Taking Notes

Most of your time in Agenda will be spent creating and editing notes. In this section, we cover some of the most important aspects of taking notes in the app.

Managing Notes

Adding Notes

To create a new note in the selected project…

  1. Click/tap the large yellow + button at top-right of the notes list.
  2. Enter a title for the note, and press return.
  3. If you wish to set a date for the note, click/tap the calendar button top-right on the note.
  4. Start editing the note text.

To create a note when no single project is selected…

  1. Click/tap the large yellow + button at top-right of the notes list.
  2. Choose the project you want the note added to.
  3. Continue editing as before.

Selecting Notes

Both on macOS and iOS you can select a note by tapping it. On Mac you can select multiple notes by holding the ⇧ or ⌘ key. Selected notes will get a light background color in the tint of the accent color (by default light orange).

Deleting Notes

To delete an existing note on macOS…

  1. Select the note by clicking it at the top.
  2. Press ⌥⌘⌫ or select Note > Move to Trash or Edit > Delete
  3. If prompted, confirm the deletion.

To delete an existing note on iPadOS…

  1. Tap the cog button at the bottom of the note.
  2. Choose Move to Trash, or:

To delete an existing note on iOS and iPadOS…

  1. Tap the orange dot button next to the title of the note.
  2. Choose Other Actions > Move to Trash

Notes will be moved to the trash, which you can select in the side bar. Only when you empty the trash the note will be permanently deleted.

You can also move notes to the trash by dragging the note to the left edge of the screen, which triggers the side bar to be shown. You can then drag the note onto the trash to move it there.

Note: you can undo the deletion if you wish, and the note will reappear. On iOS, you can use the undo/redo button in the bar above the keyboard.

Moving Notes

To change the order of notes on macOS

  1. Select the notes you want to drag by clicking their title bar at the top. (Hold ⇧ or ⌘ to click and select multiple notes.)
  2. Drag one of the selected notes by the title bar at the top of the note.
  3. Drop it in the list where you want the note to move to (indicated by the orange line).

To change the order of notes on iOS

  1. Tap-and-hold at the top of the note until it pops up.
  2. Drag it up or down to the new location in the list.

Note: you may be prompted about removing dates on the notes when you move them. This is to keep the dates consistent with the list order. You can choose to cancel the move, or remove the dates from the dragged notes.

To move notes to another project…

  1. Select the notes you want to drag by clicking their title bar at the top. (Hold SHIFT or CMD to click and select multiple notes.)
  2. Drag one of the selected notes by the title bar at the top of the note.
  3. Drop it in the destination project.

Tip: On macOS you can also use the Note > Move To menu command to move notes. If you hold the alt/option key it also allows you to quickly move a note to the beginning or the end of the project.

Marking notes as “On the Agenda”

You can flag notes as On the Agenda to give them a special status. You can search for them more easily, and they get added to a special overview in the sidebar so you can find them in a flash.

To mark a note as On the Agenda, you click/tap the orange dot in front of the note title and select Mark as On the Agenda. On macOS you can also use _Note > Mark as On the Agenda menu command (⇧⌘ U). The orange dot will show as filled to indicate the note is marked as “On the Agenda” and it will appear in the similarly named overview in the sidebar.

Setting Dates

You can apply dates or ranges of dates to your notes. Dates are used for ordering, but can also be used in searches.

To set the date on a note…

  1. Select the note by clicking or tapping on it.
  2. Click/tap the calendar button top-right on the note.
  3. On macOS, click a date, or drag across a range.
  4. On iOS, tap a date, or tap-hold-and-drag to select a range.
  5. You can also use the Preset button to choose common dates like “Today”.
  6. Click the Save button.

Learn more about dates and events in Dates, Events, and Reminders.

Marking notes as “done”

As you’ll see in Tags, People, Actions, Links, and Lists you can add checklists to your notes. However it can also be useful to mark an entire note as “done”, for example if the note represents a certain task or event to organise.

To mark a note as done, you click/tap the orange dot in front of the note title and select Mark as Done. On macOS you can also use Note > Mark as Done menu command (⌘ ⏎). The orange dot will then gain a check mark to indicate the note is marked as “Done”.

