From ArchWiki

From Wikipedia, ZIM is an open file format that stores wiki content for offline usage. It is also the name of a graphical text editor used to edit this format.



  • zim-tools
  • kiwix-tools: CLI reading by server requests instead of downloading the whole ZIM database.


Zim can be used to:

  • Keep an archive of notes
  • Take notes during meetings or lectures
  • Organize task lists
  • Draft blog entries and emails
  • Do brainstorming

This screencast provides an overview about the basic functionality.


Zim uses the XDG base directories.

Besides the configuration there exist the wiki directories which are set up when a new wikis are created. Those folders store all wiki pages in plain txt format.


Specific user tricks to accomplish tasks.


Zim provides a lot of useful plugins where many of them are not enabled by default. They can be found at Edit > Preferences > Plugins. That is, there is a plugin which provides a tray icon.

Spell checker

The requirements for the Spell Checker plugin are as follows: gtkspell3 and aspell-en.

Change aspell-en to your desired language support. Now you can configure the Spell Checker and define the default language, in my case en_GB. If you do not want Zim to spell-check based on your system default language, go to File > Properties > Spell Checker and enter a language code such as en_US or en_GB.

Source View

The requirements for Source View are as follows: gtksourceview3


Problems at launch

A common error is at start up resulting in a error message like the following this thread:

UnboundLocalError: local variable 'i' referenced before assignment

It is often related to a problem with the file path of the wikis stored in ~/.config/zim/notebooks.list. Try to delete or move this file and restart Zim.

Error: Unable to find or create trash directory

This error message indicates that Zim is not able to find the trash directory as in this thread. This occurs when the wiki is stored on a partition that does not have any trash directory under /partition/.local/share/Trash. Due to that one is not able to delete pages as Zim tries to move them to the trash. Solutions are either the creation of a trash directory or the installation of the developer snapshot instead of the stable version which permanently deletes a page if no trash directory can be found. Thus, the user does not receive this error message anymore.

See also