Best app for organizing MN hashtags?

My feeling is this: in fact, MN already stores everything in a SQL database, but right now it is limited to very simple text string queries through a single input field. Boolean search? No. Search for an exact string using quotation marks? No. Etc.

Why should I have to pay $100 for another app and then export/import a file to do that?

The existing MN database can already do all kinds of searching, grouping, and sorting — that just comes for free with the SQL technology that is used inside MN — and we could make use of that right inside MN… if the developer(s) would add a UI.


All good and fair points. Thank you. But I don’t think the developer even looks at this forum. I hope they prove me wrong, though…

Hi mobo, actually MarginNote 3 can perform multi-tag searches and we have not included this in any guide in that it is more of beta level. 2nd-gen MarginNote app can do AND/OR select of tags and MarginNote 3 has no such buttons, at least not in the current build.

This is the default setting for multi-tag select and it is an AND syntax.

For an OR syntax, add a “|” (shift+"|/" key) line should do the work.

We understand the potentials of a full-blown tag engine and would keep this in mind for future devs.

Support Team


Hi Support Team,

Thanks much for clarifying this. I hope you will choose to promote this functionality into an enhanced search UI for MarginNote, but for now this reveal is welcome news!

Glad to see this response, on many levels. Is there some way to export notes based on a certain selection of hashtags? And there is a way to do an export that’s organized by hashtags (i.e., as a kind of grouping taxonomy)? Thanks.


Yes, this is precisely the question I was raising, and was hoping to get an answer – or some kind of guidance / suggestions. Please advise whenever possible. I welcome the advise of @marginnote and other users.

Thank you.


I wonder if MarginNote will answer the question you raised…

BTW, @JournoProf’s post somewhat relates to this post, and the question I raised…

Hi jprint,

MN3 export is based on certain complete Notebook. Based on this,we could use this way(in pic.) to generate a temporary Notebook containing certain hashtags based cards as a compromise.

Best regards,
MN Support Team

Thanks so much for your reply - I greatly appreciate it! Yes, we discussed this in another post. It’s a decent, but somewhat cumbersome, workaround solution.

But many users here on this forum are asking something a little different, namely (as @JournoProf put it) :

(1) If there some way to export notes (i.e., Export to another file format – not just to another Notebook) based on a certain selection of hashtags?

(2) And is there is a way to do an Export that’s organized by hashtags? That is, a way that a MarginNote Export can sort / group notes by their hashtags (i.e., in which the hostages become organized groups)?

Thanks very much, again…

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Precisely right. Thanks very much, @jprint - you summed it up perfectly.

I have delivered your request to dev. suggest board.

Well, I eager to learn more about the utility of this function and your intentions behind .So if you guys export your notes selectively just for printing and reviewing? if not for printing,you can use Filter to chose contents you’d like to go over.What’s more,Filter allows for more efficient mnemonics — generating cards — just like anki,superior to reciting printed notes .

Hi Lanco,

Thanks much for your message.

Here’s my view…

I suspect that many users of MarginNote are academic researchers engaged in writing articles. We have a work process, and we want tools to help with that, e.g., by helping to take reading notes and organize our thinking and research. We work with large numbers of articles/books, and we really need tools to help manage them.

This is not really about mnemonics. The goal is generally not to memorize a lot of detail using, for example, flashcards. We’re not trying to remember all of this — there’s too much material.

Rather, the goal is first to be able to analyze and integrate concepts across many different passages of text, probably in different books/articles. Often, we are looking at relationships between concepts, and for this a multiple-term search is obviously pretty important.

As a first step, we need ways to code passages of text in documents with notes, tags, colors, etc. MarginNote can do this nicely. The reason we do this, is for the next step, which involves the kind of searching that a SQL database can do. I.e., searching for more than one term, hashtags, boolean operators, grouping, etc. The goals here are to integrate/condense a large number of notes, and to identify the main concepts/issues/debates, etc. There’s too much raw data, so we need to condense/compress it before we can analyze it.

For example, MarginNote lets us create a bunch of note cards, each one with a title, body text, and our own comments at the end. The comments might include hashtags or keywords. (I think of a hashtag as a kind of keyword.) We can do free-text searches on these, but it would be very useful if we could create and save more complex searches. Being able to specifically search the titles, the note bodies, and the comments could be good (this could be easy to implement if these are separate columns in a database table). Being able to search for hashtags/keywords separately from the text is important, because we use them to tag specific notes that are more relevant than others.

