Zettelkasten for mathematics

Hi, I'm new here!

I know the Zettelkasten method for two years now. I tried to use it, but I always have a problem with mathematical equations. Having to type them in LaTeX is very tedious, I wish I could draw them by hand at early stages of a note and maybe later write them with LaTeX. Do you know some tool that could work for me?
Thanks

• @Eloi what software are you using? For any that except an image you could use a photograph.

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• edited October 22

For the Zettelkasten I tried Obsidian with the plugin excalidraw, but I don't like it a lot, since it opens a new application to make the picture, then you save it and in the note it shows as a picture (I can't place it where I want in the page), and the image is a separate file, and I don't like dealing with them (removing unused ones, for instance). The problem is that with many equations this becomes a mess quickly.
I also tried MidTerm, which is really good, and synchronization is awesome. The problem that it has is that there are no links between notes, and they can't be exported right now (I think they will improve this).

For regular notes I use Xournal++, for maths it is awesome, I can draw where I want on the page, I can insert text and LaTeX, images... The problem is that there are no links, and it is conceived to be used as a regular notebook (documents occupying several pages). It is a pain to use it with several short files.

For me the best combination would be we an app with the writing flexibility of xournal++, with the link capabilities of obsidian.

• edited October 23

@Will said:
@Eloi what software are you using? For any that except an image you could use a photograph.

Where have I seen that countably infinite union before? I just tried Obsidian (hereinafter termed 'Absurdian') on an Android phone. Inline $(\LaTeX)$ renders without backslash left- and right-parenthesis pairs, which are needed online: $$(`\\backslash\left(\cdots\LaTeX\cdots\backslash\right)\\text{'.})$$

Absurdian works with DropSync linked to my Dropbox Zettelkasten directory. Great choice: I used this software configuration to partially overwrite my Zettel format Zettel. (I wish The Archive were available for phones. Maybe not worth the effort.)

But to the point: why not write $(\LaTeX)$? Just don't copy entire books of equations, unless you're the author of the book. It's not efficient anyway.

On another Zettel, I mean note, a decent way to handle Folgezettel is to write Markdown bracket links like so:

[[ ID | $( z |_n d )$ ]]

Not that anyone would wish to do this, other than myself.

ZK implemented with Zettlr+Pandoc+MikTeX+Zotero+BetterBibTex. Erdös #2.

• @ZettelDistraction, I plagiarized your "countably infinite union" and hoped you wouldn't notice. Boy, was I wrong? I now see where the formula gets its name.

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• edited October 23

Pardon me, I seem to have lost the thread. There are online interactive graphical mathematics editors that will generate $(\LaTeX)$ (and SVG), such as Mathcha.io, which has some support for character recognition.

@Will said:
@ZettelDistraction, I plagiarized your "countably infinite union" and hoped you wouldn't notice.

That's hardly plagiarism! Anyway, in keeping with the CC-BY-SA philosophy of this site, the post with that formula is explicitly CC-BY-SA. Not merely CC-BY-NC. For my part, it's a protest against the Elseviers of the world, second only to learning enough Dutch to swear at Elsevier's executives in their own language.

Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

ZK implemented with Zettlr+Pandoc+MikTeX+Zotero+BetterBibTex. Erdös #2.

• @ZettelDistraction My dutch doesn't go far, I only remember a warning sign of an electrical fence actually, so I'd personally settle for catchy tagline-style imperatives:

Elsevier: Net Anpaaken

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

• @Eloi To convert printed or handwritten math, text, tables, or chemical diagrams (from paper, images, PDFs) to LaTeX, DOCX, Overleaf, Markdown, Excel, ChemDraw, …, have a look at https://mathpix.com/.

• @Eloi, I use https://mathpix.com/ for LaTeX conversions of hand-drawn equations to LaTeX.
Here is a sample swiped from this tread and it takes no time to do this.

Again I flagrantly stole @ZettelDistraction's equation but at least this time I followed CC-BY-SA. How did we devolve into this? Please stop swearing in Dutch, my keyboard is sitting in a pool if laughing tears?! 🤣

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• edited October 24

Here is a TikZ diagram, courtesy of the online drag-and-drop $(\LaTeX)$ editor at https://www.mathcha.io. The site also licenses a desktop version of the editor, which I might obtain.

I was so absorbed with this I forgot to upgrade Zettlr to version 2.0, which is supposed to facilitate modifications to the LaTeX preamble (I want to add packages) and possibly extend the KaTeX interpreter.

Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

ZK implemented with Zettlr+Pandoc+MikTeX+Zotero+BetterBibTex. Erdös #2.

• Thanks for all the responses!

@ZettelDistraction said:
Pardon me, I seem to have lost the thread. There are online interactive graphical mathematics editors that will generate $(\LaTeX)$ (and SVG), such as Mathcha.io, which has some support for character recognition.

I didn't know about Mathcha, I love it, but the only think that I miss, is the ability to make links between notes... Can I use it in some way to build my Zettelkasten?

@msteffens said:
@Eloi To convert printed or handwritten math, text, tables, or chemical diagrams (from paper, images, PDFs) to LaTeX, DOCX, Overleaf, Markdown, Excel, ChemDraw, …, have a look at https://mathpix.com/.

I know about mathpix, it works very well. The problem I have is that I normally write by hand directly in the computer, and I don't find a good way to make a zettelkasten where I can draw in an easy way... I also know https://webdemo.myscript.com/views/math/index.html It is very good, but it I miss a lot of symbols, and I need to have a browser tab open with it...

@ZettelDistraction said:
Here is a TikZ diagram, courtesy of the online drag-and-drop $(\LaTeX)$ editor at https://www.mathcha.io. The site also licenses a desktop version of the editor, which I might obtain.

Very nice, I didn't know mathcha could do tikz this well, nice to know. I used https://tikzcd.yichuanshen.de/ since the diagrams I need are normally commutative diagrams.

I still miss a good Zettelkasten program that can handle handwritten notes (directly on the computer) in a good way. I want to type some text (so I can search words), and being able to write LaTeX is definitely a plus, but what is more important for me is to be able to draw directly on the note (as in https://midterm.app/ or in https://xournalpp.github.io/), and I want to be able to set links between notes.

• @Eloi

Have you tried handwriting on a tablet (e.g., an iPad). I do that for many types of notes. It is then a simple matter to convert handwritten equations into text.

• I write them on the computer with a wacom and using xournalpp. The problem is making a zettelkasten with the notes.