rh0dium rh0dium - 28 days ago 9
AppleScript Question

AppleScript to take text and turn it into pasteable HTML

We work with bugzilla. Whenever you need to query a ticket you just need to know the bugid (integer) and you simply prepend this to it.


Suppose I have a bug link which looks like this 777. If I select and copy this it is preserved on the pasteboard so when I paste this into mail it will correctly preserve the link and it's attributes.

What I am looking for is to simple type '777' select it and run an applescript on it and replace it with a link like the one above. Can anyone help me out??

Answer Source

The following AppleScript will take the contents of the clipboard and replace it with the URL prepended:

set the clipboard to "http://bugzilla_server/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=" & (the clipboard)

You can compile that to an AppleScript scpt and make it available in a Scripts folder or compile it to a launchable app:

osacompile -e 'set the clipboard to "http://bugzilla_server/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=" & (the clipboard)' -o replacebug.scpt  # or -o replacebug.app

If your primary use case for this is in composing mail in Mail.app, this may not be the most user-friendly approach, though. If you are using Snow Leopard (10.6), a simpler solution is to take advantage of the new Text Substitution feature. Open the System Preferences -> Language & Text preference panel, select the Text tab, and click + to add a new substitution, perhaps:

Replace   With

  (b)     http://bugzilla_server/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=

Then, in Mail.app, start a New Message and, with the cursor clicked within the text body, do a Control click of the mouse to bring up the contextual menu. From it, select Substitutions -> Text Replacement. From now on, as you are typing in the text body of the email when you type:


the (b) will automatically change to the URL text you saved:


This will also work in other Cocoa text-enabled applications like Safari.


When talking about composing URL links in email, there are at least three different formats of email, each with a different solution. Since you don't say which kind you are using, I'll cover all three:

  1. Plain text format - There's no way to "hide" the URL in the composed email although some email readers might present a clickable link for a plain-text URL.

  2. HTML-formatted email - Apple's Mail.app does not support composing email in this format although it will display it. Using some other mail writer client or your own program, it's easy enough to compose a link using a standard HTML anchor <a href=...> tag.

  3. Rich Text Format email - AFAIK, this is the only way to compose a URL link with Mail.app. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an easy way to directly create an RTF hyperlink using AppleScript commands. Based on a suggestion here, this is a way to do it by creating a modifiable RTF template via the clipboard.

    • In TextEdit.app, create a new Document window.
    • Insert the text you want to appear in the email, i.e. 777.
    • Select the text (⌘A) then add a link (⌘K). Enter the full URL also with 777 into the "Link destination" field; click OK.
    • Modify the text format as desired with Format menu commands.
    • Save the file (⇧⌘S) as temp.rtf with File Format -> Rich Text Format.
    • Close the document window.
    • Open a document window (⌘O) selecting file temp.rtf and selecting Ignore rich text commands.
    • Insert the following before the first line in the file:

      sed -e "s/777/$(pbpaste -Prefer txt)/g" <<EOF | pbcopy -Prefer rtf
    • Append EOF as a separate line at the end of the file.

      It should now look something like this:

      sed -e "s/777/$(pbpaste -Prefer txt)/g" <<EOF | pbcopy -Prefer rtf
      {\fonttbl\f0\fswiss\fcharset0 Helvetica;}
      {\field{\*\fldinst{HYPERLINK "http://bugzilla_server/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=777"}}{\fldrslt 
      \f0\fs24 \cf0 777}}}
    • Save this as a Plain Text file and execute directly as a shell script or call it via the AppleScript do shell script command.

    This kind of solution will work with most other applications that support Rich Text format.