Zettelkasten Forum

[REQUEST] File Transclusion: Including topic notes in a higher note

edited February 2019 in The Archive

I know there has been discussion of folding notes here in the forum. What I am wondering is whether there is already a method for referring to a note that will expand the note contents in place.

I'm not explaining this well, but rather like the way you can create an overarching document in Marked by using this formatting:


If you want to edit, you still have to open the individual note, but it makes it easy to read through.

Post edited by ctietze on


  • An alternative to that (which I would be very happy with and I think is planned according to the roadmap): You put a link to the note where you want to unfold it, a click on the link opens the note, and you can come back to the original note / parent note with a "back"-button (browser-type navigation). It just needs to be made sure that by clicking the "back"-button you arrive at the same place in the note where you originally clicked on the link.

    Please correct me if I misinterpreted the feature roadmap...

  • That would be good too.

  • @Jeremy the functionality you describe is called "transclusion". Since it works in Marked, and using the MultiMarkdown tool itself, do you want to request this as a feature for The Archive?

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

  • Yes to transclusion.

  • I don't really see the advantage over the alternative I described in my post above. And I suspect that it would be more difficult to implement? Would it also require more computational resources and thereby make things slower?

  • I was asking because this is posted in "Knowledge Processing" and not clearly marked a feature request. I moved this discussion now because it seems to lean towards the latter.

    In general, file transclusion is useful to split projects into separate files. That's useful for writing, or compiling a draft. What would it mean if note A contains note B via transclusion? It's weird. We haven't planned to support this in The Archive @Vinho because your approach of linking is the way to create connections.

    Upcoming writing tools and scripts are supporting transclusion e.g. so you can create books from multiple files.

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

  • Thanks for giving my desire a name. I think of transclusion as something I need when I am processing a group of notes into more of an article.

    One thing I could try is to have a "structure" note (not in the sense usually intended here) and open that in Marked. I suppose the real problem is to get back to the source of the transcluded note to make changes. Scrivener actually works quite well for that.

  • Yes, for writing this is excellent and we plan to work on that eventually. But at the moment, we don't plan to make this part of the note management itself.

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

  • @ctietze when you do this, I would like to request that you use the multimarkdown transclusion syntax that's already been developed. That way I don't have to change all my notes that already use this :)

  • @mediapathic Of course :)

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

  • @ctietze Well, to be clear, there are other protocols that have been suggested, so you might have gone with one of the others had I not asked :)

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