May 2022 Software of the Month Club – Noteplan

Hey folks! Let’s download NotePlan and discuss our experiences here.

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I’d be interested. Several weeks ago I trialed the program but could not get my head around the bullet journal approach to task/project management. I’ve always keep notes in on app and tasks in a task manager.

NP looks very good and I like that the files are on my computer in plain text but I struggled with project management. I’d love to hear the experience of others and how they overcome this issue.

I should add that I don’t intend on changing apps, my workflow is working well. I’m more curious than anything.

It is a very interesting looking app, on the first impression.
But, I could not find any information about the company behind that app. No address, or something similar.
I could find the name of the founder, and his twitter account shows a picture that looks a little like the panorama from Berlin, but if he has a german company, local laws would normally require him, to have certain information on his website like the address, and a contact information. So I doubt that this to be a german company, if the picture really shows Berlin.
I have some general concern, using a App while I have no information about the company behind, and especially if it is an app, that are about to collect some of my most personal informations.

Anyone here, who can give some more informations about the company behind that app?

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He is German as I confirmed that because my ancestral home is Mosbach Germany and I sent him a picture. I’ve corresponded with the developer–he is very responsive and provides detailed help. I am impressed with him but I know little about the company and I’m not even sure it is based in Germany. It would make sense that it is but I can’t confirm that.

I’ll add one more preliminary response to this thread. When I gave NotePlan a spin, I ultimately decided against it for the reasons listed below. Please correct me if any NP users find an error in what I’m “noting.” :wink:

  • No tables
  • No way to flag or set start date
  • Only way to get emails into NotePlan is to drag them. NotePlan isn’t even available from the Share Menu on a Control+Click (or right click) and Share
  • One has to use a numbering system to order notes/folders
  • The iPad version looks and functions differently than the Mac version
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One of these days someone’s going to actually come up with an app that handles both tasks and notes just as well as dedicated note or task apps.
This is not that day.

I have been using NotePlan on and off for about a year and I find it to be an excellent combination of task manager and note taking app. What allows them to live together so well is the Review view, which aggregates all incomplete tasks. It’s basically a filter view that searches your whole database for tasks, then presents them in a list with a bit of context. Clicking on a task from this view will take you to the note with the task.

Most of my time in the app is spent in my Daily note, which just “exists” and doesn’t require any action to create. You can click on future dates in the calendar, add tasks to that date, etc. I also take meeting notes and general goals and ideas in the Daily note, and I find this free-form journaling to help with project planning and task identification. I also have several folders and projects for larger or ongoing areas. I find it easy enough to do most of my capture in the Daily note, then clean up and move some chunks to a project note as needed.

The most recent update incorporated templates more tightly into the app, adopting a lot of the same approach as a popular plugin. This allows you to set up, for example, a new note with prompts for sections or even more dynamic content, like calendar events scheduled for the day.

I really like the “planning environment” approach that the app takes. I still occasionally put tasks in OmniFocus if I really need alerts and reminders and such, but I’m almost entirely in NotePlan these days. They have a very active, and helpful, Discord server where the developer is quite active and responsive.

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I’ve used NotePlan for years and love it – with a few caveats.

NotePlan indeed doesn’t handle tables, afaik. It’s a shortcoming. But because these are just text files, you can open them in Obsidian, MultiMarkdown Composer or other markdown apps and use tables (or Mermaid diagrams or …) to your hearts content. That said, it’s a workaround, and may not work for you.

One of the more powerful features of NotePlan, IMO, is the custom syntax extensions and theming. They’re very nearly as powerful as those in Drafts (last I checked, they don’t handle multi-line syntax, which Drafts can). With my setup, I can, for example, take notes on a call with multiple people and simply prefix a line with % and the name of the speaker, and it will display that line in red; my own comments, prefixed with ? appear in blue. Makes it very easy to find who said what later on. This isn’t markdown, obviously, but it extends markdown in a way that’s useful for me.

