Desktop app: Opening/editing multiple notes

OK, the image shows the process clearly, thanks. The part that is done in VSCode, at least.
But what is your workflow between Joplin and VSCode since, if I understand correctly, you advise me to open my Joplin notes with VSCode if I want to compare files or segment the window ?

Again, I couldn't find an explanation about how to do that in the links that you provided.

In general, I use both vscode and joplin at the same time, so use joplin-vscode-plugin to connect them, nothing more.

test 2

vscode has many excellent features, I can't list them all (the official document will do it), I just explain the features related to joplin notes (mainly some plug-ins)


I just want to add my voice here and say that this is extremely basic functionality, and that as a new user I am literally stunned that something so basic is missing in an app that has been around for so long.

I assumed I was just being dumb and that I was missing the obvious "open in new window" button, but alas no, the app assumes people only want one note at a time. That may be true for some, but it's absolutely not true for me.

I REALLY want to get away from EverNote, and there is so much that is right about Joplin, but this is just an absolute clanger — I've paid for a year of cloud, but at this stage I feel like I've wasted my money and am going to be forced back to EverNote :slightly_frowning_face:


Have you tried adding the Note Tabs plugin?

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What functionality are you lacking by being able to open the note in an external editor rather than the Joplin editor? I tend to use Joplin directly for editing a note and open up any additional notes in MarkText if I want to compare. Otherwise I'll open them up in a proper IDE.

I have — it's better than nothing, but still only shows one note at any one time. I can't spread my notes out across my screen, nor can I have different notes in different spaces. I'm a HUGE spaces user, and a huge note taker, I have always been able to have the right note in the right space depending on what task I am working on. I feel utterly trapped in Joplin :slightly_frowning_face:

I tried that — it's a dirty hack. Each note has a different copy of the editor in the task switcher, and the windows all have cryptic names so you can't tell which note is which.

The ability to open multiple notes is table stakes. I'm SHOCKED that people are surprised people might want such trivially basic functionality. I never expected to be asked to justify the most basic basic basic feature of an app on a WINDOWED OS.

I'm asking for some butter for my bread, and people are reacting as if I'd asked for a golden spoon!


My, we do have a flair for the dramatic don't we? Generally it doesn't tend to go down well when one joins a community and then acts up against the people attempting to help and explain.

If this functionality was truly as basic a requirement as you claim then it would be in the application. The fact is that it hasn't therefore means it can't be a "basic basic basic" feature or it would have made it in long ago. I rarely have more than one or two notes open at once, if I wanted more then I would use something like @rxliuli's vscode-plugin which works extremely well and leverages all of the power of a full on IDE/editor.

Joplin has a lot of happy users and sure, I imagine some or a lot of them would like this feature (I mean, I wouldn't exactly say no) but it is hardly a dealbreaker for the masses or it wouldn't have a userbase this large and I personally would prefer for other things to be developed in preference.

There are plenty of other note applications out there, if your particular workflow is so intrinsically tied to the features of an application then I would advise using them for a bit first to work out which one actually suits your needs best - there is never going to be a one size fits all solution.


In fact, the real advantage of multi-tab pages is that they can display two at the same time for comparison, which is not practical for most people, including programmers who spend most of their time focusing on a few files and then quickly switching files.
But if this ability is very important to you, then you can use a professional external editor, such as vscode + joplin-vscode-plugin, each choice is a trade-off and trade-off.

Most of the time I open two files at the same time for comparison(git), IDE even has a special editing mode to support displaying only the file currently being edited, just like joplin's default behavior

Full use of vscode will give up part of the joplin plugins, but you can also use some of the vscode plugins. This is also a choice for us. If joplin does show some "essential" plugins, maybe we will choose to use them at the same time

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Ah, I see, I’m holding it wrong.

I have my notes app open permanently. I can’t work without my various how-tos. I use spaces to compartmentalise my work. Different tasks, with different how-tos in different spaces. I simply open note in new window and spread them around the different spaces. With
Joplin I can only quickly access my how-tos in one space, so for one task.

The tabs plug-in doesn’t help at all — it’s just bookmarks for jumping between single notes in a single window a little easier.

An external editor does give different windows, but I can’t cmd-tab to the notes because each window is a separate instance of the editor so my task switcher is full of identical copies of the same app — picking one is simply pot-luck, pick the wrong one, and you jump spaces! You can’t even distinguish them by window title because the file names the external editor sees are some kind of hex uuid that are obviously meant for computers rather than humans.

