Keywords in Circus Ponies’ NoteBook

One very useful feature of Circus Ponies’ NoteBook is the possibility to tag cells with keywords. Unfortunately, this feature is only partly explained in NoteBook Help.

NoteBook Help explains how to add a keyword to a cell by typing it in the Keyword area left of the cell, or by dragging it from a list of “keywords you’ve typed before” in the Keywords toolbar item. Several other ways to add keywords are left out. More importantly, Notebook Help fails to explain how to manage the relevant keyword list.

NoteBook 3 provided a Keyboard inspector to handle a list of “favorite” keywords. This list was shared by all notebooks and available via several menus. The Keyboard inspector was removed in NoteBook 4. What happened to the favorites list and how do I manage keywords list in Notebook 4?

Keyword lists

After some experimentation I discovered that a NoteBook 4 notebook provides two lists with user defined keywords: one is specific to that notebook, the other is shared by all notebooks (like the old favorites list).

The notebook specific list is available from the contextual menu. It contains all the keywords used in that notebook.

The shared list is the custom list of the Keywords toolbar item. It is also available as a drop down list in the Keyword area of a cell. Initially, it contains the favorite keywords of NoteBook 3 (it is initially empty if you did not assign favorites in NoteBook 3). Every keyword you add to a cell is also added to this list. You can use the Keywords toolbar item to remove keywords from this list (a removed keyword returns when you add it to a cell).

Short overview of keyword handling in NoteBook

Relevant keyboard shortcuts

  • cmd-K: view/hide keywords column
  • shift-cmd-K: add keyword
  • opt-cmd-K: add selection as keyword

Viewing keywords

  • View/hide the Keyboards column with cmd-K or ‘View→Keywords’
  • The first keyword of a cell (the “visible keyword”) is shown in the Keywords area in the Keywords column next to that cell.
  • Click and hold the Keyword area to get a drop down list of all the keywords of that cell
  • Choose a keyword from that list to make it the visible keyword
  • To resize the Keywords column, press the option key to reveal the column’s boundary, then drag it to a new width.

Adding keywords

  • To add a selection from a cell’s text as keyword to that cell:
    • press opt-cmd-K, or
    • choose ‘assign as keyword’ in the contextual menu
  • To type a new keyword in the Keyword area of a cell:
    • press shift-K, or
    • double-klick in the Keywords column, or
    • choose ‘Outline → Add Keyword’ in NoteBook’s menu
  • To assign a keyword from the shared list
    • use the drop down list in the Keywords area (see above under ‘type a new keyword’), or
    • drag and drop the visible keyword from the Keywords toolbar item to a cell
  • To assign a keyword from the notebook specific list:
    • choose ‘add keyword’ in the contextual menu of a cell or Keyword area

Note that the Keywords toolbar item is not enabled by default. To enable it choose ‘View→Customize toolbar’ from the main menu and drag the ‘Keywords’ item to the toolbar. Click ‘done’ to finish the customization.

Removing keywords from a cell

  • The Keyword area’s contextual menu has options to remove the visible keyword and to remove all keywords

Removing keywords from the shared keywords list

  • the Keyword toolbar item allows you to remove the visible keyword from the shared list
  • choose a keyword from the custom list to make it the visible keyword