Bidirectional note linking?

Devs - is this option possible for Agenda in the iOS/iPadOS ecosystem?


You can create links in each note to the counterpart, but there is no way to make the two links in one hit at this point.

Indeed - bidirectional note linking is the craze these days e.g. Roam Research, Amplenote, Tinderbox and Obsidian. It would be good to have - I expect that in 6 months from now if a notetaker does not have bidirectional linking, you may not be considered anymore. It is raging like a wildfire at the moment. Bidirectional linking will become mainstream. Not having it, may become a liability. So I think it would be wise to have a serious developers meeting on this.

Without trying to downplay it’s usefulness (I can see it being useful), this reminds me of the arguments of how Wiki’s would take over the world and not having wiki like features would make you irrelevant. We know how that turned out, they have a place yes, but it’s not the first thing most people think of. In fact if you go to the Amplenote website you’ll see it isn’t exactly the first thing that they highlight.

The issue I have is not so much on the part where you insert the link (in fact, that part we have already of course), it’s more what should happen on the other end, the backlink to the note that is linked to. Should the backlink become part of the text, and if so, where should it be inserted? Or should it be metadata? One of the ideas we are playing with is to make sure that these linked notes are shown under the related notes section in the inspector.

This all also plays into another aspect and that is being able to more precisely indicate what the part is being linked to within the text, rather than to the note in its entirety. All areas we have ideas in, and where you can expect improvements over time, but to be perfectly honest, and to set expectations I guess, it’s not in the top 10 highest priority items.

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Right now I’m using Obsidian on the Mac for the heavy lifting, e.g. bidirectional linking and iAWriter on the iPad. Hoping Obsidian releases their promised app soon. For Agenda, I’m thinking it’s not so much whether the Devs will employ bidirectional linking as much as whether Apple will bring it to iOS/iPADOS. Obsidian has a Mac version that can store its files in iCloud.

at the bare minimum, linked notes should be indicated in the “Related Notes” section.

E.g., If I create a link to Note A from Note B, then when I look at Note A’s “Related Notes” Note B should absolutely show up and vice versa. This currently doesn’t not happen and I find it maddening. Is there any better criteria for a “Related Note” than a direct link? Programmatically this does not seem difficult to implement.


+1. Would love to have related notes show all linked note rather than current algorithm that show some notes that shouldn’t be be shown “related” to it. w even pay attention to current related notes. Simply don’t like the way it is set up now. Please give an option to show linked notes only.


Alas, some things that look difficult are sometimes easy, while other are more difficult. This falls in the latter category alas, we hope to improve things in the future.

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I suggest to take a good look at Obsidian. You probably would say that the backlink is part of the metadata as there is a separate pane that you can open to see backlinks. In Tinderbox they also have a separate pane in which you cna see outbound links and inbound links. Incidentally, Tinderbox has had bidirectional links since its inception which was in the previous decade!

I do think it should become a top priority. In a few months all major note taking software will have it. YOu advertise yourself as An Elegant New Take on Notes. That was certainly true when you started, but in January 2021, anyone who is looking for an elegant note taker will look for bidirectional linking. Those bidirectional note takers that are hosted now, such as Roam, will increasingly have offline versions. Most of them have daily notes, which is what you offer- date-focused notetaking. It would be a shame if you lose out simply because you have it on your roadmap for end of 2021.

I suggest you take a hard look on both your roadmap and what would you like Agenda to be for your users compared to the competition out there. What would be the top 3 arguments why people who want to take notes choose Agenda? How will a comparison table look like with Agenda vs other notetakers? This is strategic I think. And stratgey moves at warpspeed in this software world!

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Very much appreciate the feedback, we’ll certainly have a look. Without trying to dismiss the fact that it’s super useful, I don’t see it as such a critical feature. Back in 2018 there were a thousand different note taking apps, all with crucial features, today there are even more, and 3 years from now even more. Our unique approach is to focus on dates, and I don’t see any of the ones you mention be competitive in that space. With so many apps out there to take notes, what each person should do is pick the app that fits him/her best. If mind mapping and heavily linked note taking is your thing, then perhaps those app you mention are just a better fit. If your note taking is more centred around the concept of dates and events, we believe Agenda is still a much better fit.

