MarginNote 3.6.14 | New Features: Reference & Idea Box | July 13th, 2020

MarginNote 3.6.14 has arrived and it adds two new features, Reference and Idea Box.

1 Philosophy

We often get new thoughts when learning, and these thoughts may change or develop into newer ones over time, which brings forth innovations during the process. This is what cognitive scientists call “Iteration”. Both humans and computers push forward the frontiers of intelligence with iteration.

Based on this philosophy, MarginNote added Reference and Idea Box to help save new thoughts based on existing notes.

2 Terminology

2.1 Reference

  • Icon

  • Definition

    Reference is a new form of Copy, and Clone is the other form.

    When you reference a card in MarginNote, you will create a copy of the Original Card and the copy is called the Reference Card. If you make some changes on the contents(title, excerpt, comment and tag) to one of the two cards, both are changed. While the changes on the relationships(parent/child card, one-way/two-way link, summary, etc.) of a card will not be synchronized.

    Clone makes a copy in a different way. When you clone a card in MarginNote, the Original Card and the Clone Card are completely separate entities. So any changes you make in one will not affect the other.

    The Relationship Between the Original Card, the Clone Card and the Reference Card

    Editing the Original Card Effect on the Clone Card Effect on the Reference Card
    changing the contents no change contents changed
    changing the relationships no change no change
    deleting the card no change card deleted
    Editing the Clone Card Effect on the Original Card
    changing the contents no change
    changing the relationships no change
    deleting the card no change
    Editing the Reference Card Effect on the Original Card
    changing the contents contents changed
    changing the relationships no change
    deleting the card no change

2.2 Idea Box

  • Icon

  • Definition

    Idea Box functions both as a card and as an embedded space. As a card, idea box has title, comments, tags but no excerpts. As a space, idea box contains other cards in it and they form a parent-child relationship.

    Therefore, Idea Box creates a new form of Branch Style for the parent-child relationship, and you can change the Branch Style between Framework, Tree and Idea Box. The difference between them is that Idea Box provides a pop-up window as an independent space to organize notes. In a word, Idea Box is a super parent card.

    Idea box can also be Cloned or Referenced. But the Reference Card will lose its space property and only work as a card.

3 Instructions and Demonstrations

3,1 Reference

When using this feature, you need to decide which cards you want to reference and where you want to put them.

3,1,1 Creating Reference Card

There are a few ways to create Reference Card. In the mindmap of MarginNote, do any of the following:

3,1,2 Viewing the Reference

If there exists a reference in the upper right corner of a card, it proves that the card has a Reference relationship with other cards.

  • In an Original Card, tap reference to see its Reference Cards.
  • In a Reference Card, tap reference to see its Original Cards.

3,2 Idea Box

3,2,1 Creating an Idea Box

There are a few ways to create an Idea Box. In the mindmap of MarginNote, do any of the following:

3,2,2 Opening and Viewing the Idea Box

Do any of the following:

  • Double-tap the idea box.
  • Tap ideabox in the upper right corner of the idea box.
  • Tap the idea box to make it active, then tap Focus in the pop-up menu to open it. In this case, the mindmap will only display cards in the idea box.

3,2,3 Adding Notes to the Idea Box

There are a few ways to add notes to an Idea Box. Do any of the following:



I received a mail from you regarding Third party cloud sync in version 3.7. Can you plz provide me approximate date/time when the 3.7 version will be updated?.will google drive sync available In it?.

Can u plz develope following feature in the app:

1)taking excerpts from research tab From a particular website, in such a way that if the excerpt in the mind map tapped that particular web page should be opened directly in the research tab.

2)this will help in making notes directly from internet,web.i will be even better if you provide annotations to web page too in the research tab.

3)with this feature the app will be in next level.

4)atlest hidden link to the mind map will be better for the excerpts taken from the research tab to directly open particular web page in the research tab

5)this will help students and reaserchs to great extent instead of importing. Volumes of pdfs and books for small information in the whole book.

6)plz develope it .it is Much needed

Hope this to be addressed

Thank u


Thank you for writing in. I have already raised your request to our Development team. As mentioned earlier, all user requests will be considered and implemented but we cannot assure a time frame when it will be put into effect. Please feel free to contact us again if you need any assistance and we will be happy to provide further help.

These are really useful – especially the idea box. It is much easier for me than creating many links between cards as (a) they are hard to see as they are hidden by other cards and are not in a bold colour, and (b) many links looks confusing. This way I can collect reference cards and show relationships between them without breaking the logical relationships between the originals and without creating a mess of links that I can’t make see or make sense of.

1 Like

Given limited resources like you guys said in earlier posts, you should focus on stabilizing the app itself and elaborating and bringing consistency to existing feastures, not introducing new ones.

  1. Crashes should be minimized.
  2. Limited export options for outline export. I can export different flashcards categorized by tags or color, whereas I have no other option but exporting the whole outline or the whole branch. Please bring consistency to the features.