Feature request: Folders or Groups for notes

So I know that this is a request, that you have rejected in the past due to the focus on keeping the UI clean and simple and rely on the base functionality of using tagging as the overall method for structure (I really do appreciate that priority on clean UI in general). However with these new changes to the Alpha release I just have to put it out there as a request :slight_smile:

FOLDERS: I am a big fan of the whole tagging structure in general, but after using Bear for at couple of years, it just not enough. I had something like the following tagging hierarchy:

  • Work
    – Knowledge base
    – Consultant note
    – Customers
    — [Customer 1]
    — [Customer 2]
    — [Customer 3]
  • Personal
    – Home
    – Health
    – Shopping lists

I have tried using more flat structures, but it gets clustered. The problem with the above structure is that I keep forgetting the full tag “address” (#Work/Customers/Customer 1/), meaning I end up tagging wrong or not at all.
Having a folder structure as in Ulysses, would really make Bear powerful in my opinion. However, to me this doesn’t have to be a full hierarchy of folders, that ultimately would get clustered in itself. It could be as simple as just a top level grouping of your tags, so that you can categorize notes and tags under for example “Work” and “Personal”. A bit like “Areas” in Things 3 perhaps.

If this folder/grouping structure could be reflected in search, so that you could make sure to only search in a specific folder/group/section, it would make all my dreams come true :slight_smile:
I work as a consultant and often have to find notes on site in a meeting or with the customer by my side. This has made Bear very hard to use for personal notes as well, since I don’t always want these to be shown. I’ve had som quite awkward moments with this :flushed:.

So default behaviour would be to search within the area, you are in, perhaps with the ability to switch to search in all notes.

Ohh and THANK YOU for giving us tables and CommonMark :heart:


...I keep forgetting the full tag “address” But with tag-autocomplete you can type the first few characters of a tag and Bear will let you choose the tag from a list (see pic below).

LIMIT SEARCH TO CHOSEN FOLDER: Can’t you do this by clicking on the left side bar on the tag you want to search in?

One more thing: You can simulate folder structure with tags. Define a set of tags to exclusively act as folders and make sure you assign only one of those tags to each note.


1 Like

Personally, what I would prefer as opposed to folders is an option to have tags not only leveraged inside the note but in metadata as well. Where I also use tags to build out a folder structure, I’d prefer that to not appear in the note but can define tags that get attached to information about a note. I think this could be a feature that enhances the flexibility that tags already provides.


I’d personally love a notebook organization system on top of the current tag structure (very much like how Evernote does it). I recognize it’s also out of the scope of the current beta. It would help me organize a great deal, and allow me to make way better use of Bear. If I could have a folder that is essentially just long-term notes from my Drafts app, then I could clear it out without prejudice. As it is, I have to think “What Bear note will this get appended to,” or “Where can I put this in Bear” that slows down my processing, and as a result, I have Drafts that I wind up referring back to that really belong in Bear in my system – notebooks would remove a lot of friction for me in that regard. As it is, having a single “pool” of notes that are organized only by tags makes me feel like notes that aren’t very intentful are cluttering things up. Being able to use notebooks as another vector for organizing would change that.

1 Like

I also support folder management, tags should be used as extensions, because writing articles by myself must have my own classification.

Especially to sort the articles under the folder, I don’t know how the label should sort the articles.

I will join the request %) tags are very cool, but I still lack folders to fully organize my notes. That’s why I sometimes have to use iA Writer. If Bear had folders, I could do away with third party solutions completely.


For bear i would rather prefer so-called workspaces or vaults than folders. Not only that you can separate notes from each other that belong to totally different topics, you also would clean up a long and messy tag-structure


(to any of the mods, tedwarbear or matteo, a question: i spend much time with thinking about, why people tend to prefer folders over tags although tags are superior. As i found some good reasons and also some ideas how to solve that problem, i would like to write a longer post. Is it now the right time and the right place here? Or should i wait until bear 2.0 is released?)


Totally agree krssno. It is honestly untenable to use bear for all my notes as it pollutes my ability to find what I am looking for efficiently. I simply use a different app for a different set of notes at this point.

A lot of the productivity/PKM people have this obsession about using one workspace for all notes so you can “discover connections” and all this pedantic crap about how to connect notes, and it is totally irrelevant to me who simply wants to be able to quickly perform context-sensitive searches in a set of work, home, or study notes.

However, i don’t get the impression that bear people are interested in the workspaces thing, I’ve asked a few times before, so I guess our preference is seen as niche.


Sure, I’m interested in reading your ideas! We’re always wondering why people are still preferring folders (our guess: they’re just really used to that metaphor).

