Dealing with Issues

If there are bugs, please email There are a few general workarounds if you’re stuck:


Permanote Not Working

Force Close Permanote:

  • Double-tap the Home button
  • Slide Permanote up and away
  • Re-open Permanote

Run Rescue Operations:

Send Crash Reports:

  • If Permanote crashes, it should open up with a message where you can send the crash report.
  • Alternatively, you can go to Settings
  • Scroll down and tap Contact
  • Tap Send Crash Report

Dropbox Not Working

Disconnect and then Re-connect into Dropbox:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap “Disconnect Dropbox”
  • Tap “Connect Dropbox”

Permanote Performing Slowly

Turn Off Auto-sync:

Syncing only happens when you open or close a note, but you can try this:

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down and tap More Options
  • Tap the switch to turn off auto-sync

Clear Space:

One user reported a slow-down while typing every 5 seconds, this was due to his iPad being full:

  • Delete any apps or media you don’t need
  • Re-open Permanote

Re-install Permanote:

This is a last-resort, but often fixes everything.

Keyboard Obscures Typing

Most likely your keyboard is undocked. To re-dock it, tap and hold onto the button at the bottom-right of the keyboard and slide it to the bottom.

Using the Editor

How to Search

Search for a Note

Go to Notes then tap Search

How to Search & Replace

This is currently not supported yet.

Speeding up Your Editing

Permanote is one of the fastest ways to input on iOS. There are two ways that Permanote can help.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

The keyboard shortcut bar provides an extra row of keys above your keyboard with frequently used characters and cursors to move left and right one character at a time. If the keyboard shortcut bar does not appear, go to Settings and tap the switch for Keyboard Shortcuts.

Select a Line

The shortcut titled “line” is handy for selecting the current line. Scroll the shortcut bar to the right to see this one.

Insert a Line at the Top

The shortcut titled “^\n” scrolls to the top of the current note and creates a newline.

Insert a Timestamp

Tap on “date” or “time” on the shortcut bar to insert one or the other.


Customize Keyboard Shortcuts

If you use phrases and words repeatedly, use a shortcut to insert that text with one tap. So if you have a signature that you always insert at the end of your letters, create a shortcut for it. To do this, enable the Keyboard Shortcuts bar, then tap Customize Shortcuts, then Add Shortcuts. Type in your signature in the contents box, and since it’s long, you probably want to give an alias, like “sig”.

Now when you edit text, you’ll see “sig” in a special toolbar above. Tap it to insert your signature.

There are also built-in shortcuts which are preceded with the $-sign. These can really speed up your workflow. Here’s a reference sheet, but the best thing is to go to Settings, Customize Shortcuts, and scroll down to Reference Macros, then tap the + button to add a shortcut on your keyboard shortcut bar.

To re-arrange shortcuts, tap the Reorder button in the upper-right, and tap-and-drag the lined handles on the right.

Special Insertion Shortcuts

  • $dfmt lets you add a custom time stamp. I recommend adding it, and then editing out what you don’t need.
  • $paste will put whatever text was in the clipboard into the doc
  • $tab(n) will tab the text n-spaces
  • $untab will backspace any tabs
  • $sel will be substituted for the current selection (and leave the inserted text selected).

Cursor Shortcuts

  • $bottom moves the cursor to the bottom of the note
  • $cursor will put the cursor at its location after the macro has been inserted
  • $down moves the cursor down a line
  • $left moves the cursor to the left
  • $line selects the current line
  • $lline moves the cursor to the start of the line
  • $lword moves the cursor one word to the left
  • $right moves the cursor to the right
  • $rline moves the cursor to the end of the line
  • $rword moves the cursor one word to the right
  • $select selects the current word and keeps your selection in-tact when you move the arrow keys
  • $top moves the cursor to the top of the note
  • $up moves the cursor up a line
  • $del deletes the next character (as opposed to backspace)

Other Shortcuts

  • $copy copies the selected text
  • $cut cuts the selected text

Utility Shortcuts

  • $separator divides your shortcuts up into multiple rows that you can scroll through
  • $undo undoes
  • $redo redoes

Backup or Share Shortcuts

Scroll to the bottom of the shortcut list and tap Import or Export to backup your shortcuts to Dropbox.

