Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks

There are a wide variety of note-taking applications available for Linux.

Most of them are basic Markdown-based applications and may not offer end-to-end encryption.

If you want a secure and feature-rich note-taking app, Joplin can help.

You get abilities like:

  • Writing in Markdown
  • Creating to-do lists
  • Encrypting notes
  • Creating notebooks and organizing notes
  • Saving web pages
  • Syncing the notes to your preferred cloud services

However, with the feature-set, for some users, it could be an overwhelming option.

Here, I shall highlight some pointers to make the most out of Joplin Notes easily.

Installing Joplin

Joplin is currently available as an AppImage. You can either install it by downloading the AppImage and running it or via the terminal using the command below (install and configure icons for system menu):

wget -O - | bash

Once done, you can get started with Joplin.

8 Joplin Superpowers to Boost Your Note-Taking Experience

Considering it lets you do numerous things, I point out some of the most useful features here:

Create a Notebook

To create a notebook in Joplin, you can either press the โ€œ+โ€ button, or use File > New Notebook.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Create a new notebook

This will open the Notebook wizard. Enter a name and if you want to apply an icon to the notebook, hit the emoji button.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Name the notebook

Once selected, press OK to create the Notebook.

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Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks

Create a Stack of Notebook

If you want a parent notebook, and multi-collection under it, you can utilize the sub-notebook feature. There are several ways to do this:

Navigating through the menu

In this method, first highlight the notebook to which you want to create a sub-notebook. Then go to File > New Sub-Notebook.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Sub-notebook using main menu

Name it and give icons or emojis if needed.

Using the right-click menu

You can right-click on a notebook, and then click on New Sub-notebook to create a sub-notebook for that notebook.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Sub-notebook using right-click

By Drag and Drop

If you have already many notebooks and want to arrange them properly into sections, simply drag and drop a notebook to another to make it a sub-notebook.

Manage the Layout and Appearance

By default, Joplin has a three-column layout. A sidebar with notebooks, another sidebar with a notes list, and then an editor and a preview section. If you require, you can rearrange them, by removing sidebars, toggling editors/preview, etc.

Tweaking the Sidebar

You can hide the sidebar or notes list pane from the main menu, by going to View > Toggle sidebar or Toggle note list.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Toggle Sidebar

Tweaking the Appearance

To arrange the appearance, go to View > Change Application Layout.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Change Layout

On the layout editor window, use the arrow button to arrange what should appear where, according to your liking.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Change Layout Buttons

Apply Tags to Notes

Tags can be really helpful to retrieve information from a massive list of notes. Joplin can create and add multiple tags to notes effortlessly. First, open a note, that you want to apply the tag. Next, enter the name of the tag you want, on the bottom part of the note.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Apply tags

Here, either create a new tag by specifying a new name, or use the drop-down button to access existing tags.

Use Multiple Profiles

Multiple profiles in Joplin allow you to maintain separate instances of the application, each with its set of notes, configurations, and synchronization settings. This can be useful if you want to keep different sets of notes isolated from each other.

To create a new profile, click on File > Switch Profile.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Multiple profiles

You can create a new profile by using the Create New Profile Button. Enter the name of the profile and hit Create. If you have existing profiles, you can switch between them as well. For each profile switch, you need to restart Joplin.

Search Inside Notes

In Joplin, we can either search within notes or search for something among all the notes.

Search Through Everything

Press F6 on your keyboard to access the search box. Then enter the string you want to search for.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Search Globally

Search Within a particular Note

Press CTRL + F on your keyboard to open a small search box on the bottom of your note. Enter the search string there to search.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Search Within Notes

Synchronization with End-to-end Encryption

Synchronization with end-to-end encryption across different types of cloud providers is one of the top features of Joplin. To start a sync, first, go to Tools > Options > Encryption. Here, set a Master password, which will be used to encrypt all your notes.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Set Password

Do not lose this password.

Now, go to the Synchronization tab and select the open-sync wizard button. It will show you the available cloud sync options. There are other supported ways also, like WebDAV Nextcloud, etc., which you can test as needed.

Some options include Joplin Cloud, Dropbox and OneDrive. You can also choose to self-host.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Sync targets

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the sync process.

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Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks

Web Clipper

Joplin offers a web clipper for both Firefox and Chrome, with which you can take screenshots of webpages (or save webpages). You can access the settings on Tools > Options > Web clipper.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Web clipper in Joplin

Depending on your browser, install the appropriate extension to get started.