If there’s one thing I learned when it comes to why people choose a certain tool is that it doesn’t involve comparison tables, but rather a much more soft combination of many different aspects. Back when I made Papers we were always asked how it would stack up feature wise with Endnote, Mendeley and a bunch of other tools. The point was that most of the reasons given when you ask users is that most of those reason don’t have a place in a feature comparison table. The same is through for Agenda we believe :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much for your reply and also the link to your talk. I have not seen it yet, but will.

I can imagine that it is easy not to see it as a critical feature. But as we all know in the world of software, people don’t realize how critical a feature can be until you give it to them and they start using it and see how the feature can benefit their personal workflow. I also think that over time people’s workflow changes because of new possibilities through technology. I do consider that bi-directional linking has now reached a tipping point in usage.I think wiki links were at the time seen to be for nerds/cognoscenti only. But Obsidian, Tinderbox, Roam Research, Amplenote, REM are all changing that. I would look more for how Agenda can stay relevant in people’s personal workflows. How do people use it and can it become part of people personal knowledge management workflows - or can it be replaced by personal knowledgement notetaking software because they start building in date-centered note-taking?

I take your point about comparison tables. Thank you.

Ok, thanks for the reply.

It is interesting to look at noteplan 3.0 where they basically work like Obsidian with separate markdown files for daily notes. Like Agenda you can make Calendar notes and separate notes. They include in the beta version bidirectional links with transparent folder locations - so your notes are then also accessible by other apps.

I think that my prediction that note-apps - even those that are date-based will quickly implement bidirectional linking.


It’d be great if Agenda does this, although I use Agenda differently. I like Agenda’s layout for client files, it really clicks for me there. However, something clicked for me with Roam Research. I love the bidirectional linking. It’s like my brain went “this is how I want you to write down notes”. I’ve been trying Amplenote as a cheaper option, but something about it doesn’t do it for me. It reminds me of Bear with the tagging system, which is something I can’t stick to. Plus, it’s odd that it forces me to put a title to the notes and tasks, so I keep adding “untitled notes”, which the OCD in me hates. I’ve tried Obsidian, but can’t figure it out on the Mac, and syncing it to iawriter on iOS in just not “simple” enough for my taste.

I could see room for Agenda adding this, although it might not be the easiest programming work to do.


+1 please

I’m interested to hear how you think this would work. Currently we do allow you to link to other notes. It puts a link in the text. Of course, you can put a backlink in the other note yourself too.

How would a bidirectional link work in Agenda exactly? You would have a link in the text where you make the link, but where would the back link go? You can’t insert it in the text of the other note. Would you expect it to be in the cog menu or behind some button? Ie have a menu list of notes that point to the current note with links, and be able to jump to them by selecting an item in the list?

Reading from the reply to your request, I get a feeling back links are not a priority. I believe Agenda is fine as it is, regardless, with the manually linked notes.

In the meantime, the only two apps supporting back links that i can think of on iOS/iPadOS are Drafts and the mouthwatering and unbelievable Craft, the undisputed champ if you ask me, on Apple mobile.

Additionally, NotePlan 3 (digital bullet journal) has been out for two weeks and the developer, Eduard Metzger, said a few days ago he’ll bring feature parity with macOS in 1-2 weeks in terms of back links. He’s giving it full priority alongside tending to an onslaught of eMail with the release of the new app.

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I would feel the sidebar will be a good place to view it. It can even replace the “Related Notes” section, or by creating a new section. Obsidian put the backlinks in the sidebar as well and it is quite successful it seems considering the reception of the app.

As an additional point, to make it work, it is essential to provide an easier way to create links from within a note. Bear did this nicely, by typing “[[” it provides a list that gets filtered as we type. (Fuzzy search) At this time, it is quite some work to create links in Agenda. (And it involves a lot of tapping the screen) Creating backlink manually has been not feasible for me due to this.

Just my two cents. :slight_smile:


Agreed. A side panel “Linked notes” showing any notes that link to the current note would be quite helpful.

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Thanks for the feedback, all makes a lot of sense, we’ll add it to our list.