A one-month review of using Anytype as my daily PKM

I’ve started using Anytype as my PKM about a month ago and I know that everybody has different criteria and requirements from Anytype but I try to give an overview of what I’m using Anytype for and then I’m going to divide my findings into various sections. So here we go :slight_smile:

How I came across Anytype:

I’m a physics student/researcher and currently I’m in the process of applying for Ph.D. and also I’m a researcher at a startup trying to find all the information I need regarding Pinterest to build some sort of a Wiki for them. Before meeting productivity apps I used OneNote as my main note taking app mainly because of integration with surface pen and the fact I needed to write down many equations and formulas for my work. It was fine but I knew that something was missing and I wasn’t quite satisfied. Fast forward to 6 months ago when I started my work on Pinterest and at first I used notion and for the most part it was fine but one day it locked me out of my account. So, I started looking for alternatives and arrived at Coda. Well I believe it was a better app in every sense of the word especially in the UI department but since it wasn’t unlimited in the free version that was a no go. Enters anytype. I knew that because the share feature isn’t functional yet I couldn’t use it for my work but for my physics life and especially my apply process it was a dream come true. So, with this back story in mind let’s get to work.

How I use anytype:

Well, first of all I love its design. it’s very modern looking and I love its philosophy regarding objects, types, sets and relations. I know that Notion and Coda and maybe Obsidian can do all of these things but there came a point for me that Notion and Coda didn’t offer the features that I want and Obsidian, well it was too stale and I had to implement everything myself and I couldn’t afford that much time. I love the flexibility of Anytype and the fact that it gave me the freedom to tailor it to my needs. So if I wanted to Show you an example of my setup:





As you can see I arranged all my data in a way that I can extract any information that I want in any given time. The particular stand out feature that differentiate Anytype from Notion/Coda for me is the fact that I can set any number of my properties of the set as an object whereas in Notion and coda you can just set the first row (a.k.a the title) as an object ( well there it’s called page but you get the point). As you can see this way I can incorporate this network of knowledge which are all linked together via properties and relations.

What I particularly like about anytype?

Well there’s a lot to love but I’m going to mention a couple of them here without any particular order:

  • The ability to change the layout of the page ranging from profile to simple pages and also being able to set the width of the page gives me that extra satisfaction of tailoring it for my work.
  • This philosophy of objects, relations, sets and types are a better execution than page/database/properties of the like of notion because here you can actually create different objects that you often use and you can set templates for them. As you can see from the screenshots above, I created objects such as Faculties, Universities and Research Papers.
  • The ability to change the icon of any object is just very nice to further personalize your work space.
    The UI is very well thought of and I love its minimalism combined with rounded shapes and modern icons throughout the UI unlike the dated ones in Notion. ( coda is also very modern looking as I’ve said earlier).
  • The ability to change the color and background of any block is a nice touch and makes your pages to come alive.
  • The graph view is always awesome to have. It gives me a sense of organization and it’s just joyful to play around with it.
  • The ability create a relation of most common properties + objects is just phenomenal to give you all the freedom you need to start linking your notes.
  • Markdown implementation makes things faster and Latex/Code block is crucial for my physics notes and research.
  • I don’t use formulas in databases; I understand many people rely on that. So with the exception of Sharing feature I can argue that Anytype is a better and more prettier version of Notion.

with all of these being said, I want to move on to some features that I think are either missing or can be improved.

Features I’d like to be added/improved:

Some of the features that I’m going to mention are either in development or planned but I wanted to list them all here for the kind Devs and also community to see. I’m just humbly suggesting somethings that I think will make this wonderful product even better :smiling_face: . Again, this list is of no particular order of importance:

