Basic writing and formatting syntax

Thanks for checking out this early peek into the future of Bear. With this alpha test—code named Panda—we’re focusing on some major new features for the Editor inside of Bear. That means some of its other major components like tags and the Sidebar aren’t here yet. Eventually, we’ll get them in here too.

We’d love to hear your feedback and bug reports. Now, check out the list of what’s new and how to use some of these features.

Markdown, ==improved==

  • Bear is switching from Polar to CommonMark, a more standard and compatible version of Markdown for adding style to plain text
  • Markdown is now hidden by default when not editing, making for a cleaner look and easier reading
  • Nest styles to combine things like italics and links or add tags and links to headers

All formatting options are now one tap away in our custom keyboard. Some options like attachments, the camera, and time & date have a secondary menu if you tap and hold on the button. For example, hold the attachments button for the new Document Scanner.


Tables are coming to Bear! Create them from the new custom keyboard, which changes layout when editing a table to offer unique controls.

Name Snuggle Factor Learn More
🐻 Bear Snuggly
🐼 Panda Also Snuggly Alpha
🐸 Shiny Frog Less Snuggly The Team


Footnotes are a great way to include tertiary information, cite sources, or expand on a related topic, like this1. To navigate to a footnote, tap its number like the one here 2.

Better tools to work with #images

Resize, crop, and add multiple photos to a note at once.

Tap and hold a photo (like the one below) to resize or crop it.

IMG_0295.jpeg Oh, and tap GIFs to play them!


The all-new Sketcher in Panda now uses Apple’s PencilKit tools.

  • Add sketches anywhere in a note from our custom keyboard
  • Edit sketches any time later
  • Shape recognition - Draw a freehand line, square, triangle, or circle, pause at the end, and Bear will turn it into a proper shape with straight lines or smooth curves

Feel free to unleash your inner artist on the Bear sketch below.


Focus on a section of a note by folding (hiding) others. To fold a part of a note, tap a header, tap the button on the left, then tap Toggle Folding. To reveal a folded section, tap the (...) button at the end of its name. Try it on the folded section below.

Here’s a folded section you can play with


How you can help

All these new features need lots of testing, and we’d love to have your help! You can edit this note or create a new one by tapping Back in the upper left, then Create Document. Whichever way you go:

  1. Try as many features as possible
  2. Tap the BIU button in the keyboard bar for the new custom keyboard editing options
  3. You can also write plain Markdown, of course
  4. Share bug reports and feedback in our testing forum (please not on social media)

You can recover this Welcome Note any time from the menu in the upper right.

Share your feedback Feedback forum
Report a bug Bug forum
Alpha test page



  1. Did you know the invention of the footnote is credited to Richard Jugge, the London-based printer of the Bishops’ Bible in 1568?

  2. Tap either of these numbers here to navigate back to its reference in the note