Zettelkasten Forum

Using a zettelkasten with mindmapping software

edited January 19 in Writing

Hi, all
I am using my (still fairly small) zettelkasten and mindmapping software (iThoughtsX) in the process of writing a long, overly-complex(!) novel. I'd like to find an effective way of linking between the mind map and relevant notes in the zettelkasten (there's quite a lot of historical and other background information to get right). At the moment, I'm just pasting the numerical ids of the relevant zettel into the relevant 'bubble' on the mind map and adding a folder icon to remind me that there's a link to an external note, like this:

There has to be a better way... Direct, clickable links? Does anyone have any ideas?
Much obliged,


  • What are you using the Mind-Maps for in your process?

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

  • edited January 19

    The Archive actually supports externally linking to notes. The syntax is:
    (e.g., thearchive://match/Project%20A%20notes for a link to the note "Project A notes")

    Technically, that is just doing a search and displaying a best match note if there is one, but that is all you need, as long as you don't rename the note.

    URL form form just means that e.g. spaces have to be replaced with %20, etc. I actually threw together a Keyboard Maestro macro at some point to easily create links for notes:

    That macro resides inside a "Available in these applications: The Archive" macro group and allows me to just select a note in the notes list and then hit ⌘0 to copy the proper link to the clipboard. From there, you can paste the link wherever you want. I primarily created the macro so I could link to TA notes from within tasks in OmniFocus.

  • Hi, @Basil - that's really helpful. Thank you. I'll try what you suggest.

    @ctietze - the mindmap works as a sort of 'pre-outline' for the novel. It's the result of brainstorming everything that's come up in my thinking and research about the project, sorted into themes and narrative streams, then linked, hopefully, soon, to relevant notes in my archive. From the combination of these two comes a more formal outline using the cork board function in Scrivener. Then, a first draft.

  • edited February 1

    Sorry, one more question: would the macro work in something like Automator?

  • I used Keyboard Maestro, which is an insanely good automation application and one of my favorite pieces of Mac software.

    The nice thing about Keyboard Maestro is that, in contrast to other automation applications, you can do a lot of things with it, even if you are not particularly tech savvy. If you do like to tinker, though, and are willing to dive deeper into it, its possibilities are nearly endless.

    The macros I use range from very simple ones (e.g., launch iTunes every Saturday morning so that certain podcast episodes can get downloaded that are only available for one week; Click on the Load Remote Content button in Apple Mail when I hit a certain keystroke so I don't have to reach for the mouse, etc.) to medium complicated ones like one above, to relatively complex ones (e.g., parse the current note in The Archive for level 1 headings, show me a list of those headings, and then scroll the note to the heading that I have selected; When I hit reply in Apple Mail, fill in "Dear first name, [...] Best, my name, etc.).

    I also use Keyboard Maestro for text expansion. For instance, when I type ,,cell it inserts my cell phone number, when I type ,,cmd, it inserts the ⌘ symbol, when I type ,,dd, it inserts the current date, just to give you a few examples.

    Ok, I better stop now. Otherwise, this will turn into a full-blown unpaid advertisement. :wink:

  • @jemscott It would, if you create an Automator Service.

    But the URL encoding requires some extension. I tried the Apple Script Toolbox, extracted into ~/Library/ScriptingAdditions/. You need to restart Automator afterwards, though, to recognize the new script stuff.

    Then a service with this code will work:

    on run {input, parameters}
        tell application "The Archive" to activate
        tell application "System Events"
            -- Copy target from Omnibar (Cmd-L, Cmd-C)
            keystroke "l" using command down
            delay 0.1 -- Might need to wait a bit for the app to catch up
            keystroke "c" using command down
            -- Create URL from clipboard
            set theZettel to the clipboard
            set urlSafeZettel to (AST URL encode theZettel)
            set theURL to "thearchive://match/" & urlSafeZettel
            set the clipboard to theURL
        end tell
        return input
    end run

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

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