Terminology and Concepts

I notice there are some misunderstandings and disagreements on certain terms used across many topics. I hope we can clarify some common terminology that might be ambiguous. What I’m writing here is not necessarily the right answer, this is just to get the conversation started. Feel free to suggest your own additions to this list as it is not complete.

Anytype specific

  • Object
    A container for Blocks. Not to be confused with a Block itself. All Blocks are (or should be) an Object. Not all Objects are a Block.
  • (Object) Type
    An Object Type defines what Objects (Relations and Blocks) are linked to your Object of that specific Type.
  • Template
    You can define how the contents (Blocks and Relations that should be visible on the Canvas by default and the Layout th should be presented in) of your Object should be presented for a specific Object type. You can define multiple Templates for a single Object type
  • Layout
    There are three Layouts that define a general look and feel of the Object and determine what actions can be taken for the Object. Could be referred to as Template Type.
  • Relation
    Not a relationship, but a Relation. Is an Object itself. All Relations are Objects, not all Objects are a Relation. There is a topic on renaming Relations to something else (Attribute, Property)
  • Block
    A container for actual content. All Blocks are (or should be) an Object. Not all Objects are a Block.
  • Block Type
    Defines the behavior of the Block. Can it be checked, toggled, number or list? To name a few.
  • Canvas
    The place or area where Blocks live together to be the content of an Object. Sometimes referred to as a Page, but right now a Page is an Object Type.
  • Page
    Often used interchangeably with Canvas, but a Page is one of the many built-in Object Type Anytype offers.
  • Set
    A filtered view of Objects that have the same Object type. Currently only an Object but will also be available as a Block soon. In this topic it is suggested to use the term “Search” or “Query” instead to better reflect the Object Type.
  • Link
    This is a clickable text that leads to the linked Object or website in case the text links to a URL. Also known as a hyperlink. Not to be confused with a Bookmark. Indicated by a little icon if the link brings you outside Anytype.
  • Deeplink
    Instead of linking to an Object, you point to a specific location within the Object, so to a specific location or Block on the Canvas.
  • Bookmark
    A Block Type that holds a title, a link (clickable URL), a description, and a favicon.
  • Delete
    Get rid of the selected Block(s) on a Canvas. This can only be undone with the Undo feature, but this is limited to the current “session”. After closing Anytype, the actions on a Canvas cannot be undone.
  • Remove
    Move an Object to the bin. Can be undone by restoring the Object from the bin. The Objects remain in the bin until you choose to permanently remove them.
  • Passphrase
    See “Recovery phrase”, conveniently placed right below :slight_smile:
  • Recovery phrase
    The phrase of words that acts as your password for your Anytype account. Use this phrase to login to Anytype on another device. :warning: Make sure to make a copy of this phrase OUTSIDE of Anytype, preferably in a password manager…
  • Space
    Workspace that is either personal or shared. Note: currently, only a personal Space is implemented. Sharing (or “multiplayer” Anytype) is planned for a later time.


  • Inline
    Could either mean “as a Block” or “within a Block”. I don’t think there is any consensus at the moment, but the distinction is important.
  • Styling
    The presentation of text within a Block. The styling can be on Block level (applies to all the text within the Block) or on text level (only applies to selected text).
  • Zoom
    All visible content on the Canvas is enlarged and the distance between the contents grows together with the content so the relative distance remains the same. Usually allows the user to start scrolling horizontally in addition to vertically.
  • Scale
    All visible content on the Canvas is enlarged, but the distance between the contents does not grow together with the contents, shrinking the relative distance between the contents. Usually combined with wrapping text and increasing Canvas height (width remains the same).
  • Transclusion
    A live reference or view into another (part of an) Object.
  • Nest
    Make one Object child of another (parent) Object. Can be reflected by indenting the child relative to the parent.
  • Indent
    Start the (contents of a) Block further away from the margin than the main text in the same direction as the text is written (left to right written language means indentation goes to the right). Often used to reflect hierarchy, but sometimes used to just make some text jump out or give emphasis.
  • Shortcut/Hotkey/Key binding
    A key combination to have quick access to a feature or action.

When I explain Anytype to people who don’t use it or know what it does I always use the following terminology;

Object = Page
Like a notion page, a onenote page, etc.

Block = Block
The content you add to your page (object). Like a notion block, a coda.io block, etc.

Set = Database
A collection of pages (objects) of with the same propertie(s) or types.

Relation = Database properties
These are what can be shown in databases (sets) and views, can be sorted, filtered, etc.

Layout = Page Layout
The way your page is shown on the outside (titel, icon, etc). Not to be confused by template

A design of your page and it’s blocks (titles, relations, etc)

Type = Page Type
A way to diverentiate your page or to give your page a main topic.

From my experience Object, Set and Layout are the most confusing for people. Where page is often more clear then object, set is often understand when I compare it to a database and layout is often confuse with template/design of a page.

Just my 2 cents.