The Use of the Background Colors

Using colors in Agenda 15 for text, highlights, and backgrounds offers us new instruments that arise some reflections. As for colored texts and highlights, the use appears obvious, following the same we used for written notes on paper; I think it is a bit different for the background color.

Indeed, I am wondering if it is only a cosmetic option or if there is more. In my opinion, this new feature has much potential to improve our project organization and thoughts. If you use them randomly, you can obtain only a cosmetic result. On the other end, if you color the background of all your notes, it could be a nightmare because you could have too many visual stimuli. However, if you use this option more rigorously, I think you can get more.

For this reason, I decided to give one color to each of the four more used types of notes in my daily work: I use blue for the meetings, Green for Todos, Brown for the texts, and red for the notes directly related to the preparation of the projects. This way, I can immediately recognize the most important notes in my projects and the type. I believe this is a significant advantage.

The general logic of Agenda is to offer an app that can help organize your work as a flux, adhering more realistically to the mechanics of our thinking linked to the workflow. In that sense, colorful backgrounds can play an essential role because of the immediacy with which you can perceive them.

An improvement of this feature can be to indicate the colorful background of the notes even in the “table of content” in each project, On the Agenda, and Today. In this way, having a general look at it can give you the possibility to focus on the most important notes in a glimpse.


This is a good explanation, and exactly the type of thing we had in mind.

In general, we try not to impose a particular system on people with Agenda. We provide tools for people to make their now system. The background colors feature is the same. You can use it how you want to use it. In that sense, it is quite similar to the tags you have in Finder on macOS.

Great suggestion, we’ll see if that can be done.


Thanks! This sounds very good.

That’s good. I think Improving notes visually with background colors is a bit different than colorful tags in the finder and can open new possibilities for organizing the notes according to priorities inside any single workflow. I mean, background colors have a more significant visual impact than color tags, which can change sensibly how we organize our work with notes.

I appreciate this post. It got me to take action and assign specific meanings to colors. Here’s what I have so far. And I second the motion - it would be amazing to see the “table of contents” for a project with the items colorized with the chosen background color.

My Colors:

Green - Action needed
Red - Reference
Grey - Research
Yellow - Links
Purple - what I call a “big idea.” Some big insight, plan or other idea I’ve come up with

I love the idea of using coloured notes like this, thanks folks!

At the moment I use a different colour for just three types of note, which all “live” at the top of On the Agenda:

  • Quarterly Goals
  • This Week Plan
  • Today’s Plan

This helps me spot them when scrolling up and down, but I’m definitely inspired to develop my use of colours now!

To support this approach it would be really helpful if colours could be renamed. Eg rename “Green” to “Todos” or to “Green (to do)”.

That way much easier to remember one’s mapping and keep it consistent.

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Thank you for your remarks, @stevew, and @trebso! I think anyone can create a series of connections between colors and actions, suiting his/her workflow. I think it is an essential feature to develop further because, in my view and experience, Colors are much more readable than texts because they are images (I mean, a colored surface is an Image). Our brain catches them faster than written notes, which are symbolic communication systems that the brain has to decipher. So connecting a color with a specific meaning improves communication making the workflow through the notes more fluid. In Agenda, notes are organized in a chronological order inside the projects, which is the main axis along with developing the flux of our work experience. Inside it colors representing a meaning or a type of event can immediately define the context of an action/event.

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It sounds like a good suggestion, offering a chance to rename colors according to our workflow in the selection menu.

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I can see the rationale but am afraid that it’s something we’d be hesitant to do because it would add a layer of complexity, i.e. you turn colors into “status”. The next thing you’d then want is to filter notes on status, etc.

5 posts were split to a new topic: Coloring wrong notes

I understand, it makes sense indeed.

I understand your hesitancy in terms of your workload and perhaps internal complexity, but I don’t see why naming colours and using them as statuses should be a problem for the user. It seems a natural evolution to me, and would address the request that has often been made to allow “tags” in the title.

I’d love to be able to filter on say Green and see all my notes on say vision & strategy!

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Never thought I needed coloured notes.
But it turns out I do!
Same goes for highlighting and colouring text.


You could add a tag, hash tag green etc. The problem with named colors is that it allows us to use custom colors so how would those be handled with filtering?

Yes, but then it’s two actions required, eg:

  1. Add tag #green
  2. Change note colour to green

The chance of me forgetting to do both and ending up with a mess is high!

@mekentosj Here’s a simple feature suggestion. Type backslash and a color name (ie \green) to colorize the note. Then @trebso would just have one action (essentially) \green # green


Thanks, for the suggestion, we’ll think about adding that indeed.

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Thanks! I noticed you added the colorful background to the “table of Content."

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