How best to archive MarginNote-annotated files?

Sorry, @Lanco_Support-Team … I’m even more confused now!

You said:

Maybe it’s because I’m using an older OS (10.11.6), but it sure seems like my MarginNote MacOS (and iOS) app(s) are still listed in the iCloud system menu options – and therefore seem to be utilizing the iCloud system.

Can you please clarify what’s happening for all of your users, as this seems like a rather important development!

It also seems like it would have a direct impact on archiving, syncing, and many other MarginNote-related functions.

Please clarify.


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Does this suggest that MarginNote is not using the iCloud in some capacity?

I’d appreciate an explanation as well.

Thank you.

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Can @marginnote / @Support-Team please answer my last question, as it seems especially germane to most users.

Thank you.


Hi @Lanco_Support-Team or @Bryan_Support-Team or @Relight_Support-Team – I know you’ve got your hands full sorting out the sync problems, but I’m just wondering if there’ve been any new developments with archiving. Specifically, I’m wondering if you’ve figured out new solutions to the questions that @JournoProf raised some time ago:


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Hello, jprint & JournoProf,

First, I’m sorry to be so late reply to you. Actually, I have noticed your post a few days before. After reading all these posts, now I think I can give you a relatively adequate answer. Firstly, I want to point out the biggest misunderstanding between you and Lanco.

In fact, what lanco said doesn’t mean


He just want to show you URL Scheme and iCloud is irrelevant.

Then let me answer your questions in detail.
1. what is URL Scheme?
It makes @jprint and @JournoProf puzzeled. According to Apple Developer Documents: Custom URL schemes provide a way to reference resources inside your app. Users tapping a custom URL in an email, for example, launch your app in a specified context. Other apps can also trigger your app to launch with specific context data; for example, a photo library app might display a specified image.
And here is the link:

Further more, I’d like to give you a comparison which may promote your understanding. On windows systems, you may named a file which is on your desktop as “xxx”. If you want to find this file, you just key the file location " C:\Users\Desktop\xxx" in the URL bar and press enter. Then you will open the Specified file“xxx”. Besides, you needn’t to connect to the network. In other words, you are able to jump to that file without network connection.

Similarly, URL Scheme is also a link to content within your app.

Then why @Lanco_Support-Team mentioned iCloud? He just want to correct wrong views.:upside_down_face:

2. the first question

After an explanation of URL Scheme, I think @JournoProf already knows the answer to the question. As URL Scheme has no relations with iCloud & network, you can make use of the URLs in other softwares which support URL-scheme, like PDF expert, notability, etc. And I see that

I guess you want to export your PDFs to your colleagues, hoping the URL-scheme can work at their devices successfully. Please note that URL-Scheme is just a link to content within your app, so if you want these URL-Schemes still work , you have to export(backup then share with airdrop) the certain files, such as mindmap notebooks, to your coworkers’ MarginNote 3 in advance.

In general, you needn’t to use another pricey third-party software or iCloud. What you should do is just exporting the corresponding files(i.e. files which URL-Scheme points to) to other devices. If you still have some trouble in understanding me, I will use some screenshots or GIFs to explain how to make use of URL-Schemes in different devices.

3.the second problem

You are right, the export of large size of MarginNote-annotated PDFs is indeed a tricky issue. We will discuss how to export them faster. Thanks for your suggestion. I guess may be there would be a better solution after version 3.7.

4. the third question

I don’t quite understand. Are you still emphasizing the second question? Please forgive my rudeness.

Really really thanks for all of your replys. If you @jprint &@JournoProf and any other devoted users still have some questions about URL-Scheme, please tell us.

Best Regards!

Hi @Bryan_Support-Team, Thanks for your detailed answers! They’re very helpful. Let me answer them, below…

Thanks for all of this. I think I have a good, general understand of URL schemes and hyperlinks, and I get that they’re not all created equal. Let me give you some examples of the kind of problems users might be facing, and the what kinds of solutions / applications we might be envisaging for MN3-created URL schemes / hyperlinks.

One way that I produce a PDF with links is by first creating a Word document, setting up links to external sites and “anchored” or bookmaker passages (i.e., links that refer to internal sections of the same document), and then “Save As…” or export the document as a PDF (selecting the “Best for electronic distribution and accessibility” – as opposed to “Best for printing”). When complete, I can use the links in this PDF to open external site and “anchored” / bookmaker passages in an app that opens the PDF – for MacOS and Windows.

But when I send a colleague a MN3-produced PDF, they cannot use the links that it has create in the same way since they either refer to using MN3 or some other third party app. That’s a case study in the frustrations that many users experience with with MN3-produced PDFs. Ideally, I’d like to be able open MN3-produced PDFs in virtually any app that can read PDFs, and use links in the way that I’ve laid out in my example, above, with the Word-created PDF. Is that possible?

