Smart Books

Smart books collect their documents based on specific attributes or criteria, and not based on where documents reside within Notebooks. They usually collect and display their contents on the fly, the moment the user opens them.


  • Notebooks‘ smart books include Due Tasks, Favorites, Inbox, All Tasklists, Recent Items, Recently Modified, Contexts, Protected Items and Trash. Not all of these smart books are available on all platforms.
  • The list of smart books is available at Notebooks top level 1. On a Mac, smart books also appear at the top of the outline, which is the leftmost column in the three pane display.
  • The selection of smart books varies depending on settings and contents. As these books collect their content based on certain criteria, Notebooks may hide smart books which do not meet their criteria. – More details follow in the section below.
  • To open a smart books’ document in its original location (i.e. the book physically containing the document), right-click it on a Mac or tap and hold it on an iPad or iPhone, then select “Open in Enclosing Book”. This option is available in multiple different places.

The Smart Books in Detail

Due Tasks

This book appears when at least one task list is present in Notebooks. It shows all tasks which are already due, or will become due within a given timeframe. You can set a look ahead timeframe of up to 30 days.

You can sort the list of due tasks by title, creation date and state/due date.

On your iPhone or iPad
  • Tap the action button to select the number of days to look ahead.
  • From this smart book you also reach a calendar, which provides a convenient way of viewing tasks sorted by due date.
On your Mac
  • Tap the ••• button in the document list’s header to se the number of days to look ahead.


This smart book lists all items you have set as Favorites. It automatically appears when setting the first favorite, and it disappears after removing the last favorite.

To select an item as favorite, swipe right across its title and click or tap the star button. Alternatively, you can right-click or tap and hold an item and select the corresponding action from the context menu. – Use the same actions to remove an item from favorites.

You can sort the list of favorites by title, creation date, modification date and according to a custom sort order.

Items that have been selected as Favorite display a star icon along with their title, so they are easy to identify even in regular books.


When you select a book as Default Inbox, this smart book provides quick access to the contents of the book. This allows you to choose any book – even a deeply nested one – as default inbox and quickly access is from Notebooks‘ top level.

The Inbox is the default location where Notebooks stores documents when no parent is given, as for example when sharing items from other applications, extracting tasks from documents etc.

All Task Lists

This book lists all task lists, no matter where they are located within Notebooks. So you get a quick overview of pending tasks without digging into nested hierarchies.

Task lists always display a badge with the number of open and due tasks, so a list without a badge does not contain any open tasks.

Recent Items

This is the list of recently viewed documents, with the most recently viewed document at the top. You can select how many items Notebooks should display in this list.

On your iPhone or iPad
  • By default, Recent Items are off.
  • You set the number of recent items in Settings > General > Recent Items.
On your Mac
  • Recent Items are always enabled.
  • You set the number of recent items from the ••• button in the document list’s header.

Recently Modified

This book lists the documents that have recently been modified, with the most recently modified item at the top. – You can set how far Notebooks should look back for modified documents.

If you imported a document into Notebooks and don’t exactly know where it “ended up”, a look at this smart book can be very helpful.

On your iPhone or iPad
  • By default, Recently Modified is off.
  • Adjust the time frame in Settings > General > Recently Modified.
On your Mac
  • Recently Modified is always enabled.
  • Adjust the time frame from the ••• button in the document list’s header.


This book lists all available contexts and provides access to the assigned books and documents. With each context, Notebooks displays the number of assigned items. When Hide Done Tasks is enabled, that number does not include done or cancelled tasks.

  • Delete contexts from the list like regular books (with a swipe gesture on an iPad or iPhone, by right-clicking on a Mac).
  • You can also add new contexts from this smart book.
  • To refresh contexts and their associated documents, pull down the list on an iPad or iPhone, or right-click the smart book and select “Reload Contexts” on a Mac. You usually don’t need to do that, as Notebooksupdates the list automatically.

Protected Items (iPad and iPhone)

This smart books appears when protection is enabled and Notebooks is unlocked. It lists all items that have their protection switch turned on.

Activating protection for a book hides the book and all of its contents, but only the book appears in this list, because its protection switch is on.

Trash (iPad and iPhone)

While not a smart book in the strict sense, Trash provides access to recently deleted items waiting for permanent deletion.

  • Tap an item in the list to restore it at its original location. Choosing Restore puts back and opens the document.
  • To permanently delete an item, swipe left across its title and confirm.
  • To bulk restore or bulk delete items, tap the ••• button in the toolbar,

  1. The top level book is the one that does not show a < Back button in its top left corner, so it is the place where you cannot move up any further. ↩︎