All the focus in this conversation seems to be on writing notes, not using them. I write maybe one or two notes a week, but I read my notes all the time, copying and pasting terminal commands to get my work done.

I’ve paid Evernote for years as they made their app worse and worse and worse. I am happy to pay for an open source product instead — in fact, I have, I bought a year of Joplin Cloud (and not the cheap version). The problem is, I can’t get my work done efficiently anymore. It seems I need to pay more to get a worse experience, and I should apparently be happy about that.

My experience switching to Joplin has been terrible. If the community want to make a great app you should want to understand how your app has driven a frustrated Evernote user right back to Evernote against his will. This should be a learning opportunity.

Instead, the response is a defensive insistence than my use case is nuts, and I must be somehow stupid for not doing things just like you do.


No, you bought a spanner when what you wanted was a screwdriver

This depends on the application you are opening it in though. If I choose atom as my external editor then it opens up each file within a single instance of atom.

So far all you have done is complain about a single aspect of the application that you see as essential and that others do not. Other than "I want this feature and the application I chose doesn't have it", what else has been particularly terrible? If the lack of that feature is the only part that is making the experience so miserable then why choose an application that doesn't support it?
Many of us already consider Joplin a "great app" and it is getting better all the time with the various plugins and community support and contributions.
Your insinuation that Joplin isn't good seems to be based on a singular issue that is essential to you, clearly not everyone shares your opinion.

Not at all, in fact the conclusion that I have come to (not speaking for others) is that Joplin doesn't suit your workflow and requirements.
I picked Joplin after using EverNote and OneNote for years. In fact I still use OneNote at work because I have a very different workflow and use case for it - I require the simple and flexible layout and embedding system rather than the ease of writing afforded to me by markdown in Joplin. I also require it more for accessing and reading notes for info, previous solutions etc. than for actually typing into it, the majority of stuff I enter is just copy and pasted in.

After the changes in Evernote to the new and (certainly at the time) inferior Electron desktop app I went on a hunt for various alternatives that suited my use case for an evernote replacement.
My main requirements were (although not all hard requirements):

  • Free and open source
  • Markdown support or something similar rather than richtext
  • Simple notebook/notes hierarchy
  • Tagging support
  • Device syncing
  • Mobile app
  • Multi-platform (which immediately excludes quite a few like Bear for macOS)

I had a look at a bunch of different applications and tried them out to see if they suited me. If I look at your main requirement of being able to throw up multiple windows all over the place to look at and see how other applications perform this (consider that I don't have much experience with most of these, I just downloaded them for some very brief testing to see if I liked them).

  • Obsidian
    • Allows you to compare notes within the same pane but doesn't seem to allow you to open them as new windows
    • Allows you to open files directly with an external editor in the same way as Joplin - albeit with the file names as the backend is simply a "vault" of md files rather than an sql database.
    • You can open a different "vault" of folders in another window.
  • QOwnNotes
    • Opens different notes in tabs but also allows individual note windows with a reduced UI
  • Standard Notes
    • Does not support opening multiple notes
  • Notable
    • Supports opening in external applications but not windows within app

As you can see, this "basic" behaviour of yours is treated very differently in each one. Only one of them supports the exact functionality you are after.

There are obviously loads more apps out there, these are just some of the ones I found that tended towards being open source and free with markdown support. You might not care about the open source aspect which would open up an entire wealth of paid and free applications out there that might suit your needs but you cannot expect the features of a given application to bend to your particular workflow.

Don't blame the application because it doesn't have a feature you require, if this was so important to your workflow then you should take it for a test drive before taking the plunge.
If there is enough community support for it and if somebody wants spend the time and effort add this functionality to the app then sure, it could well feature it in the future, otherwise it seems you have simply picked the wrong tool for the job.


I used Evernote before, too, and switched a year ago for the same reason you mention... worse, worse, and more worse. Trying out various other note-taking apps, I ended at Joplin. I also missed the multiple window feature, at first. After arguing about almost the same 'wishes' you have, I reviewed the way I worked and asked if this was really something I needed. Turns out, I didn't. It was just a handy feature of the old Evernote. Also Evernote only allowed one window in their newer, 'better' version. I also tried open -n /Applications/ in Terminal to start a new instance to get my multiple-window feature, but that doesn't work with Joplin.

