The visual representation of headings in Bear 2 is a step backward

I’m sure I’ve posted feedback about this elsewhere on this forum and on Reddit, but now that things are getting finalized, I want to throw it back out there.

I’ve got a big issue with the heading representation in Bear 2.

I really appreciated the h4 etc in Bear 1 (something I saw as an improvement over #### once I got used to it, which admittedly took awhile) but I’ve disliked the horizontal line visuals in Bear 2 since the very first time I saw 'em. It takes like a fraction of a millisecond to understand what h4 means, but with this new horizontal system I’ve got to parse which line is longer and whether the point size of the text is larger or smaller than an h3, and then be like okay, since the middle line is long AND the point size of the heading is kinda small, this must be an h4. I think? Maybe??

How is this an improvement over Bear 1’s h4? Especially considering that Bear 2 hides markup by default, it seems like an even odder choice to use the horizontal line representation.

Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to throw out a hopeful “please bring back Bear 1’s simple and elegant heading representation” to the devs… :pray::pray::pray:


I would also like an easier way to tell the heading number.

I am okay with not seeing it when not hovering/editing the heading.

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Agreed. Heading 4, 5, 6 looks exactly the same to me.


Me too!

That said, I’m hopeful the devs will add a “view markup” option in Settings in Bear 2 like it is in Panda (and Bear 1). I’ve been using markdown for over 15 years and so I don’t really see the markup anymore and I find not having it visible is a bit jarring when editing a note since things expand/contract etc.

But overall I just want the horizontal line representation replaced with what we had in Bear 1 (which I think is the perfect implementation of visually representing headings).


100%. Which increases the difficulty in parsing the three horizontal line thing. If they just went back to h1h6 there wouldn’t be any issue here!


Noooo! We’ve all been waiting years for Bear to get rid of that awful markdown representation in Bear-1. I agree a way to toggle a full markdown view (sans formatting) could on rare occasions be useful but the new look is on the whole sooo much better.


FIFY :wink:

But what you quoted (and the main point of this post) has nothing to do with hiding markup (both Bear 1 and 2 hide heading markup). What I’m taking about is changing the new horizontal line representation for headers back to Bear 1 style.

So from seeing the little bars on the left of the heading like this:

And back to just representing the level in an easily parsable way like in Bear 1:

“h4 I’m an h4 heading

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Yes, I understand that. And that’s what I (for one) don’t want. I much prefer the new way.


Headings 5 and 6 according to the CommonMark spec:

Currently, they’re not sized accordingly in Version 2.0 (10688):

That may help with differentiating between headings without needing to see heading identifiers in the gutter.


Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but just to chime in: I personally have found the headings to be easy to read once I realized that they have different “levels” in those horizontal bars. It just repeats (top | middle | bottom). So now I know if it’s tiny, bolded, and has a middle bar, it’s H5, but if it’s larger and bolded and bottom bar, it’s H3.

The alternative I guess is that maybe I just don’t use headings too much so it’s not a huge issue?

Yup. That’s what I said in the OP:

HOWEVER, what’s faster to parse as an h4 heading? The the new system as I detailed in the OP or simply having h4 to the left of the heading as it was in Bear 1?

So yeah I can work around it, especially since I don’t use Bear for creative writing (only ideation and note making), but it’s still an odd change and literally nobody has explained to me how the new horizontal system is actually better than just visually showing the heading level with an h4 or h6 etc… especially since the heading level indicator is hidden until you’re editing it, so saying the Bear 1 way would be “ugly” or something no longer even makes sense. I simply don’t understand this change at all.

And while I’m generally a markdown “purist” (I like seeing most markup in the editor) I think what Shiny Frog did in Bear 1 with selective rendering of headings and links was pure brilliance.

Visually, going from

#### This is an h4 heading


h4 This is an h4 heading

was a massive improvement for in-editor parsability, so this has nothing to do with showing the markup or not. It’s simply a “what’s easier to understand quickly” kinda thing.

Yea I understood I was just chiming in that it didn’t bother me and I didn’t feel like it was a huge mental burden on scanability for my documents. But I do understand where you’re coming from. :blush:

Just chiming in to say that, for me, the new approach is a step backwards. When writing it is really important for me to see the heading level for all headings visible in the current windows without having to mouse hover, and I would prefer h1…h6 over the line icons.

I do understand that others have a different opinion, so I would ask that Bear 2 give us setting options for:

  1. Icon to display for headings:
    A. Lines (default) or
    B. h#
  2. Display heading icons:
    A. On Hover (default), or
    B. Always

For me, if these options were available I would go and change their values immediately. And everyone else who likes the new way better wouldn’t have to lift a finger to have it how they like it.


Kindly speak for yourself.

As if there are not enough opinions floating around… I really cannot see why anybody needs that many levels of headings. Meaning for me 3 is already more than enough, so I’m happy with the way things look and there is no need for further indications regarding the heading level. If you can’t see the difference, why would you need it? But okay, that’s just me. Personally I’m more concerned about how easy it would be to toggle them.


H1 is also too big relative to body text imo

I think the new line design for heading indicator serves 2 purposes; it looks like hamburger menu, indicating that it’s also a menu you can press, while also displaying the heading level. B1 design really didn’t convey that at all, and I’d guess that’s why the new design is what it is.

I still like the B1 design better though, but would it lead to people missing out on features when they don’t realize it’s a button? Does the hamburger menu design even help?

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Exactly, but … I believe that is why some are asking to bring back (as an option) how it used to be in Bear 1 where H1, H2, …, H6 are shown. That way, the hierarchy is readily distinguished.

Yeah, maybe now I cannot use it anymore because it’s not that easy for me to distinguish among H3 through H6. But I was able to, and that is why I could make use of it and thus the need.

Fair enough. I understand I’m not much of a user of headings, never was. I manage nicely with flat hierarchies. But Then again I dismissed other apps because of their lack of nesting tags, which is kind of a similar concept about keeping things in order.

I see how Bear 2’s hamburger icons for headings are more aesthetically pleasing than spelling out H1, H2, … as it used to be in Bear 1. But the latter enables practicality for people who use H4 and below.

It’s hard to balance usability and simplicity, especially when Bear has a wide range of user groups which each values distinct aspects of the app to a different degree. I wouldn’t go so far as calling these hamburger icons a “step back,” but I agree it killed some functionality. I also value a not-too-busy preference menu and will accept whatever Bear 2 settles on in terms of the heading representations. Cheers!