Yesterday I wrote about my on-going effort to get rid of paper and to keep all my records and projects anchored in Org files. Yesterday's post was about easily linking to receipts from my tax file. That's nice because I can open the Org file for this year's taxes and if I need information about the receipt for an item I can just click on the link and bring up a PDF of the receipt.

As part of my efforts to keep everything together, I also keep a log in the tax file where I log the date and time for any event having to do with taxes. For example, when I send the original documents to the accountant I log that and perhaps the UPS tracking number. When I get an email from the accountant, I log the date and time I got it and what it was about but I didn't have a good way of recording a link to the email itself.

I remembered reading on the Org Mode Web Site about some utilities for Mac OS X that allowed linking and importing documents from various Mac Apps like Mail, iCal, Safari, and some others. It turns out that they are in the contrib directory of the distribution so all I had to do was add ~/tools/org-mode/contrib/lisp to the load-path list, add the following to init.el

(require 'org-mac-link-grabber)
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
            (flyspell-mode 1)  ; <-- These two lines already existed.
            (abbrev-mode 1)    ; <-- They're not needed for omlg-grab-link
            (define-key org-mode-map (kbd "C-c g") 'omlg-grab-link)))

and call org-reload. Now when I want to grab a link to a mail message or a Web page, I just type 【Ctrl+c g】 and I get the menu

[F]inder [m]ail [a]ddressbook [s]afari [f]irefox [c]hrome:

in the minibuffer. When I choose an application, a link is inserted that points to the current selection in that application.

The org-mac-link-grabber page says that the following applications are supported:

  • Finder
  • Mail
  • Address Book
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Firefox with the Vimperator plugin
  • Chrome
  • Together

You can customize which applications appear on the menu.

If you have a Mac and use Org mode, you should definitely look into enabling this functionality. If all you care about is pointers to mail, there is another package org-mac-message that deals just with mail and is already in Org core so all you have to do is enable it as described on its page.

I've described this functionality in terms of keeping track of tax information but I anticipate that as I move my records and projects to Org, I will find many uses for it.

Update: (add-to-list 'org-modules '(org-mac-link-grabber)) → (require 'org-mac-link-grabber)

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