Chain Shortcuts

You can chain shortcuts together. For example, to create a new entry at the top of your note, use $top$date\n\n\n$up (press enter, instead of typing \n). All of the shortcuts above except the utility ones, can be chained together.

Use TextExpander

TextExpander is a separate app that also lets you automatically insert text. When you type an abbreviation like “sig” it automatically expands it with your preset text. Go to Settings, scroll down and tap More Options, turn on TextExpander. Then tap Get App. TextExpander works with all iOS apps, not just Permanote.

Dvorak Layout

Apple has built-in Dvorak support for Bluetooth Keyboards. Tap Home, then go to Settings > General > Keyboards > English > Hardware Keyboard Layout.

Word, Character, Line Counts

Get Stats Manually

Tap and hold your finger anywhere in the editor, and you’ll see a line number next to what is usually Copy and Paste. Tap and hold to select some text, and another pop-up will show you the word count. Tap that word count to see a character count instead.

Get Stats Automatically

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down and tap More Options
  • Scroll down to Live Stats and switch on Word, Character, or Line Counts

How to Close Your Note

Tap the note’s title in the top and choose Close Note

Sharing Your Writing

Tap Note Actions then Share

Formatting for Sharing

Using Basic PDF exporter

Tap Note Actions, Email, then choose Email as PDF. This gives you some options to choose line-spacing, font-size, etc. A neat feature is that you can customize the first line’s style, so you can give a nice looking title to your note. This is useful for making quick hand-outs.

Using MarkDown

MarkDown is a powerful, yet simple formatting tool. It lets you have plain-text files that look formatted both in source and exported. For example, if you use a single asterisk, you can italicize text (\*this\* becomes *this*). Or you can use two asterisks to bold text (\*\*this\*\* becomes **this**). This whole manual was written with MarkDown, and what’s great is that it’s not cluttered with HTML syntax or rich-text formatting commands. Go to your desktop browser, and View > Source to see for yourself.

Once you have inputted MarkDown symbols, tap Note Actions then Preview Markup. Then choose MarkDown. You can also tap the action icon again in the bottom-right to Email it already formatted like that.

A MarkDown reference sheet is available on the web.

Using HTML

You can also use HTML tags to mark up your text. When you are finished, simply go to Note Actions, then Preview markup.

What’s Base URL?

Base URL is like the HTML base tag. It specifies the default URL for all links and images on the page. So if in your markup you refer to *title.jpg* but have a Base URL of *http: //* the full image URL will become *http: //*

How to Print

Using AirPlay Printers

There are a handful of AirPlay enabled printers, which enable printing directly from Permanote. Search the web for “AirPlay printers” to find out which ones are available. To print, tap Note Actions then Print.

Using the PDF Export to Print

Tap Note Actions, Email, Email as PDF then email the PDF to yourself. Then go to a computer connected to a printer, open your email, and print the attached PDF.

Dealing with International Chars

Notes created in Permanote will look fine when opened in most text editors, since they’re saved in UTF-8. However, you may need to open a note with an international characterset, like Chinese or Japanese, in which case, you may need to go to Settings, scroll down and tap More Options, then tap Automatic Encoding to change it.

Using an External Keyboard

Permanote works really well in conjunction with Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. I often use it to write out long pieces of text on Permanote

If you see the virtual keyboard on the screen, while your wireless keyboard is active, you can hide the virtual keyboard by pressing the eject key on the wireless keyboard.


Many keyboard shortcuts that you are used to already work with the wireless keyboard.

  • Hold “control” or “command” and use the left and right arrow keys to move to the beginning or end of a line (as it appears on-screen)
  • Hold “control” or “command” and use the up and down arrow keys to move to the beginning or end of the note.
  • Hold “alt” and use the left and right arrow keys to move one word at a time.
  • Hold “alt” and use the up and down keys to move between lines (as they appear in your note).
  • Hold “shift” to select text while moving the cursor around
  • Control-X, Control-C, and Control-P provide Cut, Copy, and Paste
  • Control-Z undos the last operation

Managing Notes

Existing Dropbox Users

  1. Tap the Notes button
  2. Tap Connect Dropbox
  3. Enter your login information, You only need to do this once
  4. Browse to your notes

New Dropbox Users

You can have your notes saved into the cloud by creating a free Dropbox account (which includes 5 GB free).