As @jprint says, the ability to sort/group the search results is also important, and to export these filtered/grouped/sorted results in Word or RTF. This is to help with the next phase of research, which is the synthesis of conclusions or new concepts.

We are using different text editors for the actual writing (the phase of synthesis), and we need to be able to pull the filtered/sorted/grouped search results directly into a text editor without too much fuss. This means additional control over how notes get exported is very important, too.

I could say more, but I hope @jprint, @JournoProf, and others will share their thoughts too.


I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks so much for spelling this out so thoughtfully, @mobo.

I’d add a few things…

-Some of us also work as reporters and journalists, which means we need to both read & organize our MarginNote-produced annotation and notes quickly. Like other users here, I’ve recommended MarginNote to many of my colleagues. Some like it; others feel that it’s exports, and inability to quickly access and analyze the data are too cumbersome and glitchy. So, @Lanco_Support-Team, we really are trying to bring attention to various issues that we, your devoted MarginNote users really need – and future users demand before they buy into you app;

-As part of that, MarginNote users really need some the various things that @mobo and I have mentioned here, along with @JournoProf, to better help us search and organize our notes;

-By extension, some of us have made some relatively simple suggestions for adding features like a"Find Next" function;

-I’ve mentioned in other posts that MarginNote users also really need better Exports; right now, they’re far too glitchy and demand a lot of clean up. That adds a lot of work to using MarginNote, and in some ways it feels like the Export functions in MN3 have worsened since MarginNoteX. For instance, I used to use MarginNote’s iThoughts exports, and then transform those notes to OPML – but that not longer works. Also, it sure seems like there are more limited MN3 PDF export options, which is something else many users have flagged. This is a really, really important feature request for many of us since it would enable us to store PDF files after annotating them in MarginNote – so we can then expunge them, and then import and annotate another set of documents; without proper PDF export controls, it’s hard to properly export and archive these files. Make sense?

-As @mobo said, many of MarginNote’s devoted used often use the annotated notes in…

And that’s why some many of us have requested that MarginNote create an UID in annotated files;

I think that covers many of the big things that many of the most devoted MarginNote users have been requesting, and addressing here. We hope you’ll consider these requests! Thanks so much…


Hi everyone,

I understand your request,for I’m also half of a Nvivo user,and interested in ATLAS.ti, MaxQDA.

Advanced searching tools give researchers different view to organize the information.The Standard QDA(Qualitative Data Analysis) process contains several steps.And in these steps MN3 is an ideal coding instrument.

We thought about how to contain these advanced functions but still keep the MN3 core functionality strengths and concise. Perhaps open the api for MN3 of Mac database and manipulate and establish a Mod platform to plugins is a good solution ? We will check the technique details.

Best Regards,
MN Support Team

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Access to MN3 annotation data via osascript (AppleScript or JXA, for example) would be excellent.

Otherwise, I’d be happy to have notes and annotations (with all links and tags) in markdown format. The RTF/RTFD export is useless in applications such as Tinderbox, and the formatting is a weird combination of fonts and sizes. The Evernote export is too condensed and trimmed. The .mmap export does not use the current .mmap document format and so is not very portable. The Word export is not very portable when used in other apps. So, markdown would be a great way to provide more portability and avoid the need for self-help scripting that many of us have resorted to.

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Hi @Lanco_Support-Team,

Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply. I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say how much we appreciate how you and your colleagues are considering our requests, and trying to improve MarginNote for its users.

While we’re on the subject of hashtags I’d like to add one more suggestion to the mix: MarginNote can improve how it manages hashtags internally. I actually outlined these suggestions quite some time ago, and urge you and your @marginnote / @Support-Team colleagues to consider them in this post.

I hope you’ll consider them, and include some of these features in future versions.



This just struck me … How should the hashtags from MN be handled when its annotations are exported as markdown? By example, #resource is a first level header called resource in markdown.

Markdown does not have an official “tag” syntax AFAIK. I see cases that use the “at” symbol (@) instead of the hashtag.

I am curious to hear what others think.


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How about opml?If MN officially use opml to replace present notebook format with icloud sync, will all the matters settled related to database searching and exporting?

I do not know how OPML handles tags, I do not know how OPML is translated to markdown, and I do not know whether the translation will take the #tag formatted tags to a different notation (e.g. @tag) or (worst case) think that #tag is a markdown header rather than a markdown tag. The latter case would be a bad translation and might argue to switch to @tag notations in MN rather than #tag notations in MN.


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