Taking Notes


The Lookup Bar is the main way to interact with Dendron. You can use it for both finding notes and creating new notes. To find a note, run Dendron: Lookup (Ctrl+L / Cmd+L) to bring up the Lookup Bar.

Using Lookup to Navigate the Tutorial

Creating a Note

🌱 ACTION: Let's use the lookup to create a note! Open the lookup bar with Ctrl+L / Cmd+L. Type recipes and hit Enter. Afterward, you can use the Ctrl+Tab / Cmd+Tab shortcut to get back to the previous note you were viewing.

This creates a note named recipes.md. Notes in Dendron are just plaintext Markdown. Notes:

You can try to add some content to the body of your recipes note now.


The --- section at the top of each note is frontmatter. Frontmatter contains custom attributes at the top of each Markdown file, autogenerating some at creation time. Dendron uses it to store metadata about each note for features like publishing.

πŸ’‘ TIP: Frontmatter attributes have some rules to keep in mind. Here are a few:

  • Don't modify the id or created attributes in frontmatter.
  • The updated attribute automatically updates whenever you make a new modificaiton to a file.
  • See reserved keys in frontmatter for more information.

Creating a hierarchy

Dendron organizes your notes into hierarchies. These are . ("dot" or "period") delimited Markdown files.


Below is a hypothetical hierarchy for a file tree:

└── project1/
    β”œβ”€β”€ designs/
    β”‚   └── promotion.png
    β”œβ”€β”€ paperwork/
    β”‚   └── legal.md
    └── tasks/
        β”œβ”€β”€ task1.md
        └── task2.md

The same hierarchy in Dendron would look like the following:

β”œβ”€β”€ project1.md
β”œβ”€β”€ project1.designs.md
β”œβ”€β”€ project1.designs.promotion.md
β”œβ”€β”€ project1.paperwork.md
β”œβ”€β”€ project1.paperwork.legal.md
β”œβ”€β”€ project1.tasks.md
β”œβ”€β”€ project1.tasks.task1.md
└── project1.tasks.task2.md

🌱 ACTION: To create a hierarchy, bring up lookup again (Ctrl+L / Cmd+L). Type recipes.vegetarian and then press enter.

You've created your first hierarchy! Hierarchies in Dendron are created by having a . ("dot") delimiter in the file name. For more information on how this works, see What's with the .'s?

Take a look at the tree view to see the vegetarian note under the recipes hierarchy. You can also see the note stored as recipes.vegetarian.md in the File Explorer Pane.


In this case, vegetarian is considered a child note of recipes. When looking at the recipes note, the preview view will list vegetarian (and any other recipes.* notes) at the bottom as Children. Children can also be seen and navigated via the tree view.


Hierarchy at any level

You can create a hierarchy at any level.

🌱 ACTION: Type the following into lookup and hit enter: recipes.italian.desserts.tiramisu

You'll see there is a + sign next to italian and desserts when viewing in the lookup or tree view. The plus sign indicates that this note is a stub. A stub is a placeholder for a note that hasn't been created. Dendron uses stubs to avoid cluttering your file system with empty notes when creating hierarchies.

Tree View Dark

Following this recipes example, you can create other related notes. Some examples:


You may be wondering why Dendron uses hierarchies. You can read here for our thoughts about structure. Dendron also allows you to easily change the hierarchies later if you change your mind on how to organize your notes. This is covered later in Refactoring in Dendron.

Finding Notes

To find notes, we use the same lookup interface that we used to create them.

🌱 ACTION: Open Lookup, and type vege. This will find your recipes.vegetarian note. Hit Enter to open that note.

Lookup uses fuzzy search, which means you can type out partial queries and still see the results. Entering multiple keywords delimited by space will lookup matching notes regardless of order of the keywords.

  • Example: vege rec or rec vege will match the recipes.vegetarian note.

πŸ’‘ TIP: More approaches to using lookup can be found in Finding Notes.

Most queries can be satisfied using lookup, but sometimes you want to do a full text search across the contents of your notes. This can be done with Search: Find in Files (Ctrl+Shift+F / Cmd+Shift+F), which leverages VS Code built-in search capabilities.

Next Steps