Notebooks App — Your Experience



The iPhone version is currently free - gonna give it a try.


Can you tag notes? I’ve run a few text searches on the site and don’t see “tag” at all so I feel unsure since it seems like a fairly obvious feature to have in an app like this.



That’s what it says, but I haven’t found a way to actually tag things yet.
If anyone knows, I’m all ears (eyes).


I believe you use the @ symbol


The left hand side of the screen shows the books, and on this side you can have standalone documents and the feature of @contexts which shows you searches based on Markdown tags, which you define and assign to books, tasks and documents. As the PDF manual points out, it considers @wip and @WIP and #workInProgress to be valid tags, but it considers @wip & @WIP to be different so be careful of your spelling and capitalization.


I am quite interested in moving over as a replacement for Evernote, I use it for document storage more than anything.

Can anyone tell me the status of OCR within Notebooks, its probably one of the things I actually still like about Evernote - I switched away from using tags.

Alternatively does anyone have a set up where they OCR docs / images themselves before using Notebooks?

Thanks in advance.


Status: none. Probably nothing to come built-in either, so if you really need it look into Mac/cloud OCR options. Or DEVONthink.


I seriously thought about adopting Notebooks into my workflow. The iOS app is really nice, but I find the Mac app to be an odd user experience. My main gripe is having no option to turn off the silly paper background. UX details like that really bother me when using an app as much as I would an app like Notebooks. I’m heavily looking at KeepIt alternatively, but I’m bummed it doesn’t seem to natively support Markdown file creation inside the app.


Mine is people who don’t Read The Fine Manual (linked to in earlier post). :wink:

“Colors lets you define the font color and background pattern for documents. For the background, you can set a solid color, select from a set of predefined background patterns (these are used for plain text only), or import your own image or pattern to use as background. As with the default font, these settings can be inherited from the parent book.” Check out the PDF manual (linked in an earlier post).


Not sure if you meant to come across as rude, but maybe a better way to have phrased that would be, “You can change the background in case you didn’t know. Check the manual for how.”

I usually don’t read software manuals these days because most of them are worthless.


Thanks, no idea how I missed that. I promise I can read.


Nice to see detailed documentation. I was not aware of it either.


I am pretty late to joining this thread, but I would like to add a few details and explanations about NotebooksApp.

We started implementing and experimenting with iCloud sync a couple of years ago, but the user experience is not at all what we want. When syncing huge hierarchies of documents, you have no idea about the progress, the process may even stall and maybe continue, or not. Sometimes iCloud thinks that a book/folder has disappeared, so that book disappears from Notebooks as well, just to reappear a few moments or minutes later (the same can happen in Apple’s Calendar, by the way, and even when syncing folders between two Macs via iCloud). This is not the type of sync we want in Notebooks.

Checklists embedded in documents (formatted documents or Markdown) will be available in the next major update; to get an idea you can try the public beta of “Notebooks for Mac 2”.

WebClipper: we do have that on our list of ideas, but currently you can “share” the contents of websites (on iOS), or you can drag & drop the contents of a webpage into Notebooks on a Mac.

Context tags have been available in Notebooks/iOS for a long time, and they are now available in “Notebooks for Mac 2” as well. True, we hardly mentioned them anywhere, because originally they seemed to be for advanced users (who don’t need documentation), but we will detail their use and benefit in more detail.
Tags can be assigned form an item’s info, but Notebooks can extract them for documents’ contents as well. As mentioned, tags can be denoted as @tag or #anotherTag.

OCR is currently not available in Notebooks, but there are a few interesting frameworks that we could implement. We will check that out.

Notebooks for Mac: as mentioned, we just started a public beta program, so everyone interested can give Notebooks for Mac 2 a try. It is a whole new app, and its feature set actually exceeds that of Notebooks on iOS. More details at


This is very good news, Alfons.

Notebooks is one of my favorite apps and the Mac version 2 is welcome.

I hope you’ll consider adding a Share extension to Mac so that Notebooks 2 can acquire documents, etc., from other Mac apps more easily.


I would dispute the idea that “advanced users don’t need documentation”. Indeed, I think the advanced users are the most likely to actually consult the documentation. What advanced users need is advanced documentation; documentation that covers features in detail, with all the technicalities that get elided when explaining things to beginning users, covering all of the non-obvious features, power users tips, automation, etc.


A Share extension will follow, but you can already use macOS “Services” in Notebooks 2.


That is an aspect I had not considered… We will keep that in mind when updating our documentation and handbook.


Thank you :smile: for the extension – and yes, the services work fine also.