Zettelkasten Note-Taking System

Do you create an ‘index’ to track your cards/notes? >> https://zettelkasten.de/posts/idea-index-journal-fiction/

I’m having a hard time to create an index,as I have thousands of different notes/cards/articles/bookmarks,etc! It is gonna take a lot of time and energy! :frowning:

For those who are interested in, you can watch this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOSZOCoqOo8&t=33s


@elitely I suggest you create a project(s) in your situation. Because it definitely takes time to review all of them.

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I just downloaded the sample of How to Take Smart Notes a couple of days ago. I’ll check it out after I finish my current books.

I update some of my images sometimes, but the general way it works is the same.

I think the RGB system was by r30. I’ll have to go back and reread that one. :slight_smile:

The site has been online for about 10 years and sometimes people come and go as their lives and interests change.

I like the idea of paper notes. I might experiment with it. My only worry is that it might require a large time investment.

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what are those atm?

  • Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman (ebook)
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen (paper)
  • The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould (audiobook)

I don’t wake up easily, so I listen to some of an audiobook before I get out of bed. I read ebooks on my phone whenever I get a moment. The paper book is for the evenings.

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I think the RGB system was by r30. I’ll have to go back and reread that one

Oh that’s right.

The site has been online for about 10 years and sometimes people come and go as their lives and interests change.

Honestly, Batman is one of the guys who knows what he is talking about.

My only worry is that it might require a large time investment.

It depends on your goals. I think it’s all right. You can have a look at this one commonplace book by Ryan Holiday

Writing by hand is just different. Surely, it’s not scalable.

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There is a piece of free software that attempts to mimic the card index style of Zettelkasten.

The features are that it encourages short notes, with an extra place for you to record thoughts about the notes, card numbering, keywords (rather like tags) and author and source attribution.

The user interface is clunky and unforgiving; the documentation minimal (unless you read German). But that may be deliberate; you have to go and look at previous notes in order to link them correctly, so you continue to refresh your knowledge.

Available here

I suppose you could use pretty much any note taking software to put together your own Zettelkasten system. Using Evernote you can associate notes with tags, or have hard links between notes, or even have your own free text based search using whatever method you like. OneNote could be made to do the same.

This subject really caught my eye, so I’m going to dig a bit deeper and see how I can put it to use.

I am a bit of a hoarder of information, but it’s rarely organised and assimilated correctly. I have an Evernote notebook that started well tagged then just got overwhelming. I now rarely refer to it, as a google search is often faster and gets me the info I need.

Hopefully I’ll find something in here to help me improve the situation.

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Zettelkasten,as far as I understand,is more than just creating ‘tags’. It is more of creating ‘meaningful’ links among multiple related thoughts/notes! Each Zettelkasten note is very short, and focused on only one idea written by the note-creator with his own words! In this case,it is similar to “Feynman Technique”. But it extends the Feynman technique further by creating “meaningful” links among related notes!

For example,in the screenshot below,I’m showing my “Zettelkasten” notes on my office work related stuff.

In the green square box in my image,I created a tag on “MVA(Motor Vehicle Accident)”. Then I created “related and meaningful” connection among all the notes related to Motor Vehicle Accident. The tag “MVA” is not enough. I needed to connect all notes that are directly or indirectly related to the concept of MVA,and even other ‘concepts’.

I could also create connections with related topic(Tags)like “Insurance policy on MVA” or “Human Behavior”,etc! This way,my notes not only stay connected,but also,I can expand my understanding of the related topics!

Creating Zettelkasten notes,links is hard and time consuming(as you have to ‘think’ a lot for creating meaningful connection and notes). But it is worth it…

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Thanks for the explanation.
So what software is that you’re using?


It is “Notion” that I used. I find “Notion” a great tool for creating linked Database. I can do everything I want(from task management,todo,notes,bookmark,etc to different types of system settings) in Notion…In past,I also used “Evernote and OneNote”,too. But I have left these two and now I am converting my notes from Evernote and OneNote to Notion,because Notion is superior in many aspects to those two tools…Besides,Notion is free! I love “Notion”. I find it awesome! It dramatically changed the way I work everyday now!

You can directly import all of your EverNote’s notes into Notion…

Other two great tools are:


Roam Research is pricey,btw. But both Notion and Obsidian are free for personal use… :slight_smile:


One thing you may want to consider is: are your zettels future proof?

One of the main ideas about a zettelkasten is that you use it for your entire life. So people worry that vendor specific data formats used to save your data (besides locking you to the vendor) may become unavailable in the future (perhaps decades from now) for many reasons.

And so some zettelkasten users prefer that the data is stored as plain text files (typically using markdown text), which can be read by anything and is most likely as future proof as you can get.


Both “Notion” and “Obsidian” let the users store the data in .txt or .md formats. Not sure about Roam Research though…

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I tried Obsidian and it looks interesting. I’m trying to find a way to do something similar with my notes in Vim and saw these posts:

I’m still looking for a way to create visual graph of notes like in Obsidian by using a script on the markdown files. If an existing tool doesn’t exist, it might be easy enough to extract the links and draw it with graphviz.


This video is interesting.


Most topics here are more about memorization. Zettlkanstern method expand beyond momorization to understanding, creation, etc.
Notion and Roam are two interesting applications. I started to use Notion recenlty inspired by this guy:

I also noticed that there’s a Anki plugin connected to Notion called “notion2anki” created by a boy:


You are right…Zettelkasten is a cool way to be more creative and have a deep understanding of the subject matter.

I use both “Notion” and “Obsidian”. Though,I like “Notion” and use it everyday,I think, among all three(Notion,Roam Research and Obsidian), Obsidian is the most suitable tool for Zettelkasten system. And I believe,Obsidian is gonna overtake the other two, Notion and Roam,in coming days… :slight_smile:

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Since it hasn’t been discused in this post, I want to introduce RemNote here.

I can’t recommend Remnote enough, you have (basically) all the functionality of Roam Research, plus spaced repetition (I still prefer to have it done separately in Anki, but use Remnote for “programmed attention” of fleeting notes, which is another topic), and for FREE (at least for the time being, but as the video you shared says, anyone subscribed now will forever have access to all the features currently developed). Currently you can install it in your computer as a WPA (Web progressive app) from Chrome, so you can use it offline, with all the notes in your hard drive, plus the normal cloud storage. Hahaha, not trying to make a sales pitch, just glad you find it interesting. Excellent resource for Zettelkasten kind of work. By the way, the learning curve is very not-steep (I believe people tend to say it the wrong way, hahaha, a steep learning curve express a very easy learning process), but is definitely well worth it!

I’m quoting myself in another post. Here is a brief introduction video:

Hope it helps.


This is something new for me. Thanks for sharing these useful resources!

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