ZIM: A Wiki on your desktop

Zim is a simple text editor, the different notes that we create are saved as plain text in a folder that we define the first time we run it (in my case ~ / Notes).

So far nothing new, except that the different contents that we save can be linked and create linked notes, being able to order them in a hierarchical way.

Many times we find on the Internet with articles that may interest us from how to make a hard-boiled egg to how to install Debian with KDE by elav ó ARCH step by step through gespadasEtc.

For tips or reminders a simple application like xpad It should catch up with us - it's simple, lightweight, and does its job perfectly. xpad is what is called a sticky note or translated into the language of Cervantes post-it note.

If they move in an environment KDEthey can simply add a widget / plasmoid that does the same thing. But what happens when we want to deepen some content and have it organized?

Zim then it becomes a useful tool that brings the concept of wiki to our desktop using hyperlinks. If we want to build a wiki community where several people can enter content, it would be better to try mediawiki.

Zim was originally programmed in Perl, and from version 0.4x ported to Python and uses interface GTK2. It is found in the repositories of the main flavors of GNU / Linux. We have the possibility of basic text formatting, attaching files and images as well as numbered lists and checkboxes.

As indicated in his website, we can use Zim to:

  • Save Notes
  • Organize tasks
  • Write drafts of blogs and mail
  • Doing Brainstorming (or TO DO lists)

Note with some of the ZIM features

To install Zim in Debian we just run:

sudo aptitude install zim

Regarding the wiki markup language there is no standard that defines the syntax, it then depends on the software that applies it. Here are some simple examples of wikitext, although it is not necessary to know it to create notes in Zim.

Create an ordered numbering list:

Starting the line with 1. text the next line will continue with 2. 3. 4. .., etc. Example:
1 Mint
2. Mageia
3. Ubuntu

Check box:

To create a check box we only open and close brackets [] or parentheses ()

empty checkbox: [] ; checkbox with tilde:[*] ; crossed out checkbox:[X]

In all the examples, once the code has been placed, press the SPACE key. More information on the syntax here!

In any case, we can export a note or the entire tree in HTML format to a folder of our choice.

Example N ° 1 clicking on "nginx" will take us to the subfolder with the note of the same name.

Example N ° 2 displaying the note.

We can enable different extensions or plugins that will give us more functionality by going to Edit -> Preferences and select the Extensions tab.
If I have to complain about something, it is that by default both the spell checker and the possibility of minimizing Zim in the system tray are not enabled. In addition we cannot encrypt our notes and in case of printing it is done through the browser.

To activate the spelling checker We will check the plug-in of the same name and when it asks us the language of the dictionary we simply put es.
To work more comfortable, I recommend enabling Systray icon for Zim appear in the systray. An easier way is to launch by terminal:

zim --plugin trayicon

We can run it as a server and access through port 8080 that comes by default, obtaining a very simple but extremely useful website, applicable for example at a business level to have reference to quality or security policies, to show the different schedules and activities of a institute, etc. To run it:

zim --server ~/Notes

Similar apps

I briefly comment on the following applications that are also excellent and deserve to be tried:


sudo aptitude tomboy

It is surely better known, it uses the MONO platform and until recently it came by default with Ubuntu. It is not as complete as Zim but it has a more beautiful and simple interface, it also uses gtkspell as a concealer.

It can be synchronized through WebDAV and with Ubuntu One. I discard it because it is a bit heavier and the notes are stored in XML format.


sudo aptitude keepnote

For a few months it has been in the repositories of Debian, also available on Mac and Windows.

Made in Python and PyGTK stores the notes in HTML and XML and uses the same as all gtkspell. Supports plugins to import NCD notes (notecase) and plain text. It allows to make a compressed backup of our files.

To finish, it only remains to say that I await your comments and I hope it will be useful.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here!.

20 comments, leave yours

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.

  1.   vicky said

    WHAT application to take notes is in qt? I know basketball and basketball

  2.   croto said

    I did not try any of KDE, but you have in addition to the one you comment:
    KJots: http://userbase.kde.org/KJots
    Tuxcards: http://www.tuxcards.de/previousVersions.html

  3.   EAT WITH said

    I'm testing it, and it's great!

    1.    croto said

      I'm glad it's helpful to you, there are many apps to choose from. I just found a very interesting one programmed in Lazarus (pascal) that I am starting to test:
      Mynotex: https://sites.google.com/site/mynotex/files
      The GNU / Linux world is Graaande!

  4.   Daniel Rojas said

    Croto you are from Argentina and are you taking the linux course at UTN FRA by chance?

  5.   croto said

    I am from Argentina, but I am not doing the course at the UTN, I got the PDFs and had started to make a summary xD

    1.    Daniel Rojas said

      Ahh I thought so, unconsciously I knew you there ahaha It is not for propaganda but the course is very good, I did it last year

      1.    croto said

        I've been wanting to do a linux course for a long time, more than anything for work opportunities. Recommended e-learning from http://www.sceu.frba.utn.edu.ar ? They are not free but it was between Basic Linux Administrator or Basic Linux Administrator

        1.    croto said

          … Sorry between Basic Linux Administrator and PHP and Initial MysSQL

        2.    Daniel Rojas said

          I know almost nothing about PHP and MySQL, the most basic thing you can imagine, so I don't think I can comment on that, but looking at the issues to be covered in Linux, it seems very little to me the basic. The one I did is at the UTN in Avellaneda and we ended up seeing some more topics than the one listed there as a University Expert in Linux, and always with a lot of practice in the classes to fix knowledge. If you can, I would recommend that you do the Expert 🙂

          1.    croto said

            Thanks for the data!

  6.   helena_ryuu said

    This application is very good, when I find good guides and tips on the internet I organize them with this wiki, and it is easily accessible once categorized.
    excellent article!

    1.    croto said

      I do the same, I have tips and summaries in zim, before I had thousands of txt scattered around the disk. Cheers!

  7.   hexborg said

    Very good. Another option that I am currently using is cherrytree.

    1.    croto said

      Thanks Hexborg, another option to try. Cheers!

  8.   Lex Aleksandre said

    I use the CLI applications and I spend a lot of time using a graphical environment. My preferred text editor é or Vim and, by isso mesmo, I use a plugin called potwiki (http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=1018).
    Your Debian user with Openbox (Crunchbang Linux).

    1.    croto said

      Thanks for the recommendation Lex, I didn't know him!
      muito bom o seu blog! Eu also as Debian user with Openbox (netinstall)
      thank you tradutor do google xD

      1.    Lex Aleksandre said

        Do you know the CrunchBang Linux distribution? She is pure Debian, but with a beautiful and functional Openbox setup. I advise you to try the trial version of it (CrunchBang 11 «Waldorf» - http://crunchbang.org/download/testing).

        1.    croto said

          Yes, I know CrunchBang 11 “Waldorf”. I decided to do a netinstall just to learn more about Debian and leave it to my liking taking Archbang and Crungbang as a reference. I have tried desktop environments like KDE, Cinnamon, etc., but I always go back to openbox: minimalist and functional. Hugs.

  9.   linkaevolution said

    Interesting. I'm going to try it, I want to make a guide of the basic things to do when certain distros are installed and a basic guide for installing programs and others. I explained badly haha ​​I just understand myself.