Tip: You can mark notes as done and take them off the agenda in one go by using the ⌥⌘ ⏎ shortcut (Note > Mark as Done Completely on macOS).

Pinning Notes

To pin a note to the top of its project on macOS…

  1. Select the notes you want to pin to the top.
  2. Choose Note > Pin to Top (⇧⌘ K)

Alternatively drag the note to the top of the project and Agenda will ask if you’d like to Pin the note.

pinned@2x.

To pin a note to the top on iOS…

  1. Double tap the orange dot top-left on the note to bring up the options.
  2. Select Pin to Top.

To unpin a note and move it back to its original position on macOS…

  1. Select the notes you want to unpin from the top.
  2. Choose Note > Unpin from Top (⇧⌘ K)

To unpin on iOS…

  1. Double tap the orange dot top-left on the note.
  2. Choose Unpin from Top in the menu.

Tip: Some examples of how you can use pinned notes are shown in this Talk article. Note that Pinning of notes is a premium feature and only available upon purchase.

Collapsing Notes

There are times when you don’t need to see all of the content in a note, and just want to hide it to better utilize your space.

To collapse a note, you can just double click the title bar at the top of the note. To expand a collapsed note, double click it again, or click the orange dash after the title.

On iOS, you can also pinch inwards over the note to collapse it, and pinch out to expand. Or use the option under the orange dot before the title.


Styled Text _vs_ Rich Text

The Agenda editor works with styled text. Unlike rich text, you don’t set the fonts and appearance characteristics directly yourself. Instead you add styles to the text, such as a heading level or list style, to convey the intent of the text. Agenda takes the styles you choose, and updates the appearance to make things look attractive and consistent.

There are a few advantages of styled text…

  • It can be presented in an attractive and consistent way.
  • It is easier to edit than rich text, because you don’t have to worry about the appearance yourself.
  • It can be very easily converted to and from other styled text formats like Markdown and HTML.

Adding Paragraph Styles (e.g. Heading)

Many styles are added to a particular paragraph. For example, you could have a paragraph of text that is the heading of the text. You could give that paragraph the Heading style. The following paragraphs contain paragraphs of text with the default Body style.

There are several ways you can apply paragraph styles to text.

On macOS, you can…

  • Change the style of the selected text by choosing an item in the Format > Style menu.

  • Access the Style menu by clicking the cog button bottom-right on the note.

  • Select the note, hover the cursor over a paragraph, and click the round button on the left. Use the popover that appears to choose a style.

  • Right click on the selected text and choose a style in the contextual menu that appears.

  • If you use Markdown shortcuts, the style will change automatically when you enter certain text. For example, if you start the line with “# Shopping List”, the text will be styled as a Heading due to the # symbol at the beginning.

Screenshot: Two of the ways how you can apply paragraph styles, through the style inspector popover or the cog button.

On iOS, you can…

  • Change the paragraph style of the selected text using the bar above the keyboard.

  • If you use Markdown shortcuts, the style will change automatically when you enter certain text. For example, if you start the line with “# Shopping List”, the text will be styled as a Heading due to the # symbol at the beginning.

Tip: You’ll notice that each time you hit return Agenda will start a new paragraph and leave some space. If you feel you want a more compact look try using lists, or change the linespacing setting the Agenda Preferences. You can also insert a soft-return by typing ⇧⏎, ⌥⏎, or ⌃⏎ to go to the new line without starting a new paragraph.

Adding Lists

A special type of paragraph style are lists, which come in three flavours:

  • Bullet/Dashed lists (like this one)

  • Numbered lists (like 1., 2., 3. etc)

  • Checklists featuring a checkbox that can be marked as done.

Lists are created in the same way you format a heading as explained above.

Learn more on how to use lists in Tags, People, Actions, Links, and Lists

Adding Inline Styles (e.g. Bold and Italic)

In addition to paragraph level styles, there are also styles that are just applied to a part of the paragraph. For example, you could make a few of the words bold or italic. We call these inline styles.

Just as for paragraph styles, you can apply inline styles in a variety of ways.

On macOS, you can…

  • Select the text, and choose an option from the Format menu, such as Bold or Italic.

  • Select the text, and click the cog button bottom-right on the note, and select a style in the menu.