I also find that NotePlan’s combination of markdown and WYSIWYG really works well for me. Unlike Typora (which I also use), it really keeps the markdown syntax in place, typically visible while you’re editing that portion of the text, while simultaneously rendering the appropriate style (H3 or bold or fenced code block or quote block, etc.). (Typora by contrast automatically escapes > if I paste it as part of the clipboard – but I don’t want it to do that; still it’s beautiful to write in.)

Eduard, NotePlan’s developer, is extremely responsive, and has added more features in the last year or two than I thought possible. The plug-in architecture, while new, is truly impressive. There’s a very active Discord that I enjoy visiting (the only one I enjoy – I don’t like Discord much).

I know some people feel the iOS and Mac versions are too dissimilar, but for my purposes, they function very similarly given the very different form factors and input methods.

My main problem with NotePlan isn’t easily resolved. The Mac-iOS sync is fantastic if you use CloudKit. But then the directory of notes is buried deep in the Mac file structure, which makes it very hard to use with an existing folder of plain-text notes. It’s possible, and I believe @ryanjamurphy somewhere has a great write up on how to use NotePlan and Obsidian with the same folder of notes, but for me, it’s less than ideal. Sadly, I think this may be a limitation of CloudKit. Still, Eduard has solved so many other problems so elegantly I’m hopeful…

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I love NotePlan and use it daily. I work out of daily notes and I love the ability to dump all my tasks and notes into one place. As others have mentioned, it’s killer feature is the ability to review all open tasks. In my experience, tasks tend to be checklists in most other note taking apps that have some level of task management but NotePlan treats tasks as 1st class citizens. Overall, I find that it hits the sweet spot for both task management and note taking.

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Used the first two iterations and enjoyed it until the subscription price rocketed to a place I couldn’t commit to.

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He’s German but is (or was) living in another country, I think.

His name is Eduard Metzger and he’s very active on the NotePlan Discord forum.

Here is a link to an interview with him from May 2021. NotePlan 3 - Digital Planning 2021 with Backlinks - Interview with CEO Eduard Metzger - YouTube

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I really like Noteplan! I just wish it was more Markdown-y. For example, it doesn’t support footnotes (or tables, as mentioned previously).

It also has some weird styling. I am so used to adding two line breaks to indicate a new paragraph. By default, Noteplan encourages you to use one. This also kind of breaks the way I use Markdown with other editors, so I edited multiple Noteplan themes I like to have tighter margins around blocks of text. Now I add two line breaks for a paragraph.

The iCloud location of the folders is a showstopper for me as well, unfortunately.

In short, I love Noteplan, but have a number of requirements that make it difficult to use. I tried it for the full trial period and just decided to use Obsidian a couple weeks ago. I’m eager to see iA Writer’s new wiki linking feature because I don’t much like Obsidian either.

Noteplan is so good, and so close…

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I’d encourage you to let Eduard know, and vote on the feature requests you’d like to see (or propose others): https://noteplan.canny.io/

He is very responsive – for the most part he works on what’s most in demand. But he also puts thought into making features available without forcing them on people.

The more I use the app the more I like it. I need to really spend time exploring it

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I didn’t know this was coming–do you know when?

With “Lasers, man!”

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Yes, I need to do that. I also voted for using file names instead of the first header, which is dearly important to me too and another hurdle in the way of my full-time use right now.

“Soon,” according to iA. I believe them but also don’t know if their definition of soon matches mine. They mentioned it to Vittici when he tweeted asking if anybody had cool app updates to share, so it must be soon enough to start hyping it up.

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Good news: That feature is officially planned

Bad news: It has been planned since March a year ago… I’m quite sure Eduard will get to it, but obviously he prioritizes.

I’ve been using Noteplan for about 4 months. I like it quite a bit but my needs are somewhat simple.

I like having both the individual notes and the day-based notes. I like the ability to search on something and see the date that I wrote about it (e.g. people I spoke to, support calls).

And I do love the markdown/wysiwyg implementation. I don’t like apps that you have to switch modes. As soon as you write the markdown (e.g. double asterisks for bolding), it just renders it immediately.

I saw that, and I also saw the delay in planning, and just decided it wasn’t worth using a current product and just hoping for future features.

It’s a lovely product though. I keep downloading it and just staring at my notes. It’s a nice environment.

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