How I use Agenda for writing/research

I’m new to Agenda. I have to admit I’ve tried it many times of the past few years, and it never stuck enough for me to upgrade to Premium. This time it is hitting a sweet spot with me.

I’m a retired professor of linguistics. I still conduct my research and write articles, book chapters, perhaps a book. I’ve used quite a few notes apps; my latest are Apple Notes, Craft (which I’m abandoning) and Bear. I used to love Bear, and still think it’s a great app, but I just can’t wrap my head around tags only and not folders – my brain thinks in folders for projects.

Things that I am liking about Agenda: the writing environment is feature-rich, and the keyboard shortcuts are extensive (as a writer, I’m a good typist, and I want my hands on the keyboard as much as possible). I use Bookends as my reference manager. It lets me copy a link to an article and paste that into Agenda (for when I am taking notes based on an article), really nice. Because of the research I do, my notes are often chock full of images (JPEG or just figures that I design and save as PDFs). The options for placing images into Agenda notes are also nicely powerful (sometimes I want the full 100% image, sometimes a thumbnail is enough).

One of the things that didn’t click with me at first was the way Agenda is marketed, with a strong emphasis on tying notes to dates. I see the purpose of that, and Agenda is pretty much alone in this space. But I don’t need to tie notes to meetings, etc. – even if I collaborate with colleagues, it’s not structured and I don’t keep notes. So I thought Agenda wasn’t for me. I now realize I (a) either don’t need to use this function, or (b) sometimes I do want to see my notes/ideas for a developing paper in chronological order.

One way I still collaborate (my colleagues are scattered all over the world) is through email conversations. Sometimes I develop my ideas in an email, which I will then want to save as a note. I wish there was a better way to do that in Agenda – maybe the block is with Apple Mail. But for now, I think I’ll find that selecting text in the sent email, and then using Apple Services “Send to Agenda” be adequate. (Sometimes I include an image in my email, I need to test and see if this workflow will also include the image.)

Mostly what is impressing me is the beautiful look of the UI (people who think this doesn’t matter are wrong, a good looking, clean UI makes for cleaner work), the powerful writing environment, the extensive keyboard shortcuts, and all the other power-user features of Agenda. It’s clear that the developers pay attention to detail! It seems to me that when a feature is added, it’s added in a thoughtful way. I often find myself “playing” with a new app, trying some (probably minor) feature, and then thinking "yes, but can you do this too?). Often in other apps the answer is now – the feature is “shallow”. In Agenda, so far my answer has been “wow, yep, I can!”


Thank you so much for sharing that and glad to see you persisted in trying Agenda until it clicked, we hear this more often and we will take it along in rethinking how to communicate how Agenda can be useful to people that don’t have much with meetings etc. :+1:

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“How I use Agenda” is my most followed post. I moved to premium early and brought the lifetime, to support the developers. I’m now one of those who don’t have all those meetings and don’t use Agenda for all my other notes. Looking forward to your ideas so I can.


I had the same problem regarding email referencing within Agenda. I found Spark a great solution: . I hope that helps!

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