  • Select the text and right click to choose a style in the menu.

  • Use a markdown shortcut, such as entering “_Shopping List_” if you want the text “Shopping List” to be italicized.

On iOS you can…

  • Change the inline style of the selected text using the bar above the keyboard.

  • Use a markdown shortcut, such as entering “_Shopping List_” if you want the text “Shopping List” to be italicized.

Tip: Agenda supports a complete set of keyboard shortcuts on both macOS and iOS for formatting text using both inline styles and paragraph styles.

Indentation

Several of the paragraph styles support indentation levels, including body text and list styles. To increase the indentation, on macOS you can…

  • Type a tab.
  • Choose the menu item Format > Indentation > Increase
  • Use the keyboard shortcut ⌘ ]
  • Click the cog button and choose Indentation > Increase

Decreasing indentation is similar. You can…

  • Type ⇧ tab.
  • Choose the menu item Format > Indentation > Decrease
  • Use the keyboard shortcut ⌘ [
  • Click the cog button and choose Indentation > Decrease

On iOS, you can also control indentation using the controls above the keyboard:

Tip: If you are used to type the tab (⇥) key to organise your text in columns instead of triggering indentation, you can type ⌥⇥ instead.

Non-breaking (Soft) Return

By default when you hit return a new paragraph is started, leaving some additional space between the lines. To prevent a return from breaking the paragraph you can insert a so-called soft return.

On macOS and iPadOS you can do so by typing any of the following:

  • Type a ⇧⏎
  • Type a ⌥⏎
  • Type a _⌃⏎ _

On iOS you can insert a soft return using the plus button in the keyboard bar followed by tapping the blue soft return button at the top.

Tip: You can control the amount of paragraph and line spacing in the Agenda Preferences and even remove all paragraph spacing if you want and use double-returns instead to delineate sections in your note.

Undo

Agenda supports the standard way to undo any typing and note moving actions, through Edit > Undo/Redo (⌘ Z) on macOS, the Undo/Redo buttons on iPad keyboard, and shake-to-undo on iPhone. In addition, on iPhone the keyboard bar features undo/redo buttons as well:

Tip: The keyboard bar on iPhone also features a button on the far-right to dismiss the keyboard and end the current text editing session, which can be useful to quickly hide the keyboard. On iPad this button is standard part of the keyboard itself and can be found in the bottom right corner.

Markdown Shortcuts

The Agenda editor supports a variety of Markdown shortcuts to apply styles to text content. For example, if you type **try this**, the text will become bold. You can also use Markdown shortcuts to apply paragraph styles like lists, or insert URLs.

Learn more: A list of all the shortcuts can be found in the Markdown Cheatsheet below.

Inserting Tags, People

You can label the text of your notes with tags and people in order to better organise them, mark certain actions or call out important information for attention. They can also be used for search purposes, and creating saved searches.

To add a tag, on Mac you can use the menu Note > Make Tag , and then type the tag. On iOS you can make use of the bar above the on screen keyboard. The tag can contain letters, digits, and symbols, but no spaces, commas or periods. To complete the tag, simply enter a character that doesn’t belong in a tag, such as a space, or move the cursor elsewhere.

The same goes for adding a person label, which on Mac can be done through Note > Assign Person, and on iOS through the plus button in the keyboard bar.

There is also support for creating tags with a textual shortcut: you can type the hash symbol (#) followed by the tag, e.g. #important . And add people by starting to type an at sign (@) followed by the person name.

Learn more on how to use tags and people labels in Tags, People, Actions, Links, and Lists

Adding a Reminder

Agenda fully integrates with the Reminders app. You can add reminders to list items in Agenda, so that you get a notification when they become due. Agenda will autofill as much information as possible from the context of your note when you create a reminder. On Mac this can be done through Note > Add Reminder, and on iOS through the plus button in the keyboard bar.

There is also support for a markdown-like syntax, so you don’t even have to stop typing. Agenda presents your calendar events and due reminders in a new scrolling timeline. Reminders can be edited, rescheduled, or checked off without ever leaving Agenda. If you do need to see a reminder in the Reminders app, Agenda will send you straight to it.

