After you have opened a workspace, you need to add files to it in order to begin writing notes and essays. On this page, we introduce the various ways of opening and managing files within Zettlr.


If you are migrating from a Word-processor such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice, you will want to import those files first. Head over to our guide on importing to see how to do that.

This page explains how to work with files as such. To read on how to actually write Markdown, head over to the section on writing Markdown.

Creating Files

Working with files in Zettlr is similar to your file browser. You can create a new file by right-clicking a folder and selecting "New file …". A text field will open that allows you to choose a file name. The file name will already be pre-populated with a string of digits and have the file extension .md. At this point, you can choose a more appropriate filename and hit Enter to create the file.

The newly created file will immediately be opened so that you can start working on it.


You can customize how the filename will be generated by going to the settings → Advanced → Pattern for new filenames.

By default, Zettlr will create a Markdown file for you. However, Zettlr can also open a set of different file types that are important when working with the larger ecosystem. You can change the pre-defined filename extension to any of the supported extensions to create different types of files:

File Type Description Extension(s)
Markdown Regular Markdown files *.md, *.txt, *.markdown, *.mkd
JSX Markdown Markdown files with JSX components *.mdx
RMarkdown A Markdown file with R-code blocks *.Rmd
Quarto Markdown A Quarto Markdown file *.qmd
LaTeX files A TeX file, or template *.tex
JSON files A JSON data file (e.g., Zotero libraries) *.json
YAML files A YAML data file (e.g., Pandoc profiles) *.yaml, *.yml


Some features of certain file types are not supported, for example, JSX syntax highlighting or executing R-code from within Zettlr.

Managing Files

After creating files, you may also want to move them around or rename them. Most of these features work very similar to your file browser:

When you right-click a file, you will have a selection of actions available: You can rename, delete, or duplicate files. Duplicating files will create an exact copy of the file in the same directory and append "copy" to it.

Also, you can drag files around. You can drag them on a different folder to move them there, or out of the app in order to open it in another application, or upload it to a website.


If you want to move a file into a subfolder that is collapsed, move the file on top of it and wait. After a short delay, the folder will uncollapse, allowing you to move the file into any of the subfolders that are now visible.

File Properties

If you are interested in some metadata on the file, you can right-click it and select "Properties". The properties contain information on when a file was created, when it has been last edited, how many words it contains and how large it is on disk.

Additionally, the file properties allow you to specify a writing target. To set a writing target, simply select the appropriate number of words or characters, and choose whether the target should refer to "words" or "characters". This allows you to flexibly adjust how long a file will need to become depending on whether your editor/teacher defines a word-based or character-based writing target.


Character counts always exclude spaces.

Locating Files on Disk

If you want to see where exactly a file is, you can open it in your file browser (e.g., Windows Explorer or Finder). To open a file in your file browser, right click it and select "Show file". This will open your file browser and highlight the file so that you know where it actually is.

This is especially useful for standalone files:

Standalone Files

Sometimes, you have files that you need but which don't really fit into any of your workspaces. One such example would be a global Todo-list file. Zettlr allows you to open arbitrary files alongside your workspaces.

This approach works similarly to how Word-processors work: You search for a (Markdown) file using your file browser and open it with Zettlr by double-clicking it. (Make sure Zettlr is set as your default app for opening Markdown files.)

When opening arbitrary files directly from within your file browser, Zettlr will first see if the file is part of one of the workspaces that you have loaded. In that case, it will open the file as if you had clicked on the file's entry from within Zettlr.

If the file is not part of any of your loaded workspaces, however, Zettlr will open it as a "standalone" file. If you have standalone files open, it will open a second section on top of the Workspaces section in your file manager titled "Files". Any file that you can see in this section is not part of any of your workspaces.

Closing Standalone files

Zettlr will retain standalone files even across restarts. This means, any file you've opened standalone will sit in the file manager until you explicitly close them from there. If you want to get rid of them, you can follow a similar procedure as to closing or removing workspaces:

You can either close a standalone file or remove it. Similarly to workspaces, closing a standalone file will only unload it from Zettlr but leave it where it is, whereas deleting it will also put it in the trash bin of your computer.

To close or remove a standalone file, right-click it and select "Close file" or "Delete file", depending on what you wish to do.