Share your workflow and tips & tricks

What is your workflow for studying in MarginNote? How do you use margins, tags, flashcards etc.? What tips, tricks or shortcuts do you use to make studying more efficient? Share it here so that we can learn from each other.

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I find it more efficient to focus on highlighting text when first going through a text.

Then, at a later time I will organise my highlights into notes by merging them together and using the ‘As Title’ button to quickly label a note with some text that has been selected.

I’ll then arrange these notes in a mindmap as I see fit.

A side benefit is that going through material in different ways helps with deepening learning.


That sounds like a good strategy. How do you review your notes after you’ve made a mindmap? I struggling with coming up with an effective revision strategy. Simply re-reading mindmaps doesn’t seem efficient. I am currently experimenting with flashcard feature.

One of the best things is that the mindmap hierarchy automatically generates an outline for you (that’s kind of what mindmaps are, just visualized). So if you keep your mindmaps well organized, via auto-add-to-mindmap when highlighting, it essentially creates a nifty outline of everything for you, that you can review quickly.

Tags and highlighting also allows for an amazing filter in both the outline mode, and in the mindmap. I find it very useful when I highlight certain nodes red for questions, and and filter for those specific red items, in outline mode, when reviewing


I would really like to see more responses here, more tips are always welcome.

One of my biggest change after watching “Learning about Learning” (#1 course on coursera) is my extensive usage of “active recalling” to learn new things . I have been using anki for this process for more than a year on anything I deem worthy remembering, from tech books to psychology books to Chinese poetry to English words, and now I’m experimenting with MN for better digestion (or “incremental reading”, whatever you call it) of books.

This method consists of two standard steps:

  1. create flash cards out of the original material
  2. review the flash cards with SRS (spaced-repetition software)

Most people doesn’t take step 1 seriously, but it’s indeed at least as important as step 2 because cards are the sources for reviews thus “garbage in, garbage out”. Also the process of creating cards is the initial review process - you have to know the material to a certain extent so you can create cloze etc. out of it.

After a while of playing with MN’s flashcard feature I think it’s very powerful:

  1. it can create graph cloze very easily.
  2. it supports going back to the excerpt of the document from which the card is created

I haven’t used it that long so I’m not sure how MN’s flashcard review algorithm works well or not. Anki has an excellent algorithm based on Supermemo’s exponential decay memory formula. But I do believe even a basic implementation would suffice for most of people.

BTW, currently my biggest PITA about integrating MN with anki is described in the Chinese user forum:

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Considering the developer team and half of users are Chinese, I would like to share some Chinese resources from my another answer. Hope they can help you a bit though with the language barrier.

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My suggestion would be, if you intend to use the flashcards (and you should), be careful what kind of notes/extracts you create otherwise you’ll be in a world of hurt when it comes to cleaning up flashcards. MN3 just doesn’t let you modify the flashcards easily.


  1. Start titling your extracts with questions (unless the highligtht is a good candidate for Cloze)
  2. Prefer short extracts that could serve as the back of a single card, answering the exact question you used in the title. Big merged notes can be handy on the mind map but they make horrible flashcards.

Trying to split and add questions later is painful.


Thats exactly my problem… without a title in the card created from an extract I will always have the excerpt on the front section as well. As the extract is supposed to be the answer, it’s not really serving the purpose anymore. I think I will create my Anki cards out of liquid text now, because I don’t get it in MN3 and I don’t have enough time left…

How are you going to do that? Last time I checked LiquidText didn’t have Anki export (or I missed it)

Titling isn’t TOO bad if you do it when you are creating the extract. I tap on the highlight, hit edit and type it in real quick, it’s under 10 seconds or so. It’s very time consuming if you have to go back and redo bunch of cards, at least on the iPad. At that point I’d do the editing in Anki. That’s fast enough for just adding titles, but if you need to edit the back as well, you frequently need to create new cards, which is slow.

