Zettelkasten Forum

Note Layers, Complexity, and Organic Growth

edited April 28 in Knowledge Processing

The recent blog by @sascha is valuable, how to implement different layers of complexity into ZK: (https://zettelkasten.de/posts/three-layers-structure-zettelkasten/)

The question is how to implement it. In my case I'm using Rene's Sublime_ZK. The workflow is a work in progress.

1. To sort Main notes first, have TWO EMPTY SPACES between ID and Title. These will show first, giving structure to Middle notes. Focus is on emergent patterns and overarching concepts
2. To sort Middle notes second, have SINGLE SPACE and PERIOD between ID and Title. These will show as a second block of notes, creating structure and theme from Bottom content notes. Focus is on relationship between notes, and concepts
3. Bottom Notes (I follow AuthorYear-Title that matches my Reference Manager). They do NOT need any sorting symbol as they will be sorted last as a third block of notes. Focus is on summary for single works.

The Layer sidebar lists all your notes in three classes sorted out separately but in sequence to each other. You can also replace Sublime's sidebar by hiding it (command+k+b). The Layer sidebar gives you a bird's eye view of your ZK. You can find notes easier since they are sorted, locate duplicates, see what parts need more content etc. If bottom notes get too complicated you can "zoom out" and refer to the Layer sidebar to gain perspective.

SETUP: Key in [ + !
A. The shortcut above invokes the Layer sidebar. If you have it sorted by ID you need to change to "title" by following these steps: Sublime Text - Preferences - Package Settings - Sublime ZK then Settings - Default, look for "Sort note lists (search results)" and change to "title".

B. To keep the Layer Sidebar on the left side as you refresh it with new notes, do this: In Settings - Default and locate "pane_for_opening_results": set to 0. This will keep it locked on the left side upon each [+! refresh.


  • Are you re-editing your post because you want to avoid double-postings? I wanted to try to reply but everytime I tried it was quite a different post.

  • edited April 28

    Sorry about multiple editing. It's a work in progress. I kept editing because on my browser I saw no response for the day, yesterday, so I wanted to take advantage of that while improving my workflow. Yes, also because I want to avoid double-posting.

  • edited April 28

    Just a snapshot of the Layer sidebar with Main, Middle, and Bottom notes sorted in sequence.

    (You can also see 3 editing panes on my MacBook. On my external monitor I can have more panes, with multiple notes in each of them, and move them around. Plus I can have additional floating panes as well, because Sublime allows attached and detached panes)

  • Ah, ok. No need to avoid them. I would've answered but then you changed and I had to rethink. :smile:

    What is the benefit of highlighting them in this way? (I mean what problem is solved?)

  • edited April 29

    You mean highlight Main, Middle, Bottom? By not sorting them I get a big flat ZK. No hierarchy, and potential chaos. If I sort them, however, I can organize them better as macro (forest) as well as micro (trees) notes. I can also locate them faster in my extended brain. I see how parts are developing in relation to the wholes. Overall, you can see what is and what is not prioritized. It combines structure and freedom

Sign In or Register to comment.