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 Function   [other Function type actions]

 Conditional Group   [operators of similar scope]

 Dictionary, Set & List operations   [other Dictionary, Set & List operations operators]



The links() operator builds a List from a collection of links.


selects the note whose links that should be inspected. The scope, i.e. what's looked at, can be single note (item) or one-or-more items (group). Text links are listed in anchor order (i.e. as ordered in $Text); prior to this the output was usually the same but was in fact arbitrary. The optional item or group argument may be:

N.B. The item or group argument is not fully evaluated, only use simple expressions.

Aliases can never the referenced object(s) of item or group, even by use of paths. When using links() in the context of an agent's action, remember that aliases can have different links to their originals. Therefore, it is likely you will want to use 'original' as the note item for the call if this 'this' is alias.

The kind argument filters the directionality of the links collected. It is mandatory, and should not be quoted. It can only be is one of these values:

The optional linkType argument is a regular expression. It collects only links of a specified link type, or such type(s) as match the linkType regex amongst the link type names defined in the current TBX. Regular expression wild-card characters are permitted and retain their special meanings. If the linkType value contains white space or periods, it must be enclosed in double quotes:

links.outbound."responds to".$Name 

If linkType is left empty, links of all types are collected except prototype links. Prototype links are always omitted. Single quotes can be used to enclose linkType but if the quoted string includes a single quote this must be backslash-escaped or double quote used instead:

links.outbound."Peter's place".$Name OK

links.outbound.'Peter's place'.$Name wrong

links.outbound.'Peter\'s place'.$Name OK

The attribute argument is the name of the attribute whose values are to be collected in the result. An attribute reference, e.g. $Name("nextSibling") is invalid, the command work but the reference is ignored and the stated attribute for the linked note is used.

If simply wishing to test the state of links between two items, consider the Boolean queries linkedFrom() and linkedTo().



constructs a set of all the titles (from Name attribute) of notes that are linked to the top-level note named 'config' via links with the link type 'supports'. This does the same but for all link types;


For multi-word link type names use quotes (or if using regex characters):

$MyList=links(/config).outbound."agrees with".$Name; 

Whilst it is likely that 'Name' will be the most usual value for attribute, it can be any currently defined attribute:

$MyList=links.inbound."went to".$SchoolName; 

collects a list of values of the attribute 'SchoolName' for notes that have an inbound link to the current note of link type "went to".

Beware when using a TBX that has notes with duplicate (same) $Name values. As a set contains unique values, if several notes have identical names, then


will list the distinct Names only once in MySet, and so the latter will have fewer values than the actual number of matching links. In the same scenario:


will create a list containing duplicates.

The format() or List.format() operators can help make more use of links() data during export, e.g. as lists or lists of links. Internally, if analysing links and there is no real need to keep set-type data, using agents employing linkedTo() and linkedFrom() will find most of the same data as links() can provide.

The links() function can be chained by dot operators pertinent to lists For instance:


If desired the chaining can be done to a set of parentheses this can sometimes help make sense of the intended order of execution of the tasks:

$MyList=(links.inbound."colleague of".$Name).sort("$StartDate"); 

More examples of links() syntax:




links("A note").outbound."example|agree".$Name 

links("A note;A different note").inbound."*untitled".$Path 


links(find(descendedFrom("Some note")).inbound.my_link.$SomeAttribute 

links(find(descendedFrom("Some note")&$MyDate==$StartDate).outbound..$Width 



As links() uses dot-chained parameters, it is necessary to use parentheses to chain other dot operators. Thus, to get a count of the number of linked items found:


Working with links

If needing to return multiple items from linked items or to do more complex link-based work, see the eachLink() operator which offers a wider range of options.

A Tinderbox Reference File : Actions & Rules : Operators : Full Operator List : links[(item|group)].kind.[linkType].attribute