Simple tool for creating and organizing daily notes on the command line
textnote is a command line tool for quickly creating and managing daily plain text notes. It is designed for ease of use to encourage the practice of daily, organized note taking. textnote intentionally facilitates only the management (creation, opening, organizing, and consolidated archiving) of notes, following the philosophy that notes are best written in a text editor and not via a CLI.
- Configurable, sectioned note template
- Easily bring content forward to the next day's note (for those to-dos that didn't quite get done today...)
- Simple command to consolidate daily notes into monthly archive files
- Create and open today's note with the default
All note files are stored locally on the file system in a single directory. Notes can easily be synced to a remote server or cloud service if so desired by ensuring the application directory is remotely synced.
textnote opens notes using the text editor specified by the environment variable
$EDITOR and defaults to Vim if the environment variable is not set.
See the Editor-Specific Configuration subsection for more details.
- Install textnote (see Installation)
- Set a single environment variable
TEXTNOTE_DIRto specify the directory for textnote's files
That's it, textnote is ready to go!
The directory specified by
TEXTNOTE_DIR and the default configuration file will be automatically created the first time textnote is run.
Start writing notes for today with a single command
To first configure textnote before creating notes, run
$ textnote config -p
and then edit the configuration file found at the displayed path.
textnote can be installed by downloading a prebuilt binary or by the
go get command.
The recommended installation method is downloading the latest released binary.
Download the appropriate binary for your operating system from this repository's releases page or via
$ curl -o textnote -L https://github.com/dkaslovsky/textnote/releases/latest/download/textnote_darwin_amd64
$ curl -o textnote -L https://github.com/dkaslovsky/textnote/releases/latest/download/textnote_linux_amd64
> curl.exe -o textnote.exe -L https://github.com/dkaslovsky/textnote/releases/latest/download/textnote_windows_amd64.exe
Installing from source
textnote can also be installed using Go's built-in tooling:
$ go get -u github.com/dkaslovsky/textnote
Build from source by cloning this repository and running
It is recommended to build using Go 1.15.7 or greater to avoid a potential security issue when looking for the desired editor in the
textnote is intentionally simple to use and supports two main commands:
open for creating/opening notes and
archive for consolidating notes into monthly archive files.
open command will open a dated note in an editor, creating it first if it does not exist.
Opening or creating a note for the current day is the default action. Simply run the root command to open or create a note for the current day:
which, using the default configuration and assuming today is 2021-01-24, will create and open an empty note template:
[Sun] 24 Jan 2021 ___TODO___ ___DONE___ ___NOTES___
To open a note for a specific date other than the current day, specify the date with the
$ textnote open --date 2020-12-22
where the date format is specified in the configuration.
Alternatively, a note can be opened by passing the number of days prior to the current day using the
-d flag. For example,
$ textnote open -d 1
opens yesterday's note.
Sections from previous notes can be copied or moved into a current note.
Each section to be copied is specified in a separate
The previous day's note is used as the source by default and a specific date for a source note can be provided through the
$ textnote open -s TODO -s NOTES
will create today's note with the "TODO" and "NOTES" sections copied from yesterday's note, while
$ textnote open --copy 2021-01-17 -s TODO
creates today's note with the "TODO" section copied from the 2021-01-17 note.
-c flag to instead specify the source by the number of days back from the current day.
$ textnote open -c 3 -s TODO
creates today's note with the "TODO" section copied from 3 days ago.
To move instead of copy, add the
-x flag to any copy command.
$ textnote open --copy 2021-01-17 -s NOTES -x
moves the "NOTES" section contents from the 2021-01-17 note into the note for today.
-c) flags can be used in combination if such a workflow is desired.
For convenience, the
-t flag can be used to open tomorrow's note:
$ textnote open -t
in which case the copy source defaults to today. For example,
$ textnote open -t -s TODO
creates a note for tomorrow with a copy of today's "TODO" section contents.
The flag options are summarized by the command's help:
$ textnote open -h open or create a note template Usage: textnote open [flags] Flags: --copy string date of note for copying sections (defaults to yesterday) -c, --copy-back uint number of days back from today for copying from a note (ignored if copy flag is used) --date string date for note to be opened (defaults to today) -d, --days-back uint number of days back from today for opening a note (ignored if date or tomorrow flags are used) -x, --delete delete sections after copy -h, --help help for open -s, --section strings section to copy (defaults to none) -t, --tomorrow specify tomorrow as the date for note to be opened (ignored if date flag is used)
archive command consolidates all daily notes into month archives, gathering together the contents for each section of a month in chronological order, labeled by the original date.
Only notes older than a number of days specified in the configuration are archived.
Running the archive command
$ textnote archive
generates an archive file for every month for which a note exists. For example, an archive of the January 2021 notes, assuming the default configuration, will have the form
ARCHIVE Jan2021 ___TODO___ [2021-01-03] ... [2021-01-04] ... ___DONE___ [2021-01-03] ... [2021-01-04] ... [2021-01-06] ... ___NOTES___ [2021-01-06] ...
with ellipses representing the daily notes' contents.
