Zettelkasten Forum

[REQUEST] Auto-ID notes created during search

edited April 2019 in The Archive

This might be something you've already thought of, but I wanted to put in on your radar, if not.

One of the really compelling and helpful features of nvAlt and Notational Velocity was that it encouraged you to start everything with search. If you wanted to say something about a given fact or topic, you would start typing it in the search bar. If there was something similar already in your Archive, then you would rediscover it, and be able to review and add to it. If there was nothing there, you would simply hit "Enter", and a new note with your text would be created.

This works perfectly in The Archive, as well. However, since being drawn in to the Zettelkasten landscape :smile:, I prefer to have my notes prepended with Zettel IDs. This means I cannot use the above process for the creation of new notes. To prepend a new note with a Zettel ID, I have to start it by hitting "New". I cannot create it from within search.

So now, I have two different workflows.

  1. Do I think a note like this already exists? If so, search.
  2. Do I think this is an entirely new concept? If so, hit New, prepending a Zettel ID.

This introduces complexity. If I go directly to #2, I may miss the fact that I wrote about this before. If I go directly to #1, and find nothing, I will have to "back up and start again", with whatever text I had been typing.

My recommendation / request is that when searching, if we hit "Enter" (creating a new note), that it follows the setting we have for new notes in general, prepending the Zettel ID to the entered text.

This would streamline the workflow, and allow Zettel IDs to attain even more universal reach. :smile:

Post edited by ctietze on


  • It would streamline the Zettel ID creation, true, but what if you want to create a note with exactly the content of your Omnibar? That becomes unintuitive. But I see the point that the current process of making a file a Zettel appears to be not streamlined.

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

  • edited November 2018

    If you are in the omnibar and typed your soon to become title of the note:

    ctrl+a, cmd+u, space, enter.

    I think that it could streamline the workflow towards the Zettelkasten Method but it would also nudge other users to hard towards a predetermined workflow.

    (I'll discuss with Christian, of course, and am open to any arguments)

    I am a Zettler

  • edited November 2018

    I would suggest expanding the preferences option for file naming:
    1. "Untitled"
    2. Use ID for empty file names
    3. Use ID for all file names

    I would of course go with option #3. If I wanted a "bare" title, I would just delete the ID after the fact. That's the smoothest workflow for me.

    As an alternative, perhaps streamline the process Sasha outlined above.

    In the omnibar, if you are typing some text, and hit "Enter", it does what is normal, creating a new note with that text.

    BUT if you hit cmd+N for "New Note", it takes the existing search text, combines it with the Zettel ID, and uses that to title the new note.

    This avoids changing any existing workflow, and acts even more consistently with the user's preferences for file naming.

  • I like this idea, being able to create a UID after the fact of searching, without having to do the dance back and forth as per above. I like cmd+N, but I think even more than that I would prefer cmd-Enter (or possibly Shift-Enter, I'm not sure which is more in line with standards).

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