What would make a good zettelkasten plugin?


I use Joplin as a zettelkasten rather extensively. However, I'm a simple-minded non-programmer type of user, so many of the ideas discussed here are over my head. From my naive users' perspective, then, at this time I am LONGING for the following features (in order of priority) before any bells-and-whistles zettelkasten plugin:

  1. Recycle bin, so that one can simply undelete any accidentally deleted notes. Losing your work is the #1 desaster for anyone.

  2. Sync manual sort order of notes across devices. I create zettelkasten-type trains of thought in the form of individual notes within separate notebooks where each notebook is dedicated to some specific topic. The order of the individual notes within this notebook reflects my logic in developing the train of thought relating to that specific topic. That is, the manual sort order carries crucial semantic information. And I find it very important to be able to be flexible here, e.g. by purposefully inserting some later note between two earlier notes, so that some numbering scheme in the notes' titles wouldn't work for me.

  3. On devices with sufficiently large screens (i.e. tablets and upwards): An ability to split the note pane into two parts where two different notes can be displayed and edited in parallel. Because when I branch off one zettelkasten train of thought to another, that means that some note (= atomic thought item) within one notebook (= train of thought) has a semantic relationship to some other note in another notebook. And to elaborate (and note down) my thoughts about that semantic relationship, it would be very convenient to be able to see and work on the contents of the two related notes in parallel.

Thanks for reading this! -- Jack


This whole thread fascinates me, this is just the kind of stuff that attracted me to Joplin. In a way I was looking for an alternative to Scrivener, but it amounts to the same thing, organizing and cross-referencing ideas.

This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but if you select your five notes, for example, you can use the Combine Notes plugin to make a combined copy.

It's not a view mode, but it's pretty quick and uncomplicated.

The Convert Text to New Note plugin complements it, being able to send any selected section to a new note.

Scrivener by comparison lets you cut files in half. Useful, but not as flexible.

I second the idea about a recycle bin. Besides avoiding erasing important work accidentally, it can be used very efficiently when cleaning out notes not belonging to the notebook where it currently is located without needing to pay attention to where it should be. That is a task for rework day.
There are some workarounds: In the desktop version, it is possible to install the "Quick move" plugin and define a notebook where notes to relocate are placed. (but it doesn't help against loosing) The terminal version has the possibility to define a keyboard shortcut to move a note to a specific notebook, but keymaps and plugins are not synced. On Android there are no plugins.

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I think a layer of fixed structure is one of the key factors for a good working Luhmann-style Zettelkasten - a form of a productive/creative constraint and a controll-layer against the endless possibilities of linking and tagging - and putting a note next to a accumulation of thematically related notes doesn't require a top-down hierarchie. Luhmann himself describes the growth of his Zettelkasten as a proccess of clumping, or as throwing something into a septic tank and waiting, which theme-clumps the future will bring. I think this is exactly what makes a Zettelkasten more exiting as lets say a Wiki-System with some kind of browser-history. To get that out of Joplin there has to be a structure-option which depicts that some notes are native to the core of a topic, whereas others are gradually more far away, new themes grow out of the themeline and some of them will build the seed for a new themepath in the future etc.

With the custom order feature this is basically already realizable, but still a bit unstable. So for me the development of that feature would be great:


I'm a big fan of Joplin, a big fan of Zettelkasten, so this topic is really interesting to read for me !

Personnaly, I'd suggest a "Transclusion" plugin. It's a really powerful function to be able to see the content of multiple notes together, and is especially wonderful when you want to start putting ideas together into a coherent whole.

@ambrt 's search embed plugin is really close, but it's not really there in terms of usability; in my mind, using transclusion should be very quick, oriented toward individual note links, and should have a way to hide/display the transcluded content at will.

Hence, it could take different forms, but the idea of the plugin should be that when you link a Joplin note in another note, you should be able to see the content of this note without switching. For example, the renderer can display the title of the note with a small arrow next to it, and clicking on the arrow would display the content of the note with a small indent. This could be staked in a way that you could see the content of a linked note in your note, but you could also see the content of another linked note in the linked note, etc.

I imagine that this could be done relatively easily using the HTML details tag. If it is deemed best to separate "transcluded" note links and "normal" note links, I wonder if using the "!" symbol before a joplin note link could do the trick. If I remember, currently, using ! before a joplin link results in a broken link.


Hi @Klemet

Good idea.

Yes I agree with that but I think his plugin was not designed for such intense use.

Yes, that would be a great feature. I imagine you have in mind tools like Obsidian that allow this. If we could already have a right click "open in a new viewer window" it would be very useful to browse your notes.

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Yes, that's exactly what I had in mind : ) !

I agree that having more flexibility and agility in browsing multiple notes (quick and responsive tabs, other windows) would be a great enhancement to Joplin; and not just for Zettlekasten-related activities. I think that the subject has been discussed already multiple time on the forum, but even if I really enjoy the Tab plugin, I still wish for more.

But I guess that a Transclusion plugin would be a much quicker option; which, again, could be use for more than just Zettelkasten things !


