Zettelkasten Forum

Title in the body of the note...why?

You can file this one under "dumb questions," but remind me again why the common practice is to have the UID/note title in the body of the note as well as the filename.

Is it a future-proof thing? For systems that only search the body and not the filename?


  • Personally, the file name title is there as a quick reminder of the note's contents. Sometimes, the proper name that I want to give the note is too long to be a very useful file name, so I put it in the note itself and use an abbreviated file name.

    As for the UID, I find it useful in The Archive, specifically. If I put the note's UID in double brackets, I can click on that "link" to automatically filter the file list to show other notes that link to this note--a sort of backlink via search.

  • @prometheanhindsight has some fabulous reasons promoting the practice of including a title as a header in a zettel. Repeating the file name as the title isn't a requirement. My understanding is Luhmann didn't include a title, just a UUID on each zettel.

    I find a title useful and I have my Keyboard Maestro templating macros insert the initial title. Often I edit the title and most of the time add a subtitle.

    But in The Archive, I find a title in the zettel imperative.

    Will Simpson
    My zettelkasten is for my ideas, not the ideas of others. I will try to remember this. 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.

  • The original reason was for redundancy.

    • Some apps will not show the file name in the editor window (like The Archive). It allows for better scanning. Especially, when you have a narrow file list. So, it makes you more app independent.
    • It gives you more options if you want to apply some scripts. (e.g. sometimes you can just focus on either the content of the files or the titles or include both)
    • It protects against accidental changes of the filename.

    I am a Zettler

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