Top 5 Underrated Roam Research Features

Akiff Premjee
November 24, 2020

Roam Research has been around for some time now and there a number of great tutorials on everything from the basics and getting set up to advanced workflows, how to use queries, and task management in Roam. With the abundance of resources out there already, I wanted to give you some features and tools that are a little less known but can add a ton of value and change the way you interact with Roam. Here are my top 5.

Roam42

Roam42 is an evolving pack of various extensions built right into Roam via Javascript by RoamHacker. I’ve been following his work for a while now (and he’s let me advanced beta test new features which is very exciting). There are a TON of features included in this extension but I primarily utilize four of them.

The Daily Note pop up is great for quick access to my daily plan

Readwise to Roam

There are already a few good primers on the Readwise to Roam integration that you can read. Here is one that Blake Reichmann did as a guest post on my newsletter and here is one from Nat Eliason.

I’ll just say that Readwise is how I get all of my inputs into Roam. It plugs into essentially everything (Twitter, Kindle, Instapaper, Hypothes.is, Airr Audio, Command Browser) and gathers all of you highlights and notes from these sources and dumps them into Roam. You can even customize the Metadata and how the import looks. This creates a nice Inbox for me to go through in Roam to add my own notes and keeps a record of all of the information I’m taking in.

All of these notes serve as excellent jumping off points when writing or creating content. This article is a great example of that. Most of the things referenced in this article were already saved into my Roam  via Readwise. I had pages already created with links to the sources and my original highlights. It makes creation 10x faster when you aren’t starting from scratch.

This whole page (metadata and all) was created by Readwise automatically

Block referencing from queries

This is more of a workflow than a specific app or integration. If you want to use Roam for task management, I highly recommend that you use Daniel Wirtz’s template. He has a YouTube video where he goes over creating different query views in your TODO page and then block referencing todo’s from these queries into your Daily Note each day.

This creates a tally of the number of times you block referenced a specific todo into the Daily Note which I have found to be a great way to keep myself accountable for finishing tasks. If I see that I keep block referencing a todo into my Daily Note but then don’t do it, I know that I need to prioritize that item or reconsider if it is actually something that needs to be done. This helps a ton with getting rid of noise that we add to our to do lists that may not necessarily need to be there.

The counter in the original block increases each time I reference the same todo

RoamJS

RoamJS is an awesome website with a repository of a bunch of different Javascript add-ons that have been built by David Vargas. Each page has a different add-on, what it does, code to copy into your Roam to access it, and a demo video. It’s a great way to pick and choose added functionalities that you’d want in your Roam.

My favorites include:

Roaman

Roaman is a chrome extension that I found that solves one problem really well. I sometimes have an issue where I am writing a longer page in Roam and can’t see how far I need to tab back to align bullets when starting a new section of my writing.

Roaman essentially creates a “scope” that will highlight the current bullet you are on and the one above it that is at the same level as it. This helps create a nicer visual as to where you are in your document and what bullets are at the same level when you are trying to format your writing.

Bonus: Daily Note with Daily Template

This is going way back to the basics but the Daily Note is the bread and butter for any Roam user. One way to make better use of it is to have a Daily Template that you can copy in each day to give yourself a little more structure. This template can autofill queries and multiple blocks so you can just get to work in Roam.

I currently use Alfred to populate my Daily Template and it has been great. I’m in the process of revamping it so hopefully will share a new version when it is updated!

If you’re new to Roam, hopefully using some of these features will give you a kick start in the right direction of your knowledge management journey. If you’ve been a Roam user for a while, I hope you found a new tool to use as well! I’m also constantly exploring new add-ons and extensions that the community builds. If you want to hear more about my experience with Roam be sure to find me on Twitter!