Any NotePlan users out there?

NotePlan is Agenda’s less popular brother. Where Agenda seems be optimized for meeting notes, NotePlan seems to be a kind of hybrid task manager/journaling/note taking app, with calendar connectivity too.

I’ve been using it for more than half a day now. When I got to my desk in the morning I wrote down two things I wanted to work on today. I had.a couple of meetings and conversations and things I wanted remember. Noteplan is organized around pages – one page per day, plus any number of undated notes that you can set up in parallel. I’ve been jotting down notes and additional to-dos as they occur to me. At the end of the day or first thing tomorrow I’ll review the page and prioritize for the next day. I’ll also transfer whatever looks most interesting to my REAL journal, which I keep in DevonThink.

NotePlan is a digital version of the Field Notes or nice leather notebooks that I see people walking around with.

It’s unclear at this point whether I’ll stick with NotePlan, switch to NotePlan from my to-do manager, Things, and also whether I will try Agenda. But I’m trying NotePlan.

Any tips or pointers or shared stories?

I think it takes a particular kind of mindset and discipline to use a calendar-centric note taking app like Agenda or NotePlan. Though they both operate different, they basically do the same thing. There are pros and cons to how well they do what they do, in my eyes.

Key among these, for my priorities are:

  1. NotePlan keeps your data in plain text files. Agenda makes it difficult to get all your data out - you have to do this on a note-by-note basis.
  2. NotePlan has no share extension. Agenda finally came up with a share extension and it is very well thought out.
  3. NotePlan has a simple, pedestrian design. Agenda is slick but I think its opinionated design gets in the way of utility.
  4. Both apps do well across macOS and iOS/iPadOS, but to my eyes Agenda’s design and multitude of sliding panels and sidebars on iOS/iPadOS are off-putting and a substantial drag on usefulness.

There’s more, but I come down on the side of preferring NotePlan because it just doesn’t get in the way of work, where Agenda is fiddly and tweaky and full of itself.

(I admired Agenda’s pricing model, until it tricked myself recently into buying a new 12-month subscription when I got the strong impression that I had to do that do get the share extension – then it came out of beta 5 days after I paid the bill and the extension was free. Foo on me for being impatient for a new toy.)


Check the subreddit for tips.

I bought it two years ago, used 99% on the Mac for around a month to try it out, and I pull it out every couple of months to see how it’s advanced. I prefer its UI to what I feel is a slower, more confused UI in Agenda that requires comparatively more fiddling, clicking and mousing.

But ultimately Noteplan’s calendar-based metaphor for notes doesn’t work for me for anything except journaling, and I already use Day One for that.

That said, it’s a great app, with nested tagging, savable filters/smart searches, images, drag/drop attachment-links, and rendered markdown.

If the calendar-notes metaphor works for you it’s a really solid, regularly updated, useful app. It’s not going to replace a dedicated task manager’s unique features (and does many more things of its own) so I don’t see it as either/or.


Now I’m thinking Day One might be better suited to my needs. I have used it extensively, gave it up a couple of months ago, but it seems ideally suited to keeping a “have done” list and jotting little notes for later reference.

Judging by the beta Noteplan 3 will move even more in the direction of being calendar focussed.
I liked about Noteplan 2 that it was a flat file sync that basically created txt/md files in folders in iCloud. They are moving to a database right now, but as far as I understood it, they want to maintain the flat file copy.

It’s great to have those files indexed in other tools (DevonThink) or accessible from other OS.

The editor in v2 was still is quite clunky, it greatly improved in v3. The syntax-hiding is still not quite right.

In v3 you’ll have @-mentions, #-tags and folders (all multi-level) on top of the calendar based system. Paired with in-line images and a bullet-journal style todo system, with a review view built-in, as well as NotePlan’s take on “custom perspective” or save-able filters.

I haven’t fully implemented Noteplan, but I like the idea of having a running daily notepad for quick ideas, pieces of informations or tasks that needed to be jotted down. This solves the issue of notes in Apple Notes, Bear, Evernote etc. requiring maintenance later, when you have to decide whether you want to keep it and where you want to file it. That bares the danger of unimportant notes being carried over way too often. It’s like a built-in purging system.

The great thing about NotePlan is that if there actually is a piece of information in your daily notes that is worth keeping that is relevant for a certain project or area of your life, you can simply tag it.

Yet the convenience of the app to quickly capture tasks is not there yet. I still stick to Things for this.
It has the potential to replace Things and Bear for me, though.

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Following a suggestion from @bowline earlier in this thread, I’m looking into Day One as a replacement for Noteplan, to keep a running journal, logbook or notepad during the day. A running narration everything I do at work (and personal tasks that require that kind of detail). As I said earlier, a “done” list, to complement my “to do” list.

DevonThink is where work happens for me, but DevonThink is a heavyweight app, not suited for quick notes on the fly, particularly on the iPhone or iPad.

One feature I really like about Day One: You can record a note and have the recording transcribed in realtime. The note then contains both the recording and the transcription, so if the transcription doesn’t make sense you’ve got the recording right there for reference. Very handy for quick notes recorded on the go.

