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How linking in Zettlr practically work?

Hi everybody. I'm a new user of Zettlr and trying to make it work for my Zettlekasten notes. Can anyone tell me how you use the function of linking between the notes and how you attach your notes to initial sources? What are 6 levels of headings for? I'm trying to make practical sense of how the system can work. If someone has this experience already can you share it with me? I'll be much grateful :)

Also I was very much impressed with the functions of Zettlr in comparison with other apps https://forum.zettlr.com/categories/zettelkasten. However I would've been more comfortable to have a short name of the note along with the numbered ID. Is it planned in future updates to make it possible?

Thank you in advance!

Comments

  • Have you seen the documentation on this here: https://docs.zettlr.com/en/guides/guide-zettelkasten/

    As for linking and note titles, you can use the auto-generated note id with a description.
    E.g. The note name would be something like 2020061810093030 Making Toast.md
    In the Zettlr Preferences (Zettelkasten section https://docs.zettlr.com/en/reference/settings/#zettelkasten) you can choose how titles are handled. I use the "always" option to add the filename when linking. So a link to this note looks like this:
    [[2020061810093030]] Making Toast

    There is some intimation that you can also use note titles from a YAML block, however, I have not been able to make this work so far. There is quite a lot of Zettlr documentation already, however, as with this, I find that there are also gaps that require a bit of searching around to fill in. If was a 'better' user I'd get it together enough to help solve this problem :smile:

    The 6 heading levels are part of the markdown functionality - see here: https://docs.zettlr.com/en/reference/markdown-basics/#zettlr-and-markdown

    I hope that makes sense.

  • Thank you, jadcx , I really appreciate your answer. I did realize that my questions sound sort of not quite advanced for this forum ?

    Your answer certainly makes a lot of sense to me . I’ve read Zettlr documentations as much as I could, but with my poor IT background it’s not that easy to get what I need. So I have to use my simple common sense approach.

    As much as I understand linking between Zettles inside Zettlr is done by searching tags, keywords and indexed headings inside Zettlr. Linking to initial or additional materials and information are done by hyperlinks from Zettels text. 6 level headings must be a lot of sense for markdown system but apparently don’t do much for linking.

    So if linking in Zettlr isn’t much of a difference from regular Windows search, why not use just Word files and folders and search them and group them ?

    My bad dream if something happens to Zettlr: let’s say it’s discontinued by any reason and I’m left with a bunch of files with numbers instead names and won’t make any sense or use of them.

    In my particular case I need Zettle note system for my daily flow of information via books, lectures, movies and other sources. It’s mostly for satisfying my own curiosity: I’m not writing books or blogs and of course wouldn’t worry much about next generations ? That’s why I need something simple and universal: if one app stops working I don’t loose my previous notes, just use other type of search instead of Zettlr or other special program.

    Maybe my questions sound stupid and it can be an easy task for people with some programming knowledge, but for simple users like myself this is a really tough problem.

    I hope someone of the advanced participants of this forum would use Feynman Technique to answer my 5 grader questions ??

    And thank you again jadcx !

  • My bad dream if something happens to Zettlr: let’s say it’s discontinued by any reason

    Not on my watch ?

  • @hendrik said:

    My bad dream if something happens to Zettlr: let’s say it’s discontinued by any reason

    Not on my watch ?

    Sorry, Hendrik, I didn't mean to sound disrespectful. I admire your work, I'm sure it's a great program it's just I'm much smaller to understand many things, which are common to participants of the forum. :blush:

  • Me neither, I just wanted to stress that I won't abandon that app =D

  • Your questions are definitely not stupid :smile: I'm never going compare myself to Feynman (that man is a genius), but I'll try and answer your questions.

    Linking to 'source' material - I'm not entirely sure I know what you mean here. If you wanted to make a link in a note to, say, a PDF or a webpage or whatever, then yes you can use a hyperlink like you can in every other software ever (OK, almost every other software). If you just wanted to catalogue films, then Zettlr / Zettelkasten probably isn't the best solution.

