Copying an RTF Link without Styling

I’m a bit of an AppleScript novice, I’ve used it irregularly but am trying to get better with it so please pardon some dumb questions.

I’m attempting to find a way to construct an RTF link and place it on the clipboard without including an styling (font, color, decoration) so that it matches whatever style is set in the field I paste it in. Essentially I want this:

{\field{\*\fldinst HYPERLINK "x-devonthink-item://53151EC1-8A15-4109-AFE9-1B4EA8C6DE2B?time=198"}{\fldrslt 00:03:18}}

I’m not sure if that’s even valid RTF on its own but I’m not seeing a linter/validator and RTF resources seem to be all over the place. I can save that into an .rtf file by itself and open it fine in TextEdit — where it then styles it with its default formatting — exactly what I want to happen on paste everywhere.

Approach One: Use textutil

I’d love to be able to do it using something like @JMichaelTX’s method to combine a Markdown link with rtf and there are two techniques for generating the RTF in that thread.

His original way, essentially:

set theLinkText to "00:03:18"
set theURL to "x-devonthink-item://53151EC1-8A15-4109-AFE9-1B4EA8C6DE2B?time=198"
set theMarkdownLink to ("[" & theLinkText & "](" & theURL & ")") as string
set theHTMLLink to ("<a href=\"" & theURL & "\">" & theLinkText & "</a>") as string

do shell script "export LANG=\"en_US.UTF-8\" && echo " & quoted form of theHTMLLink & " | textutil -format html -convert rtf -inputencoding UTF-8 -stdin -stdout | pbcopy -Prefer rtf"

set theRichTextLink to the clipboard as «class RTF »

set the clipboard to {Unicode text:theMarkdownLink, «class RTF »:theRichTextLink}

However, I don’t see a way to get textutil to give me a rich text without styling information.

Shane’s code works but also adds styling and I frankly don’t understand what it’s doing with Foundation and AppKit yet.

Approach Two: Try to Set RTF String to «class RTF »

I was hoping it would be fairly simple to do something like:

set theRTFSource to "{\\field{\\*\\fldinst HYPERLINK \"x-devonthink-item://53151EC1-8A15-4109-AFE9-1B4EA8C6DE2B?time=198\"}{\\fldrslt 00:03:18}}"
set theRTFLink to «class RTF » of theRTFSource

But that unfortunately throws -1728 (Can’t get «class RTF » of "[…]".)

Picking apart Jim’s script a bit it looks like the string needs to be encoded as «data RTF ... » but I’m not sure how to approach that.

Approach Three: Convert RTF Source with NSString

I’ve also tried Mark’s script in RTF ⇄ HTML without using the clipboard? that does allow me to convert RTF source to Rich Text but it also adds NSFont information.

set theRTFSource to "{\\field{\\*\\fldinst HYPERLINK \"x-devonthink-item://53151EC1-8A15-4109-AFE9-1B4EA8C6DE2B?time=198\"}{\\fldrslt 00:03:18}}"
set theString to current application's NSString's stringWithString:theRTFSource
set theData to theString's dataUsingEncoding:NSUTF8StringEncoding
set theAttributedString to current application's NSAttributedString's alloc's initWithRTF:theData documentAttributes:0
(NSConcreteAttributedString) 00:03:18{
    NSFont = "\"Helvetica 12.00 pt. P [] (0x7fbd07e93590) fobj=0x7fbcfe06d600, spc=3.33\"";
    NSLink = "x-devonthink-item://53151EC1-8A15-4109-AFE9-1B4EA8C6DE2B?time=198";


Obviously I know just enough to get myself into trouble here and not enough to figure out a correct approach. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Is this even possible or am I fundamentally misunderstanding how RTF works?
  2. I can keep trying to figure this out but it would be great to know which track to go down here, will one of these potentially work or should I shift direction to something else?
  3. If I pick up Shane’s Everyday AppleScriptObjC will that give me the foundation (ahem) to figure how Shane and Mark’s code is working or is there a better resource to go to first?

Edited to add proper links since I can’t yet have a post with them in it.

1 Like

I think so. It’s Rich Text Format — that means styled. That’s the whole point of it.

I guess I meant that more on a technical level but that’s fair.

I’d just like to be able to paste a link into a rich text field like a MindNode note and have it inherent the style but retain the content instead of having to then try to reset each property back to the default properties or alternatively paste in as plain text and then add a link manually.

I suspect the only solution will be to give you RTF the same style as your target text.

Yeah, that would be a really easy way to make this way less complicated if not quite as flexible. Thanks for the suggestion, I hadn’t thought of that.

In the mean time, if I want to actually understand the code I mentioned from you and Mark is your book a good place to start?

To understand calling Objective-C via AppleScript (AppleScriptObjC), yes.