Text Editor Recommendation for Catalina

I fear I will forever be in search of a notes app that gives me joy.


Interesting, I don’t really use NVAlt much, but it seems to be working in Catalina on my iMac!

As an IBMer - and a liker of our Plex font - I had no idea forking it was legit. Welcome to the world of Open Sourced fonts, I guess.

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FSNotes works very much like nvalt - I have pointed it at my old Notational Data folder and had it just work.


For a few years I was disappointed when using IA Writer because of the lack of choice in fonts (even though the one font they used, a licensed, embedded version of Nitti Light, was tasteful). Then they decided to design their own font, which they mostly scrapped in favor of making tweaks to Plex, then making a duospace version, and then a quad. I’m finally satisfied using their Quattro font in the app, but I’d still prefer to use one of my standby mono space fonts that I use everywhere else.

I haven’t used nvUltra but I am enjoying playing with the open-source FSNotes - it’s freely downloadable from Github, or you could buy a supported Mac version from the MAS and an iOS version as well. (Which I’ve done - it’s just $6.98 for both Mac/iOS versions.) Handles thousands of imported notes quite nicely.

Typora is another great editor that is currently in free beta.

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BBEdit is fantastic.


iA Writer has the added benefit of existing both on Mac and iOS with good syncing via iCloud. I might still be using BBEdit if it had a counterpart on iOS.

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So many great options.

Been a fan of BBEdit since version 1995, I think. Still use it every day. Its search-and-replace is unequalled. If BBEdit can’t do, you probably don’t need to do it.

Drafts is indispensable on iOS and is fantastic on macOS, now, too. Great as a way to store notes, sync them across devices, and set up automations/actions on them, too. It also writes Markdown in helpful ways (e.g. adding bullets automatically once you start a list) without the heavy-handed-to-my-taste almost-wysiwyg visual-stylings of IA Writer or Ulysses.

nvUltra, as others have suggested, is a fantastic and modern successor to nvALT. Highly recommended if that’s what you’re after.

I’ve been using BBEdit on the recommendation of all of you - one issue I have is that there are red upside down question marks in some of my text files. I believe they represent “invisible text”. Is there any way I can get rid of those red upside down question marks?

IIRC unprintable ASCII characters are shown as inverted red question marks, whether or not “Show Invisibles” is turned on. (Though you could try turning off Show Invisibles if they are on…)

Also see:



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macVim! or Drafts

Yes, those are non-ASCII characters. To get rid of them you can use Text > “Zap Gremlins…”