Zettelkasten Forum

KM to set up new note?



  • edited December 2020

    After trying many approaches and added complexity I went several steps back and came up with a Keyboard Maestro macro that I think is a foolproof compromise between functionality and simplicty. I applied AppleScript instead of Keystrokes/TA-Shortcuts when needed as I noticed that this in some cases is the most reliable solution.

    With this macro I can add a note from anywhere in my system.

    • It first checks if TA is running and opens TA in the background.
    • Meanwhile I have time to add my title and tag info.
    • I added an option wether it should be a new note or use the currently open note as a new Zettel (it also automatically creates a new zettel if no note is selected – I use the condition for the availablity of the menu item "Rename" as this condition is not available if no note is active. The default is "new note"
    • It adds an #inbox tag if no tag is applied and converts single words that I entered to tags. Maybe I will remove this feature in the future. The regex and variable mess I made stems from my missing competence in these things. I roamed google search and KM forums for days as well as trial and error on my side till I came up with this action. It is not perfect but it works for me. One downside, though: Whenever I use dots, underscores or dashes, the action/regex code treats everything after the sign as new word and adds a hash where none should be. That made me create very consistent tags ;) If you want to improve it: feel free to share! :)
    • For a while I was also experimenting with literature notes (as Eco suggests) and used the titles of the texts as note title with prepending "[#CiteKey]" and appending "[[Zettel UID]]". Some of these titles were too long for macOS/TA. That's why I added a "trim" option. I don't use this anymore but maybe it's good for it to still be here, just in case I come back to literature notes :)
    • In the past, when I used Keystrokes/Shortcuts or the "Click Menu Item"-Action in KM, I experienced some failures in TA as the cursor jumped to the Omnibar or the Action was too slow to pick up before the next step. I added a checking step for the cases this happens – again, with a menu item condition.
    • If the note contains text and I use the currently open note, it makes sure that the template I am using is placed properly at the beginning of the note
    • Then it pastes my template ("Quellen" means sources).1 I place my bibliographical info below the HTML tags as @ctietze explained here.2

    EDIT: I have no idea why my code block gets formatted in md. Hence, I just added a screenshot:

    In an earlier version I had a dropdown menu for different kinds of notes with indicators that I prepend to the title:3

    • nothing → content note
    • » → quote
    • • → structure note
    • ∆ → definition (similar to structure note and probably deprecated, soon)
    • ≈ → project note/aka meeting minutes, seminar notes, plan, email, etc.

    I omitted this option for the sake of simplicity4 and I am quite happy about it. On my german keyboard layout I can easily prepend these symbols when I enter the title (in case anyone is interested):

    • » → ALT+SHIFT+Q
    • • → ALT+Ü
    • ∆ → ALT+K
    • ≈ → ALT+X

    Download KM Macro for New Zettel

    1. Please note in my template the prepending "›" (not to be confused with ">") before the Zettel id in the YAML Header. This is due to the ingenious approach by @Will to scan the Zettelkasten for linked notes↩︎

    2. I tweaked Christian's template a bit to my more advanced needs using Bibdesk's own template editor: Download Bibdesk Template. You can find the instructions on how to use the template editor here. The prepends and appends are written in German, though. You might have to adjust them to your needs. ↩︎

    3. Again, thanks to @Will for his inspiration↩︎

    4. KM input prompts also act quite weird when it comes to keyboard centric use. ↩︎

    Post edited by analogue_man on
  • Wow!
    I used to but now rarely start a note on its own, naked as we could say, I start notes from prior notes. Your macro is complex. Here's mine in two parts. The first is the action, and the second is the template.

    Create Note

    My thinking is KISS.
    I maintain a separate template file. I don't interrupt the flow to think of tags at the note creation stage, and tagging comes later. I use pause till the app is in front to manage The Archive's different timings to launch if not running. I use this infrequently because I use a different macro (of the same style) that allows me to start a note from within another note, which I feel has helped me start linking my thinking to prior thinking. This second style of note creation is used almost exclusively now.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Attention Horizon, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing

  • edited January 4

    @Will said:
    Your macro is complex.

    My thinking is KISS.

    After seeing your macro and reevaluating mine I have to admit: Damn! You are right! I trimmed it down a lot and yet kept it too complex.

    I adopted your approach creating a file out of KM instead of "UI hacking" (clicking menu item "new note", "rename" etc.). Brilliant!

    I guess I have to implement a lot of KISS to my workflows.

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