Zim, the cross-platform desktop wiki

First Launch

When you launch Zim, it asks you where to store the data. Zim then creates a first notebook at the defined location, names it Home, and adds the .txt suffix. Home is then opened as a notebook whenever you launch Zim.

In theory, you could now just start typing in Zim's WYSIWYG editor; however, it makes sense to define the structure of your wiki first. For each project (say, a book project, a collection of links, or a to-do list), you will first want to create a separate notebook to provide an easy means for distinguishing the content.

Simple Formatting

A look at the Format menu clarifies the formatting that you can apply to the currently selected text via the toolbar or the usual keyboard shortcuts. If you do not select a text passage explicitly, Zim formats the word under the cursor. In addition to the usual markup features, such as bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough, you will find five levels of headings, and you can also highlight words or text passages in yellow.

Highlight source code by means of a fixed-width font to set it apart from the remaining text. Charts, lists, and enumerations complete the picture. If you use the right plugin, you can also embed calculations in Zim and represent formulas. The same applies to Gnuplot graphics and images. You can also use an arbitrary image editor while working within Zim; launch the image editor via the Context menu of an image and save the results in Zim. The original image is not changed.

Write Protection and Journal

In the toolbar is a symbol with three dots and a pen. If you hover the mouse pointer over this symbol, the Edit notebook label appears. Clicking this label enables write protection for the entire notebook. In the calendar, clicking on the icon labeled Today in the active notebook generates the structure of a journal with sub-items for the year, month, and day that you can use as a diary.

While you are working, Zim continuously stores the current state. Finished documents can then be exported as HTML, LaTeX, or Markdown (Figure 5). The tab bar below the toolbar, which grows to accommodate the increasing number of projects, shows the state of editing and cannot be deleted during the session.

Figure 5: Kate displaying an article exported from Zim in the universal LaTeX format.

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