Backlinks

Any update on completed items in the backlinks being hidden please? Things are getting quite cluttered already when it has all my completed stuff that I can’t hide.

And wasn’t the Android app with backlinks imminent?

Thanks

Edit: while I’m here, is it possible to apply custom CSS on the content in the backlink area, without affecting nodes in the main outline area? I’d like to set all the backlinks to ~70% text size, but they seem to use the same class as the main outline content

There’s a parent class that you can use to distinguish items in the backlink area vs the main documentument.

It will be released soon!

Thanks. God CSS is so frustrating, as a novice in it.

I tried for an hour last night, using the > selector with various parent classes but couldn’t get it to work. Any help would be appreciated!

> selector means it’s one level deeper (direct children only). So for backlinks, you want to skip the > part.

Just do .parentClass .childClass instead.

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I don’t mind the backlinks when zoomed in to the node, but I don’t like the blue icon by the item when zoomed out.

If you agree, here is the fix:

/* Remove backlink counter icon */
.node-backlink-counter{ display: none; }

I am not a clever man.

Can someone give an example of backlinks being useful? EDIT: appearently I missed this, nevermind https://blog.dynalist.io/2020-june-update/

Also, do you have to manually create links to have them show up in backlinks? Like you have to type the full [text][https://dynalist.io/d/bazinga28358432#z=bazingoo3245328] markdown to create a link right? Or is there some easier way I don’t know about?

How did you make all those solar system links?

I’m still playing with backlinks myself, so my thoughts are definitely a work in progress. But here’s what I’ve learned so far:

To me, backlinks seem most useful when you use Dynalist like a wiki. For example, when you have one node that is the “home” for a topic or person, and any time you refer to that topic or person, you create a link to it. (Both Markdown and raw links work this way.) Then when you zoom into the “home” for that topic, you can see all the places that refer to it. It’s a way to (re-)discover associations between things.

Right now it only works for explicitly created links. Many people have asked for displaying “mentions” as well as backlinks, to allow you to see where the topic name is used even if it’s not a proper link.

I’m on the fence as to whether this approach is more or less successful than tags. Maybe it depends on how your data is structured. Still thinking… :thinking:

You should type [[ to create links. Please do not type those out manually, please! :scream:

2 Likes

Oh my god. This is so much better than what I’ve been slogging thru all this time lol. Maybe now that I just learned how to make internal links easily I’ll start using those backlinks too.

I am really loving this feature, it’s definitely helping me build outlines to prep for my MA comprehensive exams! One suggestion/thought: would it be possible to show backlinks at the bottom of a document, rather than just on zoomed items? Visually it would help me to see what’s in the document together with the backlinks. Anybody else feel the same? Would it make sense as an optional feature?

I’m not as technical as the average Dynalist user, but I would love to see a tutorial about how to use Backlinks. Would anyone be willing to make a quick video that shows how to use Backlinks?

Thank you!!

Make a link to another part of the document. Click on it. See there’s a number on the left and you can click to go back. If you don’t see the number, your platform doesn’t have the feature.

Would an example help? Maybe I’ll write this up in a post properly someday but I haven’t settled on an exact structure yet. At the moment I have 3 Dynalist files:

  1. Daily log
  2. Actions
  3. Projects

I use backlinks is to be able to have actions and logged events appear under the project they related to. So in my Projects file I might have

Project: Move house
+This is a breakdown of the steps involved
+Sell current house
±----Estate agents
+Buy new house
±----Mortgage

Then under the Actions file I may have

Phone calls to make:
±— :black_square_button: Ring around estate agents to get valuations
Things to do online:
±— :black_square_button: Get a quote for best mortgage rate

And under Daily log file I might have:

29th September
±— Called BlueBricks - they want 2% commission, calling Tuesday

Now without backlinks it’s hard to keep track of all that. In the past I’ve tried tags to link things together. So I personally use the item’s note to insert a backlink wherever I want to say that an action or log refers to a project, e.g.

