A short review on Zettlr (open source Zettelkasten app)

I serendipitously stumbled on another Zettelkasten desktop application called Zettlr. Perusing the online forum over at Zettelkasten.de, I had noticed that at least three of four members repping the app in their signatures. Naturally, I was curious so I followed the scent on the trail and loaded up the Zettlr website in my browser.

After skimming through the description, I decided to test drive the application.

And so far, I am really loving the application. It’s beautiful. It’s use friendly. It sparks joy.

Sure, the application is still in an infancy and has a few rough edges: the application fails to open up external third party application links (e.g. DevonThink) and the support for markdown tables is clunky at best and sometimes the cursor lags behind when I’m typing at my top speed. However, none of these issues are deal breakers. And I’m certain that, overtime, the application’s performance will be improved.

Top features

Keyboard shortcuts. Want to generate a unique identifier for your note card? Type in “CTRL + L” and the app will spit out a timestamp that serves as a unique ID for other cards to reference. Just plain awesome. How about inserting a markdown hyperlink? Well, just select some text and then press “CTRL + K”, the text converted to a markdown based hyperlink. And these two shortcuts are just the tip of the iceberg.

Built-in statistics. Check out at a glance how many words you are writing daily.

Writing is on fire!


Built in emojiis. I didn’t anticipate that I would enjoy inserting emojiis into my documents. Of course, I don’t over do it and only sprinkle them sparingly. Regardless, they add a nice little touch, a spark of joy in the creative writing process.

Auto-generated table of contents. By marking down your content with appropriate headings, you get a beautiful table of contents located in the side bar (which renders the emojiis nicely too).

Zettlr: Emojii support and auto-generated table of contents

Wrapping up

Overall, I love the application so far (again: it’s only been about 3 days). I’m certain I’ll discover other blesmishes as I continue to use the application. Regardless, Zettlr allows me to enjoy creating content: I’m able to achieve a sense of flow, often losing myself in the process, thanks to both the aesthetically pleasing interface as well as the low cost of context switching between reading, editing, writing and searching.