Zettelkasten Forum

Initial thoughts and feedback on The Archive

I've been using the trial version of The Archive for a few days now and have moved a couple of hundred notes into it to give it a try.

I'm loving it and keep finding excuses to write things in order to use it more. This an example of that.

Below are just a couple of initial thoughts/feedback on things that occurred to me.

Moving up and down the note list

When editing a note (or at least when the cursor is within a note), it would be great to be able to move up and down the note list. I haven't used it for a while by have a recollection that NValt (and maybe Notational Velocity before it) used cmd+j and cmd+k to move do this.

I know that cmd+j is mapped to 'jump to selection' but it would be great (in my view) if there could be a way to enable moving up and down the list while 'in' a note.

Show / hide sidebar

I don't (yet) have a need for saved searches and so like to have this panel hidden, but do like to regularly hide and unhide the note list and the keyboard shortcut for this is great.

However, if I hide and then unhide the side bar in this way, on unhiding, the saved searches panel returns.
It feels as though it should be possible to keep the saved searches hidden but still toggle between showing and hiding the note list.

Capture image / insert link

I used Notational Velocity and then NValt for many years until recently switching to use Apple Notes. I got into the habit of adding attachments to notes including images and pdfs.

The Archive has made be realise just how much better this sort of application is that Apple Notes. But I think I will miss the ease of adding files.

The capture image function works well, but I can't imagine ever using it as all it would even likely capture is me (although I guess I could use it to capture documents that I'm holding). I'd make much more use of the ability to add files that are already on my computer.

I wonder if there are any plans to make this sort of thing easier using The Archive. Perhaps along the following lines:

  • A keyboard shortcut to inset a link (cmd+k seems in common use for this elsewhere, although I realise conflicts with my suggestion above fo cmd+j / cmd+k to move up and down the list).
  • A quick, easy way to move files into the media directory. Perhaps even the ability to drag files to a note and have a link created and the file copied into the media directory.



  • Thanks for taking the time to write up this list, Dan! Good to hear you enjoy using the app :)

    • Show / hide sidebar: I'd suggest setting a shortcut for View ▶ Show/Hide Note List in addition to the existing shortcut to hide the complete composite sidebar. Then you can hide the side bar once and for all and only unhide the note results. See "How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts in Mac OS"
    • A more sophisticated attachment/media management will be tackled in an update. Sascha and I will take your request into account when we plan that!
    • Next/prev note shortcuts: J and K are typical vim keys to move around. Cmd+K is often tied to link insertion, as you pointed out. Maybe something like Ctrl-J and Ctrl-K could work; in any case, it's interesting you bring this up. I didn't know about NV doing this until now. (I always use Cmd-L and the arrow keys. We'll have to experiment with this, because what's the point of staying inside the editor when selecting a different note will change what the editor displays anyway? Then again, this will be useful for AppleScripting the app. Stay tuned :))

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • Thanks very much for the reply - and the Show/hide note list suggestion - it makes perfect sense.

    It's great to know some more document attachment functionality may be coming.

    I think my use-case for moving up and down the note list while in a note would probably be around making changes to a group of notes that are close to each other in a list. Perhaps even just browsing/reading some consecutive notes: In order to page down/up in a note, the cursor would need to be in it. If timed, there probably wouldn't be much in it but I reckon it'd be quicker and possibly simpler to move up and down in this way.

    I'm new to the Zettelkasten idea but am keen to explore it more... and perahps in time my desire for this feature will lessen. It used to be that I'd generally have notes sorted alphabetically and name each file in a sort of hierarchical way... e.g. finance. tax. personal.txt, finance. tax. work. In this way similar themed notes would be close to each other in the list. And it may well just be my muscle memory kicking in rather than a real need!

    It really is great to be back using a 'proper' note taking app. I've been exploring several others in recent months, including Ulysses, Bear and Apple Notes. All great apps... but using The Archive, everything just seems quicker and easier. And, after tweaking the theme a little to my taste: looks great!

  • In a pinch, the keys ctrl-n and ctrl-p should work to move up and down the list of notes!

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