Zettelkasten Forum

Help for a newcomer

I am new to Zettelkasten, am using The Archive, but am struggling a bit to understand how the system works.

I'm used to using bullet journals and mind maps (iThoughts).

I think I get the general idea but am struggling to see the benefit over a traditional wiki.
CamelBack words look to be a very easy way to set up links between notes, much easier than the timestamped notes.

Can anyone point me towards some simple guides that highlight the benefits?

Also, are there details of what typewriter mode is? It doesn't appear to do anything.


Haywire, UK.


  • @Haywire Hello and welcome to the Zettelkasten.de forum!

    There is a very good "getting started" section here, at which I think you should start:


    Also, if you want a decent overview of the ZK method, a little history and what it does, you can try:




    I found all of these links very useful when I first started creating a ZK, 10 months ago.

    Once you've got the basics under your belt, I encourage you to try writing and connecting some zettels. With a little knowledge and a little experience, you may find the discussions herein more enlightening.

  • edited March 2021

    @Haywire, welcome to the forums.

    I can't speak to the difference between The Archive and a "traditional wiki." But this does bring to mind a useful distinction between methods and tools.

    There is the Zettelkasten Method, and there are tools for implementing the method. The Archive, wiki software, and a plethora of other apps. Some tools are easier to use for some people in some situations with certain constraints and needs. Some tools are more expensive, more complicated, require forfeiting some freedoms.

    The method can be applied in many situations, and which tool you choose matters less than applying the methods correctly.

    In my experience, date-oriented UID's are easier to create than "CamelBack words." Sure one or two "CamelBack words" are easier, but after 100, 1000, or 10000 links, it would be impossible to come up with something unique and require massive mental cycle churn to try. (This piqued my curiosity about my own archive. How many links have I made between notes? It turns out by sprinkling a little pixy dust and a wave of the good old magic wand, and I see I have 6583 links. That would be a lot of CamelCaseWords.)

    Typewriter mode confuses me too. It is supposed to keep the cursor in the middle of the screen by adjusting the window, so you don't have to write at the bottom of the screen. You have to fill half the screen before it takes effect. I had to kick it by turning the setting on and off, but it works great now.

    Below is a resource copied from zettelkasten.de outlining the method and some tips on getting started with The Archive in the last section.

    Getting Started • Zettelkasten Method

    Table of Contents

    1. The Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method
    2. Common Questions
    3. Principles
    4. Knowledge Management

      1. Scaling your note archive
      2. About learning and knowing-more in general
    5. Writing

    6. Reading
    7. History of the Zettelkasten
    8. Tools

      1. The Archive
    Post edited by Will on

    Will Simpson
    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.

  • I now get it.

    Concerning The Archive and other tools.

    The key point (for me),that I now understand, is that The Archiver and other tools are operating solely on txt files in a folder. This is so simple, so safe, as you have no proprietary system (I have been stung by this one several times!).

    Camelbacks would be nice, but it would be very hard to ensure they are unique, so the YYYYMMDDHHSS approach is good (but perhaps The Archiver could have an option to toggle these on and off, to aid legibility).

    I am powering on with The Archiver, adding Zettels and it is working fine.


    I am looking for a matching iOS solution. The best I have at the moment is to use Shortcuts to generate the text files. Unfortunately it can only save them in one location in iCloud, but if I have my whole Zettel collection there, it works.


    Thanks to @GeoEng51 and @Will for the helpful information.


  • edited March 2021

    It is also worth to mention that a Zettelkasten has much more links than a wiki, because a single note does usually not hold enough information to be of encyclopedic value. You'd need to connect several notes for a single wiki entry. Therefore the problem with your unique Camelback links.

    my first Zettel uid: 202008120915

  • @Haywire said:


    I am looking for a matching iOS solution. The best I have at the moment is to use Shortcuts to generate the text files. Unfortunately it can only save them in one location in iCloud, but if I have my whole Zettel collection there, it works.

    There are a number of possibilities for iOS. The one I use (but not the only solution) is this: I store my main Zettelkasten folder in Dropbox, which is of course accessed by The Archive. In iOS, I use a program called 1Writer that lets you set up access to folders stored in the cloud. So, I also give it access to my Zettelkasten folder. When I go into 1Writer, it lists all my zettels. It also can show a list of all my tags.

    I don't use 1Writer for creating zettels but I use it quite a bit for filling or editing zettels.

  • Thanks, @GeoEng51 .

    I too am now using 1Writer. I am saving my Zettels into it's iCloud locations, and pointing my The Archive to that same location. Works well.

    I found this also...very good...: https://mentalpivot.com/automating-zettelkasten-note-creation-on-ios/

  • @Haywire Thanks for that link - good article!

  • @Haywire

    One other thought - another article by Thomas Vik, referenced in the article you posted above, is a good overview of Zettelkasten and has some excellent suggestions for getting started:


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