Note Taking Workflow


I am looking to switch over from Evernote and I’m wondering what the best workflow is for my note taking preferences.

I like to make liberal use of headings and bulleted lists and highlights for progressive summarization of my notes.

Are keyboard shortcuts available to make headings and lists? I got the highlighting one. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do any of that and also is there an outline mode of sorts like how Google Docs does outline view?

There’s a couple things you can do to facilitate note taking in an RTF document.

Keyboard shortcuts for headings:
There’s a few steps you need to do to set this up. First, make sure the formatting bar is visible (Format > Show Format Bar). This is the standard TextEdit format bar, and you can use it to save and name some key styles (e.g. I have Title, Heading, Normal). Then you can use the OS Keyboard Shortcuts tool to make, well, keyboard shortcuts.

  • add a shortcut for DevonThink3
  • in Menu Title, put the name of the saved style (make sure that your name doesn’t conflict with an existing menu command, or it won’t work)
  • in Keyboard shortcut put the keycommand you want


Shortcut for bullets
Similar to above, but you don’t need to make a style for it. The Format bar already has a menu for different kinds of bullet lists:

You just need to create a Keyboard Shortcut that bullet style. So for a traditional bullet list, this is what the keyboard shortcut looks like:


(You make the bullet character by pressing option-8). I then did another keyboard shortcut to turn bullet lists off, which is called “None” in the menu:


Outline mode
Well, I just made an applescript that sorta-kinda mimics this. I make all of my headings bold text (major headings are also all-caps). So this script will make a list of all paragraphs that are entirely bolded, and ask you to select one — it will then jump to that position in the document.

Save that script in the Toolbar subfolder of the Scripts menu, the customize your toolbar, and you’ll have that tool once click away.

FAIR WARNING: it is slow, and while it works for me, I am not an expert at applescript, so use with caution.

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This seems like a place to use Markdown. DT3 automatically generates a note-specific TOC using Markdown headings. Have you explored that @vanillaicecream?

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And to illustrate the Tools > Inspectors > Content > Tabe of Contents and also using MultiMarkdown’s {{TOC}} option (which I often use here)

(And there’s another little option being used in the file too…)

I’ve tried ALL of the markdown editors and the best, by far, is Typora. It is multi platform and I’ve had zero troubles with it. It’s still officially in Beta, so it’s free. However, I cannot live without it for my work at IBM as well as at Dartmouth. I create documents in it and store them in DT.


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