So, I looked at how I can still switch fast between notes I use a lot when working on projects. Tags and the tabs-plugin are the way to go. By using tags the right way, I can filter a certain list of notes I use often together. And the tabs-plugin for quick switching between projects.

Also, these guys are not sitting still. Since I joined Joplin, a lot has changed for the better, it's not getting worse.


Hi, I'm a new user of Joplin and I like it very much (for use at home and at works). Concerning multiple notes. Like, maybe, other people I 'm used to open one non-editable reference file (pdf/writer/web) and taking note in an other editable file. I'm a researcher so I'm not a VS or terminal heavy user and I'm more used to graphical files. So opening a reference MD files in an editor is not easy for readability in my case. I prefer to see a render in MD or WYSIWYG editor. That is the point. Is that possible to open a non editable render (MD or WYSIWYG) of one note outside of Joplin. Like that Multiple notes are shown at the same time on the screen. One on Joplin and one on a render. The most hacky thing would be to open the note to render in an external 'Joplin viewer'. That could be the Joplin render module isolated from the main software. What do you think of that?


You use case makes complete sense, I have the same one. For example, when doing my year-end performance review, I open notes I took for my quarterly reviews, and other notes where I logged significant things that I did for different customers.

I use the data from variety of notes I've opened to fill out a note where I detail my performance in different areas, and give myself a rating in each area ( efficiency, teamwork, skills ,etc ).

Unless you are a fast typist with photographic memory, you want to keep multiple notes open for reference and copy/paste.


I just noticed that this issue was added as an idea for GSoC 2024: gsoc/ at main · joplin/gsoc · GitHub

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I asked about this in another thread.
I did search before I posted it, but then someone pointed me here.
Looks like a long discussion!
Just adding myself to the list of folks who was surprised not to find the feature too.

I use it in my other apps as well:

  • Open multiple Finder windows to shuffle files around as needed.
  • Pop the email out into it's own window and pour over the list of questions someone peppered me with and looking over the contract (or whatever) they are asking about on the other side of the screen...
  • Have my weekend-talk note open, and also have another note open for another team project to reference.
  • Have last week's Adobe InDesign doc open, and have the new one open beside it that I'm building and modifying.
  • Have multiple word docs open all the time. I've got a stash of letters I'm writing that I need to not forget to finish, another handout document in another window going right now.

NOT insulating anything unkind. Joplin has been FANTASTIC so far; Albeit I'm only a week in.

I just feel for the folks that were surprised about it. I understand their surprise.

I tried the old classic Mozilla Thunderbird email client a couple months back, and you could not hold shift or cmd and highlight multiple inboxes. Again, standard behavior. Surprised the dickens out of me. But que será será or however it goes!

So I love Joplin so far. Will it be my new daily driver? I'm not yet sure. I'm still working with several. Nothing but thanks however to the incredible work that has gone into it. I saw the submitted multiple-window git feature, and saw the estimate of 350 hours to accomplish it. That is indeed monumental and may not be feasible I totally understand. I don't want this in any way shape or form to come across as rude or not acknowledging the incredible work that has gone before this.

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A big plus one from me!

By way of further explanation, basically a lot of users are used to working in a classic windowed desktop environment and want to work with our notes in a flexible manner. This is also the same as many of us work with Outlook or other email clients (and various other apps) - opening multiple emails at one time, moving them to different places for work, minimising some to remember to read them later, etc etc. Evernote Legacy did this very fluidly (you never thought about it and took it for granted) and actually I think that one of the intuitive things about it was that it was pretty much an analogue for the standard way of working with email clients and similar software.

I've played around with external editors in Joplin to try to replicate this functionality at least in part, because I know you can open multiple instances of external editors. My issue here has been finding an editor that will reproduce all my notes the same as Joplin does - I use the rich text editor and my notes are from various sources including Evernote imports. I tried Typora (nice little app), Sublime text and I think some others but none correctly opened all of my notes, eg including images, HTML etc. (As you may have guessed I'm not a coder and am ignorant about markdown and don't use it).

Has anyone found an external editor that will view "everything" - a rich text external editor, I guess? If there was a "mini Joplin" that was even a just a rich text viewer, or a way to adapt Joplin to do this, I guess that would partially work too.

Look forward to hearing more thoughts on this.



Interesting, Typora was the next app I was going to try but your issue would be my issue as I often use the richtext editor as well.