The problems with the present Notes Editor have been ongoing for some time and are likely to remain so for some time to come, IMO, so here's a feasible compromise: leave the existing Notes pane as is and add an extra, plain text pane named Descriptions (unless you can think of a better title).

The text is stored in a .txt file in that Thought's folder, and is opened by a plain text editor built into PB, not by the user's own default text editor, although that could be an option.

1) The pane could be docked on top of or within one of the other Tools. Thus both Notes and Descriptions could share the same panel and be permanently visible. Since the coding has already been worked out for the other Tools, it should be relatively trivial to add an extra pane, compared with accommodating a multiline Label field. Descriptions would need its own activation hotkey, equivalent to F5, or else there might be a user option to open Descriptions by default rather than Notes.

2) Both would be updated in Preview Mode as focus moves from one Thought to another in the Plex. One hopes keyboard navigation (green ring) will eventually be integrated with this too.

3) We all need a quick place to jot things down, where format isn't as important as content. Text files are small, fast to load and best of all, ought to be painless to paste to, edit and copy from. Labels aren't visible unless the mouse hovers over them, and even if they were made multiline this means they would hide more of the Plex. On the other hand Descriptions could always be made visible.

4) Plain text format, unlike RTF, seems to be common across all OS and could even be available in Sitebrains. Browsers can easily view and save .txt files.

5) Using PB's inbuilt plain text editor (if and when it acquires one) should allow the user to set foreground (text) and background colors in keeping with Plex colors. Additionally, many plain text editors today are able to recognize hyperlinks, display them blue underlined and even make them clickable. Perhaps jostber knows of an open-source Java editor that might be suitable for PB. Being open-source would give PB's developers a better chance to integrate such an editor with the Plex, instead of being only loosely associated with it, as Notes seems to be now.

6) Images could be stored internally in Notes, so both would still be able to be displayed. Think of Descriptions as a second "page". Notes is better for storing rich text, web pages, etc.

7) Descriptions could be included in Advanced Search.

8) The need to store plain text files internally, attached to Thoughts would diminish since the Descriptions field is always visible and doesn't require individual closing or saving, a big advantage.

9) Searching plain text ought to be easier and therefore faster than searching formatted text, particularly if images are not involved. Therefore it is possible that a Descriptions field might be searchable incrementally (Instant Search), though given that Labels are out of reach, this could be a long time coming.

10) Lack of formatting is the only major disadvantage I can think of, but this would be more than compensated for by ease of use and speed.

If anyone knows of a request on UserVoice for a near-identical suggestion, please reply here. Do you guys think it's time we had this added, or should we wait for Notes Editor to become more user-friendly? Maybe some of the developers could comment on the practicality or otherwise of this idea. I know others have mooted this before but I believe it's time to suggest it again, rather than continue lamenting the lack of a properly functioning editor. It's asking a lot for an HTML editor such as Notes to work equally well in plain text mode. We've given it plenty of time to redeem itself, so maybe we should look for an alternative solution.
PB on Windows XP, J-1.6.0_17
Good idea. And this is exactly the way I've been using Notes since ages.

I don't care a flying thing about formatting, pictures, HTML or links in the Notes. I just use them for simple plain text to take down a note. All the problems with the Notes Editor have never bothered me. So it's gets my vote. It would be even fine by me if the current Notes editor was ditched altogether and this was implemented. Would save resources.

Incidentally, this replacement you describe is about what we had with PB3 which had a simple RTF editor that stored the notes in a RTF file in the thoughts folder. So actually you propose a change to roll back

One thing would be needed though. A conversion tool to convert all or a selection of thought notes to the plain text format. And perhaps v.v.

PB user since 1998

Mind over matter?
I don't mind and it doesn't matter.
TB Pro on Win10.1 Pro 64bit JVM 1.8.0-112

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