By default, the
archive command is non-destructive: it will create archive files and leave all notes in place.
To delete the individual note files and retain only the generated archives, run the command with the
$ textnote archive -x
This is the intended mode of operation, as it is desirable to "clean up" notes into archives, but must be intentionally enabled with
-x for safety.
Running with the
--dry-run flag prints the file names to be deleted without performing any actions:
$ textnote archive --dry-run
archive command is run without the delete flag, archive files are written and the original notes are left in place.
To "clean up" the original notes after archives have been generated, rerun the
archive command with the
-x flag as well as the
-n flag to prevent duplicating the archive content:
$ textnote archive -x -n
The flag options are summarized by the command's help:
$ textnote archive -h consolidate notes into monthly archive files Usage: textnote archive [flags] Flags: -x, --delete delete individual files after archiving --dry-run print file names to be deleted instead of performing deletes (other flags are ignored) -h, --help help for archive -n, --no-write disable writing archive files (helpful for deleting previously archived files)
textnote is designed for simplicity.
Because textnote writes files to a single directory on the local filesystem, most functionality outside of the scope described above can be easily accomplished using stanard command line tools (e.g.,
grep for search).
While textnote is intended to be extremely lightweight, it is also designed to be highly configurable. In particular, the template (sections, headers, date formats, and whitespace) for generating notes can be customized as desired. One might wish to configure headers and section titles for markdown compatibility or change date formats to match regional convention.
Configuration is read from the
Changes to configuration parameters can be made by updating this file.
Individual configuration parameters also can be overridden with environment variables.
Importantly, if textnote's configuration is changed, notes created using a previous configuration might be incompatible with textnote's functionality.
The current configuration can be displayed by running the
$ textnote config
The configuration file path is displayed by using the
$ textnote config -p
The default configuration file is automatically written the first time textnote is run:
header: prefix: "" # prefix to attach to header suffix: "" # suffix to attach to header trailingNewlines: 1 # number of newlines after header timeFormat: '[Mon] 02 Jan 2006' # Golang format for header dates section: prefix: ___ # prefix to attach to section name suffix: ___ # suffix to attach to section name trailingNewlines: 3 # number of newlines for empty section names: # section names - TODO - DONE - NOTES file: ext: txt # extension to use for note files timeFormat: "2006-01-02" # Golang format for note file names cursorLine: 4 # line to place cursor when opening a note archive: afterDays: 14 # number of days after which a note can be archived filePrefix: archive- # prefix to attach to archive file names headerPrefix: 'ARCHIVE ' # prefix to attach to header of archive notes headerSuffix: "" # suffix to attach to header of archive notes sectionContentPrefix: '[' # prefix to attach to section content date sectionContentSuffix: ']' # suffix to attach to section content date sectionContentTimeFormat: "2006-01-02" # Golang format for section content dates monthTimeFormat: Jan2006 # Golang format for month archive file and header dates cli: timeFormat: "2006-01-02" # Golang format for CLI date input
Environment Variable Overrides
Any configuration parameter can be overridden by setting a corresponding environment variable.
Note that setting an environment variable does not change the value specified in the configuration file.
The full list of environment variables is listed below and is always available by running
TEXTNOTE_HEADER_PREFIX string prefix to attach to header TEXTNOTE_HEADER_SUFFIX string suffix to attach to header TEXTNOTE_HEADER_TRAILING_NEWLINES int number of newlines to attach to end of header TEXTNOTE_HEADER_TIME_FORMAT string formatting string to form headers from timestamps TEXTNOTE_SECTION_PREFIX string prefix to attach to section names TEXTNOTE_SECTION_SUFFIX string suffix to attach to section names TEXTNOTE_SECTION_TRAILING_NEWLINES int number of newlines to attach to end of each section TEXTNOTE_SECTION_NAMES slice section names TEXTNOTE_FILE_EXT string extension for all files written TEXTNOTE_FILE_TIME_FORMAT string formatting string to form file names from timestamps TEXTNOTE_FILE_CURSOR_LINE int line to place cursor when opening TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_AFTER_DAYS int number of days after which to archive a file TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_FILE_PREFIX string prefix attached to the file name of all archive files TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_HEADER_PREFIX string override header prefix for archive files TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_HEADER_SUFFIX string override header suffix for archive files TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_SECTION_CONTENT_PREFIX string prefix to attach to section content date TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_SECTION_CONTENT_SUFFIX string suffix to attach to section content date TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_SECTION_CONTENT_TIME_FORMAT string formatting string dated section content TEXTNOTE_ARCHIVE_MONTH_TIME_FORMAT string formatting string for month archive timestamps TEXTNOTE_CLI_TIME_FORMAT string formatting string for timestamp CLI flags
Currently, textnote supports the
TEXTNOTE_FILE_CURSOR_LINE configuration for the following editors:
textnote will work with all other editors but will not respect this congifuration parameter.