Categories: Note-Taking
Platforms:
iPadiPhoneMac

Bear

Bear Icon
Bear is a beautifully-crafted note-taking and writing app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It can be a handy place to keep notes about your OmniFocus actions and projects and other reference information.

App Description

Bear is a text-based Markdown editor with apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Bear’s signature features include a polished user interface, in-line support for images and photos, and an innovative tagging system.

While you can use Bear free of charge, you’ll need to subscribe to Bear to sync notes between your devices. Bear Pro also includes a collection of beautiful themes, a variety of export options, and more.

Taking Notes in OmniFocus

While it’s possible (and sometimes helpful) to take notes in OmniFocus, it often makes sense to store this information externally, especially for more detailed notes. The note field that’s available for OmniFocus projects, action groups, and actions has limited formatting options and note entry, editing, and viewing is limited to a relatively small text box in the inspector (Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web) and an inline field in the outline view (Mac & Web).

When It Makes More Sense to Use Bear

An alternative to using the note field in OmniFocus is to store more detailed information in Bear and reference it from OmniFocus.

Each note in Bear has a unique link that can be pasted into the note field in OmniFocus. If you’re using a Mac, select the note in Bear and choose Note > Copy Link or use the keyboard shortcut ⌥⇧⌘L. On iPhone or iPad, long-press on a note and choose “Copy link to note”.

On iPhone and iPad, these links can also be automatically generated using Shortcuts. For example, you might have a Shortcut that creates an OmniFocus action to prompt you to prepare for an upcoming meeting and automatically creates a new note in Bear that’s linked to this OmniFocus action.

Use Cases

For example, you could create a note in Bear to take notes about a project that you’re working on in OmniFocus. For easy access, add a link to the Bear note in the project’s note field. You could also have a repeating task along the lines of “Review: projects notes” that includes this link to make sure that you’re giving what you captured in Bear the appropriate amount of attention.

Bear can also be a great place to store things like Someday/Maybe lists. Repeating actions in OmniFocus can help ensure that these lists are reviewed regularly. For example, you could have a repeating “Review: blog post ideas” action in OmniFocus that links to a note in Bear that contains ideas for blog posts. Once you’re ready to write, you can write the post in Bear and use OmniFocus to guide the writing, editing, and publishing process.

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