Favorite External Editors for Notes in macOS & iOS


I am new DEVONthink and very much liking so far! DEVONthink’s ability to handle all file types, search, smart groups, and AI abilities have more than exceeded my expectations.

I recently migrated all my previous notes (about 6,000) from Evernote, which was my previous preferred method of storing my digital brain.

I feel like I am missing some basic note editor abilities in the built-in DEVONthink editors (especially in iOS) that I used to have in Evernote, though.

I know that this type of question has been asked many times on this forum before, but I have yet to find a solution that covered all the things I am trying to do that I used to do in Evernote.

I am already making use of the “open with” keyboard shortcut on macOS and have found the ability to “open in” for round-tripping on iOS. This has made the process of using external editors completely reasonable, but I am looking for the right combination that will allow me to do all the core things I used to do in Evernote. To this end, I am seeking the advice of the DEVONthink community to see what you use.

On macOS side, I am looking for a way to be able to do the following:
• Format note, bold, italics, etc.
• Change text size
• Highlight text
• Insert and annotate pictures
• Use tables

So far, I have been using the rich text format with Bean as an editor as it seemed to offer me all the above tools accesible by keyboard shortcut. I also liked the ability of Bean to add/delete column rows quickly with right click or keyboard shortcuts (something I wasn’t able to do in TextEdit). I love that I can easily annotate/markup images in DEVONthink on my MacBook Pro.

On the iOS side, I am looking to be able to do the following:
• Format note, bold, italics, etc.
• Change text size
• Highlight text
• Insert (annotate pictures not necessary but would be nice)
• Use tables

So far, for iOS, I have tried using the DTTG2 editor and iawriter and Editorial. None of these options seem to get me the full list mentioned above which I could do in the Evernote iOS editor, though.

I know you can add images in DTTG from the camera roll with a long press and select the photo icon, but this requires the use of a formatted note. A formatted note won’t allow me to make use of Bean and other Rich Text Editors that I know of.

Ideally, I would like to be able to use the same note format so that I can edit the same note on both macOS or iOS. I had been considering markdown as I have found many recommendations in these forums on external apps that work well for “round tripping” (iawriter, 1writer, editorial, etc.) Markdown seems to be missing some key features that I like to use such as easily inserting and annotating images. I also do not know how to highlight text.

Interestingly, I have found that I am able to accomplish most of these things with more robust external programs like Pages and Numbers. These do seem like overkill for the type of notes that I am trying to take, and I don’t especially like the look of my basic notes in Pages as they end up being separated by pages.

All in all, I am just looking for some advice. What are the external editors that you use and does anyone think they know of a good workflow that may fit my needs - someone looking for the basic capabilities of the Evernote editor all in one place?


You should be aware that DEVONthink To Go is also a Location visible in the Files app on iOS. Any external application that can bring up the Document Provider (the little version fo the Files App that opens up in some applications like Kodex or PDF Viewer, or PDF Expert, or 1Writer, or iAWriter among others) can open content from DEVONthink “in place” – in other words no round-tripping required.

As for the core question in your post, what you are looking for is a rich text editor (specifically one that supports attachments such as .rtfd files) or word processor. I almost never work in rich text (.rtf/.rtfd files) on any platform. I typically work either in a full-blown word processor (Pages or Word) due to the requirements of my occupation (academia), or plaintext/markdown. Because of that I don’t really know much about rich-text editing on Mac or iOS.

Rich text, especially rich text with attachments, is not a well-supported file format, with .rtfd being the most generic and most widely supported. Things are especially bleak on iOS. As soon as you throw attachments (eg., in-line images) and speciality formatting like highlights into the mix, you now need a “bundle” or a package file, rather than a single, standalone file*. This is why Evernote rolled their own note format (.enex) and why DEVONthink has their own formatted note (though in reality both Evernotes .enex and DEONthink’s formatted notes are basically HTML). In general the features you are seeking exist only in proprietary file formats because it is a complex set of things to offer a user.

I do not think you will be able to find a universal, standalone file format that is supported on both macOS and iOS that accommodates everything you are looking for. If you want to centre your work around DEVONthink, a formatted note is probably your best bet.

