I’ve finally had a moment to put my hashtag approach together for users.

As I said, I use (1) a generic set of hashtags for for follow up work or research that relates to certain annotated text (e.g., #questions or #interview or #read) and (2) a specific set of hashtags, per project and / or document – in other words, one that relates to a particular subject, issue or document / Notebook.

As far as I can tell, MarginNote allows one to use sets of hashtags per project, but it seems like it keeps carrying over all the hashtags – have I got that right? Anyway, managing so many hashtags in MarginNote seems complicated and messy (esp. if MN does carry over hundreds of hashtags from Notebook to Notebook), and so I don’t even use it for hashtags; instead, I use a pick list approach in Keyboard Maestro.

I should add that because I use MarginNote-annotated export files with other app’s (esp. OmniOutliner and Tinderbox) I use the following syntax when I include more than one hashtag: [hashtag]+[SPACE]+[COMMA]+[SPACE]+[hashtag]. This allows other apps to read and process my many hashtags in the MarginNote-annotated files.

Ok, so through using a Keyboard Maestro script, I can create discrete groups of project-specific hashtags in a “SET.” Here’s what it looks like when I’m just setting up a new Keyboard Maestro pick list SET – and you can see that it also allows uses to have multiple pick list sets, which I swap out depending on the subject, issue or document / Notebook that I’m working on at the time…

Also, Keyboard Maestro allows me to create a keyboard trigger for the popup window (which is super handy!), and this is what that window looks like for one such SET (which I’ve created just for explanatory purposes)…

Then I can select multiple hashtags values within a Keyboard Maestro pick list (or SET) like so…

When I click “Ok,” I’ve copied the all of the hashtags I want to include for a section of text; then I just paste those copied hashtags in the comments section MarginNote’s annotated text. So, for the above selection from my Keyboard Maestro pick list, it looks like this in the comments sections of a MarginNote annotation…

#Followup , #Read , #Relatives , #Origin , #Animal , #Mineral

There’s just one problem with the Keyboard Maestro pick list approach: despite many organizational options, it doesn’t provide for disclosure triangles to group hashtag values / categories. In other words, I’d much prefer that I could group hashtag values / categories accordingly…


You can see here how collapsing subject-folders with disclosure triangles helps create manageable, organizational structure – esp. when users are using hundreds of hashtags for a single project / Notebook…


So, there you have it. I’d suggest that MarginNote appropriate this this approach so that:

  • it allows users to create discrete groups of project-specific hashtags in a some kind of set;
  • it provides users with one hashtag set configuration that defaults to one Notebook / Documents, with the option to apply it to other Notebooks and Documents – but not so that these hashtag sets and values bleed into other other sets, Notebooks, and Documents (which makes impossible to navigate through so many tags);
  • it provides users with a a keyboard trigger for the popup window to make hashtag selections, per set;
  • it creates the following syntax when users select more than one hashtag: [hashtag]+[SPACE]+[COMMA]+[SPACE]+[hashtag] – so that other apps can read and process hashtags in the MarginNote-annotated files;
  • it creates an organizational system, such as through subject-folders that can be grouped with disclosure triangles;

Any questions?

Hope this is helpful…

Moved by Admin for recommending. Please read the original Thread at

Thanks for impressive contribution!


Wonderful workflow! Thank you for the detailed insights.

The collapsible tag set approach mirrors how tags are organized in Curio. Curio also allows you to set global or local project-only tags.



Quite welcome. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

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Quite welcome. Yeah, it took a while for me to put it all together. I’ve looked at Curio here and there, but am already using so many other apps (e.g., Tinderbox, DEVONthink) that I didn’t see it as a significant enough addition. Still, I’ll check it out.

@Lanco_Support-Team Please let me know if you have any other questions I can answer for you. Thanks.

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FWIW, I might summarize their highlights as such:

  • DevonThink - collect files into a database, tag or catalog them, and search them using a high-powered search/correlation engine
  • Tinderbox - collect text notes onto a viewable page, tag or catalog them, and manage them using high-powered scripting and connecting automation
  • (your favorite mind map app) - collect various types of content onto a viewable page and make connections between and external to that content
  • Curio - collect various types of content onto a viewable page, layout the content in various ways, make connects between and external to the content in various ways, and track the content in various ways

So, unlike DevonThink, Curio presents a visual layout of content (not a file-structure layout) and unlike Tinderbox, Curio takes any type of content (not just text notes). Unlike both, Curio is not scriptable.

When I think about how I view the various aspects of a project’s landscape, I think visual (Curio) versus structural (Devonthink) versus inter/intra-connectedness (Tinderbox).



Wow. That’s very interesting and useful. Thank you!

I’m curious… Can you explain how your workflow would work with these apps vis-a-vis MarginNote annotated files.

I’m asking both to understand if / how it might make sense to integrate Curious into my workflow, as well as how you put these apps together working on files for your research.

Actually, it also directly relates to question of how you and other users archive MarginNote-exported files, which was referenced in this post by another user. I just replied to it earlier today, saying that I’m struggling with the very same challenges with my work.


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In a nutshell, I am not in a position to relate any of the apps to a workflow that involves MarginNote.

I only use MarginNote routinely, and then only on my iPad, and then only to markup documents where I want to track the tag from the annotations. A primary case in point is to grade assignments, where I can mark annotations with tags such as #incorrect, #inadequate, and #improper. Each tag level has a specific point deduction that I can tally at the end of markup. Despite owning MarginNote, I have not even attempted to go beyond the annotation level (to the review/organize and study card levels). I might do this at some point when I could be assured that exporting annotations from MarginNote and importing them from other sources (primarily DevonThink ToGo and Bookends) would not be a process akin to pulling teeth without an anesthetic.

