Tabs like Web Browsers

I have been using Craft for the last 2 years, but have come back with Bear 2. I realized today, that I am really missing the ability to have more than one note open at a time.

Would it be possible to add tabs to Bear for macOS and iPadOS? This would greatly improve productivity by increasing the speed at which I can complete some tasks in Bear with this option. Or, be able to have more than one instance of Bear open so that I can have the windows side by side. Thoughts?


It has (always?) been possible to have more than one window of Bear opened. I think if you right click on a note in the note list, you should see an option to open that note in a new window. But only one window is allowed to have side bars (tag list & note list panes) - is this what you mean when talking about multiple instances of Bear?

Regardless, I like having tabs implemented as it allows me to focus on the task at hand but not lost in multiple Bear windows, when I need to constantly reference a few notes when working.

Tabs are superior to the multi-window layout, imho.


Thank you, @pol2ctd - you’re right about new note windows on Mac. However, I would prefer the option of tabs. Additionally, there is no way, that I’ve found, to do this on iPadOS. I use the iPad frequently with a keyboard, and adding tab functionality would greater improve workflow.

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iPad has already support for Split view that works great with Bear,

iPad Pro (and maybe iPad Air?) also supports Stage Manager where you can have multiple instances of Bear open at the same time, either side by side, or minimized on the left side ready to cycle between them:

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Thank you @roar I guess my problem then on the iPad, is that I don’t know how to invoke a 2nd window to do split screen. Split screen is good (and I would use it), but it still does not replace the value of tabs…

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I would absolutely love tabs and would like to attract @trix180 ‘s attention on a UX problem with the current multi window implementation.

If you

  • open several notes in their own windows
  • in the main window, show only the note text

Then you can mistakenly close the main window and then, you cannot access your note list and tags again unless you manually create a new note from the menu (if I remember right - not at my Mac now), which recreates a main window. But it’s a very obscure and arcane way to do so.

Tabs and windows, with per-tab settings of showing note list and/or tabs, would provide a much more unified experience and be readily understandable by anyone.

  1. Yes, I also find that really annoying on Mac.
    On iPad with Bear in split window, both windows can activate note list and taglist if needed. I really think Bear on Mac should behave in the same way!

  2. Devs should also make it possible open a note from note list in a new window without also activating that note in current main window. I usually don’t want to see the same note side by side.

    • Maybe long-press (right click on Mac) on a note in note list could open the popup menu without also activating that note into editor (which already has another note you are working on). Now you always have to find and reactivate the note you previously had in main window…
    • In Ulysses and the Notebooks app, you can do that with long press as described above, so I believe it would not be too difficult to achieve the same in Bear as well.
    • Right now, both these point creates som unnecessary friction in an otherwise excellent and very polished app – I’m still referring to Bear 2.0 :wink:



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Thank you @roar - I’ve used the split window view many time, but I’ve just looked past that “+” sign at the bottom!!! This just opened a new world for me! Thank you!

Long press on the Bear icon on the doc to access/re-open the main window

If you want my personal opinion I disagree. I guess that can work for Craft because it doesn’t come with multiple windows support but windows+tabs+3 columns is honestly something I can’t call good UI/UX. I think per-tab settings are very misleading if not properly communicated for each tab, which means dedicating UI for that, and only that, purpose. Maybe I’m not used to tabs outside browsers.

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I did not know the right-click on the Dock trick. :slightly_smiling_face: Maybe it’s just me, but I would argue that it’s quite hidden…

Tabs as a system-wide feature is quite a powerful and unobtrusive feature. It’s been available as a system API to every Mac app since High Sierra IIRC (4-5 years ago) – starting with the Finder, and every app using the native windowing model – so users are perfectly used to it.

Maybe putting the whole UI in every tab is not the right call – there might be a better solution to find – you are way better designers than I am! But I don’t think the current system works great either (you can lose the main window all too easily and multi windowing is clunky as you have to fish for the right window which can slip under other apps, etc.). Tabs are a great feature because they scale: you can have many (if you work on something complex and want the full power of the app) or none (if you are a beginner user), which I would think is in line with Bear’s philosophy.