If you really need things like in-line images, I would consider looking at applications like Ulysses or Bear. Both are based largely in markdown and use self-contained systems to manage files. This allows them to do things like render images in-line and, being markdown based, provide most of the text formatting you need, including tables (insofar as markdown supports tables). They will not allow highlighting in the conventional sense, nor arbitrary and variable text sizing (they do support headings and body text of course, which are variable, but not character- or word-level text sizing). Some of the differentiating features (like in-line images) are also only available when the files are viewed/edited/stored in the application, because this relies on some proprietary magic to make work.

I think you need to evaluate carefully your priorities. Is portability (e.g., a file that can be opened by any editor on any OS) the most important thing for you, or is checking all those feature boxes the most important thing? You’re not going to get both. Given the current software landscape, looking for both is a bit like asking for the features of a pickup truck (features) in a Honda Civic (portability). What you get in the end is an El Camino which is neither a good compact car nor good pickup truck.

At this point if you are looking for formatted text that is ultra-portable:
Markdown is your best bet. It is about as generic as you get. You can edit markdown in essentially any application that can edit text. There are tons of text editors on macOS and iOS that cater to all kinds of tastes. You will be missing out on lots of the features you are looking for though. This is the price of portability and universality.

If you are looking for formatted text that hits all your required features:
A full-blown word processor like Microsoft Word or Pages is your best bet. These are proprietary formats and can only be edited in their own applications, but they will offer everything you are looking for in terms of features. They are also editable on macOS and iOS. They can be stored in DEVONthink and opened in their respective applications (the Files app and Document Provider are your friends on iOS here, both Word and Pages for iOS support the Document Provider, so you can use Word or Pages to open a document stored in DEVONthink To GO).

For me, I use the following files most of the time: Word documents, markdown files, and OmniOutliner outlines.

Word files I edit in Microsoft Word on macOS and iOS. Markdown files I edit in BBEdit on macOS and either DEVONthink To Go or Kodex in iOS (though I’m not super satisfied with Kodex and looking for alternatives). OmniOutliner outlines I edit in OmniOutliner on macOS and iOS.

On iOS, Word, OmniOutliner, and most text editors have access to the Files app, so I just navigate to the desired DEVONthink file in the Files app to open it in the appropriate editor.

*an exception is when you use file references, common in more advanced markdown editors like Bear or Ulysses, also supported in DEVONthink. This allow you to use hyperlinks to refer to an image stored in another location, and the editor will display that image – though this can be easily broken if the image is relocated relative to the document, hence the frequent reliance on “bundles” or proprietary storage!

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First off, thank you so much for this detailed reply. This is exactly what I need to see to understand where the limits currently lay.

This is what I am starting to realize. I can live with this.

My motivations for moving to DEVONthink from Evernote was the ability to archive, classify, and intelligently search all of my data. Evernote was great for holding notes, but it wouldn’t store larger files. Furthermore, DEVONthink’s search capabilities and AI for making connections for me between my notes for research are amazing and something that Evernote could not do.

At this point, then, I think portability is going to take a priority with these types of notes I am trying to create.

On my lists above, if I had to pick one thing that I would like to work in a portable format it would be the ability to add pictures to the notes I am taking. I would like it best if they were visible in DEVONthink, too.

I am a little familiar with markdown and have no aversion to using it as my primary note format. You mentioned Bear and Ulysses, both of which I believe can add images to notes. Is there a way to get the images to display in DEVONthink? Or, are there any other markdown editors that will allow me to add images to them and display in DEVONthink?

Otherwise, it sounds like I may have to consider looking at the full-blown word processors for notes.

All my notes don’t have pictures in them. But, I would like to choose a common format so that I could add pictures to them at any time. I have found that I am frequently taking screenshots or photos on the go to create instructions for myself or that I share with people. Again, thinking on my priorities, I would like to figure out a note format that will allow me to accomplish this while making use of DEVONthink’s superior storage and search capabilities.

Thanks again for your response, it is truly helpful!

Updates and new questions

So I discovered Word for iOS has a nifty little mobile view. It makes using it on a mobile device much more like other note editors. I was getting kind of excited about this option. I was able to take notes and add images and they were syncing back and forth between DTTG and DTPO.

Then I noticed that DEVONthink doesn’t display some of the formattings from the notes. I didn’t see any highlights that I had made or any tables that I inserted in the preview in DTTG or DTPO. There isn’t much point to using Word Processors as an option to format notes if it isn’t going to show up in DEVONthink.

