Tinderbox Forum

Recognizing existing [[ziplinks]] in .md notes imported through Watch > 'Folder from Finder'

I am currently using a ‘Watch’ folder to auto-import notes w/ markdown format created in The Archive. I use The Archive as the first step in my zettelkasten workflow, so in that application, I create a note + link it to other notes w/ the same double bracket [[name of other note]] format as ziplinks. In The Archive this creates a clickable hyperlink to the note w/ that name (also includes a unique ID using datetime format).
After the note is imported into Tinderbox I cannot figure out how to make Tinderbox recognize the [[name of other note]] as a ziplink (i.e. it still has the double bracket [[name of other note]], but it is no longer a clickable link).

It’s a huge hassle to manually re-link in the traditional ziplink fashion- I’m wondering if there is a way to automate the re-linking or if I have to change my workflow and not link to other notes in The Archive application.

On the same note, I’m wondering if there’s a way to auto-recognize #tags in my markdown notes and convert them into a Key Attribute $Tags

For text to tags, have a look at this: http://forum.eastgate.com/t/user-attributes-or-tags/1069/21?u=martinboycott-brown

It might be worth observing that, as far as I understand it, the way things work in The Archive is that you don’t get hyperlinks as such – the text inside the brackets is actually a search. Not that that helps to solve your problem, of course!

From the Welcome note in The Archive:

### Links to Other Notes
If you surround a word or a string with double brackets, The Archive makes it clickable like it does for tags, see: [[201802121037 Welcome to The Archive]] It is a search command you can click on. If you are specific enough with your search term you can link to a specific file. The Archive will automatically display a good match from the search results in the note editor to pull this effect off.

Yes, that is how I remembered it. An advantage of this approach is that you can put the id number alone inside the brackets and still find the note. And that means that you are free to change the text part of the note’s filename if you wish to do so. Indeed, you could put a description after the closing bracket instead of the rest of the filename, and still go to the correct note. It is not really a wikilink, though it looks like one.

Yes, you are correct, thanks for the info on the Tags! I use the [[links]] to other notes more frequently so that’s my primary concern at the moment.

Since it’s not truly a hyperlink, I guess I’m wondering if there’s a way to to recognize the double bracket [[“some text”]] within my Tinderbox Note $Text, copy that text between the [[ ]] (i.e. use the brackets as delimiters) and link the current Tinderbox note to the note with $Name = clipboard text… does that make sense?

If it’s too cumbersome and not worth the effort, I’m definitely open to alternative workflow suggestions. I’m just wondering if it’s possible so I can change up my workflow if needed prior to transferring all my physical notes → a digital zettelkasten.

The reason I like using The Archive as my first pass is it’s a minimalist markdown application and easier for me to stay focused on just writing the note (zettel). I want to use Tinderbox for everything else (i.e. mind maps, drawing connections between notes, using the timeline feature for lit reviews, drafting outlines etc.) but I tend to get distracted by all the cool features whenever I open it up, hence why I’m trying to create a markdown note to Tinderbox note workflow

Tinderbox ziplinks may, in syntax terms look like wiki link mark-up (i.e. as re-used by markdown), but they are not the same thing. Indeed, if you try to make ziplinks, you will notice the result is a Tinderbox in-doc links and not a wiki style [[link]] as the square-brackets, now unneeded, are deleted.

I fear you have fallen into the solecism of assuming Tinderbox works like ‘The Archive’. You don’t give a link, but is it this app? If so, sadly the latter seems to have no online documentation, but is markdown the only export format for ‘the Archive’?

Have you tried using String.contains() to find the [[ ]] sections in $Text and setting a back-reference for the contents of the brackets and using the back-reference with linkTo() to make the links. see the linked articles for more detail.

In fairness to Tinderbox, I’m unaware of Markdown format being treated as an import medium that is parsed, so why should one assume it to be so just because Markdown data is what is most easily to hand at source. You might do better to pick a different export/format method in The Archive as it might make things easier. So many painful ‘import’ problems with Tinderbox are more easily solved by using a more pertinent export format for the source app.

So, the notes you want to add to Tinderbox are on some medium, and you are typing them into The Archive so you can import them into Tinderbox?