Onto the next passage…

Ok, thanks, though I’m still not clear on how he was clearing up my confusion. In the past, it seems that when users clicked on MN3-produced PDFs it would re-open the documents / notebooks in MarginNote. I understand that MN3 has made changes so that no longer happens, but…if users want to click on links in MN3-produced PDFs so that they’re offline / not connected to the iCloud, we still need to do so through specific 3rd party apps like PDF Expect, no?

Is that correct? If not, please clarify this for us. Thanks!

I feel like we’re going in circles around the same question / issue.

Let me underscore my point this way: I work with many different clients and colleagues, and many of them don’t have MarginNote or the other documents you mentioned, and it’s unfair for me to expect that they purchase these apps in order to open my MN3-produced PDFs. Therefore, we’re seeking a solution that will make the MN3-produced PDFs more universally accessible so that we can use them with other non-MN3 apps, and so non-MN3 users can use the links as well!

BTW, as you know, it seems many MN3 users often use DEVONthinkPro (and Tinderbox), so it might be worth at least developing MN3 so that users can open MN3-produced PDFs in DEVONthinkPro. Please consider this seriously, as it would be a huge help to many MN3 users… Thanks!

Yes, please. That would be very helpful.

Onto your next answers, and my follow up replies to them…

(BTW, it looks like I referred to myself instead of referencing @JournoProf’s point. Apologies for the misattribution.)

Ok, great. We certainly appreciate that you’re aware of this, and aiming to change the PDF size. Frankly, the size is a real problem – I just cannot use MN3-prodcued PDFs because their size is too big, and therefore prohibitive to store. So, I’m really hoping you guys can tackle this problem soon…since I desperately want to store and archive my MN3-prodcued PDFs! Right now, it’s causing a major logjam.


Nope. I wan’t emphasizes the same question. Instead, I was referring to the other export problems, namely: all of the formatting problem resulting from MN3 exports to OmniOutliner, RTF / RTFD formats, etc. @JournoProf and I, along with many other users, have identified many, specific formatting problems with these MN3 exports. I’m happy to share those links with you again.

Let me be clear about two points… (1) PDFs are, for many of us, the go-to export format given its (generally) universal accessibility, and that’s what we’re hoping the links created in MN3-prodcued PDFs can work better / with greater universal accessibility, and (2) While we greatly appreciate how MN3 creates exports for many file formats, these exports essentially become unusable if there are so many formatting problems.

Again, we’re grateful for what MN3 does and is trying to do. And we’re thankful that you and other members of the @marginnote team have been receptive to our concerns and criticism. Please understand that we’ve been pressing on these concerns because many of us genuinely believe that MN3 is a terrific app with great potential, but it isn’t quite there yet. But if you’re able to fix some of these basic, core issues it’ll be the kind of amazing app we’re all hoping it can be!

Hope I’ve answered your questions in ways that are helpful. Please let me know if there’s anything else I – or any other users – can provide that will be useful to you and your colleagues.


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Really thanks for your reply. But please forgive me, I don’t quite understand what your word “link” exactly means. In other word, is it a link to external sites or a link to MarginNote 3’s cards or mindmap notebooks.

Best regards!

I suppose I’m referring to Hyperlinks, which uses URL schemes both internal passages of a document and external sites. Here’s an example of a Hyperlink window, and the options it provides, in a Word document…


Hello, jprint,

I think this screenshot is from Word. It seems to me that MarginNote 3 haven’t provided users with a direct way to insert hyperlinks yet(Or if you have found some ways please tell me).
So I get even confused how you create a MN3-produced PDFs. Please forgive my rudeness, but I want to find out how you insert hyperlinks to PDFs in MN3.

Maybe you want to say that you insert hyperlinks(URL scheme copied from MN3) on documents in other apps, such as Word. And then you find you easily achieve jump function by clicking the hyperlink, but your colleagues couldn’t use these URL-schemes. Is this right?

Oh, maybe we back to definition of URL Scheme again. In most cases, it can just open some specific files in your device and cannot open documents in others’ MacBooks or iPads. So if your colleagues want to use these hyperlinks(I mean URL scheme), they don’t need to connect to iCloud or network, instead, they must have MN3 and copy the files which is the destination for these URL Schemes to their devices.

If I misunderstand you, please tell me. Thanks!
Best Regards!
MN support team

Sorry for my late reply to your message, @Bryan_Support-Team. I was in transit, and am finally getting back to this. Ok, here are my answers to your questions and points, in turn…

Yes, that’s correct. It’s from a Word window. As I said in my earlier post:

Then you said…

And I answered…

And that’s why I included the screenshot of a Hyperlink window from a Word doc as a way of explanations. Make sense? I believe that answers the remaining questions you raised in your last post. But here’s the part where there’s confusion between us. You wrote…


But that seems to contradict what you just wrote in your last post when you said

Maybe I’m failing to grasp some basic point here, but I don’t quite understand how it seems you’re saying that users can open MN3-exported PDFs and utilize their features (i.e., the MN links) in other 3rd party apps like Notability or PDF Expert, but…then you’re saying “they don’t need to connect to iCloud or network, instead, they must have MN3 and copy the files which is the destination for these URL Schemes to their devices.

