OS X El Capitan: Append Websites, Documents, & Text to Existing Notes

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I’m totally loving the improved Notes app under El Capitan. I’ve been creating checklists (yes, you can do that!) and attaching images like a madwoman.

The best part, though, is that now I can share stuff that I’m looking at to new or existing notes, which means it’s simple to keep a list of everything from pillows I’m thinking of buying to line items I need to follow up on. So here’s what happens. In a ton of places around your Mac, you’ll get the “Notes” option when you click on the familiar sharing arrow in the toolbar. This works, for example, in Safari…

…within Maps…

…and while you’re viewing documents in programs like Preview… 

…or Pages.

If you’d like, you can even right- or Control-click and get the “Share” option after you’ve selected some text (which is handy if you want to add just a portion of a document or website to a note).

Here’s the most important part, though (at least to me)—when you share whatever info you’re looking at to a note, you’ve got the option not only to create a new note but to append the stuff to an existing one. This choice comes after you’ve picked “Notes” to share to using the methods I mentioned above. Afterward, you’ll get a box like this:

So as you can see, the bottom drop-down menu will let you pick which note to add the item to (or you can choose “New Note” from there if you prefer). 

Neat, right? I’m impressed that Apple upped the ante with Notes so much for El Cap, but I still don’t feel like it’s a competitor to certain third-party apps for a lot of power users. For the casual note taker, however, this version is just much, much better than Yosemite’s. Much. Insert about ten more “muches,” and you’ll get the idea.

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I’ve not traditionally been a Notes user for most of my note keeping, occasionally the odd piece, most of which I forget to go back and use. Over the years, I have used a variety of solutions, including some third party solutions that have matriculated to the dust bin. For most of my online savings, I have tended to use Evernote.

For professional work, I have tended to save notes, say for scientific manuscript writing or proposal development, in the same apps I use for professional writing, like Word or Pages. As unexciting and non-geeky as that is, it has the virtue of having my notes available when I get around to that project. A disincentive to change is the high probability that another solution will go away in near term, and/or the need to then migrate a host of supportive notes to that new solution. This, hopefully but not necessarily, should not apply to Notes, being an Apple OS-bundled app.

It will be an interesting experiment in de-conditioning/reprogramming to see if I can make the transition to more fully exploiting Notes. To cite ‘Lost in Space’s Dr Smith, ‘Oh, the pain!’

Melissa Holt

Hey wab95!

I’m with you—I typically save things as *documents* rather than *notes,* as the latter always seemed somewhat ephemeral, if you know what I mean. But I really have enjoyed playing around with the new version of Notes, and I think I’ll use it way more often now!


Lee Dronick

I am doing both, well three things.

I am still using Stickies. Not adding to it much, but still referencing them. I should probably start moving that stuff over to Notes or Pages so that the info is synched to other devices and if Apple discontinues the app.

Notes for me is mostly that, short notes.

Longer text and such is kept in Pages.

Tiffany White

I am using nvAlt because I am a plain text and markdown geek. Soon as Brett Terpstra releases its successor, I am buying it, no question. I have used Evernote for many years but as the news around them has not been great I needed another solution. nvAlt syncs nicely with Dropbox, it’s plain text, and I can see my markdown or notes in Drafts on my iPhone and iPad.

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