One of Roam Research's most celebrated features is backlinks, where you can add wiki-style links to any bit of text to link it to a page—or create a new page if one doesn't exist. Once you add the link, the linked page will show a backlink as a list of everything that's referenced the page.
Notion just added a similar, yet far more basic, feature: Backlinks.
Essentially, if you link a page in Notion, Notion will now show that link on the top of the linked page. You have a note about New York, perhaps, with all your favorite places. You then add a new note about a work trip, and link to the New York page. Now, the top of the New York page will show a backlink to your work trip page to close the loop.
The only way you can add a backlink in Notion is to link a page with Notion's built-in linking. Type
/link and select "link to a page" then type to search for the name of the page you want to link and press enter. That'll add a page link on a new line, and a backlink to the linked page. Or, while typing in-line in a paragraph of text, type
@ and then the name of the page to add an inline link. If you select any random text and add a standard URL link to a page, that won't show up as a backlink.
Comically, you can add recursion: Link a page to itself, and the page will show up as its own backlink.
And if the backlinks are too much clutter, hover over the backlink section, click the ... button, and select Hide backlinks.
Think this will change how you use Notion?
I have been playing around with backlinks - what a move by Notion to bring this huge feature in out of the blue! - and have been disappointed in one big aspect - it only works for Pages, not db's. With the @mention, where you get a bunch of quick keystroke functionality in Notion, you can just as easily reference db's as Pages. But db's don't get the backlink!! This has been highly disappointing as I have just a big a need to reference db's as Pages - they are pretty interchangeable in Notion and that's one of Notion's big pluses! Already made this request to them directly so hopefully it will be coming soon, along with a whole bunch of other benefit to backlinking I noticed you have been petitioning for on Twitter @maguay!!
thanks for highlighting this, otherwise I would have missed this. I shall revisit Notion from this angle. This is a good indication that the developers are putting decent effort to keep Notion ahead of the game.
This is a very big update.
Why does it not show up in their What's New page?
It's a big update. Notion continues building for feature width as opposed to depth. I'm really excited when they start paying attention to the latter. Probably going to happen after API ships in Q4.
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