I have played around with some Markdown editors some more - Editorial and iA Writer in particular. I cannot find a way to get the images I place in a note to appear in the preview in DTTG or DTPO. All I see is the Markdown reference to an image.

I cannot believe how complicated this ended up being! I did not expect it to be hard to find an editor that can take notes, do basic formatting and add images that will work with DTTG and DTPO.

Here is what I am concentrating on now, then:

  1. Is there a way to see all the formatting of a Word document in DEVONthink?
  2. Is there an easy way to see images in DEVONthink that were inserted in a Markdown document?
  3. What about HTML documents?

I have been trying a new app Strike (makers of Airmail) which is in beta, and it can export HTML documents with images. http://strike-app.com/

I don’t see any way to edit a document in place or “Open in” to get the edits to save to an HTML document that already exists in DEVONthink on iOS or macOS. I can only send new documents to DEVONthink. Is there a way to get editing in place with an external editor to work with HTML documents? Or is there another program other than this Strike beta that might work with HTML format notes for editing in place?

  1. No. This is not possible on iOS or macOS. On macOS it relies on Quicklook, something built into the OS by Apple, and quicklook does not render all fo the formatting correctly. On iOS I don’t know the exact mechanism being used to render the preview but the reality is Word documents are very complex and are not easily rendered exactly by anything other than Microsoft Word.
  2. No.
  3. What about HTML documents, indeed?

If you download the free iOS application Kodex, from within Kodex, locate an HTML file stored by DEVONthink. You should be able to edit it there. On some quick testing I do not believe you can edit a .html file within DTTG.

From what I am gathering, there is not likely a single solution that will satisfy every single one of your criteria without doing some major contortions. Nothing you are asking for is unreasonable, but it is butting up with the realities (ie limitations) of the available software on macOS and iOS.

Once again, thank you for the clear, yet detailed explanation.

I do wonder if there may ever be an HTML option that will appear down the road. I will certainly hold out hope that it does or anything else that may fit the bill.

For what its worth then, here are my notes that I took during this exploration for the “perfect” external note editor solution in case it is helpful for any others newbies such as myself searching here in the future.

My Current Setup
• I do the vast majority of my note taking on the macOS in an .rtf format with Bean as my editor.
• Any check boxes are done with text expander [ x]
• Any horizontal rule is done with text expander ____________________________________________________________________________________
• Any images are mainly being handled on my mac only in Bean (You can make use of macOS native markup directly on images in Bean or DEVONthink!).
• Any rtfd files from my mac than need to be edited on my phone can be done via Pages app
⁃ From DTTG, do “open in” and choose copy to Pages.
⁃ Edit in Pages.
⁃ Choose Export and convert to rtf in Pages.
⁃ Select Copy to DEVONthink as destination. (Do not choose clip to DEVONthink as this will just make a new note).
⁃ This should update the old note in DEVONthink with changes from Pages app.
• I also like to send quick notes into DEVONthink using Drafts 5. This can be plain text or Markdown.
• Convert files to other formats as needed (if I need to add images to a quick note or Markdown note)

File Specific
Formatted notes - edit in DEVONthink
Markup (.md) - edit in DEVONthink or iA Writer (both macOS and iOS).
Plain text (.txt) - edit in DEVONthink. My quick notes into DEVONthink come from Drafts 5.
Rich text (.rtf) - edit in Bean on macOS. Use DEVONthink editors for very quick edits
Rich Text with images (.rtfd) - edit in Bean on macOS. Use DEVONthink editors for very quick edits. No editing on iOS.

Formatted Notes
1 Able to do pictures in DTTG and DTPO
2 Able to do highlighting
3 Works on both DTPO and DTTG

1 No lists
2 No tables
3 Have to use DEVONthink editor (that I know of)
⁃ DTTG requires you to hit edit every time you want to edit a note
⁃ DTTG requires you to take pictures separately and then insert them into note (not a deal breaker, of course).

Works with editing in DTTG: ?

Rich Text (with images .rtfd)
1 Able to do pictures on DTPO
2 Able to do Highlighting
3 Able to do Tables (using Bean or TextEdit instead of DEVONthink editor)
4 Able to edit in place with Bean/TextEdit on macOS.
5 Able to edit document from DEVONthink with Document Provider functionality in some external iOS apps (Any that can see DTTG in files app or iCloud drive).
6 Able to do pictures on DTTG. I can’t find an editor that takes pictures, though! It would work if someone made an app for iOS with rtfd and attach files as option!

