Zettelkasten Forum

Feature request: Temporary bookmarks

Hi! First of all, thanks for a fantastic app!!

When creating a new note on a specific topic, for example outlining a blog post, I would like to simplify the process of finding the most relevant notes to include in that outline.
Let’s say the post will be about ”what happens in the brain in hot weather”.
Then I might do an Archive search on ”brain”, which will then render 55 notes, let’s say. As of today, I have two options:
1. Check the content of notes that might be right for my purpose. One at a time. Once i discover a note which I’d like to include, I need to copy that note’s link, go back to the blog post note, then go back to the search result list again to find another relevant note, then copy that link too etc.
2. Hold the command key (mac) and select the notes I want to include, and then copy and paste them all at once into the blog post note. However, this works only if the note titles are perfectly written, clearly communicating the full value of each note, so I don’t even have to look at what’s inside.
What I’m suggesting is an easier way (including a keyboard shortcut) that would allow me to arrow down through the search results, and for each note I find relevant, use a temporary bookmark as to say ”this note I find relevant”, then keep going through the search rendered list. After a couple of minutes I might have 12 notes bookmarked, which i could then either multi-select and copy or, in the blogpost note, choose ”paste links of the bookmarked notes”.
Hope this makes sense. :)


  • Sounds like a job for flagging.

  • edited July 2019

    The best hack to "flag" stuff in notes comes from Merlin Mann:

    My trick is to end the file name of all my most frequently used or referenced files with a certain number of “q"s. Why?

    If I type "qq,” I whittle down to 15 or so greatest hits. If I type “qqq,” I narrow down to an even more rarefied handful of really important files. And, so on, until “qqqqq” takes me to exactly one “agenda” file where I throw anything I need to capture or do today, but only have a second to grab.

    Why “q?”

    • It’s right under my left thumb on the iPhone.
    • No English word I use contains more than one “q”

    That's how Sascha and I kept our fingers between the pages, so to speak, for a couple of years. Instead of the app maintaining a special state for you, add a temporary search-marker like qqq to flag something and then get back to the collection in no time (from anywhere)!

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

  • Thank you! That works great for finding notes I use frequently. To not get those mixed up with these temporary needs (I want these notes highlighted just for a few minutes or so), I'll use qqf -- meaning "flagged" note -- which allows me to easily render a list of those notes I need to copy. The only problem I can see with this workaround is that the qqf stays in the note after it's been used. If I need to use one of those flagged notes later, for another blog post, I need to remember to make some other change in that note to have it appear among the most recent notes when doing the qqf search.

  • edited July 2019


    To get rid of the temporary markers fairly quickly, you can use the following commands in Terminal to replace string 1 with string 2 (also good for changing tags and other things):

    cd ~/Dropbox/Zettelkasten
    perl -pi -w -e 's/string1/string2/g;' *.md

    The first command changes the directory to your Zettelkasten-folder (probably needs to be adjusted in your case).
    The second command in your case would be "qqf" instead of "string1" and nothing instead of "string2", so the second line is perl -pi -w -e 's/qqf//g;' *.md

    I guess it would be possible to make a Keyboard Maestro macro for this that just asks you for string 1 and string 2 and then does all the rest in order to make the process a bit quicker.

  • I just tried to build the macro mentioned in the post before and had an awful experience that I can't explain at all: Foolishly, I didn't test the macro before I executed it and it completely destroyed all the notes in my zettelkasten :s Here is the evil macro (don't execute it ;)):

    I just entered "qqqf" for the variable oldstring and left the other variable blank. All my notes looked like this afterwards, a lot of letters and sometimes entire words had just been removed – seemingly randomly. I have no clue as to what happened:

    Fortunately, I had most of my zettels backed up, but the notes from the last 10 days (about 50) are basically gone...


    • Back up my zettels more regularly (obvious, I know...)
    • Test KM macros with unfamiliar elements in a harmless environment before letting it loose in your zettelkasten.
    • Zettel IDs in the format YYYYMMDDHHMM in the file names have proven very useful to rebuild some of my lost zettels: File names weren't affected by the destructive changes and I could easily find out what notes I had lost.

    Does anyone have an idea as to what went wrong here? The command I posted in the previous post works if I just execute it in Terminal...

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