Here’s a problem: I experienced an issue with applying styles in OmniOutliner, and I finally wrote the developers and asked them how to solve it. They quickly replied back and explained the issue and the solution.

But wait, suppose I forget the solution two or three months from now when I happen to use the application again? Normally I would need to spend time searching for the email with the specific instructions. But now with the handy automation application, GhostNote, there’s a better solution. Here’s how GhostNote works.

GhostNote is a notepad application with an automated twist.

How GhostNote Works 

GhostNote is a notepad application that resides in your menu bar. It works like  any other mini notebook application, but with a unique twist. GhostNote automatically changes its notepad for each application (or document) you switch to.

So for example, you can write a note while in the Safari  and that note will only show up when Safari is the  forefront application. When you switch to another application, say OmniOutliner, you can create notes to be only viewed in that application.  You can even change the color of notepads for different applications.


Here’s video demo of GhostNote in action; however, there is no voice narration.

Support for Different Documents

GhostNote also allows for attaching notes to specific documents, such as webpages, files, and Finder windows. But in order to use this feature, you need to install the  a folder of scripts. To do this, click on the cogwheel of any GhostNote note, and then select Install Document Support….


You will be asked to install the scripts in a folder. Make sure that folder is named, “com.ghostnoteapp.” Do not install in any other folder.

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After the installation, a new note document will appear for each document you open, including individual webpages.  You can’t have multiple notepads for different documents, but  realistically that might create a cluttered desktop in some cases. Also, GhostNote doesn’t support image files, which would be very useful for retaining screenshots.

Use Cases

I see GhostNote as being most useful for keeping notes and checklists. For example, the next time I produce a ScreenFlow video, I plan to create a checklist of items for producing a video. Already in Photoshop I have a few notes about image file sizes that I I need to reference. And when I’m working in, I now have a list of  font styles I want to reference when creating graphics.

GhostNote is great for writers, bloggers, developers and designers, and general Mac users who work in several different applications on a regular basis.

Preferences Features 

A few features that you may not be aware of when first using GhostNote is that the font style and size for notes can be changed.  I didn’t notice this feature at first  because it’s most visible when you actually click on the Preferences window.


You can also detach the notepad window from the menu bar, and park it anywhere on your screen. However, GhostNote can’t remember where you parked a notepad for specific applications. It keeps the notepad in the same spot where you parked it.

You can also activate GhostNote with a keyboard shortcut, which, as I do with most applications, I mapped the shortcut to a Dragon Dictate voice command, so I don’t have to  type the shortcut each time to trigger the application.

The other features include the ability to change the color for a note, which GhostNote remembers for each different application. And notes can be exported to an RTF document or to Evernote.

There’s also the Ghostmode feature, which means the notepad will remain hidden until  you point your mouse over the area where you parked the notepad on your desktop. For now I’m experimenting with using the keyboard shortcut mapped to a Dragon Dictate voice commandBetterTouchTool finger gesture, and a Keyboard Maestro stringer trigger. I thought about leaving it open at all times or using Ghostmode, but keeping the notepad open at all times becomes little of a distraction on my desktop.

Problem Solved 

For me, GhostNote solves a significant problem, and its ability to automatically attach notes to different documents makes it stand out above other note applications. I’m looking forward to checking out the other AppleScript scripts to see all the ways the program can work in different applications.


Let me know what you think of GhostNote and how you’re using it on your Mac.

GhostNote is available directly from the developer’s website for $9.99, or from the Mac App Store. There’s an option for a 7-day free trial download.


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