Zettelkasten Forum

How to extract notes to either export to another application (e.g. Scrivener), or for structure note


I am still working my way through building a decent sized ZK on the Archive. For someone without tech chops, how do I export the contents of a specific set of kettles (text files), e.g. only those belonging to a specific hashtag - so that I can mess around with the content and try to create a structure note that makes sense, OR expert to Scrivener to create a longer piece.

How do I figuratively spread out the contents of specific cards so as to extract maximum insight from them using the Archive as the software?

Many thanks!!


  • Well the principle is 1) identify the notes that you want 2) get their contents. There are any number of ways of doing that. You can do it manually with copy and paste, or at the command line, for example.

    Since you mentioned Scrivener, here's one way to go about it:

    1) Navigate to your notes folder in Finder (or your OS equivalent)
    2) Search for the term, constraining the results to that folder
    3) Drag the results into Scrivener

  • The way to select notes in The Archive for transfer to another application is to select the tag which populates the Note List with the target notes. Type the keystroke ⌘A to select all the notes and then right-click and select Reveal in Finder. All the files will be selected in Finder, and you can Move. Copy or create a New Folder with Selection. They are then available as a group to be imported into another application.

    Will Simpson
    I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.

  • edited December 2020

    @newzettelkid I move material to Scrivener all the time.

    You might think it would be nice if you could:

    1. Search on a tag in The Archive.
    2. Select the corresponding zettels from The Archive's "Note List" (i.e., the notes that show up, from the search, in the left pane of The Archive).
    3. Drag them over to Scrivener (dropping them into the Scrivener Binder; usually I dump mine under the default folder "Drafts").

    That would be so easy peasy. However, the hoped-for approach doesn't work. What does work is to drag selected txt or md files from the Mac Finder and drop them into Scrivener's binder.

    So, how do you know which files to drag and drop from the Finder? It's pretty simple and only one more step of work than described above. Follow steps 1 and 2 above, then right-click on the selection and pick "Reveal in Finder".

    That opens a Finder window with just the files for those selected notes highlighted. Drag and drop those highlighted files into the Scrivener Binder and you get the result for which you asked.

    Oops - I see that @Will just posted the same answer and did it more succinctly. Oh well :wink:

  • @Will said:
    right-click and select Reveal in Finder. All the files will be selected in Finder

    Nice I didn't know that!! I just thought Christian totally overlooked the part of getting notes out of TA :)

  • What! I heard that! :)

    Sorry to keep y'all waiting. Dragging notes out is on my list, too, of course.

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

  • I recommend you not to drag notes into Scrivener but use its Import & Split feature instead.

    In that case Markdown gets converted to rich text (if you want), Markdown's chapters (if existing) become separate and properly hierarchically ordered binder items. Import & Split does convert Markdown footnotes to Scrivener footnotes, it even does differentiate between MultiMarkdown random/inline footnotes and the ones at the end of the text.

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