Bug: cmd brace doesn't indent/outdent

Testing version:
Version 2.0 (10757)

What were you doing:
Pressing cmd close brace, i.e. {[ and cmd open brace ]}.

What feature did you use:
Indenting or outdenting text

What happened:

What did you expect to happen:
That it would indent or outdent text like all other text fields in macOS does by default

They’ve changed cmd + [ and cmd + ] to be “previous note” and “next note”, respectively.

However, indenting and outdenting can still be done with Tab and Shift+Tab.

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That’s the wrong default on macOS given how it violates conventions of how text on that platform. It’s kind of stuff I expect of subpar crossplatform apps forcing Windows conventions upon their users, not of high quality apps that are good Mac-citizins.

I know that this is maybe less used for those with european keyboard layouts, but for me this completely breaks how I use text editing on the Mac. It works on every other proper Mac app. Bear shouldn’t be an exception.

What makes you think it is the default? - there is no mention of it in Apple’s support documents e.g. Mac keyboard shortcuts – Apple Support (UK)

My experience (UK keyboard) is that tab and shift-tab do indents, which is what Bear does.

From Apple’s guide:

Finder Shortcuts:

  • Command–Left Bracket ([): Go to the previous folder.
  • Command–Right Bracket (]): Go to the next folder.

Seems similar to what Bear 2.0 is doing now, but with notes instead of folders …

Also works same way as history previous/next in Safari and Edge on Mac …

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I checked to see what actualy default behavior is in many places.

While it’s not always defined in the menu items, by default:
Command bracket behaviors in various text oriented apps:


  • Google Docs running in Safari (yes, seriously!)
  • Pages
  • Keynote
  • Notes
  • Mail (only for rich text)
  • Xcode
  • TextMate
  • BBEdit
  • Nova
  • Sublime Text
  • OmniFocus (not really text as such, but still interesting)


  • Craft (forwards also creates a link and navigates to it, so quite different)

Does nothing

  • Ulysses
  • TextEdit

I suppose the lack of this behavior being documented is maybe what made Bear developers overlook it.

I find it very interesting that even in Safari, if you are editing in Google Docs it uses does indent/outdent if you are editing text. And of course it doesn’t indent in Finder, there’s nothing to indent. It’s not a text editor!

The only example I could reproduce that did the navigation insted of shifting while editing text was Craft. And I don’t know, maybe that justifies it considering it’s a Bear competitor.

I’ve indented/outdented using this keyboard shortcut in Bear 1 forever and in many many Mac apps for over a decade. It feels like people pulling the rug underneath you when that’s suddenly gone.

Considering the swatchs of examples I give where if your in a context where mac apps pretty consistently prioritises indent/outdenting if you’re in an active text edit field I think Bear 2 ought to follow this convention. Just like Bear 1 did.

Some apps don’t support tab for indenting (it just inserted the tab character, replacing if something was selected), but that’s pretty rare (at least these days) and I only know of a few which do that now.

  • TextEdit (in plain text mode)
  • TextMate
  • Sublime Text

The convention these days in most apps is to support both the tab/shift-tab key and the command brackets. Bear should follow this convention. This way people used to whatever convention can carry on editing text in Bear th way they’re used to.

Most of those apps that indent with ⌘] are single-page document apps that don’t have a concept of a navigation stack. Although apps like Mail have pretty similar 3-pane UI, you don’t really navigate between emails through links and backlinks, there’s just a concept of going to next/previous mail in the list.

Bear isn’t just a text editor, it’s also an app where you navigate forward and back through links. Kinda like Safari where ⌘[ goes back after you clicked a link. I find it intuitive that Bear navigates back with same shortcut too (although it’s ⌘Ö on Nordic keyboard but I think it’s the same as ⌘[ on US layout).


I navigate back and forth (usining another shortcut) in many text editing apps all the time.

Your right that there is a conflict between editing and navigation here. I suppose there isn’t a perfect solution here. No matter what default Bear choose I suppose it will break some people’s usage patterns.

Thankfully you can override these (in both directions presumably) with keyboard shortcuts using System Settings.

I just recently used macOS Ventura. I maintain that historically cmd brace really did indent/unindent, and the standard for going back (forward) was cmd (shift) minus, but it really seems like going forward Apple is standardising on cmd brace as navigation in apps.

So I suppose my confusion came from macOS changing from what they traditionally did. I think it’s reasonable for Bear to follow current macOS standards (as much as I might dislike said standard), and thankfully at least you can override it with Bear using custom keyboard shortcuts.