The 6 things you need to know to start with Roam Research

Harry van den Bergh
3 min readOct 19, 2020

The new productivity app Roam Research (or as Roam calls it themselves: a note-taking app for networked thoughts) is the talk of the town lately. However, as it is very different from any other productivity app like Evernote, Notion, Trello, or Todoist, a lot of people have problems with where to start.

Roam Research is actually very simple to start with. And learn along the way as you are getting more advanced, or want to do more complex things with Roam. A saying about Roam is it has a low floor and a high ceiling. Easy to start with and endless possibilities. Here are my 6 things you need to know:

  1. Start writing on the Daily Notes page. Most people will look at creating some structure. Don't try it. It took me some time to understand the genius of a Daily Notes page, but it absolutely works. Simply start writing your things, whether it is research, task management, notes on the Daily Notes page. And structure will build itself later.
  2. Use block quotes to start a new page. Everything that is between [[]]] is a reference to a page. If you type something between [[]] for the first time the page is created. If the page exists, it is simply a reference to that page. Clicking in on it brings you to that page. Where you can start typing your info. On that page, you will see the links to every page that is referencing this page. Like the Daily Note where you started it. So the linking is back and forth.
  3. Use / to add more context to a line. When you type /, a menu comes up. You can add a date to that line (and that line will show up on the Daily Note page of that day) or you can make that line in a todo. Or add the current time.
  4. Search for a page in the search windows. On the top right of the screen, you will see a window to search for a page. If the page you are looking for does not exist you can create it from there.
  5. Add your favorite pages to the shortcuts menu. On the top right of your screen is a star. If you click the star, the page gets added to the shortcuts menu, so you can always get there with one-click. Clicking the star again will remove the page.
  6. Learn more via help. There is a question mark on the bottom right of the screen. It will show you a lot of options you have for adding information, markup, and other functions.
The Daily Notes page

That's it. Simply get started on the first Daily Notes page. And along the way, you will discover a lot more functions and possibilities. But with these 6 you can have a quick start into Roam.

Harry van den Bergh

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