vim plugin to interact with the simplenote service
Python VimL Shell
Latest commit c949290 Jul 10, 2016 @atomicules atomicules Bump version to v1.3.0

MIT license


A vim plugin to interact with the simplenote API. You can create an account here if you don't already have one.

Now you can take simple notes directly from your favourite editor.


Install manually by copying simplenote.vim into your plugin folder or use the included to generate a vimball to install.

if using Pathogen:

git clone

Note for both manual and Pathogen installs you will then need to run

git submodule update --init

in the autoload/ directory (since simplenote.vim now references as a git submodule).

But it's easier to use a plugin manager:


Add Plugin 'mrtazz/simplenote.vim' to .vimrc
Run :PluginInstall


Add NeoBundle 'mrtazz/simplenote.vim' to .vimrc
Run :NeoBundleInstall


Add Plug 'mrtazz/simplenote.vim' to .vimrc
Run :PlugInstall

Your credentials can be stored in your vimrc:

let g:SimplenoteUsername = "your simplenote username"
let g:SimplenotePassword = "your simplenote password"

If you don't want to have the credentials in your vimrc (if you manage it with git for example), you can just set the variables in a different file (like ~/.simplenoterc) and source it with source ~/.simplenoterc in your vimrc.

Alternatively, if you don't set these global variables then Simplenote.vim will prompt you for a username and password when you start using it.

By default all notes are treated as plain text. If you usually write all of your notes in some other format (like markdown or restructured text) you can set g:SimplenoteFiletype to the preferred vim filetype.


The plugin provides several commands to interact with your Simplenote account. In order to retrieve a list of your notes execute one of the following:

:SimplenoteList YYYY-MM-DD
:SimplenoteList todo,shopping

The first option returns all notes, the second returns only those notes modified since YYYY-MM-DD, the third option shows passing a comma separated list of tags; this will only list notes which have at least one of those tags. This opens a new scratch buffer with a line-wise listing of your notes. With let g:SimplenoteListHeight=X set, the scratch buffer will come up X lines tall. Alternatively when let g:SimplenoteVertical=1 is set, it is opened as a vertical rather than horizontal split window. You can then navigate through the with the arrow keys and enter a note on hitting Return. Now that you see the content of the note, you can interact with this specific note:


updates the content of the current note with the content of the current buffer. It will use Simplenote's merge functionality to merge in any remote changes that have been made as well. The buffer write command :w is also mapped to update the current note.

To display the current version and note key/ID of a note use:


If you want to retrieve a specific version of a note use:

:SimplenoteVersion X

where X is an integer version number. To restore that version of a note you would just use :Simplenote -u. To get back to the most recent version of a note use:


Therefore you can also use :Simplenote -v when no local changes have been made to pull in the most recent changes from the remote note. To delete the note, execute


This moves the current note to the trash. If you want to completely delete a note, use


as it will directly delete the note and not only move it to the trash. There also exists a command to create new notes.


creates a new note with the contents of the current buffer. Once the note is created, :Simplenote -u updates the newly created note, also with the contents of the current buffer.

Tagging notes is also supported. If you enter


on a buffer containing a valid note, you get an input dialog, prefilled with existing comma-separated tags for the note, which you can then edit. Tags have to be comma separated and hitting Enter will then update the note with the new tag list.

Notes can be pinned with


on a buffer containing a valid note. Likewise a note can be unpinned with


on a buffer containing a valid note.

There is also an option to open notes directly from a given key:

:SimplenoteOpen <notekey>

While this is not very useful in everyday usage, it can be used very effectively to create shortcuts to notes you use often. Example:

" add :Todo command
command Todo SimplenoteOpen <yourtodonotekey>

Now you can jump to your todo note directly with :Todo in vim.

Note sorting

simplenote.vim supports simple note ordering. Per default the sort order is pinned notes first followed by modified date from newest to oldest. The order can be changed by setting the g:SimplenoteSortOrder variable. It should be set to a comma separated list of values which represents the sort order. Allowed values are pinned (pinned before unpinned), tags (notes with tags before untagged ones), title, modifydate and createdate (both newer before older).


The format of the note titles in the list are configurable using the g:SimplenoteNoteFormat option.

Various formatting tags are supporting 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, always two characters ('*'=pinned, 'm'=markdown)
%T -- tags
%D -- date
%N -- note title
%> -- right justify the rest of the title


%N    -- entire note title
%50N  -- note title, max width of 50 characters and right justified
%-50N -- note title, max width of 50 characters and left justified

The default title format is "%N%>[%T] [%D]".

The format of the date string is also configurable using the g:SimplenoteStrftime option. The default strftime is "%a, %d %b %Y %H:%M:%S".


If the +conceal feature is enabled in vim then syntax highlighting is supported for the Simplenote note list. The highlight groups supported are:

SN_NoteFlags       note flags ('%F' format)
SN_NoteDate        last updated date of the note ('%D' format)
SN_NoteTags        tags assigned to the note ('%T' format)
SN_NoteAgeDay      note title - less than a day old ('%N' format)
SN_NoteAgeWeek     note title - less than a week old ('%N' format)
SN_NoteAgeMonth    note title - less than a month old ('%N' format)
SN_NoteAgeYear     note title - less than a year old ('%N' format)
SN_NoteAgeAncient  note title - ancient ('%N' format)

Single Window Mode

By default simplenote.vim will open notes in new windows. If you would prefer simplenote.vim to emulate the behaviour of the Simplenote website and native applications then set g:SimplenoteSingleWindow (to anything) in your .vimrc and simplenote.vim will try as much as possible to re-use one window for opening all notes. Note: due to the way Vim handles and numbers windows, this behaviour can't be perfect and if you manually open a window between the note index and the first note opened then this new window will be targetted for notes.


Version 2 of the SimpleNote API relies heavily on JSON. As JSON and VimL don't really play nice together, basic parts of this plugin are implemented in python. Therefore your vim has to be compiled with python 2.7+ or 3.2+ support in order to use this plugin.

Usage behind proxy

Since the plugin uses Python's urllib2 for making HTTP requests, you just have to add these lines (with the correct values) to your .vimrc:

'http://<proxyuser>:<proxypassword>@<proxyurl>:<proxyport>' let $HTTPS_PROXY
= 'http://<proxyuser>:<proxypassword>@<proxyurl>:<proxyport>'

Special issue concerning GFW

For Chinese mainland users, since the authentication service of simplenote is hosted on appspot, a VPN connection has to be configured to use simplenote.vim. The configurations of a VPN connection is surely beyond the scope of this doc. But if you have done that, you can add a shell alias or script exploiting proxychains to ease the invoking of simplenote.vim

# as for zsh
alias simplenote="proxychains -q vim -c 'Simplenote -l'"



mattn, Tim Pope and Scrooloose who write awesome vim plugins which I took as a basis to learn how to write vim plugins.