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Block Reference Improvements in Roam

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Posted by Luhmann
Aug 12, 2020 at 04:44 AM


The latest update to Roam gives block references extra super-powers. Details are here:


Basically, you can replace a block reference with an embed (basically transclusion, edits change the embed and the original), text (editing won’t affect the original), an alias (links to the original but can be different text), or text + alias (an alias with the original text, which you can edit without changing the original, but it still links there).

I really think block references are what set Roam apart from the competition, and now even more so. As much as I like the idea of doing everything in plain text markdown files, I have come to feel that one gives up too much in moving from a database/outliner to plain text files. Might work for some, especially if you take very short notes, but for now, this is the main reason I’m sticking with Roam.


Posted by Luhmann
Aug 12, 2020 at 04:47 AM


Still figuring out how I will use this, but I think that “text and alias” will probably be the most useful for me. I already make a documents with highlights from my PDF and Kindle files, now I can reference individual paragraphs from those documents, but edit the text without changing the original. Clicking the alias will show me the original in context. This seems perfect for how I do research and work, but I’ll have to use it more to really see how it works in practice.


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