beorg is an iOS app to help you manage your agenda, tasks and notes. It uses a simple plaintext file format compatible with a powerful system called Org mode. Edit the files on your computer in any editor - or use Org-mode in Emacs for maximum power. Org mode extensions are also available for Atom, VScode, ViM and other editors.
This manual was last updated for beorg 2.5.0.
You can install beorg from the App Store onto your iPhone and/or iPad. When you run beorg for the first time you will need to setup syncing your org files. Either iCloud, Dropbox or WebDAV can be used. If you are starting from scratch, and use macOS on the desktop, then iCloud is recommended.
With iCloud no further setup is required. If you are on Dropbox or WebDAV then you’ll need to make sure you’ve got an org folder ready in which to store your files.
The agenda is the default screen shown when beorg is started. It shows the tasks for each day in the current week. A task in the agenda is a heading in one of your org files which has a scheduled date, deadline or active date.
You can perform the following actions on a task:
At the bottom right is a button to show the Quick Capture dialog.
Also at the bottom are buttons to allow you to change the week shown.
To filter your agenda with a search term tap the Search button (top left) or drag down from the top of that week.
The TODO tab lists each org file and the tasks, including ones without dates. A summary is shown of the number of tasks and how many are overdue.
The same actions on each item that are available on the Agenda tab are available on the TODO tab.
At the bottom of the TODO tab is a toggle between showing all incomplete tasks or choosing from a filter. If you’ve activated the Saved Searches extension then any saved searches will also appear in the filter list.
Files is split into two sections. At the top are your pinned files. Next are all the files in beorg.
To add to the pinned files section swipe on a file from left to right then tap Pin. To remove do the same from the pinned section.
To delete a file swipe from right to left and tap delete. You will be asked to confirm the deletion.
To view any previous versions of a file swipe from right to left and tap Versions. From the list of versions you can either view an individual version or revert to that version.
You can add a new file by tapping the add button on the navigation bar at the top of the screen.
The Settings tab allows you to setup beorg.
The most important section allows you to configure syncing your org files. You can sync files using either iCloud, Dropbox or WebDAV.
Tasks in beorg can notify you to remind you to get them completed. