Bidirectional note linking?

Note that Agenda can already handle a lot of links. Drag an email in, and you get a link to the email. Drag a file in, and hold CTRL as you drop it, and you get a link to the file. Same will work with other apps that provide links (URLs).

The discussion here was more about linking in Agenda itself. You can already do that, but some people want to have a backlink created when you make a link, ie, a two way link. We have some ideas about that …

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We certainly have some ideas about how to do back linking of some kind. But I’m not really understanding the whole “zoom out” idea. To me, the links provide navigation, at the note level. I don’t really see how they give you a “broader view”. Can you explain that? Are there other apps that give you such a view?

All I can think of are mind mapping apps, which technically are just links :wink:

appreciate the follow-up. in a sense, you are pulling back far enough to see links that were not explicity made by [[term]]. using that annotation, your right - its just bouncing around in a wikipedia hole - blue link to new blue link. not very macro.

my initial conceptualization of this idea was back in undergrad (2006ish), and back then there was not software that provided such a view. After struggling to find something that would somewhat achieve what I was hoping to do, realized that cutting up a refridgorator box and writing out important events or concepts out on this physical timeline was more helpful because I could “zoom in” to a few decades, or “zoom out” to the whole 4.5m years of human activity.

If we add very broad constraints of a “location” and a “time” to the wormhole travel across hyperlinks, there is now a contextual organization where navigation makes more sense. In my world, geolocation was the place and level of analyses are the timelines (gene, protein, molecule, tissue, organ etc…)…perhaps a video representation will be best…take it easy on me this was like a decade ago…

PS - in terms of “Are there other apps that give you such a view?”

Aeon Timeline is there with dynamically zoomable (in and out of scope) timelines populated with semantically enhance data sets. However, I dont think they allow you to stack timelines together, or do any sort of locking on the a time sync. and for sure, they do not have features that would allow you to make linkages between or across timelines that would then be “excited” or “inhibited” based on the strength or value or crowdsourced strengh - like is represented in the blue lines of the video.

As for note taking software, I think Agenda, Roam and the others mentioned in this thread are getting there - in so much as we have figured out how to make a connection, visualize the graph and then traverse it. There are no features that could attribute strength or value to those connections between concepts, notes or data that I am aware of.

Your right to call out that linking [[Daily Notes]] to 100 other [[Daily Notes]] is not providing any intellectual value or the beginning traces of a novel insight. So we have some work to do on that front.

As I explained in the description of the video, at the Neuroscience Information Framework we were making links between various ways to refer to the same thing (5HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine vs Serotonin) - so if Roam, or Notes or Obsidian prompted the user after a [[ ]] was made for other variants of ways to refer to that, or if the note taking apps pulled from ontologies that already exist - then we could start to make a graph worth exploring, now there would be some element of surprise or serendipity. Check out this article - an online framework for neuroscience knowledge

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Another relevant aspect of Agenda for serendipitous relationships between notes in “related” notes.

I don’t think that is true unless I am misunderstanding your statement. My notes from np3 are In iCloud and you can actually change the type of file stored. A .txt or a .md.

I guess that would allow another program to access it?

I’m saying, that NP3, as far as I know, can not access any other folder in iCloud DRIVE, other than it’s own sandboxed folder(s).

Thanks for providing much more detail, that’s great stuff! As you mention already this is really an area of “research” and a lot of experimenting with UIs for timelines, nodes, pathways etc. I’m not sure if Agenda is the place to do that kind of experimentation, we will probably stick with simpler building blocks like links, tags and overviews for the foreseeable future. Having said that, having more powerful ways to integrate with other apps through callback urls and/or plugins would open up a lot of space for additional workflows or alternative visualisations, probably the way to go forward…

I agree with @dpurnomo. In the last year, being a heavy user of Evernote for more than a decade, I tried moving to Notion as the ONE tool to conquer all. I have left it after 10 months of exclusive use for a number of reasons, the main being lack of integration with basic things as my calendar, very poor performance in search functions and just limited support of pdf files. I went back to Evernote and I am happy with my return, but it’s not ideal for project management. At this point I am trying to use Agenda as project manager but the lack of backlinking limits its use. It’s too much hassle to create bidirectional links, indeed a “[[” shortcut that would open a search function for the note you want to create the link, would be ideal. Or at least, as an easier step to implement, when I am trying to create a link to a note (“insert” -> “link to”) give us the option to search for the note somehow. The way things are now, it’s far from convenient when you have a few more than a couple of dozen notes.


Agreed. I would love to see a quicker, more natural workflow for creating links between notes and feel Agenda would greatly benefit from its addition.

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I would just like for a system like Roam’s (or Craft) where I type the name of the otters note and it links to it bidirectionally. It would help me find my notes much more quickly than searching. The current system of linking notes in Agenda, although it works, is somewhat cumbersome for the bidirectionally, as I have to copy a link, go to another note, paste it, then copy the other note’s link, find the note, and paste it again. It’s quite a few steps, and this leads to me sometimes forgetting to link back to the original note, or finding the note again.


We hear you, and will see what we can do. Thanks for the feedback!

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Yes please! Even without the bidirectional link, inserting links by typing a search would be a HUGE enhancment.

Eg, I’m writing my ‘Plan for Today’, and I want to say, call Bob about my ideas for a podcast. I can’t remember off hand where the ideas are - in ‘marketing’ ‘business development’ ‘in box’ ‘ideas dump’ etc.

Now I have to faff around looking in various places or searching, both of whick also lose the focus on the current note, then select the note I want, then copy as link, navigate back, then paste.

Just typing a command and ‘podcast’, select and return would be massive:

[ ] call @BobRobertson about podcast braindump

Of course, even cooler is I could also insert the link to Bob’s contact in the same way! :wink:

All “on the Agenda” as we say :smiley:

You have stated one of the features that has made Obsidian/Roam the app flavor of the year. It’s all the rage. And for good reason, as your post explains. I’ve been on the Agenda ride since v1. Loved it then, love it now. But use it less and less as time goes on for just this very reason. Bloat is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve read the Devs previous responses to the bidirectional linking requests. I would only caution them that NOT responding SOONER rather than later to this feature request would in my humble opinion be a development misstep. But, then again…I could be wrong. :wink:

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I haven’t paid close attention to this thread, but I wouldn’t want Agenda to automatically insert a link in the other note. So if I have Note A and I create a link in it to Note B, I would not expect Note B’s text to change at all - but I would love to see Note A appear in “Related Notes” (or something similar).

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So if I have Note A and I create a link in it to Note B , I would not expect Note B ’s text to change at all - but I would love to see Note A appear in “Related Notes” (or something similar).

Yes, this is how we would want it to work as well.


…appear in “Related Notes” (or something similar)…?

Are you looking for another Pane?

I am trying to communicate “I want to see the list of notes somewhere over there on the right side” and let them figure out what the actual design should be :slight_smile:


Sounds like a plan!

Update: Agenda 14 now supports much easier insertion of links to other notes, as well as backlinks through the related notes panel in the inspector, you can see it in action here