More About TheBrain — The Editor

Stephen Zeoli
3 min readJun 1, 2023


TheBrain’s note editor has improved greatly over the past few versions and now compares favorably with most modern PKMs.

After a hiatus that has been too long, I am continuing my series of articles on TheBrain, a PKM that has been evolving for a quarter century.

I have previously looked at TheBrain’s Plex, which is the “mind map” looking window where you can relate your thoughts in an infinite hierarchy. But each thought also has a text area for adding notes to your thoughts.

The editor in TheBrain has much of the functionality that most modern note-taking applications have. That is, you can build rich notes that help you to visually keep track of your information. Use a slightly modified markdown to add visual flair to your notes. Insert media and tables. Quickly change the editor theme to reflect your mood or better distinguish your ideas.

A great feature of the editor is that TheBrain scans all the notes in your currently opened brain to find thoughts that you might want to link to your notes. It underlines the phrase with a dotted blue line, indicating that it found a thought with that title, and it offers the opportunity to create a permanent link in the note, or to simply visit that other thought.

You can export editor content in four formats.

TheBrain offers four formats for exporting notes:

  • HTML
  • PDF
  • Markdown
  • Text

And it offers additional options for what to include in the export (see the image above).

You can add checkboxes to items to turn them into tasks. That’s not so exciting, and you can’t add priorities or due dates to the items in these lists. But what you can do is open a sidebar that shows all the open tasks from across your brain.

Open the task side panel to see the incomplete tasks from across your currently active brain.

The editor window will also optionally show all the relevant links within your brain. It will show you the “physical links” from within the Plex related to the thought. It will also show back links as well as unlinked mentions.

A few short-comings

In a previous version of TheBrain, you could open the notes of a thought in a separate window. I like that functionality and wish they’d add it back. I’d also like to see a slash command for quickly adding elements to my notes. That is, press the slash key and a window opens with all the options for adding material to the note. This is common in most modern note-takers.

There are many other aspects of TheBrain’s editor that I could write about (and maybe will someday), but the point of this article has been just to provide an overview, and assure readers that TheBrain can handle notes as you may have become used to if you’ve used Notion or Coda or Capacities or any number of other apps. It isn’t quite as fluid as most of those apps, but it is adequate, in my opinion. In short, you wouldn’t choose TheBrain for the power of the notes editor, but the notes editor should not stop you from using TheBrain if you like all the app’s other fine features.