Appendix: Roam Protocol

What is Roam protocol?

Org-roam extending org-protocol with 2 protocols: the roam-file and roam-ref protocol.

The roam-file protocol

This is a simple protocol that opens the path specified by the file key (e.g. org-protocol://roam-file?file=/tmp/ This is used in the generated graph.

The roam-ref Protocol

This protocol finds or creates a new note with a given ROAM_KEY (see Anatomy):


To use this, create a Firefox bookmarklet as follows:

javascript:location.href =
+ encodeURIComponent(location.href)
+ '&title='
+ encodeURIComponent(document.title)
or as a keybinding in qutebrowser, adding the following to the autoconfig.yml file:
        gc: open javascript:void(location.href='org-protocol://roam-ref?template=r&ref='+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+'&title='+encodeURIComponent(document.title))

where template is the template key for a template in org-roam-capture-ref-templates. More documentation on the templating system can be found here.

These templates should contain a #+ROAM_KEY: ${ref} in it.

Setting up Org-roam protocol

To enable org-roam's protocol extensions, you have to add the following to your init file:

(require 'org-roam-protocol)

The instructions for setting up org-protocol can be found here, but they are reproduced below.

We will also need to create a desktop application for emacsclient. The instructions for various platforms are shown below:


Create a desktop application. I place mine in ~/.local/share/applications/org-protocol.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=emacsclient %u

Associate org-protocol:// links with the desktop application by running in your shell:

xdg-mime default org-protocol.desktop x-scheme-handler/org-protocol

To disable the "confirm" prompt in Chrome, you can also make Chrome show a checkbox to tick, so that the Org-Protocol Client app will be used without confirmation. To do this, run in a shell:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/opt/chrome/policies/managed/
sudo tee /etc/opt/chrome/policies/managed/external_protocol_dialog.json >/dev/null <<'EOF'
  "ExternalProtocolDialogShowAlwaysOpenCheckbox": true
sudo chmod 644 /etc/opt/chrome/policies/managed/external_protocol_dialog.json

and then restart Chrome (for example, by navigating to ) to make the new policy take effect.

See here for more info on the /etc/opt/chrome/policies/managed directory and here for information on the ExternalProtocolDialogShowAlwaysOpenCheckbox policy.

Mac OS

One solution is to use Platypus. Here are the instructions for setting up with Platypus and Chrome:

  1. Install and launch Platypus (with Homebrew):

brew cask install platypus
2. Create a script

#!/usr/bin/env bash
/usr/local/bin/emacsclient --no-wait $1
  1. Create a Platypus app with the following settings:
| Setting                        | Value                     |
| App Name                       | "OrgProtocol"             |
| Script Type                    | "env" · "/usr/bin/env"    |
| Script Path                    | "path/to/" |
| Interface                      | None                      |
| Accept dropped items           | true                      |
| Remain running after execution | false                     |

Inside Settings:

| Setting                        | Value          |
| Accept dropped files           | true           |
| Register as URI scheme handler | true           |
| Protocol                       | "org-protocol" |

To disable the "confirm" prompt in Chrome, you can also make Chrome show a checkbox to tick, so that the OrgProtocol app will be used without confirmation. To do this, run in a shell:

defaults write ExternalProtocolDialogShowAlwaysOpenCheckbox -bool true
Note for Emacs Mac Port

If you're using Emacs Mac Port, it registered its as the default handler for the URL scheme org-protocol. We have to make our the default handler instead (replace org.yourusername.OrgProtocol with your app identifier):

$ defaults write LSHandlers -array-add \
'{"LSHandlerPreferredVersions" = { "LSHandlerRoleAll" = "-"; }; LSHandlerRoleAll = "org.yourusername.OrgProtocol"; LSHandlerURLScheme = "org-protocol";}'

Then restart your computer.