The Most Underrated Keyboard Shortcuts in Roam Research

September 28, 2020

Utilizing keyboard shortcuts in any program you use can increase productivity and reduce distractions.

Whenever I'm ready to start on my first draft of a new essay, instead of going to Google Drive, navigating to docs, and opening a new page. I simply type doc.new into the address bar and it creates a new page for me. No fuss. No mess.

This reduces the chance that I'll get distracted by seeing some interesting thing in my Google Drive that will pull me away from doing real work.

Popular Keyboard Shortcuts

The keyboard shortcuts in Roam are pretty standard.

Tab will indent a block and Shift-Tab will unindent a block. Enter will create a new block and Shift-Enter will add a new line on the same block.

You can find a whole list of other useful key commands in the help menu at the bottom right-hand side of the screen. But there are so many to learn, I wanted to explain some useful ones that aren't as popular.

Open a Link the Cursor is On

By now, we've all seen that when you are writing on a block with a link in it, it can be hard to open that page easily.

By moving your cursor in the middle of the brackets, you can press CTRL-O and that page will automatically open. Using CTRL-SHIFT-O will open that page in the sidebar.

Expand & Collapse Blocks

The block system is genius and truly sets Roam apart from other note-taking apps on the market, but it can be difficult navigating a long document with 20+ toggles. However. there is a much easier way to expand and collapse parents than grabbing a mouse and selecting the toggle.

If your cursor is inside of a parent block, using CMD-DOWN will expand its children and CMD-UP will collapse its children.

Mastering this key command really speeds up your workflow when working with a lot of data.

Working With Block Versions

Block versions are probably one of the most underrated features inside Roam Research.

Within seconds you can create multiple versions of paragraphs for an essay or work on simplifying a complex concept. To add a version, make sure your cursor is on a block and press CTRL-COMMA. You will see a small '2' appear where the bullet usually is. Press on that 2 and you can toggle between Version 1, the original version of the block, or version 2, the new version. Using the '+' next to the two allows you to create an endless amount of versions for a single block.

Using CTRL-PERIOD will expand all versions of the block, with the earlier versions on the bottom. CTRL-> will cycle versions right and CTRL-< will cycle versions left.

General

CMD-U will place your cursor in the search bar, allowing you to search for any word inside of your Roam graph.

CTRL-C and CTRL-B will allow you to toggle the brackets on or off for your roam graph. If you want to do this only for a single page, right-click on the page title and select 'View as Document'

CTRL-SHIFT-D will automatically open your daily notes page.

CMD-SHIFT-H will wrap the selected text in highlights, CMD-Y will wrap the selected text in strikethrough, and CMD-B will bold the selected text. 

FOOTNOTES