  • Right now we can’t delete a relation nor we can change its type after creation
  • Wolfram Mathematica language Interpretation is missing from the Code block and I’d like very much this to be added. Also, inline Latex coding is missing which I would very like to be added.
  • The ability to make the icon background transparent is missing and would make pages a little bit cleaner and more beautiful. Also, the ability to paste the link of an image/icon instead of manually uploading it is so missed for me coming from Notion.
  • Block’s links can’t be copied and mentioned within the app at the moment which is a bit of a shame. Also, if we create an object or set in a page we can change choose its appearance from a Card and Text style and I love the Card Style; but if we mention the same object/set in a page then the appearance menu is not there and it’s only visible in a text format.
  • If we create an object/set from the homepage, then we can’t move it to another object(page) and that’s frustrating because I can’t change its appearance.
  • the option of wrapping columns in sets are missing.
  • the ability to see all the object is also missing but I believe it’s planned to come later.
  • The ability to change the default sets and objects and types are not available at the moment and I believe it move the design aspect of the app even further.
  • being able to backup/export my data from anytype and being able to import the same file so that it would be exactly the same. I know a lot of people want this feature for their peace of mind in case something happens to our beloved app. Right now you can only import from Notion and in the future form markdown and HTML and the Export function is only in HTML. I’m suggesting an option to export in anytype format which can later be imported to Anytype like nothing has happened.
  • being able to have a “turn into” command brought up with “/” like Notion.
  • having the ability to change and further customize the graph view like in Obsidian. for example changing the color of nodes and graphs. Also a side note, shouldn’t all the items in a set automatically be linked to it? right now they’re not which is a bit strange.
  • Also adding a Local graph view is also nice, like in Obsidian.

Some bugs that I encountered in the past month:

Now at the end I want to report some bugs; again some of these bugs have been mentioned in the community but I wanted to list them all here:

  • the entered date of a property in sets is being inputed as one day before the desired one sometimes.
  • sometimes I create a page within another page and enter my information then come to realize that the page exists when i search for it but it’s not located where I intended it to be and it’s unlinked. And as I mentioned in the feature section, I can’t move it so I have to start again.
  • sometimes when the app is open but I don’t work on it for several hours, when I want to change the icon of the object and I click “change”, nothing happens and Finder won’t show up. I have to quit the app and reopen it again.
  • In some of my physics note as is mentioned bellow, I chose to put these two images side by side but when I got outside the note, sometime when I come back to it, it’s not where I put it and it’s after one another instead of beside each other.


Lastly I want to thank the creators of Anytype for developing such an awesome experience and I absolutely adore using it every day. It has been truly game-changing for me and finally I have a gorgeous platform to put all my stuff in and organize it the way I want. So Thanks a lot and I can’t wait for the future of Anytype.

Cheers :white_heart:

disclaimer: All the information seen on my sets and pages (objects) are available publicly through the universites’ websites and no personal/private information has been shared.

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That was an interesting read! Thanks for that.

Please create individual posts for each feature request and bug you mentioned, otherwise it’s hard for the team to parse and prioritize them. But search the forum first! I think most of what you said has already been requested/reported - in that case make sure you give your vote!

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Hi @dzlg, thanks for sharing your experience with Anytype!

I’m linking some feature requests for some of your suggestions, and I’ll try to find the related bug reports for the issues you ran into. The list won’t be exhaustive, so please use the search function in case you want to report something that I have not linked :wink:



Not requested yet, so excellent candidate for a new feature request.




Do you mean deep linking like described here?


Could you record a video to explain what you mean? When you say you:

I’m not sure what you mean, either, as inline Sets don’t exist yet :wink: .


That’s because when you create a new Object from the homepage, you are only creating the Object and not a reference to the Object anywhere, so there is not really any place to define its appearance apart from an existing Set. In contrast, when you create an Object from a page you immediately have a place where you referenced the new Object, so you can define its appearance from there.


You can use a workaround by creating a Set based on a Relation that is present for all Objects, like the “Created At” Relation. Next to that, all Objects are visible in the graph overview, but that view is not really useful as filters and custom view are missing.


I’m not entirely sure what you mean here, but you can set the default Object Type for new Objects in the settings menu. Default Set does not really make sense as that is directly linked to an Object Type, which is a setting you can already choose.


Import and Export are on the backlog I believe. Current options are fairly limited, but the team is aware of the concept of “credible exit”.


Try “/turn” and there should be an option in the menu to turn the Block into an Object. It will be created with the default Object Type, but you can change it afterwards.


Yep, graph view improvements are needed!


Is that like an (inline) graph view with the current object in the center and all linked Objects surrounding it?


Now, for some bugs reports:

known issue, most likely due to the local time vs GMT (default) timestamp:


Objects are only linked via Relations. If there is no shared Relation, Objects are not linked in the graph view. How do you mean that you find the existing Object in a place you did not expect it (or where you intended it)?


