Zettelkasten Forum

Neat scripts & techniques


You can certainly have a digital zettelkasten without any special tools, but tools are often fun avocation in themselves. I thought that I could start a thread to collect the neat things people have scripts for. Here are few of mine that I like:

  • Hotkey to search for sibling zettels and to quickly navigate to them. That is, the hotkey searches for all zettels that link to the one I'm viewing. Then it presents me with a list of zettels these linking ones link to. I use this for finding stuff that I know is out there but I can't remember keyword for. Also, it helps in avoiding duplicate zettels and it is fun way to navigate through the zettelkasten.

  • Navigate hotkey. Since I don't do bidirectional links I have a link jumping thingy that shows me backlinks also. This has been bit superseded by the previous one though.

  • A script to search for stuff that isn't linked from anywhere. When studying articles I often make quick notes that I simply drop to zettelkasten without links and stuff, because adding these would make me lose track on what I'm reading. This reminder script will occasionally point me to unlinked stuff and request that I link to it. I think this helps me to structure stuff better, but I also find it kind of interesting and thought provoking to answer arbitrary questions like 'what relates to topic of hantaviruses?'

  • Origin links. I've set up my system so that when adding zettels they get automatically linked back and forth to the one I'm currently viewing. Turns out, this allows me to start each zettel without mandatory and boring description of the context. If the origin is 'transactional distance learning' then the zettel can be called 'distance' without much of a risk of being confused with physical measures. Kinda like a folgezettel, but not so much aimed for linear progression

Do you have anything simple or neat I could steal ideas from?

... I'm a bit new here, so I might have just failed to find a similar discussion. If that is the case, please disregard.


  • In the other recent thread on vim zettelkasten, I posted a video of how I constructed my zettelkasten in vimwiki with many personalized scripts, including e.g. automatic insertion of backlinks. They are essentially just a bunch of basic shell scripts using grep, sed and some loops to update the index of zettels. The upside is that is is easily customizable if you know some basics of shell scripting; the downside is that you need to stick to a specific template, so it's prone to error if you don't know the in's and out's of your scripts.

  • @discordian What software do you use to set your digital tools?

  • @DavidWJ said:
    @discordian What software do you use to set your digital tools?

    I made my own: vim + https://github.com/aleator/Zettel-hs.

  • I got an another trivial idea about recent tag discussions. As it turns out, when the slipbox grows the tags are observed to lose power. What use is searching for a tag, if you always get 600 results?

    If you search with multiple tags, you can get more precision. If just 16 tags that you, by some miracle manage to use just optimally, can uniquely identify 65535 different zettels.

    Designing a such set of tags and then using that precisely is possibly impossible, but what about having the zettelkasten program evaluate your tagging scheme for you? For example, when adding tags to a new zettel, you can search for conjunction of all the current tags in a given zettel and count the results. This number will allow you to add tags until necessary precision is achieved.

    The same can be done to all notes to pinpoint those that are easily not searchable by tags.

    ... I'd need only 9 optimal tags, so I can't really evaluate this idea in practise.

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