Tinderbox and The Archive have about the same amount of clutter (i.e., none) so instead of inflicting the problem discussed in this thread on yourself, why not just add the notes directly to Tinderbox?

You have found the right application, Mark, but have misunderstood how it works. It is based on the core of Notational Velocity, so it “merely” provides a window onto a Finder folder full of plain text files. There is nothing to export, because the notes are not “in” The Archive. Every single note is a separate text file.

I fear I have to disagree with Paul Walters about the appearance of Tinderbox and The Archive. Personally, and it is very personal, I have never really liked the appearance of Tinderbox, and it is one of the reasons why I don’t use it more. It is completely subjective and I don’t really think it is about any measurable amount of “clutter”, just about how it strikes the individual.

That said, I think I would cut the Gordian knot and just work in Tinderbox if that was what I was intending as a final destination.

OK, understood re ‘The Archive’. Thus this—albeit unintentionally—another instance of “Why doesn’t Tinderbox work like [app X]?”.

Tinderbox can preview Markdown. However, this was done, IIRC, to aid those writing in Markdown for export from Tinderbox. IOW, they wanted to see the HTML-render of the Markdown pre-export. Meawhile, Tinderbox uses XML (see here).

So importing Markdown and expecting Tinderbox to make links seems like a feature request in the making as it is assumed—without source evidence—that just because ‘The Archive’ uses Markdown as its storage medium that this is that native format of Tinderbox.

This isn’t me being snarky. I’m just flagging a false assumption before it wastes @oliviarice16’s time chasing a false goal. As per @PaulWalters’ post, this looks like a case where it would be simpler quicker to work in Tinderbox.


  • using Markdown with preview may render the [[ ]] code as in-doc links
  • I’ve given an action code based solution above.

Of these, #2 seems the way to go.

Thank you all (@PaulWalters, @MartinBoycott-Brown and @mwra ) for your input. I apologize for my ignorance, I’ve only been using Tinderbox for a few days (hence why I posted this question under the ‘getting started w/ Tinderbox’ forum) and still have a lot to learn.

I clearly misinterpreted how Tinderbox uses the double brackets ‘[[’ to create a hyperlink to another note.
Other applications I know and use recognize or create intra-document links using ‘[[’. Working under that paradigm, I unintentionally assumed Tinderbox also recognized document links in that way, given its use of the ‘[[’ to initiate ziplinks.
After your feedback, it’s clear why Tinderbox is not auto-recognizing those and I will definitely try out the action code @mwra suggested to alter my pre-existing notes, as well as tweek my workflow moving forward.

Fear not, no antipathy here! FWIW, a [[…]] sequence in Tinderbox has no meaning. If Markdown previewing is enabled they can be used internally (via Text pane preview) but the mark-up, per se has no meaning in Tinderbox.

Aside it begs the question that even if there was introspection of the [[…]] code, what would occur. Of course, if the immediate sense of use it is ‘obvious’, from the app’s (code) perspective I suspect less so.

All that said don’t be dispirited! The app’s history shows Eastgate are open to suggestions. Why not make a submission to Tech Support (info@eastgate.com), explaining your use case to Tinderbox handling of discovered mmdd? over the 16 years(!) I’ve used Tinderbox lots of innovations have occurred that seemed odd at outset.

Having solution for “[[…]]” links in Markdown files would be great, there a new renaissance for Markdown editors having implemented links to other notes that way.

Apart Archive there is also Zettlr and Obsidian (currently in beta), with growing user base. I personally have a huge base of Zettelkasten markdown files. The fact that TB doesn’t support this yes hold me from fully embrace the TB as ecosystem.

Suppose someone drags (or watches) say, 300 short notes into an existing Tinderbox. One note has a link [[<like this>]]. Do we

  • link to the existing note named “like this?”
  • link to the newly imported note named “like this?”
  • link to the first newly-imported note named “like this”, as there may be many?
  • create the backlink?
  • create the backlink only if it hasn’t already been created?

This likely doesn’t exhaust the questions. Add the others, and write them on the back of a 20 dollar bill :slight_smile: or a purchase order :flushed: and send it to Eastgate World Headquarters :grin: