Coloured text

Hello all,
when are you thinking of adding such basic and important functionality as changing the text color?
I’ve been waiting a long time for you to add this simple functionality.

Thanks in advance.


Do you mean change all of the text appearance to some other color, or do you mean highlighting text with a certain color?

We would like to add highlighting. But you will understand that we have literally hundred’s of these “basic and important” functionalities. Everyone thinks that their own request is the most important one, but we have to make a choice.

Highlighting and other improvements to the text editor are certainly in the roadmap. Please stay tuned!

Kind regards,

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Hi, I would also like to request for the ability to change the text colour for selected portions of text.

It helps me to differentiate inputs from various sources in a discussion, notes to self versus what was actually said/ discussed …

I have been enjoying using Annotate and am looking forward to the future developments your team has in store. Keep up the good work!

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This is really important function I’d love. I also want to do this when I’m drafting something - I want to add notes to the draft with my thoughts on what I’ve written and what I need to do in the next draft.

Will add a +1 as a critical feature.

Text highlighting and changing color of the text is among The features we are working on right now…


Need this feature too. It is important to be able to colour some parts of the text like important words or sentences, titles etc…

+1 for this. Changing font color, font type and highlighting seem like the most basic missing features from Agenda.

Are you going to allow changing color of highlight or will that be fixed?

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That’s the question indeed. What we support depends on the use case people have. Eg. Why do you want to change the font color or add a highlight? Is it for the same purpose? Would you be satisfied with just highlighting, for example?

What we don’t want to, and actually can’t do, is turn Agenda into a rich text editor like Pages or Word. It just isn’t setup like that. You can’t change the text in every possible way. So if we add highlighting or colors, it needs to be with the goal of having a semantic meaning.

I would be fine with either of the following:

  1. ability to change font color and being able to highlight (but not being able to choose the color of highlight)
  2. ability to highlight with different colors

The reasons for requesting these features seem to have already been discussed multiple times in various threads. I can restate them if you’d like.

What we don’t want to, and actually can’t do, is turn Agenda into a rich text editor like Pages or Word.

I get that but word has a lot more functionality which we are not asking for here. Being able to highlight text and change color seems like a very basic functionality for any editor where you are expecting people to take detailed notes. With recent release of templates, it does seem like you envision people using Agenda in such a way unless I am mistaken.

Also, what about font type? The default font just doesn’t look so good (I know this is highly subjective) so some options would be great here.


This is a little of what I meant when I said we don’t want to be a rich text editor. If you allow changes of font and color to all text, you are effectively a rich text editor.

What we would like to do is to allow theming. That would be that you could perhaps choose a different theme, or you could choose a different font to use throughout the app. So it wouldn’t be that you could select a word, and change the font just for that word, but you could use a different font for the whole app.

Kind regards,

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iA Writer, Bear etc introduced highlighting of text with “==“, “::” without rich text. Sometimes users want to emphasise important portion with highlights. Very difficult to visually pick up important points now with everything looking the same. Adding highlights and ability to change colour of highlight is very important. - see, not that easy to quickly pick up my bolded text without colour or highlighting especially when in dark mode.

There are a couple of cases where I’d love to be able to add a semantic meaning - highlighighting or coloured text would be one way, but perhaps there are others, better ways:

  1. To distinguish ‘draft’ from ’finished’ text
  2. To make notes to myself in a note, that refers to the text in that note

I use Agenda to write short papers, blogs. I also use it to develop my thinking around a topic or argument, also developing a structure for a more complex peice of writing. In both cases I start writing to get my ideas down, without worrying too much about sentence structure, and the ‘best’ word or phrase. I then go back over the note, and restructure, polish the text etc.

It would be really helpful to be able to indicate what text I felt was still in need of work. I suspect highlighting would actually be too brash and distracting. But something subtle, perhaps a vertical line down the righthand margin next to each paragraph, that was more or less translucent depending on the state of the paragraph - determined in format menu and/or a key combo. (I suppose I could apply a tag to each para, eg #stage(draft1) #stage(draft2) #stage(complete) but would be ugly and wouldn’t give a clear visual signal.

It would also be helpful to add comments - notes to myself - like “this needs to refer to topic X” or “try restructuring this para by starting with X”. Being able to hide and show the comments would be important. At the moment, I place such comments in square brackets which is ugly and messy.

I appreciate you don’t want to turn Agenda into a fully fledged writing tool like Ulysses, but to my mind what I’m suggesting are actually thinking tools - and Agenda is where I do my thinking!

I never said highlighting required rich text. I was making the point that if you want to be able to change fonts/colors in completely arbitrary ways, you have a rich text editor. Adding highlights is certainly on our to do.

I can certainly see the usefulness of highlighting. It is really a variation of bold or italic, but a useful one.

Indeed, if you need paragraph level marks, I would be inclined to go with tags. They act to attract attention, and you can scan them quickly.

Some of the other ideas fall more in the writer’s tool category. They are more at home in Ulysses or Scrivener. I think they are a bit too specialized for Agenda, to be honest.

Think we both in same track. As long as able to highlight portion of text is good enough for me.


+1 for highlight is useful - even a bare minimum one without ability to change highlight colors, etc.

Also, can you at least provide an option to change the font of the entire application if you think that is better? I get that custom fonts for each note or selected text, etc. is probably too much and you don’t want to add that bloat and keep things lightweight.

You also mentioned themes. Is there a plan to add more themes like what Bear has?

Yes, themes is in the roadmap. That would be one way to choose a font and style you like.


Thanks! That’s great to hear.
Would it be asking too much to give some sense of timelines? :slight_smile: Could we expect this in 2020 or is it later?

Just some aspects to keep in mind: A theme has to work in both (dark and light) and a theme (normally) does not allow individual changes e.g. just the font and not the colors. I personally prefer to use the original theme (e.g like with Firefox) and make just smaller changes of smaller parts e.g. the font (if possible).
With iOS I like the possibility to change the accent color but it is similar to a theme (app wide, changes affect all notes).
What I like is the way how change the tag/color of an object in Finder: right click, choosing a color dot, done. Something similar would be possible via the pulldown menu (lower right corner of each note) to change the color of a note individually. Of course, then the accent color function for iOS would make no sense. Difficult, diffucult …