Simplenote CLI
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Simplenote Command Line Interface

sncli is a Python application that gives you access to your Simplenote account via the command line. You can access your notes via a customizable console GUI that implements vi-like keybinds or via a simple command line interface that you can script.

Notes can be viewed/created/edited in both an online and offline mode. All changes are saved to a local cache on disk and automatically sync'ed when sncli is brought online.

Pull requests are welcome!

Check your OS distribution for installation packages.



  • Via pip (latest release):
    • pip3 install sncli
  • Manually:
    • Clone this repository to your hard disk: git clone
    • Install the requirements pip3 install -r requirements.txt
    • Install sncli: python3 install


  • Console GUI
    • full two-way sync with Simplenote performed dynamically in the background
    • all actions logged and easily reviewed
    • list note titles (configurable format w/ title, date, flags, tags, keys, etc)
    • sort notes by date, alpha by title, tags, pinned on top
    • search for notes using a Google style search pattern or Regular Expression
    • view note contents and meta data
    • view and restore previous versions of notes
    • pipe note contents to external command
    • create and edit notes (using your editor)
    • edit note tags
    • trash/untrash notes
    • pin/unpin notes
    • flag notes as markdown or not
    • vi-like keybinds (fully configurable)
    • Colors! (fully configurable)
  • Command Line (scripting)
    • force a full two-way sync with Simplenote
    • all actions logged and easily reviewed
    • list note titles and keys
    • search for notes using a Google style search pattern or Regular Expression
    • dump note contents
    • create a new note (via stdin or editor)
    • import a note with raw json data (stdin or editor)
    • edit a note (via editor)
    • trash/untrash a note
    • pin/unpin a note
    • flag note as markdown or not
    • view and edit note tags


sncli sncli sncli sncli



  -h, --help                  - usage help
  -v, --verbose               - verbose output
  -n, --nosync                - don't perform a server sync
  -r, --regex                 - search string is a regular expression
  -k <key>, --key=<key>       - note key
  -t <title>, --title=<title> - title of note for create (cli mode)
  -c <file>, --config=<file>  - config file to read from (defaults to ~/.snclirc)

  <none>                      - console gui mode when no command specified
  sync                        - perform a full sync with the server
  list [search_string]        - list notes (refined with search string)
  export [search_string]      - export notes in JSON (refined with search string)
  dump [search_string]        - dump notes (refined with search string)
  create [-]                  - create a note ('-' content from stdin)
  import [-]                  - import a note in JSON format ('-' JSON from stdin)
  export                      - export a note in JSON format (specified by <key>)
  dump                        - dump a note (specified by <key>)
  edit                        - edit a note (specified by <key>)
  < trash | untrash >         - trash/untrash a note (specified by <key>)
  < pin | unpin >             - pin/unpin a note (specified by <key>)
  < markdown | unmarkdown >   - markdown/unmarkdown a note (specified by <key>)
  tag get                     - retrieve the tags from a note (specified by <key>)
  tag set <tags>              - set the tags for a note (specified by <key>)
  tag add <tags>              - add tags to a note (specified by <key>)
  tag rm <tags>               - remove tags from a note (specified by <key>)


The current Simplenote API does not support oauth authentication so your Simplenote account information must live in the configuration file. Please be sure to protect this file.

sncli pulls in configuration from the .snclirc file located in your $HOME directory. At the very least, the following example .snclirc will get you going (using your account information):

cfg_sn_username =
cfg_sn_password = nihilist

Start sncli with no arguments which starts the console GUI mode. sncli with start sync'ing all your existing notes and you'll see log messages at the bottom of the console. You can view these log messages at any time by pressing the l key.

View the help by pressing h. Here you'll see all the keybinds and configuration items. The middle column shows the config name that can be used in your .snclirc to override the default setting.

