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Create a Second Brain in VSCode with Foam

Zac Jones

June 28, 2020


Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Note: This is a written adaptation of Create a Second Brain in VSCode with Foam. If you prefer video, watch the lesson!

In the foam-template GitHub repository you'll notice that there's this Use this template button which you can click.

foam template repository

It brings up an interface for you to create your own template based on that foam-template repository.

create project from foam template

I've already done so and cloned it locally in my-brain -- is what I call the project.

The first thing you'll notice is that there's already a readme, an inbox, a todo, and foam-tips markdown documents.

You'll see that there's that double bracket syntax in the actual file.

foam project is open in VSCode

0:41 You're supposed to be able to Command-click, but that doesn't work because you need to have the recommended extensions, which you can see because there are extensions recommended in this .vscode folder, this pop up shows, so I can hit Show Recommendations and the recommendations will show here.

1:10 I can click Install on all of them and navigate back to my readme.

recommended extensions are shown

Here, it's still not working because we need to Command-Shift-P and reload the window. We can now Command-click and the linked reference will take me to the file that was linked.

1:32 Here in the BACKLINKS section, you can see that in readme, this foam-tips was linked too, and I can then navigate back to readme through the BACKLINKS menu over here.

backlinks section shown

You'll notice that there is autogenerated links here that you won't want to edit yourself.

auto generated links

1:55 Here in my inbox, I have a big idea. I'm going to create My Big Idea.

inbox.md

- some text in my inbox file
[[My Big Idea]]
[//begin]: # "Autogenerated link references for

Which will then, when I Command-click, generate a page that I can write My Big Idea down in. You'll notice that that backlink is now available.

My Big Idea.md

# My Big Idea
- install foam
- ???
- profit!

2:19 Now that we've created My Big Idea, we'll want to see the graph for My Big Idea. To do so, hit Command-Shift-P.

You'll notice the Show Graph command is up and the graph for our brain has been started with My Big Idea here and it being linked in our Inbox. We can now navigate through the graph in VS Code.

graph of notes

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