Using URL Scheme Links in Notion

Sprat and Winkle 008 by Dave_S. is licensed under CC BY

Context – the Integrations from Notion

I want to have the ability to link from Notion [Referral] to other applications in the Apple ecosystem (e.g., Things). If the application itself doesn’t offer the integration, you can usually hack something together using URL Scheme links (also called x-callback-url), which are defined by an application. For example, Things has an excellent article on how you can use URL Scheme links to interface with it.

Problem – the Invalid URL

Unfortunately, Notion doesn’t recognize URL Scheme links (e.g., show today in Things using things:///show?id=today) as valid URLs. Even if you try to edit an existing URL in Notion, it won’t work.

This has come up as an issue in the Notion subreddit numerous times.

Solution – the URL Shortner

By using a URL shortener service (in this case TinyURL), we can create valid URLs that Notion will let us use. These URLs will open the browser and the redirection will then trigger the URL Scheme.

For a full demo of how this all works, you can watch the following short video I recorded.

To make the generation of these TinyURLs easier, I created an iOS Shortcut that simplifies it by using the TinyURL’s API. You can grab the shortcut here, or just recreate it yourself using the following template:

Future – the Endless Possibilities

I do hope that Notion eventually allows for URL Scheme links to be used without any URL redirection needed. For the time being, however, this workaround does the trick.

With iOS Shortcuts, there are countless possibilities available to you. You can initiate anything from a URL link in Notion now.

Imagine using this technique in Notion databases – having a URL column that does something on your device when you open it.

Creating a crude integration starting from Notion leading into another iOS Applications is entirely doable, for example:

Each application provides its own URL Scheme, although this site does a decent job cataloging URL Schemes of popular applications.

The possibilities are truly endless.