Interesting bug! If you can find out how to reproduce this, I think the devs are very interested in the logs!


Could you check whether this is the same issue?


Thanks again for sharing your feedback!!

Thank you for getting back to me. As I’ve said some of the things I mentioned are already been said in the community; however, I will create separate posts for the ones you mentioned. Also, I’ll try my best to answer the questions you asked with more context :slight_smile:

Well not really… I mean that would be nice to be able to link stuff from anytype from other apps but the things that i’m saying is something like this:


I took this from Notion. I wish Anytype could implement this feature so that we could specifically mention block within the app itself.

Sure. take a look at this example:

the same goes from Set creation. If I create a Set within a page by the “/” command, I can change its appearance. But if I mention another set from another page, the “appearance” option is missing.

My bad. I forgot to write “icon”. I meant not being able to change the icon of default object or set:

Yeah exactly. This way we can see only the relations of the object instead of all the objects.

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Thanks! I already saw your first Feature Request coming in :slight_smile:

It was indeed clear that you mentioned some of the issues and feedback only to indicate you experienced it or like to see it implemented.

The linked topic actually also discusses how the same feature could be implemented to allow linking within the app, but there is a separate Feature Request specifically for “internal” linking:

It would be great if a singly URL or link could be copied that can be used both within the app and from outside the app using a protocol link (like Obsidian does, and I think OneNote works the same way).


Awesome, thanks! This helps a lot and clarifies the issue for me.

I think the main difference between the two methods of linking to an Object: With the current implementation, you create an inline link with the @-mention, so not a new Block or Object. I believe it is the aim that in the future these kind of link to Objects are also treated as an Object themselves.

Alternatively, you can use the /-slash menu to create a new Object or create a Link to an Object where you create an Object Block instead of an inline link.

In video format, in case my textual explanation is not clear :slight_smile: (sorry, quite lengthy with almost 4 minutes)


Something like is proposed here?

:slight_smile: :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed: :pray:

thanks for mentioning the post. I absolutely agree.

Ohh… you’re right… I must have missed it. that solves it for me. thanks :smiley:

thanks again for referring me to the request.

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Thanks a lot for this deep dive @dzlg and also huuuuge thanks @sambouwer for detailed clarification and guidance. Minor issues will be addressed as a part of hygiene update.
I see over and over again people do not recognise the difference between mention and link to and even don’t spot an ability to link to object. We will ponder on how to make it more explicit and natural :potted_plant:

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Hi @ignatovv thanks for following up here!

Please consider the removal of linking as part of the /-slash menu and use:

@ for inline linking of Objects

Example:

@Anytype is @Software

Where Anytype and Software are Objects in my workspace. The Objects are clickable links with mouse-over preview, ctrl + click to open in a new window.

**[[]] for linking of Objects as Block **

[[Anytype]]

Where Anytype is an Object, and the link is created as a Block that spans the entire width of the Block, similar to the current behavior of “/Link to Object”. The appearance of the Block can be adjusted (link, card)

# for inline linking of Relations

@Anytype is #Tag:Software

Where the format is #Relation:Value. I suggest to use “Tag” as default Relation if no semicolon (“:”) is used to make it easier to tag content, for example like this:

@Anytype is #Software

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Wow, that’s really cool. :heart_eyes:
Your “Human” set made an impression on me, and I want to make my own so that it looks like you.
Can I ask you for 2 requests? 1. Could you show how you designed a person’s profile? 2. You can show what your “Human” set looks like in the “Open as Graph” section.
I need your advice. I think it would be cool to add a country flag in the “Country” category. This will visually improve the perception.
Screenshots or videos. Thanks.

My pleasure :smiling_face:. I’m glad you can take inspiration from it so that you can apply it to your own workflow.

Sure. I’ll try my best.


As you can see, I made a template and within it I designed these relations. Then either with the "/" command and calling the relation or just dragging and dropping it from the relations menu to the page itself I created this profile page. needless to say that I set the layout type to "profile" and use these gentlemen/women's profile picture within their University's page to create an aesthetically pleasing page.