That’s why I strongly recommend taking care when creating the extracts. I hope in the future MN3 will give us better options to split extracts into multiple flashcards and edit flashcards without modifying the extract, or at least an option to hide extracts.

I’d like to share one workflow with you.

How to read books with MarginNote 3

Books are the main carriers of civilization. How to read a book? This little article will combine the ideas of Mortimer J. Adler’s How to Read a Book to explain us how to use MarginNote 3 to read books.

Elementary reading with MarginNote 3

In Adler’s book, elementary reading is regarded as the first level of reading. If we understand the meaning of words, we reach the elementary level of reading. In the “decade of e-reading”, we should

use a software equipped with at least some basic functions, such as reading, editing, commenting in order to obtain a good reading experience and reach the elementary level of reading.

  1. MarginNote 3 also has the basic function including reading, creating, editing, annotating, security, page management, exporting, document signing and forms, while MarginNote 3 is also featured with the OCR function. And now you can subscribe OCR PRO to own a better recognition service, it is more convenient for us to read scanned books, which will greatly save us time of searching for high quality searchable PDFs.

  2. MarginNote 3 also supports videos and ePub files, giving users more choice to study with richer data and various medias.

Inspectional reading with MarginNote 3

Inspectional reading is a kind of systematic skimming or pre-reading. The goal is to grasp the central idea of a book in a limited time. With MarginNote 3, we can quickly realize the inspectional reading through the following two methods.

  1. Generate mind maps of catalogues
    For books with catalogs, MarginNote 3 can easily generate a mind map with just one click, which provides a convenient way to sort out the structure of the article and quickly grasp the book through the mind map.

  2. Annotation, multiple types of Annotations
    In the process of skimming, MarginNote 3 offers many annotation tools , making it easy for users to add instant tags or ideas to the book.
    Excerpt. Users are provided with three different tools to select words or phrases from the contents.
    Annotate. MarginNote 3 supports adding content to the document by handwriting.

Analytical reading with MarginNote 3

Analytical reading, one of the most thorough reading methods, requires us to have a detailed grasp of the contents of the entire book. Experienced readers prefer to read classic books in this method.


Let’s look at how MarginNote 3 can help you learn more efficiently.

The first level. master the structure outline of a book

Method 1: Classify books

  • First of all, we must know which type of book we are reading? In MarginNote 3, we can use the folder or label to classify books.

Method 2: Organize the structure

  • A good book must have a complete set of logic. With MarginNote 3, using excerpt tools to sort out notes and create a mind map provides users a fantastic way to understand the structure of the book.

Method 3: Interpret author’s point of view

  • A certain sentence may express multiple meanings, or it may be associated with other places in the previous article. By excerpting notes with MarginNote 3, it will be an unforgettable experience. MarginNote 3 will create cards for each of your excerpts, and allow you to add comments freely, such as handwritten comments, voice comments, and photo comments.

The second level. Interpret the content of a Book

Method 4: Refine words and sentences

Method 5: Associate relevant sentences and organize ideas

  • When reading, we often find some related parts of the book, either an answer to the previous question, or a detailed description to the previous concept. It is difficult for us to put these two parts together in paper books. However, MarginNote 3 will meet all your needs and more, you can easily link different parts of the notes and finally make a clear mind map.

Method 6: Keep reviewing

  • Review is indispensable if you intend to get a command of knowledge. MarginNote 3 provides users with a powerful review function, where we can review different content by creating different card decks .
    Anyway, MarginNote 3 will regularly remind users to review, enhancing your efficiency gradually.

The Third level. comment on a book


Well i start by highlighting using hand tool only the important words

Then rereaad … make them question type by adding their description as tittle

It will then be easily added as flash card

How i use flash card is unique for me… i let it speak and i read them for increase retention

Roam-type tools are hot this year, and Remnote looks like it’s optimized specifically towards the memory side. Thank you very much for sharing!