Let us know, maybe your ideas will re-spark an internal discussion :slight_smile:


The only good reason for folders i see is when - for whatever reason - you want a mirror of text or md files on your storage device.

That will be the topic of my post to show that there are also some inconveniences in the handling of tags that scare off many users. I will try to write the text at the upcoming weekend

I love how Bear is organised with and only with tags, so I am happy with that aspect. But I still have needs to partition my notes in big scale, preferably in a form of a vault or whatever it is called.
It is removing one hierarchy of tags, decluttering the mess between personal and work notes as well as gaining more control on the search items I can obtain.

I am somehow currently achieving this by not syncing my notes, hence having my work notes on the computer and personal notes on my phone, but would be much better if I can segregate them while still being in sync across devices.

Here is my thought in where the vault can be changed


Exactly the thought i also had! :+1:

1 Like

I know exactly what you mean. Some of them seem to take the metaphor “second brain” literally as if from some point on the the app would start to think and write for them. Or take the graph view: somehow it is cool to see the notes connection in a graphic view, but i still don’t see a real benefit. As horrible as obsidian is in terms of ui/ux they made a good decision for their popularity to go away from that geeky bullets lists and to let the people do what they want to do: to WRITE about THEIR ideas

1 Like

in fact there could be not only folder as the solution. Folder is only one of the probably types of logical segregation. The message above — the solution with switchable vaults is the great idea. But the “project area” in idea is the good too indeed. The main message is that it’s worth adding another type of information structuring besides tags. Will it be the switchable vault, or project area — not so important.

Yep, totally agree. I suppose people can organise things however they want. I do truly admire the bear devs for their resolve in sticking to their own design values rather than trying to be everything for everyone. It’s kinda inspirational, like just put out a product and don’t get bothered too much by what people on the internet heckle. but as I’ve said elsewhere on this forum, i do think there are a few basic design features that are just standard flexibility for any robust application. I honesty can’t imagine shipping an app like this without in-note search, for example, and it’s a testament to how GREAT bear is as an app that i adopted it in spite of this glaring omission.

Folders do serve a unique purpose in that they are a different hierarchy in the organizational metaphor. One might have hundreds of tags but only a few folders, and placement in certain folders makes it easier to find items in that grouping, rather than seeing that important grouping on equal footing with other tags. I’ve tried pinning “index notes” to serve this purpose but it just doesn’t work for my own sense or organization. I don’t think it’s that I don’t understand the metaphor of tags; i truly do an prefer them. But I disagree with matteo that folders are simply a more “familiar” metaphor.

Put differently, imagine organizing an application you programmed using only tags, rather than folders. Obviously notes are different from code files, but I think it sort of illustrates the point that tags are a fundamentally different metaphor and there are certain schemas that are easier to manage via folders.

Maybe a compromise is if we could simply pin tags the same way we pin notes? Then at least i could be much faster going to a specific tag that i treat as a folder/vault and searching within that namespace

Hi Vindaloo,

tags are folders, a special kind of folders that gives you the opportunity to save the same note under more than one folder. To be sarcastic: if you want folders use an folder icon for your tags :wink:

I hope to have the time to write my text to show that there is no difference between tags and folders in terms of functionality but in the way HOW they are created. And i believe - before introducing an redudant element* for organizing notes - a better starting point would be to make the handling of tags or the creation of the tag tree in the left sidebar more convenient.

footnote * In the app UpNote you will see an even higher redudancy. This note app offers folders and tags. Additionally to that the devs decided to pimp up the folder section and introduced the feature to add a note also to other folders


I know you’re joking here, but one can use emoji in tags, and those sort to the top of the list. So for example, the folks above who want Home and Work “vaults” could use, say :house_with_garden: and :office:. I like using :star: for favorites. You could even “pin” things with :pushpin: tags.

Someone said in-note search? New Panda alpha is here! iOS search, export additions, and more - #4 :slight_smile:


@matteo , thanks, i love it so far and appreciate it! I didn’t mean to be rude, just characterizing what I see as the difference between requesting a “niche” feature and a “basic” feature, and fully appreciate that the main purpose of this forum is for testing the editor and identifying bugs or other issues that the alpha testing elucidates. The comment was in the context of the weeks I’ve spent polishing small apps I’ve written to get a feature working that I personally see as critical to the usability app; I meant it literally in the first person that in-note search is the kinda thing that I would obsess over at the expense of shipping, so I was being sincere when I mentioned that I find the dev’s ability to “agiley” push past those perceptions of a “complete” feature set to ship.


As announced i wrote my comments to bears tag focused organisation and how to improve it here. I hope to get any kind of feedback :wink: