#zettelkasten #notes

app zest-cli

A personal note management tool

3 releases

0.1.2 Aug 31, 2022
0.1.1 Sep 8, 2021
0.1.0 Sep 8, 2021

#2044 in Command line utilities


703 lines


A personal note management CLI tool.


  1. Install zest: cargo install zest-cli
  2. Create your config file:
# The path is ~/.config/zest/config.yml

# List the paths you use here
  - ~/notes/
  1. Add notes, the format is simple: markdown + metadata on top
# Metadata is in yaml

# The tags you can to apply on this file
  - foo
  - bar

# Title

It is recommended to add a title to your file
You can link to other notes with normal markdown links: [mylink](myfile)
  1. Run zest init
  2. Search with zest search


zest queries are just tantivy queries, with the following fields that you can query:

  • file: the file containing the note (any part of the full path)
  • tag: the tags use for this note
  • ref: outgoing refs of the note
  • title: what is in the title
  • content: what is in the content

By default, search terms apply to the title and content fields.


Notes containing foo:

zest search foo

Notes tagged foo:

zest search tag:foo

Notes refering to foo:

zest search ref:foo

Notes refering to foo and tagged bar:

zest search ref:foo AND tag:bar


zest is a note management tool (or a knowledge base manager) that allows you to create, search and display notes in your knowledge database.

It is meant to be used in a Zettelkasten-like workflow, where each note is it's own file (the full path is the note's id). You can then tag this file using metadata in your file, and add links to other notes.

The CLI design is inspired by notmuch a mail indexer, which does only mail indexing and querying, just like zest.

Designed with scripting in mind, it is easy to add support for zest to your editor.

In summary, here are the design goals:

  • Searching has to be fast
  • Inserting and updating notes can be a bit longer
  • Writing notes should use markdown


zest relies on tantivy to perform the indexing and searching part. Because of that, the indexing will greatly vary depending on the speed of your SSD/HDD.

On my end, with a terribly slow HDD, indexing my whole database (not really big yet), takes the monstruous time of 10s.

Querying is generally really fast, I can gather all the references to the current file in something like 0.1s.


  • Add more query possibilities, currently only support tantivy queries, would like to have nested queries
  • Add editor supports (Nvim support is WIP)


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