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Multi-word keywords, duplicate files, and other newbie questions.

edited August 17 in General

I just started using Zettlr today, and I can honestly say I don't think I've ever used a new piece of software that seemed to fit my needs and style better than Zettlr. I even copied some of the academic references used in the examples!

That said, I'm still struggling with a few things:

  1. In the interactive tutorial I couldn't get the citation for the quote from Marx to work as shown. The tutorial shows the volume and page numbers to be separated by a space ("23: 249"), but all I could get was "23:249." I tried inserting spaces, with and without manual entry of "23," inserting _249, and a few other things. Is this just an artifact of the citation previewer, or is there some other trick?
  2. The documentation says Zettlr allows multi-word keywords with embedded spaces, but how does one create a tag like "falling profit rate"? (BTW, is there any meaningful difference between "tag" and "keyword"?)
  3. The documentation discusses LaTeX templates, but what about templates for individual notes? In particular, I want a template with the fields mentioned in the ZettleKasten Manifesto video: id:, filename:, related_notes:, and content:, plus tags: and author:. AFAIK, not all of these are recognized YAML tags, so the template should have the YAML tags at the top and then sections for Related Notes, Content, Sources, and Cited (other sources that the note's Sources cite) in the body. Ideally, a root directory could have several templates, and when one creates a new file a menu would let the user choose from among them. The author: field could be fixed, and the title could (optionally) be filled into the YAML and tacked on after the timestamp and used for the file name.
  4. Related to #3, I used the Duplicate file command, but it seems to duplicate the exact time stamp in the original (even the operating system's stamp is the same). But if I'm creating a new zettle, I want it to have a unique time stamp. Is there anyway to do this except manually?
  5. Are there any problems with using Better BibLaTeX instead of Better BibTeX, a .bib file instead of a .json file, biber, or LaTeX2e instead of XeLaTeX?

Thanks for your help and for the great productivity app.


  • The tutorial shows the volume and page numbers to be separated by a space ("23: 249"), but all I could get was "23:249."

    This might be just a typo in the tutorial. As long as the reference seems to be rendered & appears in the sidebar, it works just well!

    To 2: Use a YAML frontmatter, that is, at the beginning of your file, put something like this:

        - A keyword with spaces
    # ... other variables
    ... Rest of the content of the file

    To 3: I think you're mixing up LaTeX templates which are solely meant for PDF exports, and templates you can use to pre-fill some parts of your notes, which are not yet implemented

    To 4: No, because duplicating a file does exactly this: Create a file with a different filename and the exact same contents.

    To 5: I don't think there are any problems. At least BibTex files exported from JabRef work just fine for me

  • Thanks, Hendrik.

    I'll try #2. -- But for a future enhancement, maybe consider adding something like #"falling profit rate" (quoted tag) or #falling\ profit\ rate (escaped blanks) or #falling\bprofit\brate (vi/regex version). The goal would be to relax the YAML constraint.

    Re. #3. I understood the difference. But I was wondering if there's also a note template feature. A template for zettels activated by a hotkey would be ideal. This could add a complication because one would probably want template libraries (directories of template .md files) at the system, user, and directory levels. For now, as a workaround, I'll make a single Template note, keep it open, and copy & paste the template's text into new notes.

    Re. #4. At least for MacOS this is unusual. Even copying & pasting files in Finder or a shell generates new date/time metadata. But once one understands this, it shouldn't be too hard to live with.

    Re. #5. My purpose is to be able to maintain the .bib file with BibDesk. Also, I've been using BibLaTeX for a few years and am comfortable with it.

    Thanks again.

  • Even copying & pasting files in Finder or a shell generates new date/time metadata.

    Hm, this should happen as well. Zettlr simply uses the underlying nodeJS's fs-module, so it should work just like macOS's file operations, because it taps right into the OS's methods for this

  • edited August 21

    You're right, and my remarks were confused. What I should have said is that at the OS level copying and pasting updates the temporal metadata. This also happens when one duplicates a note in Zettlr.

    But the unique identifier in the original note (Cmd/Ctrl+L) does not change when one duplicates a note at a later time. This applies to both the note's contents and its file name. I had expected the identifiers to update to a new time stamp. But now that I understand they don't, I can work with this model.

    Maybe a future revision would add a "Copy" option to the File menu. Copy would update the timestamp in both the filename and body of the note.

  • Copy would update the timestamp in both the filename and body of the note.

    This is impractical, but there will be snippets at some point, use them for this.

  • Another beginner here :D
    Is it possible to use the YAML frontmatter as a default setting?

    title: " "

    And where do you put your ID? Is it possible to use a YAML variable for this?

  • P.S. Is there a difference between keywords in YAML and the #keywords?

  • Nevermind, found my answer here: https://forum.zettlr.com/discussion/111/super-pleased-with-my-customizations-to-zettlr#latest

    @mj_designthinks said:
    The hashtags in YAML work mostly, but not completely. Zettlr doesn't parse them to be clickable. Searching for #foo works to find all the files with that tag, whether the tags are inside YAML or not.

    In YAML, # indicates a comment; if the hashtag is inside of quotes, then it is treated as part of a string & doesn't cause problems for Pandoc.

  • I can't edit my comments, right? :(

    Update to default setting:

    • I learned, the default setting is not possible, but like here I'm using PhraseExpress for this now (free for private use).
    • At the DOC I also found the reference-section-title. How is this working exactly? I'm looking for a way to automatically add a ## Reference paragraph at the end of the Zettel. Is this a way to do this?
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