How to find/filter notes?

Following Andy M’s idea of Evergreen note titles as APIs, I am trying to title notes with statements, and I’m finding that I have many notes starting with the same word. I also have this issue with literature notes because I title them starting with the author’s name (so for prolific authors, I might have 20 notes starting with the same name).

The problem is that I can’t figure out how to access these notes quickly with autocomplete, especially with the keyboard. If I have 20 note titles starting with the word “technology”, and I want the middle one, do I really have to type “tech” and then hit the down arrow key 10 times? There must be a better way. Tell me the better way. Please. Thanks!

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What about using namespaces? A lot of users are taking advantage of this capability, but I’m not yet an expert with these, so YMMV.

A namespace is added before the page title (or when creating a new link) and separated with the back-slash character /, for example:

[[Author Name/Note Title That Is Long Enough To Be Representative]]

And for nested namespaces, add the parent namespace to the beginning and again separate with a back-slash:

[[Category/Author Name/Note Title That Is Long Enough To Be Representative]]

Use Ctrl + c, Ctrl + l (lower-case letter L, not the number 1) to toggle how the namespaces are displayed. I say ‘toggle’, but there are really three looping positions, for example:

The first time you toggle namespaces, it will leave only the first letter of each namespace before the page (or link, or evergreen note, etc.) title:

[[C/A/Note Title That Is Long Enough To Be Representative]]

Toggle a second time and displaying namespaces is turned off, leaving only the page title:

[[Note Title That Is Long Enough To Be Representative]]

Toggling a third time, turns back on full namespaces display:

[[Category/Author Name/Note Title That Is Long Enough To Be Representative]]

There is documentation somewhere in the Roam Help, but maybe this will help you.


Can you elaborate how to use CTL +c and CTRL +l? do I have to highlight the text?

Thanks for the suggestion. I’m not looking for something like namespaces that will introduce a hierarchy. I want to be able to take advantages of Roam’s ability to help me discover potential links and the type of networked linking possible in a Zettlekasten. I know Roam introduced a more robust search/filter tool, but I’m looking for a way to find and link notes more quickly, and I don’t know if that tool helps or not.

Any other ideas? Is anyone using Roam as a ZK and doing this successfully? Do I just need to accept that it will take 20+ keystrokes if I have a lot of atomic notes? Is there another way to think about doing this? Thanks.

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I am using Roam as my Zettelkasten, too. So the way you framed your question is super helpful for me, too. What’s bot super helpful, though, is that there aren’t any answers to this yet :joy:

Except for using namespaces, which I agree, it’s a cool feature but it limits too much the way a Zettelkasten enhances discoverability serendipity by having a non-hierarchical structure.

Hi - I do believe you can type the first few letters of each of the first few words to quickly narrow your search. For example [[Smi Sto]] would find your note titled ‘Smith The Story of Technology’. Seems to work that way for me anyway!

@yashodhankhare No highlighting necessary. Ctrl+c Ctrl+l (that’s a lowercase ‘L’) is the keyboard shortcut to the global setting that determines how namespaces are displayed throughout Roam.

The manual way of doing the same thing is to click the three dots menu then select User Settings and you will see a section labeled Cycle namespace view and the three display options for namespaces display.

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