1 Editors very limited on iOS.
2 DTTG can’t edit a rtfd file.

Works with editing in DTTG: Very limited options. Mach Write and TextEditor.

Markdown (with images)
1 Quick basic formatting
2 Very portable across platforms
3 Able to edit in place with many external apps on macOS (e.g. iA Writer).
4 Able to edit document from DEVONthink with Document Provider functionality in some external iOS apps (Any that can see DTTG in files app or iCloud drive).
5 Able to edit document from DEVONthink with “Open in” function on iOS and the copy back to DEVONthink with same name will replace/update old file in DEVONthink (iA Writer, Editorial, 1Writer).
6 Many choices for external editors.

1 No images that render in DEVONthink (that I know of).
2 No advance formatting (highlighting especially).

Works with editing in DTTG: iA Writer, Editorial, 1Writer

Plain Text
1 Very portable

1 No advanced formatting
2 No images

Works with editing in DTTG: Any app that supports Document Provider

Word (.doc)
1 Able to do pictures on DTTG and DTPO
2 Able to do Highlighting - doesn’t show up in DEVONthink
3 Able to do lists
4 Able to do tables - doesn’t show up in DEVONthink

1 Don’t like the “page” type format for notes (just a bit of overkill).
2 Advanced formatting nice, but it is buried in may different menus in iOS. Hard to translate to iOS.
3 A lot of advanced formatting doesn’t show up in DEVONthink.

HTML Notes (Strike beta?)
1 Able to do pictures on DTTG and DTPO
2 Able to do Highlighting
3 Able to do lists
4 Able to do tables.

1 Not sure how to edit documents in place or overwrite with new changes on DTPO and DTTG
2 Not sure what other apps might be out there that support this file format.

Works with editing in DTTG: Strike beta?, others?


Phew, that’s a thorough list, would be a very helpful reference for other users too!

Lots of imperfect options to work with there, I suppose it is now a matter of seeing which option or options maximizes the overlap in the Venn diagram of your needs the features offered by a given format!

I see the expected behavior for editing in place with 1Writer and PDFPen, but not with PDF Expert. I have the latest version but have not made the in-app purchase to be able to edit text. PDF Expert

The location does not appear in PDF Expert - Only Documents and iCloud. Perhaps I should be asking Readdle, but I wondered if others see the DTTG location.

I see DEVONthink To Go in PDF Expert.

I think you may just be missing a step.
When you tap on iCloud in the sidebar, you then have to tap on “iCloud Drive” at the top. (I have complained to Readdle about how cumbersome it is to access the document provider and they seem happy with how it is now, unfortunately)

Forgive me if this was already covered, but why use Bean for RTF? In my experience, the built-in DevonThink rich text editor is very nice.

I do find I need to use an external editor for Markdown on MacOS. There are many good choices, and one is not appreciably better than all the others; I happen to use Folding Text now but may look into options at some point and find something else I like better.

Sorry, I just saw this reply now. I realize this may sound very picky, but there are a few small reasons.

  1. Hotkeys. Bean allows me to use multiple colors for highlighting via hotkeys. I prefer Bean over TextEdit because you can set the different highlight colors to multiple hotkeys. The DEVONthink editor only lets me do one highlight by hotkey - whatever color is actively selected.

  2. I can also change the alignment by hotkey in Bean. In the DEVONthink editor, I can only do left align by hotkey.

  3. The DEVONthink editor cannot do dark mode that I am aware of.

This really only becomes an issue when I am doing my long form notes on research articles, books, talks, etc. I try to make my process for these things as efficient as possible. I probably should give the built-in editor another try for other quick notes, though. Thanks for the suggestion!

That is technically correct but not practically correct. You can add a Highlight icon to the Toolbar to quickly change the highlight color while applying it to the selected text. Command-Shift-L will continue highlighting with that color.

This is incorrect. Both left and right align have hotkeys, Command-Option-Control L or R, respectively. Also, you could technically assign your own hotkeys for these and/or the other two in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts.

Nope. No dark mode, though you could always switch Fullscreen colors in Preferences > Editing and go fullscreen.

Thanks for the correction, Jim!

