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Zim plugin rundown

I just can’t get enough of Zim. So far it’s the most brilliant way to organize one’s thoughts I’ve ever come across – and yes that is a challenge. If you can find something better than Zim – for Linux, of course – I’ll be glad to try it out and, as they say, “post results”. But for now I’ll talk about ways to make Zim, that WYSIWYG personal wiki, even better. Well, not better necessarily, but certainly more awesome.

Open Zim and navigate to Edit -> Preferences, then select the “Plugins” tab. You’ll find a whole bunch of stuff there. Some of it’s very mathy – for example GNU R plot makes plots and “Insert Equation” is exactly what it is on the tin – but the rest of it’s worth checking out. Here’s a quick summary of the options you’ve got.

Insert Screenshot

After resolving any dependencies (hint: apt-get install scrot) you’ll be able to use this plugin by going to Insert -> Screenshot. For a guy who blogs about Linux programs and likes to include pictures, this is pretty dang useful. To everyone else, well, not so sure. I suppose if you’re using images as reference for a character, and you’re too lazy to insert it the traditional way, you can use the “select region” option of scrot to capture it instead.

Tray Icon

Handy for switching wikis, or making a new page. It kinda approaches Tomboy Notes territory in convenience but not quite.

Task List

Now this is sweet. If you’re editing various pages in your wiki and leave notes to yourself like “TODO: Come up with better character name” or “FIXME: Not sure if dogs work this way” you can keep track of all your tasks in one place. You can also make it consider all checkboxes as tasks, or define your own keywords.

As for priority – the more exclamation marks, the higher the task’s priority. Just like in real life!

Link Map

View -> Show Link Map = diagram porn. It’s your entire wiki in visual form! The deeper your hierarchy goes, the sweeter this plugin gets.


Zim comes with this plugin pre-activated. Great for making your own schedule, if for some reason you aren’t using Google Calendar for exactly that.

Print to Browser

File -> Print to Browser renders your wiki in good old HTML. Now you can print whatever pages you like.

Create Note

Allows you to create a note from the command line, which means you can make your own custom app launcher or keyboard shortcut or other neat things like that. I’m sure this option is plenty powerful, but I’m a bit stuck with it so far. I can’t seem to figure out how to invoke the command for a wiki that has spaces in the title, for one thing. I’ll definitely be revisiting this.


For more facts and less opinion, plus coverage of the more mathy plugins, check this out.


2 Comments on “Zim plugin rundown”

  1. someids says:

    I’ve been using it for years. Love the simplicity

  2. manfrom3004 says:

    ” I can’t seem to figure out how to invoke the command for a wiki that has spaces in the title, for one thing.”
    Zim treats underscores and spaces as if they were equivalent.

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