I think Joplin will never be a great Zettelkasten tool, because of its basic structure which is build around folders and and sub-folders combined with tags which are not really part of a Zettelkasten

That said every persons applies Zettelkasten or similar methods in very different ways and I think Joplin could be much better in supporting them. As stated before Transclusion and a Graph View are nice features, but for me linking notes together is the main point. I am writing a meeting note and want to reference something from an earlier meeting or I learned something new and want to connect it with some old lectures notes etc. Learning and making sense is about building connections, links between notes.
You can argue that we have plugins for that already, but I think they are not user friendly enough. The backlink plugin does not automatically add backlinks to to the Markdown-Editor and while writing a note I am not always switching between Editor and Viewer pane. Its just difficult to keep track of the connections of a note. The quick links plugin is great. I still think its annoying that it uses @@ and not [[]] , but I got used to that. But its not dynamic. If I change the title of a note the link is not changed and if I click on a link I cannot open them side by side, I always have to go back. But most importantly their is no UI to link to headlines within a note (there is not autocomplete for headlines). In Joplin I write long notes with subheadings. For example I have a long note which deals with LaTeX basics, but when if reference it in another note I want to link to one subheading. In addition to that there is the problem of mobile app support for these features if I want to write a quick note and connect it to something else.

I think the essential features are already available but the implementation is not as easy/straightforward as it is needed for note-taking.


I was going to use [[ initially but for some reason I couldn't, don't remember the details now, some CodeMirror issue.
Of course with enough time it could be changed to use double brackets, but I don't have time for this. Or interest in doing it for that matter.

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I too find this to be lacking, but a workaround is to use the Outline Plugin which when you right-click on a heading, gives you the anchor URL. The biggest issue with this though is you must click to that note, then right-click on the heading, then return. A method of quick-selecting the heading while editing the linking note would be much better.


Backlinks can be shown in a separate panel that is always visible regardless of the active editor.
Look for this option in the preferences panel: "Show backlinks in panel (might require restart)"

So if we translate this to a plugin idea, a plugin that periodically updates all linked titles across your notes would be useful, right?

I guess that tabs are as close as we can get to it right now (when one note is pinned, any linked note from it will open as a new tab).

Indeed, could be nice to have that, or even a complementary plugin that enables you to select a subheading (e.g. from the right-click menu) when the cursor is over an internal link, which will be appended to the link.


Some neccessary and/or handy functionality to build a Zettelkasten (eg linking and backlinking to headlines...) got realizied in the Note-Link-System plugin: https://discourse.joplinapp.org/t/plugin-note-link-system/ I think at least on note-level (inside a note) now you can structure notes perfectly like a classic or some other kind of Zettelkasten.


Hello, after more than one year since this thread had been started, I do wonder what is the current situation in regard to practice Zettelkasten method of note-taking with the help of Joplin?

Personally. I was evaluating Joplin and even subscribed to Basic plan, but, due to various reasons, was experimenting with some other tools...tried Emacs with org-roam, but for some reason it seems I'm more inclined not to be too dependant on the Emacs ecosystem. Then, I was influenced with the Logseq hype, but it also does not fell all right that it's actually just an outliner.

Finally, I returned to Joplin which (easily) allows me to use my preferred external editor and it is getting PDF annotation. Moreover, there are plugins for backlinking, graph view etc. It is truly open-source and very much future-proof, allowing one to migrate to something else it such need would arise.

So, I'd like that we get "Zettelkasten bundle” in order to make it easier to install all the plugins which might be required for taking notes by using Zettelkasten method?

I do firmly believe that Joplin is on par with other note-taking apps like Obsidian - just a short evaluation and Logseq which is becoming very, popular, so by emphasizing that Joplin is Zettelkasten-ready or something it can become even more popular.

Any hint?
Lastly, I hope to fully settle on Joplin and to even upgrade my subscription plan in order to somehow support Joplin and ensure its availability in the future.


I have been away from notetaking for quite a long time while I took care of some health issues.
Having a bunch of unlinked notes is not what I hoped for.

Can Joplin do this presently, either natively through setup or plugins? Can you point me to any relevant video tutorials to aid in establishing a zettelkasten method workflow?

I still have my old unlinked notes in Obsidian, so how would you go about transitioning them to a zettelkasten method in Joplin?

Thanks in advance.

Welcome back! Hope all is well now.

The plugin ecosystem has grown a lot. For linking and back-linking, I recommend the Note Link System plugin (mentioned elsewhere on this thread), and for a nice graph view you could use either this plugin or this one. In addition to the NLS plugin, an expanded panel that includes both back-links and forward-links is available via the Bundle plugin (with some additional features, but keep both plugins installed). One advantage of the latter plugin is that it also detects unlinked mentions (across your notebooks) of the current note based on its title. This feature may help you find where links are needed to be added.

So once your notes are imported from Obsidian to Joplin (you can import a whole directory of Markdown files, optionally with front matter metadata - tags, etc. - for each note, if Obsidian provides this), you may start linking them to one another with the help of these plugins. If this helps, you could use the Random Note plugin to sample from the pile of notes in no particular order.

I don't have a go-to video tutorial (perhaps someone else can recommend), but there are certainly many to choose from, and the techniques used on any app (be that Obsidian, Roam Research, etc.) apply for the most part here as well.


Thanks for bringing me up to date. I came to realize, Zettelkasten is not so much a numerical identification system, but with the digital technology we have now, Zettelkasten method can work in Joplin substituting the cryptic numbers for something we can relate to.
I will let you know how it works out.

This thread is really interesting! Thank you all for the links to relevant plugins!

Another workaround is the Copy Anchor Link, but with the same caveat of having to move between notes.

It's worth mentioning that currently Note Link System allows one to select from the list of headers that exist in the linked note. So there is no longer need to move between notes.


This is a feature that would be also great for the Quick Link plugin. :wink:

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