I should have been more careful with the alignment point. I did know that it does right align as a default hotkey, it was just the center alignment (which is one that I frequently use) that isn’t a default hotkey. I figured that I can probably assign this functionality by multiple means at the system level or third-party application, I just found that the Bean editor did it too by default when I was trying options out before so I didn’t pursue it any further.

I am currently giving the Rich Text editor another try and liking it so far. :smiley:

Editing on the mac has never really been the pain point for me with my transition, though.

I still have not found a good solution for creating documents on the iOS side with the same features and ease that I can in other dedicated note apps like Evernote. As such, I am still using Evernote as my Work database instead of DEVONthink.

I need a cross-platform solution at work since I use windows there. Unfortunately, the web sever is not an option at my work. I also need a way to quickly create notes on my phone at work with embedded images. DTTG does have some functionality here, but it is not nearly as easy as it is in Evernote. It is extremely nice to be able to markup the images on the phone like I can in Evernote as well.

I realize that DEVONthink isn’t a dedicated note app and I shouldn’t expect it to offer all the note taking features that Evernote has. I am still looking for an exit strategy out of Evernote (for multiple reasons) and look forward to the day that I can find a note-taking solution that integrates nicely with DTTG (or that DTTG offers a few more features like Evernote). I have yet to find an app that will do this.

I am very grateful for the product DEVONthink has created so far. I always explained to people how Evernote was my “digital brain”, but it had some severe limitations in actually storing all of my digital resources. Now, with DEVONthink, I truly do have a digital brain that can store and index all of my digital resources. I imagine that DTTG will only get better with time and I may even solve the work-barrier someday too.

Enhanced text editing in DTTG is a priority for future versions. Rest assured, we are always hard at work on many great things in here. :smiley:

My heart breaks for you :mrgreen:

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I’m in the mood to switch back from iOS to Android (I would like to be in Windows Phone, but you know, MS killed itself), as I’m testing a Galaxy Note 9 and it has all the things I miss in my iPhone, mostly perfect hand-write integration. Last time I checked Android was slow, buggy, very unusable and the majority of the applications were completely buggy. Not anymore, not at least the applications I use.

My first step is get rid of iPhone, and still use iPad and macOS for main things. One of my worst problems in this situation is the cloud, but I was gratefully surprised that OneDrive works fine with macOS and iOS (only lack of “placeholders”, but not a serious problem). I’m waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Watch to switch off my iPhone for at least one week and check how is my life without it (and yes, it sounds strange how one can have so dependency with a smart watch, but currently is my first people filter -and fitness tool).

And I was looking for an alternative to DEVONthink that will work in Windows and Android in the same way. Discarding Evernote (expensive, lack of wanted features, and possibly in bankruptcy) and OneNote (slow, lack of features, buggy, limited -for example, Windows Metro App is not able to find INSIDE a PDF where web navigator’s OneNote does), and the answer was:


Yes, nothing. At this moment there is nothing equivalent in Windows/Android. That makes me go back in the idea of replace my iPads by one Android tablet (and the Samsung Tab S4 makes me eyes, a lot of eyes, so many eyes I will buy it). And yes, DT is the only thing that makes me no return to Android in tablets.

hey Philaletes,

I am currently myself reviewing a setup to use DT integrated with another note-app, even if in some other constellationing/intent.

this is also how I came across your post, and I can see/feel what you are after since I have been there too (some time ago).

anyways: while I can‘t give you a verfied and detailled workflow as to your exact needs to work with formatted/image-containing notes through the whole osx/ios stack, what I can throw in/at you is a hint about some note editor that works well with html-notes; and which - I think - can handle most if not all of your formatting needs. its Notebooks by Alfons Schmid: notebooksapp.com/

take a look, whether that fits the bill or makes a setup suited for you possible.
a critical thing that sets Notebooks apart from other (markup-)options mentioned here is the fact that DT can directly ‚plug‘ into it via indexing, as all Notebooks’ notes are filed in non-proprietory way in an accessible folder structure on OSX. as Notebooks also syncs quite well between ios/osx you might find a setup that is helpful for your scenario. (I haven‘t tested the roundtripping path of juggling the same note between DT and Notebooks).

… again, I can‘t positively tell NB indeed is a solution, but it might be. given the whole search-vector of html-note-editors (and Notebooks own file saving in ways that can be ‚plugged into the DT-AI/-replicant system) I thought I‘d mention it at least…

best from Berlin,

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Thanks for the suggestions lerone! I will take a closer look.