    So why not just use Word or Windows search? - The power of Zettlr (and other such systems) is the internal linking. The Zettelkasten method is all about making and finding new links between existing ideas (notes). So while you might start out with one note about one lecture (I'm simplifying here), soon you'll have six notes about four different lectures. And within those notes, you will start to make connections between them. Probably this will then spawn a whole new idea (note) that is no longer linked to a lecture but is linked to a another note.

    And if it all ends? - Firstly, I really hope that Zettlr will still be around for a very long time to come. BUT - in the worst-case scenario, you have a whole load of plain text files which are software agnostic and you can easily import into another similar system. And regarding filenames, there's nothing stopping you adding a descriptive name to eh end of the filename which might help you feel easier.

    My own experience is that it took me a while of working this way before I had the moment of realisation that I was creating something far bigger and more useful than a whole stack of oddly named notes.

  • @jadcx said:

    Linking to 'source' material - I'm not entirely sure I know what you mean here.

    If I wrote an atomic Zettle in my own words, there should be some way to connect my Zettle to the initial information source(s) if I need to look it up some time later.

    So why not just use Word or Windows search? - ... And within those notes, you will start to make connections between them.

    That's something I still cannot figure out how to do. How I can do it if for example I think of adding some connection between already written Zettels?

    And if it all ends? - Firstly, I really hope that Zettlr will still be around for a very long time to come.

    I'm sure about it, Hendrik still looks a young person to me so Zettlr will be taken care of at least for my lifetime :smile:

    And regarding filenames, there's nothing stopping you adding a descriptive name to eh end of the filename which might help you feel easier.
    I have "Always" in the settings on, I tried to put the newly generated filename in double square brackets and add some human file name, then I looked at the file name in my Zettlr folder after this attempt and it still shows just numbers :smile:

    My own experience is that it took me a while of working this way before I had the moment of realisation that I was creating something far bigger and more useful than a whole stack of oddly named notes.

    I'm really looking forward to be able to create something bigger, if I ever understand how it works :wink:

    It's a pity there doesn't exist Zettlr documentation for 5 graders from the last century :smile: :smiley:

    Thank you for your explanation , @jadcx !

  • If I wrote an atomic Zettle in my own words, there should be some way to connect my Zettle to the initial information source(s) if I need to look it up some time later.

    So the options are (and there may be more):

    • you can create a hyperlink if whatever you are linking to can be accessed that way
    • you can tag it (which it searchable within Zettlr) e.g. #thatlectureIwentto or else something more meaningful
    • You can write what the source is, the full-text search will then enable you to find this in your notes later
    • You can cite the source if you use Zotero (or perhaps other reference managers) e.g. @Smith2020Lecture42

    for example I think of adding some connection between already written Zettels

    You would create a link in one note to the other e.g. [[20200619143022]]My Other Note

  • Thank you for your early comment, jadcx :smile:

    It is very helpful. Maybe sometime later you could even share your workflow starting from reading the source and to using the ready product of yours.

    Do you highlight text, do you use any indexes in headings for later searches, do you use markdown 6 level heading system, how you pull together your atomic zettels into larger thought units (question asked by user enbeh in his separate discussion topic), what in particular gave you the moment of realization that you are creating something far bigger and more useful, than your previous notes. Any of your practical experience will be very interesting to know!

    Thank you again!

    My own experience is that it took me a while of working this way before I had the moment of realisation that I was creating something far bigger and more useful than a whole stack of oddly named notes.

  • Sure Mike - I'll try and make a coherent writeup of what is probably a slightly chaotic process.

  • @jadcx said:

    Sure Mike - I'll try and make a coherent writeup of what is probably a slightly chaotic process.

    Thank you very much , jadcx !

