Dendron's trait system allows you to create custom behavior and apply it to certain notes. An analogy for note traits is a typed system for programming languages.

Note: This is a germ stage feature that may have breaking changes in future versions of Dendron !

Use Cases

  • You want to have some of the characteristics of Dendron's built-in journal notes or scratch notes, but you want to customize the behavior yourself
  • You want to apply a template to notes when they are created instead of defining a schema template.

Getting Started

This example will show you how you can create your own note traits and apply them to your new notes. In this example, we'll create a trait that will modify the name and title of the note automatically when you create a new note.

1. Create a new Note Trait

Run the command Dendron: Register Note Trait. Give your new trait a unique name. In this example, we'll call the trait professional-connections. Hit Enter and a professional-connections.js file will appear in your editor. This is where you define your custom trait logic.

2. Add the trait behavior

Add in Javascript code to have custom settings when creating the note name and the note title.

❗️ Note: The API's here may have breaking changes in future iterations. More functionality will also be exposed to note traits in the future.

For now, replace the contents of professional-connections.js with the code below. To see documentation of how the API works, you can take a look here.

This code will behave as follows:

For the note name:

  • Prepend the current year and date to the name to form a year/month hierarchy
  • If any highlighted text of a Dendron Note, use that for the note name
  • Else, if there are clipboard contents, use that for the note name
  • Otherwise, just use a placeholder 'John Doe'
  • Allows the user to further modify the note name before confirming

For the note title:

  • Extract from the note the person's name, and capitalize it.
module.exports = {
   * Creates a note name with a format.
  OnWillCreate: {
    setNameModifier(props) {

      // placeholder name:
      let nameModifier = "John Doe";

      // Try to get the name first from selected Text, and secondly from the clipboard
      if (props.selectedText) {
        nameModifier = props.selectedText
      else if (props.clipboard) {
        nameModifier = props.clipboard;

      // Add a date component with year and month
      const curDate = new Date();
      const year = curDate.getFullYear();
      const month = curDate.getMonth() + 1; // getMonth is 0 indexed

      return {
        name: [year, month, nameModifier].join('.'),
        promptUserForModification: true
   * Extracts the name component of the note title and capitalizes it
  OnCreate: {
    setTitle(props) {
      const fName = props.currentNoteName;

      if (fName.includes(".") && fName.lastIndexOf(".") < fName.length) {
        const namepart = fName.substring(fName.lastIndexOf(".") + 1);
        const capitalized = namepart.split('-').map(element => element[0].toUpperCase() + element.substring(1));

        return capitalized.join(' ');
      else {
        return fName;

3. Create a new note with the Trait applied

Run the command Dendron: Create Note With Custom Trait. Select your trait, professional-connections. This will bring up a lookup command with pre-filled contents in the input box for the note name. Click confirm. You should see a new note get generated, with the title modified automatically applied.

4. (Optional) Create a shortcut for your trait

You can also assign a VSCode keybinding to create a note with your trait applied, similar to how there are keybindings for Scratch Notes and Journal Notes.

For every note trait, a command is registered called dendron.customCommand.your-note-trait-name. So in this example, the command would be dendron.customCommand.professional-connections. To create a VSCode keybinding:

  1. Run the VSCode Command Preferences: Open Keyboard Shortcuts (JSON)
  2. Add the following entry to the bottom of your keybindings.json file, with the shortcut key combo of your choice:
    "key": "cmd+j q",
    "command": "dendron.customCommand.your-note-trait-name"

Note: The name of this command may change in future versions of Dendron

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