Day One then becomes a kind of inbox for review daily, in the morning or evening.

I’ll keep an eye on Noteplan, though – I’m interested to see where that goes. Plain text storage was as big plus for me; if it goes to a database format, that makes it about a thousand times less attractive.

If you don’t need the niceties of Day One (location and weather data, pulling images from Instagram, dictation/transcription, On This Day view, writing prompts, etc) then just about any other writing app offers better price/performance. Given its design and one-time $45 price for iOS/Mac unlock and sync, NotePlan could well be a good alternative for a journal.

Although I purchased Day One Plus before they went subscription, and I’ve been a subscriber since, um, day one, and even though I’m a heavy user currently into an 1100+ day streak according to the app, I’m still irked by the limited font choices and lack of real font/background color configurability. (Those criticisms extend to NotePlan too, by the way.)

My yearly Day One subscription is up a few days and I’m going to renew, but it’s actually a coin flip for me - the features it offers are nice and appreciated, but not essential. (Do I need an Instagram backup? Do I need to know the location and weather of a timestamped post?)

I could theoretically replicate my personal use of Day One in Ulysses and use my choice of font with my own choice of text and background colors too. And I might well do that… in a year.


I got angry at Day One when I came up against a limit of export options.

I like the way it handles dictation/transcription, Instagram image import is nice, and the Activity Feed is REALLY terrific. “Here are your appointments for the day, here is where you have been, here are the photos you took. Any of those look like journal entries to you?”

NotePlan is not ready for prime time. Played around with trial for a week and gave up, still prefer Agenda + Things combo.

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Developer of NotePlan here :wave:, thanks for giving this quick intro! For more details about the move to a database read my in-depth reply on Reddit - TLDR: Local files will be syncing against CloudKit and iCloud Drive stays as an option.


Hi, and thanks for stopping by – and for making a great app!

What are some of the other changes we can expect to see in the next version?

So, sorry, I’m unclear on what you’re doing. Is local storage on macOS / iPadOS / iOS still going to be a set of individual markdown files, for all users, and you use CloudKit’s services to synchronize those files between machines? Or is CloudKit being used with a “database” that replaces the current set of individual markdown files? If so, what’s the database? SQL? Something else.

I get the idea that he’ll use redundant storage — both a database and flat files, same data, in sync. Which is a great idea actually, in theory. Gets the portability and future-proofing of flat files combined with the flexibility of a database.

In theory you get the fast incremental sync of changes that a database offers and you can offload parsing changes to the filesystem until an actual change by the user has been made. It’s clever for a two-way sync, if it works in practice.

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Sorry for the late reply!

The main change will be in the User Interface. It’s optimized for writing by putting the markdown editor into the center of the window. The calendar details are cleanly separated into a right sidebar from where you can navigate through the days (being in the daily notes) and see your daily events and reminders in a timeline (like most people use their calendars). Add calendar items there by clicking on the respective time.

The left sidebar hosts all your notes in a (new) folder system, which mirrors actual folders on your Mac. A new week view allows you to review & edit 7 daily notes at once with a weekly list of events on the right.

A Review view lets you find all your tasks across calendar and non-calendar notes using parameters like “completed”, “open”, etc., the time frame and more.

Further, there is now a command bar (CMD+J) for power users from where you can access all your notes and daily notes (type the date or things like “tomorrow”) using a quick search. There you can also create tasks directly. And time-blocking is possible by writing the time behind a task, such as “* Buy milk at 4pm”. It will show a block on the right.

There is more in the details, the best is to join the beta to find out more (soon public beta, right now closed beta by contacting

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Yes, there still will be a local folder with all the notes saved in plain text files. Exactly like it is right now, just the location is not the iCloud Drive folder. The location can be in theory anywhere. At first it will be hard coded.

Here is how its used: For offline usage it’s anyways required to have the database somewhere locally. Some apps use SQL databases, but NotePlan already has all the code to manage text files, so this will be used for managing a local database.

CloudKit will be only used to mirror the local text-files into a private cloud database (private means only you have access, not even the developer can see the data). Changes are mirrored up and down to ensure the latest state. It is (probably) similar how iCloud Drive, Dropbox, etc. work under the hood (local set of files mirrored against a cloud database).

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Exactly. It’s also nicely separated in the code. One class takes care of checking for changes in the files. Another is taking over from there and pushing changes to the cloud or is handing them down from the cloud.


Thanks for the breakdown. I have been an Agenda user for a while now though was looking at NotePlan as I like the local database option for security reasons.

For NotePlan 3, can you just run off the local copy do you need to mirror via cloud kit?

Also, for Agenda you are able to export all the text in your notes as RTFs a back up that can be read as regular text documents so you’re not entirely locked in.

Last option gives you local only:

As per exporting to RTF AFAIK there is not the ability to do so in Noteplan itself. But given that its files are plain text, you can

  1. open then in whatever app handles plain text and markdown (many will convert to RTF and .docx if you wish so, my favorites are iA Writer and Typora)
  2. backup by setting a recurring sync to wherever you want (another folder on the drive, another local drive, etc.) such as Chronosync.

Thanks! Much obliged.