:black_square_button: Ring around estate agents to get valuations
[[Project: Move house]] <<this is what I type in the note but it gets changed to [Project: Move house](http://dynalist.io/d/89782u3hd8489yfe/...)

So now, when I zoom in (I think doing this is more useful than the blue numbered bullet, though that’s an indicator for me there are things linked to it) to my move house project, I see:

Project: Move house
+This is a breakdown of the steps involved
+Sell current house
±----Estate agents
+Buy new house
±----Mortgage

Backlinks:
:black_square_button: Ring around estate agents to get valuations (Actions > Phone calls to make)
:black_square_button: Get a quote for best mortgage rate (Actions > Things to do online)
Called BlueBricks - they want 2% commission, calling Tuesday (Daily log > 29th September)

That’s just my way though. That can be reversed so you can keep your actions within your project plan and then backlink to an action list to see all e.g. phone calls across all projects, but with my way I can do different ordering across projects within the actions file.

Other example: I also put a link in the note under an action, to the day entry in the day log before I move it to the Actions file, e.g.
30th September
±—:black_square_button:Take car in for service
[[30th September]]

So similarly when I zoom into 30th September I see everything I logged on that day, plus backlinks to the actions I created on that day that are now in the action lists.

I’d like to experiment with creating a knowledge management system where backlinks link topics, but that’s just an idea for now.

3 Likes

Hi Stuart! Thanks so much for your example. I actually created the same 3 files that you listed and added identical content. But after that, I wasn’t able to follow the rest of the example. I’m so sorry.

I wish I could see you in action doing it (maybe using the Loom recorder?). I really appreciate all the time you put into that example.

Hi Stuart, thanks for taking the time to detail your system. I follow almost the same process (I put the links in the note also, primarily so that when you click on the node, the note doesn’t expand to show the full hyperlink address; keeps thing looking neater!)
I currently have one single document but am experimenting with having a separate Actions document having read your summary.
Quick question if you don’t mind - how do handle recurring, routine tasks that aren’t linked to a project. Do you just keep them in the Actions doc or do you use another method? Also, do you delete completed tasks, hide them etc?
Apologies, there was more than one question there…
Thanks,
Richard

Hi Richard, no limit on questions!

I use notes for the same reason, looking forward to a WYSIWYG editor that keeps being mentioned to avoid those expanding links - I also have URL links back to OneNote which are really long!

First thing I should mention regarding separate files is that the URLs change, and therefore backlinks will break, if you move an item to a different file, so be careful. It would be great if items had globally unique IDs but apparently this is a big job to change.

To be honest, I don’t hold those recurring tasks in Dynalist, I want them in my face on the day and use a more ‘traditional’ todo app like Todoist so I can have an Android widget. But I do have an entry in Dynalist for each regular meeting I have, and keep the preparatory tasks as children. I’m a Pro subscriber so get repeating due dates - I complete the meeting entry once it’s finished and it automatically updates the due date based on the repeat cycle I set.

Generally I hide completed tasks, I should probably delete them from time-to-time.

Hopefully this works:

I have some custom CSS applied so yours won’t look exactly like mine

Thanks Stuart, good to know about links breaking. I’m looking at mapping out the steps in the Projects doc, moving the actions to the Actions doc and then editing the action with the backlink to the project.
Thanks again

And just seen your demo video - brilliant, explains the link back to the daily log which I was struggling with. I’ve been trying to work out how best to implement the daily log/log of activities concept, particularly around how to capture those ad-hoc emails which need a response (but don’t warrant moving to my full list as I’ll probably get a reply later in the day…but just in case I don’t, I need to collect).
Right, better get back to work :wink: - (after I’ve created a Daily Log)

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Glad it helped. A minor correction I spotted in the video though at ~0:51: I don’t usually add the date link to things which stay within the day log. But for actions which get recorded within a day log and then moved into a project breakdown or action list, I add the link to the day log date heading. Then when I zoom into that day log later, I can see the actions I created that day and where I moved them to