Zettelkasten Forum

Confused about Note Creation in The Archive

I'm brand new and I picked up on a few things from reading the intro that have made The Archive hard for me to understand.

  1. Notes should be named & linked by their unique ID.
  2. Notes should be titled but links shouldn't depend on the titles as they could and should change as we refine our ideas. Wiki's are given as a specific example of not a good tool for ZK.

Here's where The Archive is confusing me.

  • The sample note has a unique ID and a title suggesting this is the way to do things
  • When creating a link to a note it uses the full title, ID and text combined. Changing the title of a note later on breaks incoming links (like a wiki)
  • The notes list doesn't preview the title text, suggesting I should repeat that text in the note filename
  • Creating a new note from the omnibar doesn't generate a unique ID at all, which seems odd

Given all these observations, I'm unsure of the best way to use The Archive. I feel like I shouldn't rename my notes to include a title as it could mean lots of broken links in the future. But if I don't add the title it makes the note list harder to work with, both in full and as search results. I started to rename in-text titles only for structure notes, but it doesn't feel right.

What's the best practice for naming notes in The Archive?

Thanks for your help!


  • edited January 2021


    The standard method here is to give a note the filename "UID Title", e.g. "202101172340 Naming notes in The Archive". Notes are linked to with only the UID in double brackets, like [[202101172340]]– for the reasons you mention. Not everyone here does it that way, though.

    Why the menu item "Copy Link to Note" produces the link [[202101172340 Naming notes in The Archive]] I can't tell you – I also don't think many here use the menu item to create links.

    For how I create new notes with a UID, see this post. The shortcut cmd-U (= menu item "Create Zettel ID") is very handy for it.

  • @samspot I just wanted to echo @Vinho ’s comment about how to title the note.

    You will see that many people on this forum, using The Archive, also use a program called Keyboard Maestro to automate certain actions. @Vinho and @Will both have good macros for doing so, and Vinho’s link will take you to a discussion of same. That software is effective and there are other macros to automate other things on the forum. However, Keyboard Maestro is twice the cost of The Archive and you may not want to start out buying the second program.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to do it that way. Getting started, you can do the following manually:

    The note name can be something like “UID This is a note name”. However, in the main body of the note, the first line is:

    “# This is a note name”

    (without the quotes, the starting # in Markdown denotes a title) and the second line is:


    You can then change the title of the note (within the note itself) without necessarily changing the title in the file name, although you could do the latter as well, say if the title changed a lot.

    Also, where you create a link in one note to another (thus forming a connection between the two), just use [[UID]]. Then later, when you are reading the first note and want to follow the link to the second note, you just click on the [[UID]] link, and The Archive takes you to that note.

  • @GeoEng51 & @Vinho I already had KeyboardMaestro so these solutions are very helpful. I was able to get a similar macro working so what @Vinho posted which solves my problem. I should be able to make another macro that copies only the UID for making good links.

    For anyone looking who doesn't have Keyboard Maestro, what I have found helpful is to use %N to create all notes, and then manually remove the title from the links that The Archive creates.

    It would be nice if The Archive could have options to do the following in settings:

    1. Create links using only the UID
    2. Add UID's automatically when creating from the Omnibar
  • @samspot: Linking to other notes is also quite smooth with Keyboard Maestro – my solution is inspired by @Will's here. One Macro regularly creates a list of all my note titles (you might have to do some fiddling as described in "Dependencies"):

    The other one prompts me for a type-ahead search with this list. When I select the desired note, it inserts the UID in brackets. The title of the note could easily be included as well if you change it:

  • Thanks for that, it looks pretty sophisticated. For now I opted for a smaller one to generate UID links the way I'd like to. I may explore your macro down the road when I have a larger volume of notes.

  • @samspot: No problem! The big disadvantage I see with your approach is that you have to leave the zettel you're working on to somehow find the zettel you want to link to, then copy its title/UID and then go back again and insert the link. That is a lot of work which would make me create less links.

    Another macro that I sometimes use to create links (select and copy notes in the note list, then go the note you're working on and trigger the macro to paste links to the selected notes):

  • @Vinho You convinced me! I have the search/paste working now. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share these!

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