ZIM – A Desktop Wiki / Note Taking App [Linux, Windows]

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According to Wikipedia: “a wiki is a collection of webpages which users are allowed to modify”.

Wikis are great for collaboration and note taking. Web workers have been using it to collaborate, Ubuntu has been using it, we use it here at MakeUseOf. However if you don’t have a web server and can’t install Wiki online, the next best thing is to have a wiki on your desktop.

ZIM is one such package that helps you create a wiki on your desktop. Or in other words you can use it as an excellent note taking application.

ZIM is a WYSIWYG text editor which aims to bring the concept of a wiki to your desktop. So why would you need a wiki on your desktop?

Well, here are some things you can do with it :

  • Create TODO lists
  • Create a notebook to keep important ideas or a general scrap book to note down your thoughts.
  • You may then export it in HTML format and view them in a browser just as you would view webpages.
  • Any other creative non-traditional ideas?

So it’s a note taking application. Why ZIM then? Just have a look at some of the features of ZIM:

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  • Saving transparently as you type and finish.
  • You can even have a revision control of your notes/pages
  • You can embed images as well (I missed it badly in Tomboy). Just link to them from within the text file.
  • You can use the wiki syntax and keybindings or the editor to style and manage your notes/lists.
  • It also supports plugins to perform tasks like spell checking, export, calendar, todo list and more.

Here is a small screenshot tour to give you an idea of some of the capabilities:

Open or create a new notebook:

zim wiki desktop

Type in the notes with all the formatting using either the wiki syntax or the toolbars or shortcut keys:

zim - wiki notepad

Manage Plugins:

wiki notes

Using the calendar and plugins:

wiki notebook

Export to HTML or another format using a variety of options.

The notes are stored as text files with wiki markup. This means that you can edit them with other applications as well. With the keybindings and wiki syntax, ZIM has become my favorite and I seldom use Tomboy now. If you are using Ubuntu, ZIM is just a command away:

sudo apt-get install zim

If you are using another distribution then you might want to check out your package manager. Nevertheless, here is the download page.

ZIM can be used on Windows as well, only you require the gtk+, perl and gtk-perl bindings. Also check out the instructions for Windows Install. Try it and let us know how you liked it or do you use another note taking application? I know BasKet can do similar things but I am not a big KDE fan.

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