Improve the Performance Using External Plugins

Joplin provides some cool plugins to make your experience even smoother. Furthermore, with some plugins, you can add more features, that are not by default enabled in Joplin.

Installing a Third-party Plugin in Joplin

Joplin features a huge number of third-party plugins, you can install them effortlessly. Some theme plugins are also available, and those will be listed at the end of the article.

To install plugins, open Joplin and select Tools > Options.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Click on Options

From there, head to Plugins. Now, click on the gear icon as shown below. Here, you will get two options, install plugins from file or browse plugins.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Manage Plugins

If you click on the Browse all plugins button, it will bring you to the plugins download page. Click on the download button corresponding to the plugin you want. It will download a .jpl file.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Download a Plugin
Joplin Plugin Repository

Once you download a plugin file, again head to Tools > Options > Plugins, click on the gear icon and select install from file option. Open the plugin file you downloaded earlier.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Plugin Installation needs restart

Now, restart Joplin to make the changes into effect.

All the plugins mentioned here are available to download from the official repository.

Plugin 1: Favorite Notes

Do you want to pin notes or notebooks so that you can access it quickly? Use the Favorites’ plugin for this. Download and install this plugin. Now, when you reopen Joplin, you can see the Favorites panel on the right-hand side (default position).

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Add to Favorite
Favourite Plugin

You can add a note or notebook to favorite by right-clicking on them and select Add to favorite, or just drag and drop to the favorites panel.

Plugin 2: Note Graph with Visualization of Internal Linking

One of the features that knowledge management applications like Obsidian offers is, the note graph, a visual overview of notes and its link. There is a similar feature available in Joplin as a plugin. First, download it and install the Graph plugin to Joplin.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Notes Graph
Knowledge Graph

You can also see several options to tweak on the right side.

Plugin 3: Kanban Board

Kanban boards can make you productive, especially if you have a multitude of tasks. In Joplin, kanban board feature is available as a plugin. First, you need to download and install the plugin. Then, restart Joplin.

The board will be available inside a notebook and its sub-notebooks only.

Thereafter, open an empty note in the required notebook and enter the code below:

  - name: Backlog
    backlog: true
  - name: Work in progress
    tag: wip
  - name: Finished
    tag: done

You will get a board, and you can change the existing field names or add new fields by editing the above code chunk.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Kanban Board

Plugin 4: Admonition Blocks

Notes can be improved using special blocks, such as tips, warnings etc. Download and install the Admonition plugin. Restart Joplin. Now, when you want to add a special block, use the code below:

!!!name Your Title Goes Here
This is the admonition body

For example, to add a tip, use:

!!!tip note This is the admonition title
This is the admonition body
Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks

Plugin 5: Combine Notes

Use this extension to combine notes. Once installed, select the notes you want to combine by CTRL+click. Now, you can see a new section with various options on the right. Click on combine notes to combine them into one note.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Combine Notes
Combine Notes

Plugin 6: Colored Text in Notes

Applying different colors to the text inside a note will be helpful for students to highlight important part of notes. In Joplin, to accomplish this, download and install the Text Colorize plugin.

Now, on the markdown editor interface, select the text you want to change color and press CTRL+SHIFT+C. You will get a color palette. Select a color and press either apply as text color or “Apply as BG” to set it as a highlight color.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Apply Color Option

That’s it. You can see the result below.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Text Color Applied
Text Colorize

Theme Joplin with third-party themes

By default, Joplin provides some presets, like Dark, light etc. To switch between them, go to Tools > options > Appearance. From there, chose your theme and click apply.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
Apply Default Themes

If you would like to explore other themes over the default options, I highlight two options below.

Do not use multiple third party themes simultaneously. This can cause issues. You can disable any theme plugin on Tools > Options > Plugins and use the toggle button.

Apply a GitHub Theme

This is a minimal GitHub theme for Joplin. Download the theme using the button below and install it.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
GitHub theme

Now restart Joplin to get effect.

GitHub Theme

Give Joplin a macOS Look

This theme will give a macOS effect for Joplin.

Mastering Joplin Notes: 8 Tips and Tweaks
macOS theme
macOS Theme

Wrapping Up

Joplin Notes is a breeze to use. Sure, some may not want all the functionalities it offers. But, if you do not know what you might require in your note-taking journey, you cannot go wrong with Joplin Notes.

๐Ÿ’ฌ How is your experience with Joplin Notes? Did I miss listing any of the important features that you find handy? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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