Wikilinks - Fuzzy search on title

When typing double brackets to add a wikilink, I start to type part of a title to an existing note. I noticed that it uses exact search phrases to match an existing title. Is there a preference somewhere to change this to a fuzzy search? For example, if I have a note titled 202001230455 - Fall of the Roman, when I type the double bracket, I would like to type Roman and have DT use fuzzy search to find all notes that have “Roman” in the title. Is this possible?

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Welcome @usajag21

This is not currently supported. No promises, but the request is noted.


Thank you!

+1 to this as a feature request. I understand why fuzzy searching isn’t necessarily completely standard (though I would prefer it in many cases where computationally possible!), but this is one where it’s practically a necessity. Like @usajag21 , my notes all tend to start with a date string and fuzzy searching on the substance of the title is vasty preferable. Thanks! CC: @cgrunenberg @eboehnisch

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A fuzzy search shouldn’t even be necessary in these cases (and would probably return way too many results), searching the entered string anywhere in the title of items should actually be sufficient.

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Just to provide some context around the enhancement request, this a feature relevant to users who use DT as a Zettelkasten as I’m inferring the OP does. When linking notes, it really does add to the cognitive load by having to remember the date of a link target. Personally, I can usually manage with recent notes, but notes in the distant past have to be managed differently.

So, I’d also endorse a Wikilink/square bracket search mechanism based on “contains” rather than “begins with”.

Yes, searching the titles for the entered string would probably be sufficient as the titles should be meaningful. I can see cases where searching the body would also be helpful as well. Maybe sort the title matches to the top but also include results where the search string seems to have a high relevance score to the body of a document?

I’d really appreciate this. I use a similar naming convention to the OP, and run into a similar obstacle wiki-linking notes in a friction-free fashion.

Search is Devonthink’s superpower, after all.

Searching the first character or two characters inside the title probably isn’t preferable, especially the first character might return a huge amount of your items. But searching for three and more characters anywhere in the title should be doable.

That would be perfect.

Just musing, but wouldn’t bringing the full power of Devonthink’s “related to” search to wiki links be interesting? Perhaps as an option for those who want to do a broader scan than just titles.

Interesting and feasible are two different concepts.

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I don’t regard anything as unfeasible for DevonTech.

Like, what if entering @@ kicked the user into a “related to” search?

Development would have to assess this as well as whether this would be broadly desirable.

Of course. Just throwing stuff in the air here. Although the more I think about it, the more I think something along these lines would make a powerful writing tool.

An example of what you would like to enter and what should be displayed would be great, thanks.

On further reflection, I realised that “related to” works on building a concordance of a whole note, whereas a wikilink search would be only based on a word or two. That wouldn’t work.

However, I could see value in a wikilinks initiating a fuzzy title search, and then being able to choose one of the notes that comes up and doing a related to search on it.

eg. I’m writing a note and want to link to another note that I vaguely recall, but can’t remember how I filed it. I type “[[vanity” and a few notes with “vanity” in the title pop up, but none of them are what I want. However, DT allows me (perhaps through a Launchbar-style interface) to arrow down the list until I get to a note that appears related to the one I’m after, and then with a right-arrow I can pop up a list of notes “related to” the one I’ve chosen in the wikilinks title list. There I either find the obscure note I’m after, or I’m reminded of other themes I should explore.

All of this could be done in another window, but I think it’s partly the reduction in note-making friction that is making alternatives like Roam so popular. Being able to harvest other notes without dropping the thread of the note you are currently writing is very attractive.

+1 for this feature, too. It would be so helpful in every search dialog. The ones I use the most are Insert Item Link… (⌃⌘E), Go To Group… (⌃⌘G) and Move To… (⌃⌘M), and it would make a great difference to be able to search based on «contains» rather than «begins with», as @UncleWalrus suggested.

I understand using the timestamp first is a Zettelkasten method but why is that necessary as specifically relates to DT? It’s hard to instantly read the date, and that timestamp is stored as metadata anyway and can be sorted. Or if you think that is really helpful would selecting the title after the name then control clicking “set name as” help, as this would leave the title in the text unchanged but the filename would be just the title and more easily linked to.
It sounds like the suggestion to use contains rather than begins with (like Omnifocus) would help you out big time though.

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For me, it may have started as a strategy to achieve unique names in case I choose to migrate platforms at some point in the distant future. Because the title that follows the timestamp is usually short, collisions are possible and the timestamp does add a little contextual value in instances where the textual titles are the same or similar. All of this is possibly unnecessary for the reasons you point out; and it’s by no means universal among ZK folks.

Nonetheless, a broader array of search options would be helpful in other circumstances, too.