Zettelkasten Forum

Trying to implement Zettelkasten - on windows

I'm most of the way through the Smart Notes book. I very much like the idea of making notes in small chunks on things I learn, this makes complete sense to me. I have been making book notes on and off for years, so this is just a refinement on my regular. Being a recovering Software Developer - as soon as I find an idea I need to find software to implement it. Not always a smart idea.

Currently I work on windows computer (after 7 yr stretch with OSX). My challenge none of the windows apps seem to do a great job. My current low bar:

__Evernote __- It has tag support, it also supports links in notes and each note is stored as a shard, notes can include graphics/sketches.
limitations: links between notes aren't treated as first class objects; there is no way to visualize your notes. Since Evernote shards aren't stored in a simple format they're not compatible with any version control tools.

https://www.mindforger.com/ - supports markdown files, each note could be a file. Links are possible. It creates a knowledge graph based on its suggestions - This seems to go against the Zettelkasten principles. It has visualization mode - however the visualization appears to be its own knowledgegraph and not based on the links I create.
Limitations - Doesn't know about Zettlekasten. Just a very sophisticated markdown editor. The User Interface is fairly complicated (I've spent most of my career in IDEs - even so this is complicated). It was last updated about 9 mths and I've already found a few bugs.

https://www.zettlr.com/ - no visualization. ID Function clever but nothing more than a date stamp. It may actually be a burden.
Supports tags. Can't see how it is magically different/better than using Evernote with tags and links? (Obvious win - its markdown and therefore text. Markdown could be used with source control).
Oddly Zetllr (simple) and MindForger (powerful visualization) combined would be clever

https://app.contexted.io/ - has a windows app. Knows about visualizing as Mindmap and list. Doesn't use text/markdown. Doesn't support tags. Can't immediately get linking to work

I don't really want to switch back to a Mac just get ZettelKasten running on Tinderbox or with Devonthink.

What have I missed for tools? Is Mindforger - really usable after you spend enough time with it? Is Zettlr better than Evernote in way I can't see?

Mark in Ottawa


  • You might want to check out QOwnNotes. It's very much like FSNotes, though a bit on the ugly side.

  • @orderinthecourts thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Based on a few minutes on the website QOwnNotes is a strong possibility.


    • Markdown support
    • Tagging is a first class function
    • Its still being developed - last change was hours ago


    • Internal links don't appear to exist
    • Built in support for versioning assumes that you're using OwnCloud/NextCloud (odd the settings dialog seems to think it knows about GIT :-)
    • No way to visualize linked or related notes

    Is my summary accurate?


  • I semi used QOwnNotes for a time. You can "fake" internal links, they are just in a different format than traditional Zettelkasten. Tagging in it is first class, but also locked to the sqlite DB it uses (if you lose that, you lose your tags).

    It is customizable via scripts (I made one that generated Zettl-style IDs instead of their version). It's not bad.

    For visualization, even Mac has external scripts to do this. Those should work on Windows/WSL, as long as you can get the right libraries fixed for python and all.

  • @mleo2003 Thanks I just posted a question on the developers website - the Linking dialog allows you to link notes now. so I amend my original comment.

    Thanks also for noting that tags are locked into an Sqllite DB. That defeats the purpose of using a text only editor :-)

    Now I just need a simple way of visualizing - Danke

  • You might also want to check out:

    I don't actually recommend any of them as I've settled on using Sublime Text with my own scripts.

  • @sigod Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Funnily enough I've been trying to use a QOwnNotes for a couple of days. Its a bit of a struggle since links are designed to be forward/backward and there isn't good way to marry the name/UID concept.

    I tried Roam Research and failed to get my tiny brain wrapped around it. I even find a Zettelkasten plugin for VSCode (not ready for my use just yet)

    The other three seem interesting. More playing - thanks for helping me avoiding running a business.

  • ....further to that last the Sublime ZK and Sublimeless Zettelkasten - both appear to be dead with the developer having not made a commit in ~16 mths. Sad for a few seconds they seemed good. Off to try Trillium now - aka down another rabbit hole.

  • So far, I've settled on Zettlr for Windows. I do wish it had some features (I think I would love that Omni-bar like setup on The Archive...).

    I played with zkviz linked on this forum on Windows (under Windows Subsystem for Linux). I got it to try to work, though with plotly it wouldn't show anything. Graphviz option did display things, just non-interactive.

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