    Please believe me, whatever of your process you'll make in writeup will be of much use to me and other readers.
    I've personally got a lot from your writings already. I'm gradually putting together my own system of notes and any input is of great value to me.

    I understand why, but It's still unfortunately for me that Zettlr documentation is written for advanced users and I'm now collecting little pieces of how to use it from everywhere. I still don't quite have the answer to the question which I initially asked in this discussion, but as the time goes by I've learned a lot thanks to people like you. So thank you again !

  • I'll post here (or wherever this forum is at the time) when I have something useful to say about my own process. But until then, what precisely is the question you still don't have an answer for?

  • Hello
    Just last week I discovered Roam software
    Actually, all its meaning is in linking text
    I Highlight any word in the article [[- and the magic happens
    Roam shows me on a separate tab ALL similar words in ALL articles that I have - and I attach the highlighted word to a specific word in any other article

    I wanted to find an alternative to Roam
    and apparently the ZETTLR is the closest alternative
    But I still don’t understand how the link system works.
    I will explain by example:
    I have the word Russian in the article)
    I want to make a link from this word to the same word in another article- where the word Russian is contained three times
    for example
    1.Russian funny guys
    2.They are Russian- not so bad
    3. It's just that they, these Russians, have a hard life

    Is it possible to somehow make a link from the word Russian in the first article, not to the second article, namely to the third link in the second article? (It’s just that these Russians have a hard life)
    If possible, please tell me how to do this.
    Now I:
    1) I highlight the word [[
    2) the program tells me a list of articles where this word occurs (I DO NOT CHECK thoroughly, I uploaded two identical articles and the program shows me a list of two articles - maybe I MUST ALWAYS KNOW WHERE THESE SUCH WORDS ??? (and then this function certainly doesn’t what you need)
    3) I choose one of the articles to which I want to attach a word
    4) I press ctlr and click on the second article

    but I don’t understand at least kill how exactly should I choose WHERE to link the link to, which of the three words?

    I still assume that this functionality is)))
    If it is not, that is, if the link is just in the form of a hyperlink to another article, then just tell me about it please))
    thank

    P / S / if there is no such function, I vote for it.

  • As far as I am aware, what you are describing is not currently possible in Zettlr.
    This is not so much a deficit in Zettlr but the feature of Roam, and there is very little else that offers anything close to that functionality.

    The full-text search in Zettlr will find all notes which contain your search term and highlight the term in the note if you open it, but this is not the same as the linking process you describe.

  • I am sorry to ask such a question as this. I am really new at Zettlr and actually I am totally new to the zettlekasten system altogether.

    My questions are regarding internal linking and backlinking.

    Am I missing something or is this the way it is done?

    • In note-A I add a link to note-B.
    • I Then use Cmd/click and go over to note-B
    • And I add a link back to note-A.

    Another looming issue for me is what will happen in the near future when I have a lot of notes. How do people keep track of older notes when you are sifting through 1000 notes? I have a concern that my oldest notes will eventually be left behind and my growing zettelkasten system won't be a true, fully functioning zettelkasten.

    I am so impressed with Zettlr!! I am quite confident that it is more capable than I am at keeping track of notes and misc. information!

  • Yes, that's how you would add backlinks. As for tracking older notes, I find that I use the search function almost habitually now, so I am always seeing (and sometimes being reminded) of what notes I already have.

  • edited July 29

    Thank you for your comments. Glad to know that I am actually using this properly -- or in an efficient manner. And as for the search, yes, it is such a useful and helpful feature. I especially like the way I can mark a word ( [word] ) and then search for every instance of it in all my files . . . although it may become a bit overwhelming in the future!

    I have a secondary related question. I was trying out Obsidian for a while before settling here. One thing I liked very much is their interactive MapOfContents. It would have been more helpful if the currently open file was highlighted in the graph. But having that visual representation of the way files are linked helped me think and discover new relationships. Do you think there is any chance something like that might ever be adopted by Zettlr?

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