June 6, 2022

iA Writer 6 Adds Wikilinks

Writer – iA

iA Writer adds Wikilinks as its new superpower.

Wikilinks lets you connect to other files in your library. Enclosed in square brackets, Wikilinks are exported and published as normal text.

To create a Wikilink, type two [’s and the name of the file you want to link to. iA Writer will auto-complete the name from files in your library. It will show you a drop-down menu of file names, you can use the arrow keys to go up/down the choices, choose the one you want, hit ↵, and iA Writer will complete the name, add the trailing ]]’s and you have created a Wikilink.

If you want to link to a file that doesn’t yet exist, type two [’s and the name of the new file you want to link to, hit ↵. You can now ⌘-click on the file name to go to the new file and type it’s content.

There are a few nice touches to creation and dealing with Wikilinks in iA Writer:

  • You can select text and press the [ key twice to wrap the selection in two pairs of square brackets.
  • In the Wikilink, you can add a new title to the link by typing a vertical bar, | after the destination and adding a title.
  • ⌘-click or ⌘↵ on a Wikilink to open it in the Editor.
  • You can navigate back to the original file by using the history buttons in the title bar, or by pressing ⌃⌘←. You can go back and forward, by holding ⌘ and swiping right or left anywhere in the document.

Linking between files has become a cornerstone of the new generation of knowledge management products like Roam Research, Obsidian, and Logseq. They all include a feature called Backlinks. When you link to a file, the linked file now includes a section which links to the original file. These are called Backlinks. iA Writer doesn’t include this ability. It is on the roadmap.

Wikilinks is a great addition to the program. It is something that is an ancillary to the Content Block feature.

Content Blocks are designated by typing a /and the name of the file whose content you want to include. This lets you add the content of a different file to the document you are working on. Effectively you can break up your writing into small files and then bring them together by assigning a collection of Content Blocks in the order you prefer. In preview mode, you can see the document with the Content Blocks added.

Wikilinks is a similar addition except that it is a link to the file and not its content.

Use a combination of the two to achieve your goals.

iA Writer in its sidebar has the ability to list your favorite files and you can switch from one to the other by pressing ⌃(1-9) depending on the order of the listing of files. What happens when you have more than nine files you have to access regularly?

I created a file called Repository, where I added some of the other files I access regularly as Wikilinks. Makes the process of moving to your files easier.

Some of the Other Improvements in Version 6

  • Hashtags can be now added anywhere in text.
  • Autocomplete suggests hashtags as you type.
  • Metadata improvements.
  • Metadata keys can be used as variables in text, and they will be automatically substituted for export and in Preview.
  • All-new highlight colors: yellow orange pink purple blue green

The complete list of improvements is available in the change-log.

From developer:


Wikilinks make it easy to connect, browse, and rediscover your writing. Wikilinks are enclosed in double square brackets: [[link]] in Editor is shown as link in Preview. Wikilinks are exported and published as normal text, allowing you to enrich your notes with connections hidden from everyone else. To make a wikilink, just type the opening [[ and the name of the file you would like to link. Editor automatically inserts the closing ]]. Autocomplete shows all files that match the name you typed. You can navigate an autocomplete popup with up and down arrows. Press ⏎ to insert a wikilink into the document and move cursor after the closing ]]. Press ⇥ to insert the wikilink and keep cursor at the end of the inserted text. You can also select text and press the [ key twice to wrap the selection in two pairs of square brackets.

Seamlessly Integrate in Text

Use a vertical bar to add a separate title: [[destination|title]] becomes title. Add text immediately after the closing bracket for plurals and verb forms: [[link]]s becomes links.

Library Locations

To link to a file in a different Library Location, begin the link with the Location name: [[Location: link]]. Autocomplete does this automatically when you select one of the results.


To open a wikilink in Editor use its contextual menu, ⌘-click, or ⌘⏎. Wikilinks are directly clickable in Preview. iA Writer remembers document navigation history, so it’s easy to go back to the previous document using the history buttons in the title bar or ⌃⌘←.

How Wikilinks Work

When you open a wikilink like [[link]], iA Writer finds the nearest file that matches the given name. A file in the same folder be preferred over a file in a subfolder, and a file in a subfolder will be preferred over a file in a parent folder. When you open a wikilink that includes a Location name like [[Location: link]], iA Writer will find a file that matches the given name, starting at the root folder of the Location. Files closer to the root folder will be preferred over files deeper in the folder structure. Wikilinks in iA Writer are designed to find the destination file with minimum information. Autocomplete always uses the shortest unique link that will find the destination file. It will append a file extension when there is more than one text file with the same extension. It will append the parent folder name when there’s more than one file with the same name.

