Agenda versus Bear

Whats your opinion about Agenda versus Bear ? I need to select one of them for writing my patients dossiers.

Bear requires a paid update to sync over iCloud. Thumb down for that.
But it has better text formatting and it looks more beautiful.
Agenda’s freemium model is much better and more interesting. It is very practical for users, and challenging for the development team.

In my opinion, as of now, Agenda for the win.


Furtheremore, it seems Bears has not group and subgroup feature for the projects. For example I can create a project titled Patients with 1000 subgroup dossiers in Agenda, but it is not possible in Bear. But image attachment is a fault in Agenda too.

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Images are coming. It is the number one requested feature, and promised over and over by the developers as “Coming soon!” The features we are working on right now…
Attaching external documents and Attaching external documents.

Do not assign that deficit too much weight in favor of Bear if you need those subgroup dossiers.

it seems Agenda updates wont be released in the near future. As a physician I cant wait more time for my patients’ dossiers. @drewmccormack As a Studies follower I hope we will see Agenda updates ASAP.

Bear is a nice app, but its only organizational scheme is tagging. To me that’s its biggest drawback. I assume your patient dossiers are somewhat date-centric. If so, then Agenda is the clear winner.

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What’s the basis of your assumption if I may ask?

I gave the full subscription version of Bear a year, but then didn’t renew because it had more good looks than utility for me. Of course, that renewal was further complicated by the appearance of Agenda, which is just as good-looking and which I have found to be better at actual note-taking.

I found Bear most useful as a web clipper, often turning web pages into beautiful PDFs, but less useful for actual note-taking. Bear’s multi-level tagging is powerful, but overall searching is weak. Bear’s Markdown formatting is limited and I found that reading my notes in its quasi-Markdown was distracting. While Agenda doesn’t have more formatting options than Bear, it is clean, non-distracting, and I think better suited to (text) note-taking.

Reading between the lines, I would be concerned by your intended use. If your “patients dossiers” are truly just notes, the kind that you would write with a pen on a sheet of paper, either will do, although I think Agenda’s focus on dates would be more appropriate. However, I suspect that what you really want is to also attach forms, images, and even associated PDFs… essentially a free-form database and document management system, and that is a different ballgame. If my suspicion is correct, I doubt either will meet your long term needs, especially when it comes to scalability.


I guess. Not exactly

Perhaps you might help us help you in this comparison exercise by clarifying your “ideal” set up for your patient dossiers. What kind of images and quantity per patient are you looking to house along with your notes? Are you looking for other kinds of organizational techniques and data, such as tables, to store besides notes? Your initial question mentioned only writing.

My ideal patients dossier has the following features:

  1. selection of favorable text color
  2. ability to remind the following appointments.
  3. Writing patient data, attaching some images of the disease and corneal imagings (jpeg).
  4. ability to create tables for writing the disease tips
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Thank you. That list is quite revealing. Your needs are clear.

I see that most of the missing features are on the Coming Soon!” list or have workarounds. @mekentosj did inquire why you felt these upgrades weren’t imminent.

Promised updates and feature development progress has been quite rapid so far. But if you’re planning on purchasing a product to support your practice now, then some of these features are not currently available in Agenda, but I’m not sure they are in Bear either, since I’m not a user.


Can’t say for certain but have the impression that Agenda is not for such use. What you are describing runs more in paralel with Evernote. I use Agenda for tidy project management and it’s the best tool for this so far. I can have all my checklists, time info and all the info client and I agreed on in one compact place. But when it comes to longer text form, attachments, tables etc. I use Evernote. Only evernote let’s me focus on a single longford task.

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Can’t agree more. Evernote’s capability of attaching all sorts of files to a note and the ability to arrange them mannually makes it an almost perfect tool for tracking complicated projects.

But that became the exact reason why the app is sometimes very “redundant” and slow.

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Yesterday I saw Notes app (apple made). It seems it’s a good app too. Any idea ?


Interestingly, Apple’s Notes app can do everything in your list of ideal features except for a reminder. But it does them in no way that is convenient and satisfying. It’s a very weird user experience. Try adding a table to a note with your iPad. In addition, its support to the Apple Pencil is downright comical.

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I subscribe to both Bear and Agenda. I would choose Bear.

Right now, Agenda is superior in linking bits of information to a timeline, as in a journal, a daily schedule, or a projected plan of therapy. So if you need something to organize patient data along your daily schedule, Agenda is better. It allows the ability to refer to one’s calendar when considering timing. However, the display and means for assigning a time and date remain, for me, confusing. Unless I am missing something, there seem to be two parallel systems for recording the time of an Agenda item, one within Agenda and another linked to one’s calendar (which presumably keeps elaborate Agenda workflows from clogging up one’s calendar). The unwelcome result is that times that need to appear in Agenda and on a scheduling calendar need to be entered twice. I think it would be easier to create a time and then tell Agenda where times need to appear through a checkbox, without revisiting time and date entry.

Note that Agenda does not have a handy way of distinguishing current tasks from past ones. Former patients or patients with long histories who are not currently being seen will appear in search results, which can get overwhelming quickly

Agenda does allow the creation of checklists under headings, but so does Bear.

Both Bear and Agenda allow creation of tags, though I find Bear’s implementation of tags easier to use. Bear allows easy creation of hierarchical tags by creating tags and sub tags from whatever you type using a hashtag and forward slashes for the sub tags (or sub-sub tags). Already existing tags and sub-tags pop up in a contextual menu to jar your memory and save on typing.

Once tags of various kinds (priority, diagnosis, specific orders) become habitual and elaborated through the extensible pop-up menus, Bear would seem a fluid, natural-language tool for notating patient data.

Bear also seems faster in its searches. Bear also has an Archive section, allowing currently inactive records to be set aside.

So if you care to organize things by patient rather than by timeline, Bear allows free form entry of notes and observations, in an easily readable and retrievable patient history. Tables are not supported but a picture of a table can be inserted in any note. In contrast to Agenda, times and dates need to be entered as text in Bear, but that can also be quicker than the scroll dials required in Agenda. Of course the results cannot be sorted temporally, as in Agenda.


If you are not satisfied with Agenda for your purpose, I would suggest you also look into Keep It from Reinvented Software:

It is a nice note-building application that allows you to insert photographs into the notes. You can use markdown or regular formatting. It has tags, but also allows you to separate your notes into various folders. It is worth a look.

Whatever you choose to use you need to make sure all syncing features are turned OFF. HIPPA.

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Today I tested Notes app. Its environment is simple and satisfying. But as a Studies follower , I’m looking forward the new Agenda updates to see a better Agenda app.