Questions about Zettelkasten


If anyone here is using Zettelkasten with DTPO, I would like to ask you questions about the system and your thoughts on what you see as potentially problematic in the way I use it at the moment. I have seen a number of posts here on Zettelkasten, but they involve technical questions, which are not a concern for me. I am more interested to know about how the Zettelkasten system works and what I might be missing out on.

To start with what elements should each Zettel have? So far I am adding tags, the citation (in abbreviated way, usually as a link to another file in DTPO) to a source I am referring to, and I might (but rarely do) add a link from another Zettel (i.e. usually a rich text file).

If something unfamiliar in the quotations I use from a source appears, I make it a link so that I can explore the new topic in another Zettel. I wish there was an automatic way to link the newly created file to the one it originates from. To work around this, I add a link the the original file which spurred my question.

My typical Zettel, when I work on a paper, would consist of one quotation from a specific source. But I think that the Zettelkasten system requires that I add my own notes too.

I also want to be able to use this system in Scrivener and in DTPO, and I am not sure what I need to do to make the transition seamless. I do not want to import and export files from DTPO and Scrivener all the time. But when I am in the flow of things, I use the Zettelkasten method in the program I am working, which is either S or DTPO.

Finally, I am aware that a book translated in English is coming out on the method, but before it is published, which may take some time, I wanted to ask you questions. I am also aware of a video on the method, but even though it is detailed, it is in German with no English subtitles.


I’m no longer an active Zettelkasten user – but a few other sources that you might find interesting, if you haven’t come across them yet:

Manfred Kuehn’s Taking Note blog. Kuehn has been writing about Zettlekasten for quite a long time – and has a different point of view on technique than Christian Tietze’s (the author of the book you mentioned).

The Outliner Software forum, which in the past (less so recently) has had long dialogs on Zettelkasten

“Dr. Andus” has also written about Kettelkasten in the past

Finally – nothing against using DEVONthink for Zettelkasten - but the superior software, in my opinion, is ConnectedText. Made for Windows – but can be run inside a bottle with CrossOver or WineBottle. ConnectedText was built to be fully featured wiki tool, which is best suited for Zettelkasten – again, my opinion. Kuehn’s preference, too.


Thanks for the links, Korm. I will dig there and may be post my questions to these fora. If you do not mind sharing, would you let me know why you no longer use Zettelkasten? Did you find a more effective system? If if so, it would be great if you can share it.


I’m not doing any research at this time that would benefit from the method. And Zettelkasten are very time consuming to maintain.


So far the most advanced—though not the easiest—Zettelkasten tool is a package to be used with Sublime Text:

The support forum for it is found at

Even though it is time consuming, it is an investment toward future productivity. Plus DTPO can possibly index your Zettelkasten.