I don’t use Tinderbox. While I am inclined to tackle a project visually as per the layouts possible in Tinderbox (rather than hierarchically), I can’t master the full power of Tinderbox well enough to improve my workflow. I also have significantly more than just notes to layout on a page as related to any given project that I tackle.

I use DevonThink somewhat sporadically but in a focused manner to search through files for specific topics related to lectures or content that I am preparing. A primary case in point is that I have all my lecture notes, assignments, and resources going back a few decades for a specific course, and I am culling through it to organize a study guide, a set of practice problems, and eventually a textbook for the course.

Because I prefer a visual structure to layout content, Curio is my primary workhorse. For further insights into aspects of what I do with Curio, you might look through the Curio forum for some of my postings (DrJJWMac) in the Reviews and Workflows category. Somewhere there is for example a link to a Dropbox folder that points to project files for Kanban boards and teaching among others.



Fascinating. And very helpful. Thank you for this explanation, @DrJJWMac I use a similar combination of apps, but haven’t yet explored Curio, partly due to its cost.

Tinderbox does require a steep learning curve at first, but gets easier over time.

I think you’ve summed up one of my main concerns regarding MarginNote when you wrote:

This is exactly where I am right now. I’m actually less interested in the ability to review/organize and study cards, but am very concerned about the seeming inability to archive MarginNote files, and retain the ability to use the MarginNote-created links inside them.

Frankly, I might have to stop using the app if @marginnote is unable to provide a solution to this problem. That would be a source of great frustration, but I use a similar workflow and as you and other users and this appears to be a serious bottleneck.

I look forward to any additional ideas and suggestions from @Lanco_Support-Team @Support-Team as well as other MarginNote users.

Thanks very much again.


I’m in total agreement with all of this. In fact, I share the very same concerns that @JournoProf has laid out.

Naturally, I’m a big fan of MarginNote — otherwise I wouldn’t be contributing so much to these forums and emailing the developers! But… I’m really worried that I might have to find another app if this issue with archiving can’t be resolved. It’s a serious problem.

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Sorry, just purchased & installed Maestro on my working Mac. I will share my ideas after testing today, alongside Tinderbox, Devonthink, Curio, Zettelkasten. :wink:

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Thanks, @Lanco_Support-Team I appreciate your efforts to test the various apps we’ve discussed.

But just so we’re clear, many of us here have been discussing our concerns with being able to access MarginNote-created export files – that is, archiving them after annotating them, so that users can still use MarginNote links from those annotations – after they’re no longer in MarginNote / iCloud.

We welcome a solution that MarginNote can provide. Thanks.

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While I realize this post is principally about @jprint’s hashtag workflow, I want to add that I’m in complete agreement with the point raised here about the importance of archiving MarginNote files, and ability to access links & features when these files are offline.

In fact, I’d sharpen this further by saying the ability to archive files successfully, and have have access to the thee MarginNote-created created links & features (once they’ve been exported and are no longer on iCloud), is of paramount importance. Apart from being able to sync files (which seems to be a continued problem), this is the most urgent important problem that needs to solve, regardless of any new or improved MN features.

Thank you.

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Nailed it.

@Lanco_Support-Team @Support-Team @marginnote – take note.

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We has verified all your demands with tags as what MAESTRO does. We think these things could be achieved with MN’s AppleScript API. Now we are looking for testers who got experiences with AppleScript. And help us check what the API could do or optimize.

On the other hand, two tags system is on the way. First we will try to achieve sub tags which I have mentioned in your other thread.

Best Regards,

Hi @Lanco_Support-Team, Thanks for your message. It looks like you sent me four message covering roughly the same issues re: the hashtags approach that I use, and the suggested process and format that MN3 create.

I’m happy to provide you with helpful input and answer your questions, but I’m afraid I don’t know much about AppleScript and JavaScript. Also, I’m working on a mid-2009 MPB, so that means I’m still running MacOS 10.11 – and that might be limited as far as what you’re aiming to do.

So, those are my limitations. But again, I’m happy to help you, however possible. Just let me know how.


Hi Josh,

Let me introduce my old friend and new colleague @Sushi_Support-Team . He is in charge of MN extensions development. Now I’m telling him what’s you need. As a developer, he will help you realize the features as you requested by adding new extensions and transfer advice with API provider, CEO Min. You could just help us to test if the API and extension work fine for your workflow and how could it be improved.

What’s more, his English is very good. You guys could exchange opinions and ideas with him. He cloud give a better understandable response. @JournoProf @mobo @DrJJWMac @Rebs @Jun @Nils


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Hello everyone,

My name is Kevin, and from now on I will handle your questions about MN programming and extension. Feel free to ask me about anything and everything.


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Thanks @Lanco_Support-Team & @Sushi_Support-Team … Appreciate it.

I feel like I (we) have provided very clear descriptions of the features we’re seeking, and how we’re hoping they can take shape. So, it sounds like it’s your turn to ask me / us questions that can help get us all there together.

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I’m a newcomer to the team, and I’ve been talking with Lanco and others about your requests. I will definitely ask you about your issues and suggestions, as I try to develop extensions and such in the next version (which is soon to enter beta testing). I’m sure we can find a satisfying solution to archiving.