Learn more on how to use Reminders in Dates, Events, and Reminders

Attaching Files

Agenda is not only for text. You can also include file attachments, images, and other media in your notes. On macOS, the easiest way to do this is to select a note, and choose Note > Attach File…. On iOS, tap the plus button in the bar above the keyboard, and choose an option from that.

There is much more you can do with attached files, and we have a section dedicated solely to images and attachments.

Learn more on how to attach files and images to your notes in Attachments and Images

Inserting Drawings

With Agenda you can literally draw your conclusions. Add an drawing on iOS and iPadOS by tapping the plus button in the bar of the on screen keyboard, followed by the purple scribble icon:

scribble_plus

You can draw whatever you wish using an Apple Pencil on your iPad, or if you like, draw a quick sketch with your fingers on your iPhone:

Sketch out your ideas, write down your thoughts, and literally draw your conclusions using Apple Pencil, directly in Agenda.

After finishing your sketches or writing, the drawing is inserted as an attachment in your note. You can subsequently edit or add to your drawing by a long-tap and choosing Edit from the popover menu.

As a premium feature you can even annotate any image attached to your note, for example to add remarks, or highlight important aspects. Just tap-and-hold the image, and choose Annotate in the popover menu.

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Markdown Cheatsheet

A powerful way to edit text in Agenda is to use markdown shortcuts to quickly insert or format text. Although Agenda is not a markdown editor pur sang, it does recognize some markdown syntax for applying styles and inserting things like reminders, checklists, and dates.

You’ll find a complete overview of the supported markdown shortcuts here: Markdown Cheatsheet

26 Likes

Is there a way to create a Note that is NOT associated with a project?

I’d like to use agenda to capture general notes associated with a meeting / calendar event, but that Note is not part of a specific project. I’ve used DayOne for this in the past as DayOne does a nice job of making it easy to capture notes that are automatically associated with context like date, weather, location, etc.

I get I can create a generic project names ‘Other’ to capture these notes, but that feels klunky…

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No, you can’t create a standalone note at this point. I suggest indeed just having a “Scratch” project. That’s what I do.

Drew

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Beyond creating a standalone note within Agenda, I use TextEdit extensively to track notes about things I’m working on. The ability to create an Agenda note from anywhere within macOS so I can start using Agenda instead of TextEdit would be great.

1 Like

We are hoping to support a status item for quick note entry at some point.

2 Likes

Hey all! New to this app…is there a way to undo the above Italic Styling? I am a SQL coder and underscores are a way of life in this realm! I document heavily using field names, which can contain several underscore characters, in my notes, and I came across this app to see if I can digitize my notes instead of walking around with a book and a pen all the time. I’ve already tried the CMD+Z but it didn’t help. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

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When it comes to code, I recommend using the preformatted paragraph style, or the fixed-width inline style. Both will avoid any markdown parsing.

You can use back ticks (`) around inline code to achieve the fixed width styling.

Drew

Thank you!!! Worked perfectly!

1 Like

I was trying to type some code in a preformatted style line, and my double quotation mark was substituted with a smart quote. Is there a way to disable that?

I was trying to type some code in a preformatted style line, and my double quotation mark was substituted with a smart quote. Is there a way to disable that?

You can turn the off various substitutions in the edit menu. That is fairly standard in Mac apps.

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A post was split to a new topic: Word count

A post was split to a new topic: Note location

Hey! Maybe it’ll make sense to support fenced code blocks (```) as a text shortcut for Preformatted paragraphs?

Maybe it’ll make sense to support fenced code blocks (```) as a text shortcut for Preformatted paragraphs?

That’s indeed on our to-do list

2 Likes

A post was split to a new topic: Sort notes by mark as done last

After I missed an appointment for the first time I knew I needed a new way to track things… Enter, Agenda! Really liking this so far and when I made up for that missed appointment, I had created a project for it. The “notes” in that project have moved to projects themselves. I do not see a way to convert a note to a project. Is there a way? Good old copy and paste works but I can see this happening a lot for me since everything starts as an “inbox” note….

Thanks!

Mike

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That’s indeed not possible in a single click at the moment, we have some ideas in this direction, stay tuned.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Splitting Notes

New user. I’m sure this has been asked but I don’t see it. Are handwritten notes via Apple Pencil an available option.?