  1. Tap the Notes icon
  2. Tap the Connect Dropbox
  3. Tap create account
  4. Enter your account information

Your Dropbox account will be created immediately, and you won’t have to enter your login info again from this app. You should see two items in your new Dropbox account: a “Public” folder and a “Getting Started.pdf.” The PDF is issued by Dropbox, not by Permanote, and explains how to use your Dropbox account. You can skip this for now.

Now tap the History below. This will show you all the notes that you worked on before you connected Dropbox. Tap on the Folder Sync button to sync everything to Dropbox.

How to Rename or Move a Note

Tap the Edit button to rename/move a note. Or if you’re in the editor, tap on the note’s name at the top and choose Rename or Save As.

How to Tag a Note

Open a note that is linked with Dropbox. Then at the top, there is a little arrow by the note’s title name. Tap that and a pop-up will appear with options to Add Tags.

How to Delete a Note

Swipe your finger on a note to see a Remove button. Otherwise, tap the Edit button and and tap the minus signs to the left.

How to Sync Multiple Notes

Tap on the Notes or History button. Then tap the Folder Sync icon. This will sync all the notes in that folder.

If you want to cancel the status check, tap on the progress percentage indicator.

Common Questions

How Does Syncing Work?

Auto-syncing happens at any point when user interaction begins or ends, usually when opening a note, or tapping the Done button when finished editing.

During an auto-sync, Permanote checks for a newer version online, and downloads it if necessary. If there are changes to the note on your device, it uploads them. If there is a newer version online AND there are changes on your device, it will rename the note.

If you accidentally overwrite a note on Dropbox, you can revert your changes by going to

You can turn off auto-syncing by going to Settings, scroll down and tap More Options, then disable Auto-Sync.

Compatible Files Types

Permanote can open any plain-text file. Rich-text files or files with multimedia, such as images, PDFs, or Word files, will, in most cases, open in a preview-only mode.

Why Only Dropbox?

There is only one choice to store your writing in the cloud: Dropbox. Here’s why:

  1. Restoring changes to files is a must-have for any cloud backup. Accidental overwrites or deletions are inevitable when you sync from multiple devices.
  2. Dropbox has a generous free plan: 2GB of free space, enough for half a million notes.
  3. Their service is reliable.
  4. The desktop app is polished.

Here are providers I ruled out:

  1. Box: At the time, their desktop app wasn’t that great at syncing files
  2. Google Drive: Text files get comingled with Google’s proprietary document format, meaning you can’t open Google Docs from Permanote nor text files from Google Docs.
  3. Apple iCloud: No file revisions
  4. Microsoft SkyDrive: Version history is only for paying customers

Migrating Notes

… to Dropbox

After connecting to Dropbox for the first time, if you already have a lot of notes, you can usually put all of them into Dropbox by tapping on History and then tapping on Folder Sync.

If you turn off Auto-save New Notes, some notes in History may not sync automatically. In which case, tap on the outlined lightning bolts next to each note to manually give each note a home in Dropbox.

Once you are done, you can tap the trash icon on History to make room now that all your notes are in Dropbox.

… from Nebulous Notes

See above for Migrating to Dropbox to put all your notes in Dropbox first. Then in Permanote, you should see all your notes after connecting to Dropbox.

Automating Your Editing

Use Launch Center Pro or something similar to create one-click shortcuts for various Permanote tasks:

    • permanote:// – opens Permanote
    • permanote://new – creates a new note
    • permanote://new?contents=some%20string – creates a new note with specified contents
    • permanote://path/to%20file.txt opens a note. Note: file name is case-sensitive, and special characters must be written with URL codes (see below)
    • permanote://path/to%20file.txt?append=some%20string – appends some text
    • permanote://path/to%20file.txt?prepend=some%20string – prepends some text

URL Codes

  • %20 – space
  • %0A – new line

How to Contact