Exclude notebooks from syncing

I've been using Shortcuts with different profiles to do this, I have 2 different shortcuts pinned to the taskbar one runs:
Joplin.exe --profile 1

the other runs:
Joplin.exe --profile 2

Then I quick photo edited me an extra icon with a different blue background so I can tell the difference on the taskbar. But you have to make sure to exit Joplin from the system tray before launching the other (just make sure to sync to different places, or you will quickly find both profiles have the same files...)

It would be handy to be able to right click the system tray and select the active profile, but not necessary :slight_smile:

As I understand you use the “Start in” field in the shortcut properties to point to your profiles?

I made a SQL to set the value 1 in the field sync_disabled if the title of the notes starts with “+”.

    update sync_items set sync_disabled = 1 where item_id IN (SELECT id FROM notes WHERE substr(title,1,1)='+')

It works fine and the values are set, but the notes are still synchronized.

(Using Windows Portable Version)

Any plans for exposing this in UI?

I would benefit greatly from this exclude-from-sync feature but I’m not literate in sql.

Anyways, great to know that the feature is there, already.


+1 indeed it would be great to expose this in the UI!
Something as simple as adding a toggle to the contextual (right-click) menu of a notebook / note that triggers the SQL command would be already enough.


This would be a really convenient feature for my notes. I attach Lecture videos to my notes for my Engineering courses (Yay Pandemic). This means that half of my notes have 2-3 gigs of files attached as resources per note. It is useful to have these files all downloaded for my current courses (fast and offline access), But When I move to the next semester, I want to keep those notes downloaded while archiving the old semesters.

A couple solution have been proposed for this:

  1. Archiving Notes/Notebooks
  2. Excluding Notebooks from Sync (Would be useful if this functioned to only download when note opened, resource opened)
  3. Archived/Old notes being read only
  4. A special "Archive" tag that forces a different sync profile (2 seperate sync settings)
  5. Remove old notes from local device that where Auto synced (after specified time delay of not being used) - [This was suggested somewhere on the forum, but I cant find it now.]

Overall, any one of these would solve my situation (and likely most people's). This would be a great feature for the eventual 1.4._ Full Release @laurent.

Thanks for the amazing app laurent! Could never sync 25 gb of notes and attachments with any other app and be able to manage my own data. You're supporting my home server addiction :+1:.

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I'd also appreciate this feature. Some of my notebooks contain business information and due to company guidelines, I'm not allowed to sync them via cloud services. Therefore, I cannot sync Joplin at all. Would be great if I could specify which notebooks will be synchronized.

This would actually be great. I use Joplin for various scenarios: collecting source material off the web via clipper (LOTS of stuff), planning lectures and also taking notes.
I would like to have only some of all this on my mobile client but currently don't use it at all since I don't want to clog my phone with all the clipper content.

An option to exclude this dedicated notebook would GREATLY improve my workflows.

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In your specific case: what's your sync behavior?
You can set your phone to only download attachments when they're needed.
That would mean downloading the clipped HTML text/markdown, but not downloading the hundred tiny icons that are embedded in it until you download the note.

(For the record though, I think letting users disable sync for any subset of notes is a bad idea and shouldn't be implemented.)

I disagree - turning off sync for a subset of notes would be fantastic. I maintain a notebook structure to use this feature should it ever be implemented.

Like @krntsck , I have a lot of old notes (mostly web clips) that I don't really need fast access to. I don't want to delete them, but based on age I don't want to keep them on my phone. As it is, my database is over 15GB. I don't want an ever-increasing need for phone storage, and I don't want to slow things down. Additionally, when I get a new phone or need to restore my Joplin database for any reason, I would prefer this not be a 3 day process, as it is currently.

Downloading attachments on demand also requires I have a network connection, and I often don't.

On the other hand, I can't imagine why allowing selective sync is a bad idea. Why not implement it per-notebook?

If you see that you rarely ever look at some of these notes, maybe you could export them to JEX and delete them from your collection? That's not ideal but if you have 15 GB of notes it might make sense.

While I understand that's a simple solution, I derive great value from using Joplin (and previously Evernote) as a database of all my random stuff. The ability to search without re-importing to find anything and everything and not worry about managing exported notes is completely worth the extra database size. After all, searches on my desktop take almost no time, and 15GB isn't much space.

Things are a little different on a mobile phone, as 15GB is 12% of available space on a 128GB phone. Even more painful is the restore process though. I'd love to be able to carve out a large portion of that data and force a search from desktop if it's offline.

Even more ideal than partial sync, would be partial attachment download. In other words, an option to only download attachments in particular notebooks. I think that would provide tremendous power to manage data for users, while minimizing risk of data loss due to some glitch or user error.

Laurent: It's not about notes being needed or not. In my case I have a lot of information stored that I want and need. Not all of them and not in any case, though, but definitely on my desktop. Use cases:

  • articles on ongoing cases
  • data I pull off the Internet as new papers and articles are being released.

On my mobile device, I wish to only have things that I actively work on. Use cases:

  • To do lists
  • Ideas for articles and other writing snippets by myself

So in essence:
Selective sync would be a really great help. It would absolutely be enough if this is an option per notebook. I don't need it as a per note setting


@krntsck Would a notebook-specific attachment download also meet your needs? That should reduce data usage dramatically on mobile, while still allowing search for those notes (as they would be synced), and then forcing attachments to download when needed.

I also suspect it would be easier to implement, and considered safer against user error or coding error (no worries that sync would interpret a missing offline note as a deletion, or that a user could initiate a new sync accidentally from mobile and wipe out desktop notes).


  1. Add an attachment download option on mobile or all platforms to enable selective-download of attachments all, or user-selectable set of notebooks.
  2. When opening a note in a notebook that does not have attachments downloaded, user can then download attachments for that note only.
  3. Add an ability to remove attachment downloads per-notebook. This is helpful particularly when the feature is first implemented, so users can remove attachment from the local data store, for the notebooks they intend to streamline.

What does everyone think of that proposal? @laurent ? I think it would add a lot of power and flexibility for Joplin users.

@mzguy Maybe we have a little misunderstanding:

I do work with attachments for notes but by far not in all cases, actually, this is pretty rare (an occasional PDF, mp3 or movie)

It's more that I have specific notebooks dedicated to certain usage-scenarios:

  1. a growing "archive" of stuff that I collect regularly, researching topics, mostly webclip-stuff off the internet
  2. a working collection of snippets that I write myself and that will increasingly turn into something like an article or a seminar
  3. things like daily routine: to-do lists, shopping lists and so forth

Now I'd wish to be able to exclude the entire archive-notebook from sync, not just specific attachments or individual notes: just ALL of this notebook, all subfolders, the entire container.

What I'd wish to sync to my mobile devices, however, is both the working collection and the daily routine stuff. In my case, this is only a fraction of what's inside my JoplinProfile.

What I don't really understand is why it should be difficult implementing a switch for simply not syncing an entire notebook. Or why this should result in a bigger chance for user errors that wipe out a lot of data.
By the way: an effective safeguard against such user-caused sync-errors and resulting data loss could be an automated check for what content is being synced with what other content and a warning before actually syncing - something like "your sync of 0 notes on Joplin Desktop 1 against 1299 notes on Joplin Desktop 2 will result in the deletion of 1299 on Joplin Desktop 2. Do you want to procedd and delete these 1299 entries?"
Whoever is not awake in that moment might safely be counted among the dead ...
What I wish for could be either done via a rightclick option in the main gui or inside a dedicated section in options that lists all notebooks and gives an option to or not to sync.
The latter solution would result in a looong list inside that menu in cases where people have lots of notebooks. I tend to have hierarchies with as little different main folders as possible since then I can fold away a lot of subsequent structure with just one click - the madness starts underneath level one, so to speak ...

Or maybe, I did not really understand what you refer to as attachments. In that case I am sorry.

I understand what you wrote. I have an archive notebook myself, but really only to someday hopefully prevent it syncing!

When thinking this through, I realized that I really don't want to prevent syncing. I'd rather simply prevent downloading of attachments (PDFs, all photos in web clipped notes, anything that isn't text). Attachments probably take up 90%+ of the data storage more the vast majority of users, especially those who clip a lot of web pages.

The advantages of syncing such notebooks, but avoiding attachment downloading, is that ALL notes are available to search, but they don't take up nearly as much data without the attachments getting sent to the phone. I imagine such a thing would be far easier for developers to implement than selective sync.

I don't really see any disadvantages to this approach, only advantages. As such, I think its a far more useful feature than selective sync. My feeling is that selective attachment download is more likely to get implemented than selective sync as well. Is there some reason it wouldn't work for you?

For this particular use case, why not just use the manual download behaviour on the client with limited disk space?

I have a significant number of things I want available offline. Just not everything.

I feel like everyone is suggesting ways to fit a square peg in round hole. There are always workarounds. But a flexible tool is better than an inflexible one! This is not a rare, outrageous use case. Joplin is a great tool that should not be artificially limited by phone constraints, in my opinion.

While this is not a feature that's important for me (because my data is so much smaller than yours), I can definitely understand why you'd want it. What I don't know if how hard it'd be to implement or how high a priority it should be compared to other requested features, but all things being equal, I agree that giving people a choice to exclude some notebooks from syncing would be good. There are definitely some notes that I don't need access to on my phone.

Perhaps slightly related to this, I'd love to see the speed of syncing improve exponentially. I don't know what factors affect syncing speed the most, but if it can be improved a lot independent of internet connection speed, then perhaps at least one reason for wanting to exclude some notebooks from syncing would disappear.

Apologies, I missed your earlier comment about wanting access offline otherwise I can't see why the manual download solution wouldn't be appropriate.

Mostly but not always. There was a topic recently discussing the note taking app Trilium and that very much goes in the flexible direction but good lord is it complicated and daunting. Options are good to solve some problems but too many options can cause real issues for the learning curve and less technically savvy users.

I'm curious to see how this is handled with other applications. The main approaches I know about off the top of my head are Evernote's (which I don't think supports any kind of selective sync) and OneNote's (which supports sync settings per notebook at its highest level only).

Personally I like the OneNote approach of being able to open and close notebooks on a given device (whilst maintaining a single client install) and if extended to Joplin, each could have its own sync properties (e.g. different sync targets, encryptions etc.) but thats just me.

What sync target are you using? Nextcloud is buggy and defaults to a very slow speed on the desktop client (you can see the speed difference between mobile and desktop is considerable). WebDAV simply isn't really suited to this kind of sync.
The solution to bad sync protocols was basically solved by Joplin Cloud/Server which was designed specifically to work with Joplin rather than using inappropriate protocols which are either not suited to the task or keep changing and breaking things (cough, OneDrive).