It seems like those two points are at odds, and exactly underscore the earlier point that we’ve been making about being about “seeking a solution that will make the MN3-produced PDFs more universally accessible so that we can use them with other non-MN3 apps, and so non-MN3 users can use the links as well!”

Does this make sense? I’m happy to clarify further if i can…

Also, two quick follow on questions that stem from this…

(1) I love MN3, as you know, but I kind of resent the idea that I’d have to purchase an $80 app like PDF expert just to open and use MN3-produced PDFs offline. Surely there’s a better, fairer solution for that.

(2) Just to follow your suggested approach re: “if your colleagues want to use these hyperlinks(I mean URL scheme), they don’t need to connect to iCloud or network, instead, they must have MN3 and copy the files which is the destination for these URL Schemes to their devices”… If my colleagues / any user opens a file via MN3 (again, not idea for the reasons I’ve laid out re: desired accessibility – or lack thereof), doesn’t opening a file in MN3 automatically mean that it’s therefore connecting to iCloud (that is, unless, one unchecks the iCloud option from MN3 preferences)?


Once again, I’m in agreement with the points that @jprint and other users have raised here. If I may, here are two areas where the MarginNote developers might consider as a possible path to satisfying many of needs.

Suggestion #1: Create more reasonably-sized MarginNote-annotated PDFs. As I said in an earlier post on this this thread:

Suggestion #2: Provide MarginNote users the ability to open and utilize features, such as URL functions, for MarginNote-produced PDFs – even for some of the commonly used apps, like DEVONthinkPro and Tinderbox. As @jprint put it:

While we’d all like MarginNote developers to solve our various syncing, exporting, and archiving solutions – all of which seem pressing for enabling users to work with MarginNote successfully – it seems to me that these are two basic feature requests (within the vein of the export / archiving issues) that should be of greater priority, and might provide some needed relief to many MarginNote users. Just some food for thought.

Many thanks again.

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I’m really grateful for @JournoProf and @jprint 's answers and suggestions. Let me clarify that MN3 doesn’t allow its users to add hyperlinks directly to texts like Word and some other Apps currently. So do you mean you want this function to be realized in the future?

I once considered your posts as a SUPPRT post. Please forgive me that I ignore the category. This requests has been made by many users and I have recorded it in our feature list.
MN Support Team

Thanks, @Bryan_Support-Team, but that’s not what we meant. I don’t think any of us want, as you say, “to add hyperlinks directly to texts like Word and some other Apps currently.” Rather, we want:

  • MarginNote’s links to work for internal text for document files (i.e., URL schemes that connect to internal MN-created notes);

  • MarginNote’s links to also connect to external sites (e.g., websites);

  • MarginNote’s links to be more universally accessible to MN and non-MN users, so that…

  • …MN users and our colleagues can open them outside of MN, in other apps – apart from expensive 3rd party apps (like PDF Expert) – offline / disconnected from the iCloud;

Make sense?


@Bryan_Support-Team – Does this make sense? Do you need me to clarify anything?

Just wanted to underscore one point: I realize that MN3 can already do the first two bullet points, but MN3 users want those two bullet points to work with the second two bullet points.

Does that make sense? Let me know if you need me to further explain anything for you.


Hello, jprint,

Thanks for your reply. In fact, MarginNote3 is able to export PDF with hyperlinks which can be opened in Apple built-in pdf reader(So there’s no need to use PDF Expert). But I think it may be inconvenient for users because these hyperlinks are only available in the mindmap and outline pages. Let me show you a gif picture to explain it.

BTW, I find Notability cannot open the hyperlinks( to external sites), but it can also open the URL Schemes.

Some users raise a request that they want MN3

which I agree it’s a good idea especially for MN3 for Mac.

At last, let me show you a picture to point out available hyperlinks in the exported PDF.


Well, it’s not that it’s “inconvenient” – it’s simply not what we’re seeking. What’s the point of opening MN3 links for “mindmap and outline pages” in Preview? That’s where users open documents NOT mindmap and outline pages.

I feel like we keep going in circles here with what seems like a very reasonable request: the ability to use and open MN3 exported PDF documents so that…

Otherwise, you’re locking everyone into just using MN3 overtime they want to open a MN3-exported document in MarginNote. Again, I don’t want to have to do that as a MN3 user; I want to be able to open in it other MN3-exported PDF documents in other apps (Preview, DEVONthink, etc.) and I want to be able to share my MN3-exported PDF documents with others. The inability to do so seriously limits my ability to use MN3. After all, if I cannot share MN3-exported PDF documents with my colleagues, then it just becomes an internally used document that I can’t use with my co-workers. And that’s obviously deeply problematic.

I hope this makes sense.

Well, don’t you mean that MN3 should be equipped with the basic features of a pdf reader such as exporting a normal size PDF with hyperlinks in text(instead of in mind map &outline).
If there is any misunderstanding, please indicate, thanks again.