Zettelkasten Forum

New here! Starting up the Zettelkasten.

Hallo zusammen!

I am a german actuary in his early forties with a doctorate in (pure) mathematics.

I like to read and think about what I read. I want to learn the Zettelkasten Method to help me with that, to curate lines of thought in my (many) areas of interest, make new connections, and see what comes up over time. If something worthwhile does come up, I would also like to dabble a bit in non-fiction writing.

My start-up setting for the Zettelkasten:

  1. Fleeting Notes are handwritten (either in my notebook or blank slips of paper that double as bookmarks).
  2. Zotero as a reference system and storage for finalized proper literature notes.
  3. Obsidian as a Zettelkasten (but still using the 'Folgezettel'-system).

In addition, I mark the number of the permanent notes in my Zettelkasten each day, together with the hours I worked with the Zettelkaste Method (aiming for at least three).

Looking forward to learning from/with you!


  • Hi, @Grayskull.
    I want to welcome you to the forums. The method can't help but "curate lines of thought," especially with your dedication to the project. Making zettelkasting a habit is key to success.

    Your setup is similar to mine.
    1. I highlight passages and create marginalia directly in my books. For books I borrow from the library, I use a post-it flag or sometimes a light pencil dot to make relevant passages I want to revisit on the second reading. Sometimes I use a notebook, and sometimes I directly capture ideas via the keyboard directly into the zettelkasten. I recommend not limiting yourself to the methods of capture. They all have a place.
    2. Zotero is my reference manager.
    3. I use The Archive, which is, as far as I can tell, similar to Obsidian, only more uncomplicated.

    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.

  • @Will said:
    3. I use The Archive[:] similar to Obsidian, only more uncomplicated.

    That's funny--suitable as a marketing slogan too. It's also true.

    @Grayskull I'm in a similar boat: math PhD, also using Folgezettel, but generalized. I also settled on a branching Table of Contents consisting of structure notes.

    I've tried Obsidian, but Zettlr has better LaTeX and Zotero support. My setup is Zettlr+Pandoc+MiKTeX+Zotero+BetterBibTeX. I also use WinEDT. My setup is described in more detail in my github wiki.

    LaTeXing math is time-consuming, which has led me to adopt a compressed style.

    Incidentally, Zettlr implemented a fix as of 2.2.6 which makes it usable for Markdown+LaTeX. Previously it was too slow to work with documents of any length. If I had a decent Mac with the M2 processor, I'd be using The Archive. I purchased a license anyway as a modest show of support for @ctietze and @Sascha.

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

  • @ZettelDistraction said:
    I purchased a license anyway as a modest show of support for @ctietze and @Sascha.

    Your sweetness is giving me instant diabetes, thanks! :kissing_heart:

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

  • edited June 2022

    Now why did that bright idea not strike me?!
    I have also gained enough knowledge and help in the short time I have been here, that it deserves my support!

    Happy to say I’ve copied @ZettelDistraction and bought myself a copy of the Archive :)
    (even though even I cannot use it. I’ve weaned myself off the Mac)
    Thank you @ctietze and @Sascha for all you do.

    Also, welcome @Grayskull! I’ve recently joined here too.
    There’s tons to exploren and learn!

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