Creating Zettelkasten with drafts and the Mac osx Archive app

I would like to know if anyone would be using the Drafts 5 app to create Zettelkasens that can be used also in the Mac osx Archive app? Any suggested workflows?

Also how would you link separate drafts together ?


I built an infrastructure to do this in NVAlt and Editorial a couple years ago. I just checked my Drafts 4 action & it just calls Workflow so that’s where the action of generating the unique identifier took place. I used a hidden file in Dropbox which contained a counter bc I wasn’t fond of using a long date string as an ID & having them clutter up my notes.

But after about six months of this I moved all my notes into Ulysses and haven’t missed fiddling with any of that stuff. I now have 800k+ words in Ulysses and search is blazing fast. Key to this was the ul script described in this Alfred forum thread (I wrote it) which lets me search for text and get a corresponding markdown link ready to paste. Ulysses handles the unique IDs in the background and I don’t need to deal with the incrementing counters or hideous date-time links.

I think the Archive / Zettelkasten crew are a bit too wedded to replicating the analog origins of the technology. Linking notes was always a pain point, and from what i’ve seen of Archive it looks like it still will be if they are relying on date-time unique IDs.

Just my opinionated two cents.


Have you recreated your Alfred workflow in iOS?

Yes, just last week.

As written it requires Workflow and Dropbox but any cloud service should work with a bit of editing.

I’m using Drafts 5 and the Mac OS Archive app to do Zettelkasten work.

I use Drafts as a “universal capture” tool. I’ll write notes, edit them, process them, so on. When I’m done with them, I have several different “destinations”, each connected to a particular Drafts Action.

For things that should become permanent notes, I title the note, and then trigger the Drafts Action to send to my Zettelkasten notes.

It prepends the created date-time string to the title (eg, 201908091002 Title of Note), unless I’ve already assigned it one. This gives it a Zettelkasten-style unique ID, fixed at the moment of note creation, no matter how much later the Action has been triggered.

Then, it puts it into my Zettelkasten folder on Dropbox, so that the Archive can pick it up.

Only then do I bother with linking, etc.

This fits the Zettelkasten approach, since links are for permanent notes, not capture notes.

However, if I needed to insert links outside of this workflow, it would be easy, since figuring out the created date-time string is possible in a number of ways, including manually.


could you please say which Drafts Action?

I too would love to hear which action you use, @micahredding :slight_smile:

Probably worth seeing if @evantraversZettelkasten action group will do what you want. It has a bit more flexibility to it than capuring one zettel :wink:

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This may be the same as the approach taken by micahredding. I’m not that clever with Actions etc, but I managed to figure out something that does what I want.
I started with the ‘Make new Zettel’ action by mediapathic and made a couple of tweaks to make it do exactly what I wanted.
It creates a note to my Archive folder in Dropbox, with the filename as ccyymmddhhmm.
I’ve messed with the note formatting a bit until it creates the note in the format I want, including header block, note-id, tags etc.
For example, from this Draft…

Zettel from Drafts test

This is a test of the send to TheArchive action.

I get this in TheArchive…

ID: [[202202172054]]
Title: Zettel from Drafts test
**Created: 2022-02-17 20:54 - Thu **
Tags: #inbox
# Zettel from Drafts test

This is a test of the send to TheArchive action.

Happy to upload this if anyone wants this as a variation.

yes please, upload

Hi amelchi,
I’ve uploaded the action: send to TheArchive | Drafts Directory