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Backlinks - Note Mentions
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Backlinks - Note Mentions

Understanding Backlinks

  • Backlinks are links from a source Note to a Target Note creating a link in both directions.
  • The real power of backlinks becomes apparent when a "target" note is "mentioned" by more than one perhaps many "source" notes. When this occurs you create an interconnected web of notes that help you manage knowledge and see connections between your ideas.
  • Backlinks can be created in any paragraph within SpringNotes except Heading paragraphs( denoted by 1-5 # characters) by typing [[ When you do this SpringNotes will complete the text with a matched right pair of ]] and thereafter any text you enter between the double bracket pairs will cause a search across your library and show a pop up helper table that matches your search. To pick a note just scroll down or select the note and the Helper will validate the backlink.
  • To create a backlink to a new, as yet non existent note just type a unique name - a good way to do this is to select the Zettelkasten helper which created a unique ID in the form of YYYYMMDDHHMM for you and if you wish you can continue typing to give this note a human readable title after the unique ID.

Backlink hints and tips

  • It is good practice to name a note within a level 1 heading paragraph denoted by a single "#" followed by a space then "your note name" on the very first line.
  • You don't have to give a note a unique name but it's a good idea to do so. Using the Zettelkasten unique ID for this is totally optional if this fits with your note taking style.
  • If you wish to create a backlink to a note that does not currently exist - this is fine, just type a name within the square brackets that is unique (the helper will disappear) then navigate outside the square brackets and continue typing. Later when you select this backlink SpringNotes will offer to create and auto name the new note for you and navigate to it.
  • You can add backlinks to multiple notes within a single paragraph and this will correctly link those other mentioned noted back to the paragraph. However remember that as the mention is limited to two lines at the top of the note the whole typed paragraph may not display. In practice this rarely matters as selecting it will navigate back to the right paragraph.
  • There are several keyboard shortcuts and toolbar buttons that can help with backlinks.
  • Creating Backlinks
  • 1. To create a backlink type double left square brackets preceded by a space or tap the toolbar button that looks like a double sheet of folded paper.
  • 2. To auto input a Zettelkasten ID use the keyboard shortcut "CMD K" or select the toolbar icon with a z inside a square.
  • Showing or hiding Mentions
  • 1. When you are in a note that is back-linked (mentioned) by a source note the mentions will show at the top of the note. Often when the note has many mentions this can take up valuable editing space so you can toggle the mentions to show or hide with the keyboard shortcut "Shift CMD M"

Technical details

  • Once you select an existing note from the popup helper behind the scenes SpringNotes invisibly stores the unique ID of the actual note and uses this ID - not the name that is between the square brackets to find the note again. This means that if you re-name the note in future you don't have to worry as the backlink will still resolve.
  • If you copy and paste this backlink you should be aware that the pasted copy will only use the actual name between the brackets to resolve to a note. The original backlink remains unchanged as per above.
  • You can also use a note's actual Unique ID as the name by selecting the chain-link icon to the far right of a row in the popup helper. When you do this the link text between the square brackets is shown in plaintext - which is not the actual name of the note. This link text (if unchanged) will always resolve to the note even if you change the target note's actual name and you can copy and paste this freely while still resolving to the note. The only exception to this is if you trash and delete this note from the trash.
  • If you click on a backlink to a note that is in the trash SpringNotes will offer to restore the note from the trash for you.
  • If a note is in the trash you will not be shown that note in the popup helper when you are searching for a note while entering a backlink.