Automatically timestamp new notes

Is it possible to automatically timestamp each new note as it is created?

I watched the meetup on zettelkasten (interesting session) and think this would be useful for that, since then I could create tinderbox notes and they would have the unique handle automatically

I’m not sure where to look for this, thanks

Every note has a Displayed Attribute “Created” that is automatically set to the date and time of its creation. You can easily display it and refer to it / use it in action code as $Created.

Thank you very much Andreas. It is already there, great!

Now I see, I was only seeing the attributes in the reference prototype when looking at the note attributes

To see this as well I have to check the general>created attribute and it is there. I guess to see it all the time I would need to make a prototype that included it.

thanks for answering my newbie question.

As @abusch notes, a date time stamp is in $Created. If you want it exactly like in The Archive, then you want to do a little more. Let’s assume $Created is the date 2018-03-14 at time 21:15:34, so you want a slug of text like 20180314211534. This code will achieve that, in this case putting the result in attribute ‘MyString’:

$MyString = $Created.format("yM0Dhmms");

But, before copying that into your Tinderbox zettelkasten ask yourself if you are slavishly following the appearance of the technique in a less powerful tool or implementing the concept.

As the presenter at the last meet-up admitted, the ‘style’ of putting this date-time string at the start of note titles is actually working round limitations of the system they use. So, things like nvAlt and The Archive (and a number of other PKMs) don’t have a data file. Instead they can only look at a folder of plain text files, where one file == one note. That makes it hard to files in date (or reverse date) order, so the date/time slug is added for sorting purposes. Having done that hindsight allows one to imbue all sorts of magic properties to its presence. But, you might well put that same date (with or without time) in the body of the note is form more easily read by eye: in the USA that might be “March 14, 2018’, elsewhere " 14 March 2018”. The point being is the info informative to you as the record user?

Meanwhile, Tinderbox can sort notes in $Modified (or reverse $Modified) order so you don’t need a 12-digit prefix to all your note titles just for sorting.

And so on… When implementing the concept in you TBX, stop to consider what is legacy format constraint. If you replace your horse-and-cart with a truck, does that mean you should never travel faster that the horse could, or carry more load than the horse could pull? So, you can put the reverse-date-time string at the from also all names but it’s not needed in Tinderbox. Beyond that it’s a matter of choice.

The code of the zettelkasten process is thinking about what why you want a note on a topic and making sure you create that clearly one in your system and cross-ref to it as necessary. Tinderbox can do that and you don’t even have to mess around with Markdown’s plodding square-bracket link notation link notation—Tinderbox has richer tools. and cross linking the notes—and Tinderbox sure knows how to link.

So trying to mimic The Archive in Tinderbox is to drive your race car in first great. But it doesn’t stop you using the concentration of thought implicit in the zettelkasten method in your TBX.

Want tags/categories, etc., to enrich your annotation and classification? Tinderbox has $Tags built-in for the unadventurous but you can add as many user attributes as you want.

†. The affordance of faux-styling Markdown in the app doesn’t alter the fact that it is a plain text file with no other (meta)data in it bsiedes the content of the note.


Thanks Mark. What you say makes a lot of sense.

My concern is that I cannot use tinderbox on an iPad or iOS so I would like my zettelkasten entries on those devices to stand alone, e.g using 1Writer.

I am trying to figure out how to use tinderbox even with devices that don’t support it by using conventions that make sense in those cases.

This will require more thought on my part.

I’m also looking at emacs org-roam but I don’t think that will work on iOS (even with “not emacs”)

It is possible to export notes from a Tinderbox file in a variety of formats, including OPML, HTML and others. Some of the training videos deal with this, and there are various discussions on the forum regarding export – even example Tinderbox files that are set up to do it.

Yes, exporting the is trivial but syncing is not possible unless you import all the external files and over-write the notes in Tinderbox. You could even export notes such that the creation date-time were amended to the stand-alone TXT files you’d need. Likewise you could export any Tinderbox attribute values as part of the text of the exported files.

Whilst the load of doing zettel-like notes is trivial it’s not Tinderbox’s core role. By comparison the bigger tasks people do in Tinderbox would tax phones and iPads which have lower powered CPUs than a desktop Mac. Scaling from desktop to iOS means effectively making a new app with limited functionality, which begs the question of ROU (especially as the vendor would now be supporting tow similar seeming but different products). So if run-everywhere/anything is your key task, I’d not use Tinderbox.

what I want to do is be able to jot down a note wherever I am and then maybe do something more intelligent with it once I get it into tinderbox, but I don’t want to be always in front of my computer. For example I’m sitting somewhere reading a newspaper and want to make some notes about certain articles.

Apple Notes works but then is pretty unstructured, so I think I could use 1writer with a convention then pull it into tinderbox later.

You could also use Drafts app. There is a video about that here: Tinderbox Training Video 63- Export Drafts Note to Tinderbox


Yes, I use Drafts. It is amazing.

Well, thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is exactly what I was looking for. I started the thread with a broken solution but ended up thanks to everyone with an awesome approach.

The video and sample files were very helpful. Thank you.

amazing stuff.