nomad hypertext logo, a horse


A local-first writing app built around semantic search

Made by Nicholas Chen at the Recurse Center

Available on MacOS

Nomad Hypertext is a writing app built around semantic search. It lets you see connections between your ideas in real time as your write - click on the # symbol next to a paragraph, and similar ideas you've written about in the past will show in the sidebar. This helps you spot both recurring themes and unexpected links between seemingly different ideas.

Nomad Hypertext works completely offline and is free and open source.

Effort-free organization

"I do not want to hamper myself with anything in preparing my notes. I will not introduce any order or system. Whatever I recall, I will write down"

- Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground

Unlike other writing apps, there is no need to manually tag ideas or manually draw links between documents. Semantic search itself is the primary method of organization, and it works automatically in the background, leaving you free to write down your ideas freely. This makes it an ideal tool for journaling, brainstorming, and ideation.

screenshot of nomad hypertext drawing a connection between song lyrics and a journal entry

Here, Nomad Hypertext draws a connection between a song lyric by Radiohead, a journal entry I wrote about feeling hopeful about the future, and a quote by Mark Fisher.

You can think of it as Nomad Hypertext "semantically hyperlinking" ideas together in the background automatically as your write.

I often copy paste essays that I enjoy into my notes. Later, Nomad Hypertext will show me if something I've written is related to my favorite blogs. I do the same for song lyrics I enjoy and quotes I resonate with.

[Read more about Nomad Hypertext]

Totally offline

Nomad Hypertext embeds what you write into a local vector database using a local AI model in real time. All of this happens on your device, completely offline. You can use Nomad Hypertext on a plane, in a forest, on the Eurasian steppe - anywhere life takes you.


Because Nomad Hypertext does not rely on tags or backlinks to organize ideas, it does not need any proprietary data format - your notes are plain text files. This means you can easily take your notes to another app (Obsidian perhaps), back them up using Git, pipe them into LLM command line tools, or feed them into a static site generator.

Plain text is simple, portable, and compatible with everything - truly nomadic.


Speaking of static site generators, Nomad Hypertext has a sister project: Yurt, a static site generator that semantically hyperlinks paragraphs for you automatically.

At build time, it embeds all your posts into vectors and puts them into a vector database. Then, for each paragraph in a post, it queries the vector database for the 20 most similar paragraphs from all your notes. It stores these in a precomputed index. It then statically generates a blog for you (like Gatsby or any other static site generator), and uses this index so users can see related ideas when they click on a paragraph.

You can learn more about Yurt on my blog here - which is itself deployed using Yurt.

You can deploy your own semantically hyperlinked blog using Yurt! The repo is a template repo - clone it and follow the instructions in the README to get started.

Get Nomad Hypertext

Nomad Hypertext is available on MacOS now.


robot riding a horse