Navigation History

Navigation history keeps track of the files you recently opened using wikilinks, Library, or Quick Search To go back and forward, hold ⌘ and swipe right or left anywhere in the document Click the history buttons in the title bar Or use ⌃⌘← and ⌃⌘→

Hashtag Improvements

Hashtags can be now added anywhere in text Autocomplete suggests hashtags as you type Consistent styling for hashtags and other links Show a hashtag in Quick Search with ⌘-click or ⌘⏎


All web links and email addresses are automatically detected Open a link in browser or compose a new email with ⌘-click or ⌘⏎ Control how autolinks, hashtags, and wikilinks are exported in Markdown preferences

Content Block Improvements

To add a content block, type / at the beginning of a line and the name of the file you would like to include Autocomplete suggests files from your Library A path to a file is no longer required. Filename-only content blocks automatically find the nearest matching file Open a text content block with ⌘-click or ⌘⏎ If the content block file doesn’t exist, it’ll be automatically created and ready to type


Metadata is a simple key-value format for storing additional information about a document, hidden from export and Preview.

Document Metadata

Document metadata is placed on top of a file, and must be enclosed with three dashes:

Author: Jane Smith Date: January 1 — Metadata keys can be used as variables in text, and they will be automatically substituted for export and in Preview: Kind regards, [%Author]

Global Metadata

Metadata that applies to every file can be defined in Markdown preferences. Global metadata has the lowest priority, so that a document that explicitly specifies its author will always use that value when a variable is used. Content Block Metadata Content block metadata is placed immediately after a content block, optionally enclosed with three dashes: Letter.text Name: John Smith Date: January 2

Content block metadata has the highest priority.

Images support title, width, and height attributes: Image.png Title: Chart Width: 50%

Look and Feel

Completed tasks are faded and crossed-out All-new highlight colors: yellow orange pink purple blue green Choose your favorite highlight color and configure completed task appearance in Editor preferences

Editor Improvements

Editor automatically inserts closing brackets Select text and type an opening bracket to wrap selection in matching brackets Added indent width preference Changed strikethrough shortcut to ⌥⌘U Changed highlight shortcut to ⇧⌘U Changed code shortcut to ⌘J Added code block command with shortcut ⇧⌘J Disabled spell checking, autocorrection, autocapitalization, and smart punctuation in code Set up ⌘E shortcut to use selection for find Changed shortcut to mark task as completed to ⌥⌘X

Other Improvements

Changed Library shortcut to ⌃⌘S Task list items are searchable with Smart Folders and Quick Search using [ ] and [x] Text stats include content blocks and take metadata variables into account Added ability to show and sort by date created in Library Added fuzzy Library Path matching to Quick Search Added an option to always show the title bar Replaced Delete in Library with Move to Trash, hold ⌥ to delete immediately Stopped asking to keep document changes by default, configurable in Files preferences If you like the updates, please leave us a rating on the Mac App Store. It helps a lot.

https://www.macstories.net/reviews/ia-writer-6-adds-cross-document-linking-metadata-and-more/ iA Writer’s autocompletion feature works with content blocks and tags too. Content blocks are a way to embed the content of one file into another. With iA Writer 6, type a slash character and begin typing the name of a file. As with wikilinks, the app will suggest files in your Library. Pick one to add as a content block, which will appear in the format ‘/document.md’ in iA Writer’s editor. Switch to preview mode, and the entire contents of the document block you added appear inline. iA Writer can also autocomplete tags anywhere in a document based on any you’ve used before.

Also known as YAML frontmatter, iA Writer now supports metadata. Key/value pairs placed between sets of three dashes at the beginning of a document can be used as variables in the document and will not appear when it is exported or previewed. In the body of a document that includes metadata, enclose the metadata key in square brackets with a % symbol at the beginning of the variable name like this: [%Creation Date] and the variable will be replaced with its value throughout your document. Here’s how it looks in practice: Defining metadata and using it as a variable in a document’s body text.

iA Writer includes a handful of additional changes worth noting too. By holding down ⌘ and swiping on the editor or preview pane, you can navigate backward and forward through your document history. Likewise, holding down ⌘ and swiping across the Library provides a fast way to navigate its history. Web links and email addresses are autodetected by iA Writer, and if you ⌘-click on them or press ⌘⏎ when the cursor is inside the text, they’ll open in your browser or start a new email message, respectively. Plus, completed tasks are struck out and dimmed, there are six new highlight colors for emphasizing text, and there’s a new lightning bolt arrow button on the iPad version’s toolbar for quick access to common formatting controls. Finally, it’s worth checking out the app’s complete release notes because there are several additional small ‘quality-of-life’ changes and changes to keyboard shortcuts worth reviewing.

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