Almost all apps work in a consistent way with tabs (Pages, iA Writer, OmniFocus – even Scrivener!) – there’s only Bear and Ulysses I can think of which have this strange “main and satellites” window model. Which would not be a problem, if I saw the use; but I fail to see a way where it is superior to the tabs model. If you are interested, I can list many UX issues I’ve run into with this “main and satellites” model.

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Ulysses has the feature to show two editors side to side. I never used the function but I think you can use tabs in ulysses, the usual macOS provided tabs that you can activate in ulysses. Maybe that I am confusing something. I‘ll take a look after dinner

With the arch browser you have some criticism of tabs because even in context of browsers tabs can be painful. One note in an open window is not a problem but a killer feature so that you can place a note beside any other app f.e. Actually the problem appears if you have multiple windows open, loose overview or have to drag the windows around

Really unsure if that idea is good but the first that came to my mind is an minimal form of window management in bear itself however that may look like. Or notes opened in own window are collected in one window that separates the notes by - guess! - tabs? The latter one in turn would make impossible to place two open notes side to side.

I retrace KillerWhales struggle as indeed it is a pain to work with all the open windows. But to find a solution seems to be damn hard

CMD + Click → Edit: That’s not correct! CMD + doubleclick is the way to go!

+1 I would also like tabs.

Tabs would enable me to jump between multiple notes easily. I use bear for work and typically have a five notes open at a time. Tabs are a great organizational tool for jumping between tasks or keeping information at your finger tips.

Currently, I either pin all my notes to the top or use separate windows for each note. Both approaches are not ideal. Pinned notes change their order based on modification time forcing me to scan the list each time. Separate window for each note is cumbersome to jump to the note I want (using the Window list sort of works but requires mouse input), and CMD+` is slow and often have to toggle through the entire list.

In most apps tabs allow you to maintain a specific tab order and they usually have keyboard shortcuts to instantly jump to a specific tab (or at least have shortcuts to jump to the next or previous tab). Having this would save me so much time.


@trix180 Craft does have multi-window support in macOS that include the sidebar navigation. However, that does not negate your opinion. For me personally, because Craft has tabs - that is what I rely on exclusively - I do not use multi-windows because of this.
While my preference is tabs, on macOS, multi-windows works in a pinch. Thank you for considering.

@danmills7 @roar @KillerWhale

I made a proposal here for collecting notes or parts of notes in a fourth pane for multiple purposes. I wanted to wait after final release but the discussion here motivated me to post it now. Would something similar what the video mockup shows solve your problems with multiple open windows?

That is a pretty cool idea. But it doesn’t quite replace tabs for me. The reason I like tabs (but multi-window support does work) is I like having 2 or more notes open all day and frequently swapping between them.


As @danmills7 said. I often work on sets of 5-6 notes at a time and want to cross reference them. Tabs would do the trick; your idea, while nifty, would not be enough in my case.

Are you expecting the tabs in the main window or in the standalone one? Does it have to be tabs or would f.e. a drop-down list with collected notes also be fine?

Solving such a problem is a challenge for every ui designer

Honestly, I’d advocate for a whole rethinking. Let’s go back to features. What I want / need (and what I think people want tabs to address) is

  • The ability to access a vast collection of notes easily in the app environment (Currently, you have to scatter windows, possibly losing some)
  • The ability to access my data in a ubiquitous way (Currently, you have to fish for the main window, which you can’t even identify if you have hidden the note list and tabs)
  • The ability to expand my data set (ie open a note in a new window) in a ubiquitous way (Currently, only the main window allows for this, which turns it into a file / note opener, instead of a work environment)

Tabs solve this. Obsidian has this sliding panel mode which is even better.
It’s not a new problem; there are models in place, and Apple even gave tabs to document-based apps system-wide.

Any solution that address the above points would work, but I would argue that the wheel has kind of been invented already. :slightly_smiling_face: