[Vote] Do you want more notes displayed in the note list?

About Joplin's GUI, I would like to hear opinions from the community.

Currently, the height of note list item in the NoteList panel cannot be changed. If note list items become slimmer, more notes can be displayed. The below images are two variations of the height of note list items.

Do you want more notes displayed in the note list?

  • Yes, more notes are preferable. (Slim note list items)
  • No, they are enough. (Wide note list items = current Joplin)
  • Sometimes, Yes. (Selectable/Configurable)

0 voters

Slim note list item (more notes!) Wide note list item (current Joplin)
slim wide

Especially, I want to ask theme designers. Now, the height of notebooks and tags in the Sidebar panel can be changed using CSS. But, the height of notes in the NoteList panel cannot be changed. What do you think about this inconsistency from a designer's perspective?

(2022-07-11 edited)
Now, they can be styled using CSS in v2.9+. (detail)


I prefer the wide (current) theme. I also think in outline form, so if my notes were more than a couple of pages, I'd probably create a notebook or two by some logical a concept and then I'd have two or three notebooks, with fewer notes in each one.

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Thank you for your opinion.

Indeed, there are various styles and layouts when using Joplin. For example, my layout is here.

I use Joplin in 3-column layout. Since I love Outline plugin, the middle column is shared by NoteList panel and Outline plugin. Both are so necessary and indispensable to my workflow that they share a precious place.

For me, NoteList is a valuable information source. Since I manage multiple projects and have many daily-changing TODOs, I want more notes displayed as possible, even if the area is very limited. So, I need slimmer note list items.

I have one more story to tell. I also have a tablet PC with a touch screen display. With this PC, wide note list items are desirable.

Since I have several different requirements, I choose "Sometimes, Yes. (Selectable/Configurable) (selectable or configurable)" in this vote. I believe that the extensibility for freedom of choice is one of the most valuable virtues of OSS like Joplin.


From an older blog post of mine:

I also use a three-column layout. You say you want more notes visible in the list... maybe you don't need as much space for the notebook list? You could move the outline even more to the right.

(I have combined notes and notebooks into one column, outline and backlinks into another. The I do have to scroll around the note list occasionally, but it's not often enough to really annoy me.)


Thank you for sharing your layout.

Laying out the information in order of importance is like solving a puzzle. It's fun, isn't it?

In fact, my Sidebar (Notebook list) shares the first column with Favorite plugin (it is omitted in the above image for the sake of clarity). Available area is always insufficient!


@ken1kob I used to use your layout, but gave it up because it broke search. I was forced to turn off the outline with the F-key (F9 I think), when I wanted to search and it was a hassle. Search results use that area and would not co-exist with outline.

I decided to forgo the benefits of having the outline on the side and just use the TOC in order to have a functioning search without toggling outline.

That's exactly what I'm struggling with.

NoteList shows indispensable information such as a note list, search results and TODOs. Always want to see more note items.

Trying to shrink the vertical height of the notes list is the very first thing I tried to do with Joplin's userchrome.css. I went straight to the issue tracker and found #5178.

This is my layout, which derives from my being a heavy Notational Velocity / nvALT user for years and years, now looking for an alternative. As such, I'm keen to maximize information density in the vertical direction as much as possible.

Screen Shot 2022-02-17 at 12.58.17 AM_thumb

Regardless of layout, an option to increase the density of notebook/note lists—like Gmail's "Compact" vs. "Comfortable"— would be most welcome. :)

Even just the ability to do it in CSS, without the dead space described in #5178, would be super.

cf. nvALT's main window

Screen Shot 2022-02-17 at 12.06.30 AM_thumb

…which uses an old-school multi-column, sortable list control for the notes list. That's about as dense as it gets!

here is my favorite layout

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Thank you all for so many votes!

Although I'll keep the vote open, I'll summarize the current result:


  • About 60% people wants more notes displayed.
  • About 40% people wants selectability/configurability.
  • Of course, selectability/configurability satisfies 100% people's needs (both slim and wide).

The goal of this vote is to collect the information of users' needs about note list items. The information would be used to decide whether a new feature is added or not.

Already, a feature that the height of note list items can be configured using CSS was pull-requested. The discussion is summarized here. This vote shows the feature is needed by fair amount of people and not niche. Hopefully, such people will be able to benefit from this feature.

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My understanding of the conversation is not that the feature shouldn't be implemented but that it should wait until the code for the sidebars can be refactored to avoid temporary and hacky workarounds. I don't think the feature request itself was ever a problem rather the issue is extending the already problematic code.


It is the matter of trade-off between adding a new feature or keeping maintainability. It's hard to say which is right and which is wrong. There is no absolute solution.

In this case, the point is the feature was considered as niche. Actually, it is found the feature is demanded by many people.

I'm not sure what consequences this information will have, but I created the vote because better information leads to better decisions.

Whilst I have no problem at all with the idea of changing the note list entry height, I would just like to point out that:

None of the questions, as posed, could be seen as a "demand". 21% said slim notes were "preferable" and a larger 38% said "sometimes".

Combining the "Preferable" and "Sometimes" votes suggests 59% of voters would not be adverse to slimmer note panels. However the sample size, at the time of writing, is just 39 replies from only those Joplin users that frequent the forum and have done so over the last two weeks. That equates to about 23 people. I have no idea what percentage that is of the total user base but I cannot see it being that "many".

It seems even the Joplin devs do not have any problem with the suggestion however @Daeraxa tells us that the feature would require a "hacky workaround" to already "problematic code".

I think that there is a solution and that is not to try to introduce a new feature at this time that, with the code as it stands, could unnecessarily impact upon the software.

I guess my problem is not with the suggestion but forum polls in general :slight_smile:

Indeed I picked "Sometimes, yes" because, in the long term, I would indeed like to see this panel to be available for configuration for theming purposes. I wouldn't want the "slim" design in the original post but I may well like to see a theme that uses the configurable height to its advantage.
i.e. I voted for long term customisation options rather than a pressing need for more items shown.

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At this point it seems we have quite a few issues with similar outcome: it's either the solution exists but it is not a long term one or it's blocked by some other unsolved problem

For example:

  • Performance improving PR #5770,
  • background sync on mobile,
  • hierarchical tags (reverted because of performance issues)
  • etc etc

I think If there would be some kind of bleeding edge canary Joplin version, it would allow power users get the features they desire before the stable release. At the same time the included features might prove to be more stable than they appeared on the first glance.

The fork doesn't need to be official, just a personal build that bring experimental features. As long as it is backward compatible and doesn't stray too far from the main branch, it should be relatively easy to maintain.

I wonder what do Joplin contributors think of such custom forks?

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It is not necessary to think that a certain rule is absolute, but we can make appropriate decisions as needed to make the community happy.

There is a good example. Recently, @laurent introduced a new feature, notebook icons, which changes one of legacy codes, Sidebar.

That's apples and oranges though. Adding a standard React component in a clean way is fine, but as we discussed many times there's unfortunately no clean way to add what you want to add.

The long term plan for the note list is to make it customisable via plugins, but that will start with a refactoring of that list so in the meantime I don't want to add complex code that will be hard to maintain and port.

I'm looking forward to it. When are you planning to do it?

No ETA, but it's been in my list for some time.