See example configuration file below for more notes.

cfg_sn_username =
cfg_sn_password = nihilist

# as an alternate to cfg_sn_password you could use the following config item
# any shell command can be used; its stdout is used for the password
# trailing newlines are stripped for ease of use
# note: if both password config are given, cfg_sn_password will be used
cfg_sn_password_eval = gpg --quiet --for-your-eyes-only --no-tty --decrypt ~/.sncli-pass.gpg

# see for examples of more key combinations
kb_edit_note = space
kb_page_down = ctrl f

# note that values must not be quoted
clr_note_focus_bg = light blue

# if this editor config value is not provided, the $EDITOR env var will be used instead
# warning: if neither $EDITOR or cfg_editor is set, it will be impossible to edit notes
cfg_editor = nvim

# alternatively, {fname} and/or {line} are substituted with the filename and
# current line number in sncli's pager.
# If {fname} isn't supplied, the filename is simply appended.
# examples:
cfg_editor = nvim {fname} +{line}
cfg_editor = nano +{line}

# this is also supported for the pager:
cfg_pager = less -c +{line} -N {fname}

Note Title Format

The format of each line in the note list is driven by the cfg_format_note_title config item. Various formatting tags are supported for dynamically building the title string. Each of these formatting tags supports a width specifier (decimal) and a left justification (-) like that supported by printf:

  %F - flags (fixed 5 char width)
       X - needs sync
       T - trashed
       * - pinned
       S - published/shared
       m - markdown
  %T - tags
  %D - date
  %N - title

The default note title format pushes the note tags to the far right of the terminal and left justifies the note title after the date and flags:

cfg_format_note_title = '[%D] %F %-N %T'

Note that the %D date format is further defined by the strftime format specified in cfg_format_strftime.


sncli utilizes the Python Uwrid module to implement the console user interface.

At this time, sncli does not yet support 256-color terminals and is limited to just 16-colors. Color names that can be specified in the .snclirc file are listed here.


sncli supports two styles of search strings. First is a Google style search string and second is a Regular Expression.

A Google style search string is a group of tokens (separated by spaces) with an implied AND between each token. This style search is case insensitive. For example:

/tag:tag1 tag:tag2 word1 "word2 word3" tag:tag3

Regular expression searching also supports the use of flags (currently only case-insensitive) by adding a final forward slash followed by the flags. The following example will do a case-insensitive search for something:

(regex) /something/i

Creating from command line

# create a new note and open in editor
sncli create

# create a new note with contents of stdin
echo 'hi' | sncli create -


sncli can import notes from raw json data (via stdin or editor). For example:

echo '{"tags":["testing","new"],"content":"New note!"}' | sncli import -

Allowed fields are content, tags, systemtags, modifydate, createdate, and deleted.


sncli can export notes as json data to stdout. Example:

# export a single note by id
sncli -k somekeyid export

# export all notes
sncli export

# export notes matching search string
sncli [-r] export some search keywords or regex

Note that sncli still stores all the notes data in the directory specified by cfg_db_path, so for easy backups, it may be easier/quicker to simply backup this entire directory.


Note tags can be modified directly from the command line. Example:

# Retrieve note tags, as one comma-separated string (e.g. "tag1,tag2")
sncli -k somekeyid tag get                  # Returns "tag1,tag2"

# Add a tag to a note, if it doesn't already have it
sncli -k somekeyid tag add "tag3"           # Now tagged as "tag1,tag2,tag3"

# Remove a tag from a note
sncli -k somekeyid tag rm "tag2"            # Now tagged as "tag1,tag3"

# Overwrite all of the tags for a note
sncli -k somekeyid tag set "tag2,tag4"      # Now tagged as "tag2,tag4"

Note that in SimpleNote, tags are case-insensitive, so "TAG2", "tag2", and "tAg2" are interpreted as the same and will all be converted to lowercase.


I personally store a lot of my notes in Votl/VimOutliner format. Specific to Vim, I put a modeline at the end of these notes (note that Emacs also supports modelines):

; vim:ft=votl

Now when I edit this note Vim will automatically load the votl plugin. Lots of possibilities here...

Note: more tips and tricks on the GitHub wiki!


This application pulls in and uses the module by mrtazz and the module from nvpy by cpbotha.