Bear Your Way: Take better notes for the student in all of us

Bear Your Way: Take better notes for the student in all of us

This post is part of a new series called Bear Your Way, where we hope to inspire users of all professions, hobbies, and interests to get the most out of Bear.

Being a part of the human condition includes being a lifelong student—whether that means you fight off imposter syndrome with Khan Academy courses, collect university degrees like Pokemon, or use YouTube as your DIY north star. We all learn new ideas and skills throughout life, and Bear can be a wonderful companion on all your educational adventures.

Read on for ideas and tips on how to: use Bear to take better notes, create and organize tags more efficiently, bring some workflow magic to your setup, and more.

Why take better notes?

Without turning this into a self-help seminar, one great reason to take better notes is that your future self will thank you. Near Future You has a better chance of staying on track with things like shopping lists and plans for the weekend. Far Future You will get value out of everything from work meeting notes to book reading lists to a personal journal tracking your journey. Wow, having two you’s sounds like having a super-hero alter ego. Cool!

Taking notes of all kinds for now and later helps ourselves absorb the information. It’s a solo form of that old adage: “the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone.” We organize, sort, and reinforce ideas—whether ours or from elsewhere—by committing them to notes.

Whether your notes are for your eyes only or some are for sharing with the world, Bear helps take care of the details like formatting, converting to other formats, and prepping to publish with online tools like WordPress.

Better notes through tags

Of course, the usefulness of Bear notes can be turned up to 11 with a few great tag habits and tips. As your library of work grows, tags become an invaluable tool to filter and focus notes based on context, the task at hand, and any number of other ways too numerous to list here.

An example of tags and nested tags used in notes for a class

For example, tagging notes for #school, #work, and #errands is a decent start. Let’s check out some ways to go deeper:

  • If you’re in school, add tags and nested tags for each course and module
  • Create tags for large projects and definitely use nested tags to break them up into smaller, more manageable portions. Combine tags when projects evolve
  • At the end of a semester, add a #final exam# tag to relevant notes across multiple courses. This allows you to keep sorting notes by course, but then also view all essential notes at once
  • For times when you need to refine an idea, or you’re taking notes for something you don’t fully understand, try adding a #questions tag next to it (tags can be placed anywhere in Bear notes, even in the middle of sentences!). This makes it much easier to find those ideas when it’s time to expand and polish them

Better notes through Markdown

Bear’s Markdown shortcut menu

Bear uses Markdown to add style to your plain-text notes. This keeps your notes flexible and portable to virtually any other apps, but also more interesting and useful than actual plain text. Let’s cover some quick Markdown tips when it comes to taking good notes:

  • Click the pen icon (Mac) or swipe the formatting bar (iOS) to get familiar with your many options to create lists and tasks, highlight text, separate sections with headings, add links, and more
  • Mark text to help it stand out by surrounding it with double colons ::like this::
  • Use the Line Separator for a visual barrier between important information

Workflow tips for those on-the-go

Bear can sync your notes across all your Apple devices with Bear Pro. This offers a lot of flexibility in how and where you work. For example, you can take notes in class or a meeting with an iPad and even sketches in your notes with an Apple Pencil, review and edit that note on the train with your iPhone, then see all your changes collected on your Mac at home.

Bear can export one or more notes to all kinds of formats, and even combine notes together

Another great tool in your belt is Bear’s strong export feature. If you need to turn in homework or share meeting notes, Bear can export one or many notes to a wide variety of formats like PDF, Word, TextBundle, and even HTML. We’ve heard some people build simple websites entirely in Bear notes, export them to HTML, then upload those pages to their web server!

Final parting tips

  • Notes can become even more useful when you connect them together with wiki links. This is a powerful way to link related notes for a project or even build a personal knowledgebase
  • For times when word count matters, check the Info Panel in the upper right of a note. There you can find a Smart Word Count (select text to see a count of just your selection), estimated reading times, and more
  • Use Bear widgets on your Home Screens to keep important notes and projects just a tap away. Bear widgets can also quickly search notes, create new notes, and more

Go forth and learn

Is Bear helping your studies in the classroom or beyond? We’d love to hear any tips you have for the rest of the class at Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or directly at