I’ll attach my graph view for you to see it for yourself. just keep in mind that I created a relation for every set to include their object within it, because Anytype at the moment doesn’t create an automatic relation between the objects within a set and the set itself.


Interesting Idea :smiley:. I just added it.

That’s an intuitive way :thinking: using markdown [[]] to link/make block is a decent way to achieve this.

Which “relation type” did you choose?

tag

I need your advice. I want to organize my set of people.
You can familiarize yourself with my organization Anytype to better understand me.
I take most of my notes from books and articles. My set of people consists of writers and scientists. At the moment I have created a type of set “Company”, in which I have two global topics (writers, scientists).
When creating new people, I choose the type of relationship “Company” for them, in which there are two options - writers and scientists. But I don’t like it. I want to make a wider separation using a different type. I want to divide them into different fields of activity, into different types of their work.
I want to do, for example: journalists, writers, bloggers, scientists, coaches and then come up with new ones. Advise how it can be done?

correct me if I’m wrong but if I understand your goal correctly, you want to organize your “people” based on their job, occupation or anything that you desire. To that end I can think of two possible ways to achieve it.

  1. I assume you already have an object like “research paper” written by a “scientist” or a “blog post” posted by a “blogger”. So, you can create a type for each of these like a “scientist” type. Then you can create a relation for you “researcher paper” like “author” and choose its relation type as “object” and limit its object type to “scientist”. Now you can create a “scientist” object named X and then add it to the “research paper”. you can further connect you objects by creating a relation for you scientist object X as “works for” or “university” or anything that you seems fit and add the company/organization and another relation named “research paper” and add the mentioned research paper as an object to it. This way all these 3 objects are now linked. Now you can easily create a set of scientists populated by the same type.

  2. The second method is that you can Simply add X as a “human” object. Then add a tag relation to it as “occupation” and choose the “scientist” tag for it. again you can link the “research paper” object and company too like the previous method. Then you can simply create a set named “scientists” and through “Filter” you can limit this set to only showing the “human objects” with a “scientist” tag.

I’ll try to understand your logic a little later, but now I can say that I don’t really like using the tag as a basis, because the tag is not displayed on the graph.

That’s fine. feel free to PM me if you have any more question.

I believe it’s in the roadmap for all the relations including tag to be added to the graph view in the future.

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I used notion and for the most part it was fine but one day it locked me out of my account.
@dzlg can you please describe what do you mean by locked me out of my account.

Sure. One day I wanted to use notion to add my notes and data of my work but the mac app wouldn’t let me in. It was stuck on the login screen and nothing seemed to work. I tried the web version and it was the same. I was greeted with the same error message. Hopefully I hadn’t completely moved all my data in Notion otherwise it would be a much bigger disaster.

Anyway, I got in contact with the Notion team and after some back and forth emailing, we figured out the problem. Apparently because of some of the sanction of the united states and the fact that Notion had to obey them, they blacklisted some countries including mine from accessing their accounts without any prior notice and they couldn’t let me export my data one last time. I mean I think they could but they didn’t. That was when I searched for alternatives and found Coda. For a couple of months, I used it and I was happy with my experience for the most part but some aspects were still bugging me, including no reasonable export/import option if that scenario happened to me again and also their free plan had limited blocks. I don’t know exactly when but sometime in the midst of all this my Notion account was unfrozen and I could use it again. not only that but I even created an account for my work and didn’t have any problem since. I’m still using Notion for my work but boy am I scared of something similar happens again.

So I kept searching till I found Anytype and the rest is history. I really wanted to move my work to it too but since the share feature is not available and my work depends on it, I can’t make the switch yet but I definitely will as soon as it’s available. That being said, the offline/open source promises of anytype along with the its philosophy and beautiful design made me bring over my personal life into it as you can see.

To be honest with you, I really tried to make Obsidian work for me but the nature of it was not efficient for my specific needs. I found my sweet spot of design and functionality with anytype whereas with Obsidian, if I want to recreate the same functionality and beauty, I had to spend god knows how many hours and for every new addition of my workflow I have to input it through community plugins and coding which at the moment I don’t have time for. But yeah Obsidian’s purely markdown format has the peace of mind with it.

I hope I never run into these kinds of problems with anytype in the future.

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Thanks a lot for a such detailed response. The data ownership is one of the pillars anytype is build on.

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