Zettelkasten Forum

Using images with the Archive? Direct link to files/media outside the Archive?

Hello all!

I'm just learning the ZK method and the Archive this week. I'm an artist and writer, so I work with some images, and am hoping to get my notes and ideas organized.

I like the plain text and simplicity of the Archive, but would like to find a way to link to images on my desktop or hard drive for the Archive to be fully usable. I'm ok with keeping images/media in an desktop folder and linking to that if there's some way do to this. Ideally it would be great to be able to pull up the file in Preview or something. (I use a Mac.)

There was a discussion in an earlier thread on links to files from a couple years ago:


It seems a workaround, but I wonder if anyone has come up with or seen anything more streamlined? Currently I'm just dragging the file into a zettel to get the address in there, and alt-clicking on that to see the file address in Finder, opening from there.

Another thread raised the idea of using DEVONthink,


...but I like the simplicity (and independence) of the Archive, and would like to stay with it if possible. I'm no power user but I'd give code/macro solutions a go if they're not too complicated.

Many thanks for any help, comments or ideas!


  • edited January 2021

    @christo Someone with a similar interest asked the same question recently.

    There is a beta version of The Archive under development right now, that shows images in-line in your notes. Various people on the forum have been trying it out and commenting (including me). Check out this (active) thread to find out more about it and download the most recent beta version.


  • I always paste this answer for people interested in including images in their zettelkasten


  • Thank you @GeoEng51! I had not seen that. I've downloaded the beta and will experiment with it. Looks promising.

  • Thanks, @Splattack for that. I had reviewed your comments there as I was ruminating over my options. iA Writer looks like a possibility. Not sure of my coding abilities and if I might be getting into the weeds somewhat if I start adding more tools or if it's straightforward. (I get nervous in Terminal.) I was thinking of using Scrivener as well, which handles images pretty well in-app, but the plain text and longevity of the Archive are advantages.

  • edited January 2021

    @christo hello. By code I meant Markdown. All you need to insert an image or video in your notes is ![Optional caption for the image](path/my-image.png).

    This is an example of one of my notes in progress taken from a course in architectural freehand drawing; On the left is what I call code which is the simplest markdown you can write, and the right is the preview. I'm always reading my zettelkasten in preview mode. I use command+R to switch between editing mode and preview.

    It's in progress mainly because I'm not satisfied with the words, but in length I'm really happy as I tend to keep notes as short as possible.

    For the same results but a bit more laborious, you could use Atom, the free text editor and install lots of packages for markdown for editing and previewing. I used that but iA Writer does it more elegantly despite not being as robust as Atom. And I keep my text files available in dropbox, so I can read or edit them on my Android phone or iPad.

  • Ah! I see now. I'd misunderstood and wasn't grasping the context. That is quite simple and works very well in the Archive, without further tool or editor. As you show, the little of code drops a small preview image right in the note. Just what I need as a reference. I thank you again!

    I'm currently using the beta version (1.5.10 172). Do you know by chance if this works with the most recent non-beta version (1.5.9)? I'm a little worried about the Archive's stability once I start really using it and adding notes.

  • @christo I use iA Writer

  • Got it. Misunderstood again. I thought you were using them in combination somehow. Much to learn! Thanks!

  • @christo I also use iA Writer and have been a past "fan" on this forum. I've recently tried out 1Writer and find it is better suited to working with a Zettelkasten stored, say, on Dropbox or some other cloud service. But it is unfortunately only available for iOS and not for the macOS.

  • @christo , I'm with @Splattack here. I tried using Atom and found it to be a pain. iA writer is good, though it has limitations (depending on your needs). Some people also really like Marked for this sort of thing, but I haven't used it.

  • Thank you @GeoEng51. iA Writer looks very elegant, but probably more than I need for ZK notes, and also use a desktop Mac, so 1Writer won't work. I use Scrivener for full-bore writing projects, so I'm looking into a different tool to organize or make usable myriad brief notes on a wide variety of topics. The Archive seems like it will work, but I'll feel better once the image linking capability in the beta is incorporated in a regular (safe!) release. Thanks again for the info!

  • @christo I also use Scrivener (extensively). I use a combination of 1Writer on iOS and The Archive on my Mac, for my Zettelkasten, and I use Scrivener for many, many different writing tasks, of all sorts and sizes. The combination works well for me.

  • Thanks, @GeoEng51, I think that's where I'm headed. Appreciate the ratification from a vastly more experienced user.

  • @christo said:
    Thanks, @GeoEng51, I think that's where I'm headed. Appreciate the ratification from a vastly more experienced user.

    Haha! I think you should replace "vastly" with "tiny bit" :wink:

  • As you wish @GeoEng51 , but I can be pretty obtuse with technical stuff!

Sign In or Register to comment.