I have honestly been surprised at the number of less well-known note taking apps I have been finding in the past few days. For example, https://standardnotes.org looks pretty nice too. It has many features that I would find very useful (ie code support) but is lacking support for embedding images in notes.

I have also found a few open source projects that seem promising but also lack some key features (https://github.com/twostairs/paperwork/tree/1).

In terms of matching my current workflow in Evernote, Bear has been one of my favorite apps but lacks the web app or windows app option.

It is looking more and more likely that I will need to wait for some updates to the DTTG app or for Bear to deliver on their long-promised web app before I can jump ship from Evernote.

Thanks again for the suggestion!

Hey philalethes!

Devonthink does can render pictures in markdown. Use the standard markdown tegs for embedded pics (![optional description](internal devonthink item link). The latter you can get (Edit-Copy Item Link). And personally, I think this is the best way to store your favourite pics - in a separate database, tegged, foldered and properly described. I’d recommend to duplicate each one on the Dropbox, and insert the appropriate link in its metadata (item info - URL).

It will be useful if you want to insert some of these pictures in iA Writer, because it renders them only as direct internet links (if not from its own library). Just put this link into you markdown doc.
The app you missed for highlighting, thinking and summarizing, which can get you any hotkey you want for any highlight colour :wink: - OmniOutliner. It supports markdown flawlessly: you can copy any text (even with links) from iA to OO and back as many times as you want, changing text here and there, no problem. iA and OO have versions for OSX an iOS and both have full Document Provider support in iOS.
I think these app duo is able to retire RTF in the end.

Thanks for the suggestions Silverstone!

I especially appreciated the OmniOutliner tip. I have been using it for the past few months for outlining and organizing my notes for longer form writing projects. For some reason, I did not realize that it supports markdown. I will be playing with this a bit more!

Using iA Writer for markdown was one of the first things that I played around with during my transition to DEVONthink. I really am not averse to switching to a markdown approach to my small to medium size notes as I have already been using iA Writer for my longer form writing.

Where I am still struggling is with my typical use case for notes at work. I travel to different sites for my job and quite frequently I like to take notes on a process that I may need to replicate down the road or show others how to do. For notes like these, I like to add pictures so they become like mini-instruction manuals.

In a dedicated note app, like Evernote, this process is extremely efficient and easy. While I am in my note typing away, I simply tap the add picture button and snap a photo. I am even able to quickly markup the photo with things like arrows and text.

I realize I can do this in iA Writer, but I worry I may need to sacrifice some efficiency. I believe it would require me to take my photos separately (in the photos app) if I want to mark them up. I am still intrigued to see if I can make this setup work.

I am also not clear on how I can link the iA Writer notes with DEVONthink. It would be amazing if I could and then even sync these iA Writer documents to some cloud storage that could be indexed by DEVONthink. Then I could use DEVONthink to add metadata to the notes and take advantage of DEVONthink’s search capabilities for finding them later. I would just create any new iOS-based notes with pictures with iA Writer, then.

I do need to learn more about referencing cloud-based folders with DEVONthink works, though. I just tried referencing a folder that has an iA Writer .txt file and the supporting images in it, but DEVONthink did not render the markdown at all. I am sure it is because it is a .txt file. I will need to play around with this a bit more.

One reason why I still like the prospect of Bear is that it is a markdown based notes app that can support the exact photo-based workflow I use with Evernote right in the app. Ideally, I would be able to accomplish this type of Evernote picture workflow right in DTTG. Maybe someday I will be able to and I can get rid of my patchwork app system. I still am pretty concerned about Evernote in general, enough to want to find an exit strategy now, even if just means moving to something else like Bear.

Thanks again for the suggestions. I appreciate them and will play around with them some more!

Update: I figured out how to make the default file type in iA Writer become .md. This allowed for DEVONthink to render the files as markdown.

I cannot figure out how to get DEVONthink to render the photos in a markdown file from my referenced icloud folder for iA Writer, though. I just see the file path. More work needed on that still.

I have a feeling that, ultimately, this would end up being a system that sacrifices too much efficiency that I can get out of using an Evernote or Bear for this photo-based quick note use case. I will continue to play with it a bit, though.