A nice simple app to view, create, and edit notes.


William Jon McCann


  • Quickly jot a note for later recall and use
  • Making simple lists

  • Allow making a note from any selection/clip
  • Display an overview of recent notes
  • Attach images

Non Goals

  • Task management
  • Reminders
  • Checklist forms


Relevant Art






Google Keep




Tentative Design

Also see Allan Day's latest blog post:


  • Since the desktop is "empty" in gnome 3+, I'd suggest having notes always on the desktop. (-- Elad)
    • The desktop (which is now just a wallpaper) is the first thing the user see when starting GNOME. Having the notes there will make sure users don't miss on important notes.
      • GNOME3 incitate users to suspend their session instead of halt the computer. Most of time some applications are already launched when GNOME starts. ( -- √Čloi Rivard 2012-04-11 13:51:53 )

    • Notes should have an "archive" button, which will make them disappear from the desktop, but still be available on the notes application itself.
  • Having 2 notes side-by-side is useful when "cleaning up" notes, for example, separating a status report in public vs. private information, or merging 2 notes. (-- BastienNocera 2011-11-17 18:48:49)

  • The Tomboy team is working on a backend library for Tomboy to allow easier reuse across GUIs and platforms, looks like this proposed app could run with that backend and get note sync for free. -- RobertN 2012-05-10 18:40:39

  • +1 for RobertN. At least, please try to be compartible with the Tomboy note-format as there are already great "Tomboy" implementations on all the other platforms (including mobile ones). Combined with a sync-function to the Snowy server you get a great cross platform note setup. -- Stefan Hammer 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • I need aplication to organize school lessons and I know that this app will probably simple, but consider posibility to extend functionality by extensions. Good Notes app should let me categorize my notes in notepads, format text (options from tomboy + possibility to insert pictures). I also make some screenshots how i use tomboy: -- Kamil Sochacki 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • With all those shiny new Apps in GNOME you get double functionality at some points - for example when you use GNOME's standard E-Mail Application (Evolution) which has it's very own Notes-functionality - I would find it great if they would at least use the same resource for the Notes, so your Bijiben Notes show up in Evolution vice versa. (-- FlorianBaeuerle)

    • Florian, evolution notes are using the standard VJOURNAL. Please open a bug or contact but I'm not sure about what is feasible here. However this specific issue is not really new. -- Pierre-Yves%20Luyten

    • Evolution is an organizer suit of it's own kind, not your average e-mail client. The design for a Mail app doesn't overlap Notes: -- Ant√≥nioFernandes

    • At least when using a CalDAV Notes source in Evolution, they show up, edit and sync properly using Notes -- StephenSmith 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • The actual note-taking is performed with a pen. So the proper note-taking program should support handwriting input(ideally with OCR, but this is probably way ahead of us on Linux). The second natural note-taking activity is marking, underlining and selecting on printed papers(digitizer/pen operations on imported PDFs, like here: All these features are supported in the xournal program. Unfortunately, its UI is paradoxically not touch-friendly so it's a not the best example of a GNOME app. -- KamilDudek 2017-01-22 03:44:42

    • For written notes, reusing some of the Xournal codebase might be a good starting point if possible. Generally a very solid bit of software, but agreed, totally touch-unfriendly. -- StephenSmith 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • At the moment Notes sorts by date modified descending. It should be possible to at least sort alphabetically as well. -- StephenSmith 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • There needs to be a way of viewing specific notes lists separately. For instance, I maintain separate work and personal notes lists coming from different CalDAV sources, both configured in Evolution. I have no way of showing only one list or the other at the moment. If EDS stores the visibility of the list as set in Evolution, maybe this could be reused? -- StephenSmith 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • Notes seems to background-save based on inactivity or time interval (?) However, this is currently UI-blocking, so with a remote backend, to the user it will appear to randomly freeze for no apparent reason. -- StephenSmith 2017-01-22 03:44:42

  • The VJOURNAL title is currently set from the first line of the note when edited in Notes. When reading an existing note created elsewhere (e.g. Evolution), the title is displayed, but on first edit in Notes, it is overwritten by the first line of the note (and therefore lost). Instead, perhaps the first line in Notes should be read from and written to the VJOURNAL title field, and not in the body at all. -- StephenSmith 2017-01-22 03:44:42

See Also

Design/Apps/Notes (last edited 2015-07-01 13:52:29 by StephenSmith)