that goes around the absence of an easy solution while still being a few click away:

Create a shortcut that open the note whose name is the selected text. you can activate this shortcut by using a Quick Action (right click)

You can achieve that by using Apple Shortcuts app and asking to execute this script on a text entry:

on run {input}
    set theNote to input as text
    tell application "Notes"
        show note theNote
    end tell
    return theNote
end run

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