Roam Research: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are new to Roam, this page answers some of the most common questions beginners may have, including how to get started, how to use Roam, and what are some alternatives. Once you are ready to dig deeper, explore the Roam Research knowledge base.

Where do I start?

To understand the general principles behind Roam, such as bi-directional linking and the knowledge graph, go through this short introduction to Roam. Once you have wrapped your head around the basics, read this beginner’s guide which will walk you through the steps of creating your first Roam database and creating your first interconnected notes. You may also want to read this interview with Conor White-Sullivan, the founder of Roam as a primer into his vision for the future of Roam.

What are some use cases for Roam Research?

Roam is extremely modular. You can use it for anything from writing, brainstorming, journaling, managing to-do lists, drawing diagrams, practicing spaced repetition, building a digital garden, and more.

You don’t need to use Roam for all these use cases if that makes no sense for your particular goals. Some people have a very simple approach to using Roam. For instance, one of the most popular use cases is to use Roam simply for note-taking, using the daily journal and interlinking ideas from there.

Is Roam Research free?

No, Roam is not free. It’s currently priced at $15/month, or $165/year, or $500 for five years. The “Believer” plan for five years includes first access to new features, community calls with the team, and priority support.

However, Roam runs a Scholars Program, through which you may be eligible for a significant discount if you are a full-time researcher, under 22 years old, or experiencing significant financial distress. You can apply for the Roam Scholars Program here.

Are there any free and/or open source alternatives to Roam?

Yes, there are some free, open source, self-hosted alternatives. However, please note that many of these lack some of the core features of Roam, and will not give you the exact same experience.

Should I use Roam, Notion, Evernote, or something else?

These are very different note-taking tools, with a different ethos, suited for different goals. However, if you are unsure, read this guide which compares the main note-taking tools on the market based on three note-taking styles: the gardener, the architect, and the librarian.

How can I change the appearance of Roam Research?

Roam supports themes which allow you to style the interface with custom CSS. Here is a guide detailing the steps to take to install a theme. You don’t need to know how to code, as many people have shared their themes which you can import. For instance, Roamness is a theme for Roam based on Ness Labs.

Are there any browser extensions I can use?

Yes, there are tons of extensions. Just make sure to not install too many or to install conflicting ones at the same time.