Tinderbox Forum

Linking questions

I have browsed through various documents and have the following questions that are all related to a workflow I am trying to achieve: decouple the note display to the note “linkage” (done from within the note: ziplink).

For instance I would have a note with a title in plain readable text as well as an attribute with a unique string (ex: date-based string SB20220217202133A) and I could use a “ziplink” to point to the unique value.

  • Can $Name not be the displayed attribute/title of a note ? (I am reading about $DisplayName but not clear at this point)
  • Can a note link to another note’s attribute that is not $Name ? (ex: [[$aTag==“SB20220217202133A”]])
  • I have this expression in a prototype “onAdd”[1] but it does not seem to achieve my expected result (put the newly typed name into the user attribute): [1] $TimeStamp=$Name


#1. $Name is displayed by default. $DisplayName is an alternate only created, by the user choosing to do so. A trivial example is making a container list its number of chid notes at the end of the display name [sic], thus the term.

#2. No, because, linking actions involve supplying on of: a $Name (if unique) or $Path (if not unique) or—less usually, a note’s UID ($ID).

#3. “…(put the newly typed name into the user attribute…” The OnAdd acts on notes added to a note, i.e. its children. You either need to place that code in the parent container, or use a rule or edict to set $TimeStamp.

Thank you Mark,
I’ll keep searching.

I think it might help us if you could describe a little more about what you’re trying to do.

There might be ways to accomplish what you want that differ from your initial design. For example, you ask

Can a note link to another note’s attribute that is not $Name

You can’t do that. But perhaps the value you’re storing in $aTag could be represented as a note — perhaps linked to or referred to by the corresponding note. Or, perhaps you don’t really want to do this with zip links — after all, typing [[SB20220217202133A]] isn’t going to be a lot of fun.

Hello Mark,

For a few months, I have been trying to use something related to the Luhmann’s methodology to manage my notes. Up until a few weeks ago, I used DevonThink. I am trying now to add the visual representation features of Tinderbox to help me increase my grasp of what I write. To give some background those notes are meant to help me write and paint a graphic novel.

I am not a mouse-person (many many years with emacs) and clicking and dragging the mouse to get a link in place is not my first choice. The zip links, which I already used in DT, seem like a great solution. I agree that typing the time stamp would be a show stopper; I currently use keyboard maestro to get the job done. ( I would assume TB could do the job also?).

The downside of using the time stamp as link: Titles and links in the text are meaningless,

So I have been using a combination where $Name would be:

“This is a Note - SB20220218191534A”

Now the downside listed above becomes: Titles and links in the text are meaningful, yet a bit long and ugly,

With one obvious added problem: I can no longer adjust the natural language part of the $Name content as my links would break.

To summarize, I would like to

  • Have clear plain English note “visible” titles,
  • link between notes using zip links or any other mechanism that would have the link clickable in the text,
  • have those zip links be somewhat readable,
  • be able to change the note “visible” titles without breaking links

I am certain I am biased in my approach and am willing to turn the problem upside down if needed . I have been using TB for 2 weeks roughly and just finished a first pass on “The Tinderbox Way” (I liked it). So I have much to learn.


I have dabbled with the Zettelkasten method using various programs, and (for my use case at least) I came to the conclusion that unique ID numbers in the name of the note were not useful, though this does depend to some extent on what software you use, and how closely you want to follow the methodology. I’ve been keeping my notes in DEVONthink, in markdown files, and I put the UUID in the header and also in the body of the text. Any links just use the name of the file or note. (As an aside, “Ziplink” is a Tinderbox concept, and does not refer to a kind of link, but to the method of creating the link. This has led to a little confusion on the forums.)

Anyway, if I were implementing a Zettelkasten in Tinderbox, and I wanted each note to have a UUID, I would just create a User Attribute called MyUUID, and put the UUID in that (though each note in a Tinderbox file has an ID number anyway). Then you could create links using easily understandable names.

@philippecmartin love to see this. There are so many ways to perform linking in Tinderbox. Personally, the Ziplink methods, based on what I “feel” you’re trying to accomplish is not the primary but rather a tertiary approach.

Have you see my video library: Mastering Tinderbox: Training Videos (Complete List).

Here is one one linking:

At this point, It think it would be best if we were to hop an a zoom to discuss your project and quickly cut through the noise to a suggested workflow. I’m happy to share the 5Cs of the knowledge management process that I’ve been developing, An end-to-end Professional, Academic, & Personal 5Cs of Knowledge Management Workflow (Updated), which has Tinderbox at it core.

As an aside, I’m just now finishing p a 250-page book that I’ve written in Tinderbox in the last month. I suspect our conversation will bear fruit for both of us.

Message me through the forum and let’s setup a call.

We can then circle back with the community with what we come up with.

Thanks Michael.

I have seen quite a few of your videos (thanks - very helpful), including the one you mentioned - will do another pass on that one.

I feel I need to spend more time doing my homework and add many more notes (critical mass) before I can adjust my “strategy”. I will certainly contact you when I get there:)



@philippecmartin No problem. Be sure to check out the automated note creation strategy I’ve suggested. Works great for generating terms, associated, entities and concepts.

1 Like