Saturday, January 28, 2017


Bear is a relatively new application. It seems to be very popular.

I have fooled around with the desktop application, but I have no real need for the iPhone and iPad apps at this time. This might be the reason why I find it less than compelling.

It has a clean interface, and I like it. Whether it is "beautiful," as they claim, I do not know. To me, it looks like many other note-taking apps on the Mac.

They claim: "Link notes to each other to build a body of work. Use hashtags to organize for the way you think. All notes are stored in portable plain text. Yes, it allows you to link notes--very much the way that nvAlt allows you to do it: You enclose words in double brackets, and if those words correspond to a note title, it links to the note. This looks like a wiki-link, but it has only some of the characteristics of a wiki-link. Chhange the title of the note and the link is broken. No back links either.

Bear supports its own version of Markdown and has a "Markdown compatibility" mode. It handles pictures very well, and it also exports to PDF and Word, and it has many other interesting and useful functions. It is a good applications. I recommend it, but I myself would have liked a stronger linking capability.

I would very much like to see something like "ConnectedText for Windows," and I had some hopes "Bear" might be it. But it isn't. To be sure, this is a very esoteric expectation, but I cannot help myself.

If you would like to see a more thorough review of Bear, see here.


Stephen Zeoli said...

I have got Bear on my MacBooks and my iPad and iPhone, yet have not felt a compelling need to use it. I believe it would be a very serviceable note app, but it falls between the cracks for me. Evernote is handier for stashing away random info that I want to keep -- email reminders, receipts, etc... and I like the writing environment of Ulysses better than Bear's. Like you, I would recommend anyone looking for a note-taking app to check out Bear.

I too would love to find a "ConnectedText" for Mac. The only true personal wiki for Mac is Voodoopad, which doesn't really come close to CT.

raluke said...

Any feel for whether it can handle the large number of notes that a Zettelkasten would involve? From previous posts, we know that ConnectedText can handle at least 10K notes. And Manfred's last post indicates that Evernote can handle 20K notes. I haven't found any comments on the Internet about whether Bear slows down or collapses handling a similar order of magnitude.

MK said...

I don't know either. It's probably too new for data on this, but I would like to hear, if anyone has experience.

MK said...

For what it's worth, I usually have at least three projects open in ConnectedText at any one time, and that comes down to
* 10,651 (Notes)
* 7,736 (Journal)
* 1,804 (Personal)
Or, roughly
20,000 topics
(You can search all projects at the same time (and it's quick).

Anonymous said...

It's puzzling why even those Mac developers have incorporated something approximating wiki links into their programs haven't included back links. As you point out, they're missing in nvAlt and I've never been clear on how VooDooPad handles them. I think Journler might have had them, but that's ancient history now.

MK said...

It isn't just back links. It's also automatic renaming of links when the topic changes (though the two are related).

Juan Diego said...

Take a look at Quiver ( It stores the notes under an unique identifier independent from the title. That allows you to search through the notes and recover links to a specific note, even if you changed the name. This is not the best solution but I think it's better than Bear.

Marcos D. Alves said...

There is so much hype about Bear that I feel like an outsider not using it; I tried, many times in fact, but I see no value in it. I use Evernote as my repository for files and documents (much more reads than writes) and iA Writer for notes and journaling in plain text; and I use Ulysses occasionaly for longer documents.
But I'm really nostalgic about Brainstorm; the developers were much ahead of their time when they designed it back in the 1990s.

MK said...

@Markus Alves: I agree. I also miss a modern (updated) version of Brainstorm.

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meggieD said...

Late to this post but I for one was super hopeful when I read about Bear that it would be the VoodooPad replacement I’ve been wanting since that app stopped being developed. The sync from my mobile devices never worked and I gave up on it. I loved it on the desktop but I need something that syncs. Someone please develop the app we want. 🙏

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