Zettlr: Getting started

Thank you for choosing Zettlr to be your reliable companion for writing scientific texts and taking notes. I have been developing the app primarily for myself because I was in dire need of an editor that not only feels like a better Notepad but actually comes built-in with a great deal of different options that can be used to enhance the writing process and ease low-level tasks to an extent where this does not block your creativity or writing process.

With Zettlr, you'll be able to do a variety of tasks, but the main aim of Zettlr can be boiled down to this simple statement:

Zettlr is made for academics in the humanities and arts and is intended to keep your content apart from your design, but close to the notes you take.

To reach this goal, Zettlr incorporates several important features:

  • File-agnostic editing. Zettlr does not store any information about your files, except in your files. This way you can always switch to and from Zettlr. Every file you see inside the preview pane corresponds to a file on your disk. With no special additions that might render the use of your files difficult in other editors.
  • Zettelkasten-Methods implemented directly into the app. With Zettlr, you can link files and searches using "Wiki-Links" in the format [[your search text|@ID:ID]], give IDs by typing @ID:Your-ID-Here and tag your files using Twitter-like hashtags: #hashtag. Holding down the Alt-key and clicking on links will try to open exact-match files and also initiate searches, while Alt-clicks on tags will simply initiate searches. More features are likely to come.
  • A directory list. This list contains all open directories and files. You can open new directories by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+O. New files can be opened simply by double clicking them in your file browser or by dragging them onto the app. Every time you start the app, all previously opened paths will be re-loaded.
  • A preview pane that lists all the files that are inside the currently selected directory and separates them by their subdirectory. Just click on a file to open it in …
  • … the editor, which takes the most space and is the crucial component that actually makes Zettlr an editor. You are able to write Markdown-files in the area, a slim text format that keeps formatting to a bare minimum.
  • Exporting options. Using the open source software pandoc and LaTeX, Zettlr enables you to export all files on the fly in a variety of formats; currently HTML, DOCX, ODT and PDF. Just open a file and press Cmd/Ctrl+E.
  • Searching. Zettlr enables you to quickly search through your files to find what you are looking for in a fraction of the time you'd need if you store all your information in several word documents that you'd have to open and search.
  • A toolbar containing all functions in handy button-form.

On the following pages you will learn everything you need to directly harness the power of Markdown with Zettlr. Just keep reading!