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Some general questions on working with zettlr

Hi everyone,

I first came across zettlr last week and have a great desire to organize my scientific work with it. Now that I have familiarized myself a little, I would like to ask some open questions here, which I could not answer yet:

  • When I move or rename directories on my hard disk, zettlr - understandably - reports that the directory can no longer be found. Is there any way to tell zettlr the new path to the directory?

  • Let's assume that I would like to write an essay on a certain topic based on my Zettelkasten. What is the best way to proceed? The writing itself is very well possible with zettlr. But how can I bring the information of the Zettelkasten-Notes into the essay file and/or sort them without them disappearing in the Zettelkasten? Or more generally: What is the best way to translate the Zettelkasten-Notes into an essay or project file?

Thanks so much in advance and best wishes,



  • Hi Ben,

    regarding your second question: I have the same problem, and I would be really curious to know how other users do it. I 1 and others 2 have asked a similar question a while ago, but the problem is not really solved for me. As far as I can see, there is not really a feature in Zettlr for integrating a set of notes into a single note. There is a "project" feature that lets you convert all notes in a directory into a pdf (https://docs.zettlr.com/en/academic/projects/), but I think that is not exactly what you and I are after.

    So what I currently do when I want to write something new that is (could be) based on some of my notes: I first search through my Zettelkasten for the relevant keywords or tags, and I store links to the search results in a "table of contents" note. Then I go through the notes listed there one by one and copy anything that is relevant for what I am writing into a new document, which then represents the raw material of my new draft. For the last step, I found that Obsidian is actually very convenient because it lets you "pin" a note (here: the "table of contents" note) on your screen and see it side by side with other notes you are just browsing through.

    I wish there was a less tedious way, though, and I am eager to hear your or other users' ideas. Cheers,

  • One approach that I like is described by Cal Newport at https://www.calnewport.com/blog/2007/11/05/monday-master-class-how-to-use-a-flat-outline-to-write-outstanding-papers-fast/ and seems to be similar to what @enbeh described above. I believe Christian or Sascha described something similar in the Zettelkasten-forum or blog. You basically start with an outline, put in links to your notes (so you can move them around more easily) and eventually replace the links with the notes' content. Then write from there.

    Caveat: I haven't really used it myself as I struggle elsewhere in the process.

  • Thank you so much for your response. I was hoping, that there might be an option without copy-pasting notes (which would have been my first idea). I think, generally something like in Zotero would be nice: To have a main repository for notes (=Zettelkasten) plus the ability to drag and drop single or a bunch of notes in different projects (without them disappearing from the Zettelkasten). And then a possibility to arrange the notes within the projects – at best in one single essay file. I think that would help me most...
    But let's see, what Zettlr 1.7 will bring. I'm very curious!

  • Hi BenjGH, I am also a new user of Zettlr and just settling in to some understanding of how it all works. I too sought an answer to the issue of essentially assembling my selected notes into a single document. I believe I have found a partial solution: there is a zettelekasten plugin fo Sublime text which works okay, but even better at https://github.com/renerocksai/sublimeless_zk, renerocksai has made a standalone similar version. Its has a command called "expand overview note" which takes the outline links in your outline and replaces them with the data in the linked notes and creates a new combined document. Very handy.

  • edited September 5

    Thank you, danraymond. I've now tried out the Sublime-Option and this is not really what I need, I'm afraid. What I meant was pretty much something like the "Schreibtisch"-feature of the zettelkasten app by Daniel Luedecke, which is demonstrated here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIztPpFqCBw
    I think this would be wonderful to have in Zettlr in order to be able to (re)arrange single oder multiple Zettel on a virtual desc-project to produce the final text. Another great aspect: If you edit a Zettel you've put into one of these Schreibtisch-projects, the original Zettel in the Zettelkasten won't be changed.
    What do you all think?

  • @danraymond said:
    Its has a command called "expand overview note" which takes the outline links in your outline and replaces them with the data in the linked notes and creates a new combined document.

    Would love to see this as a part of Zettlr.

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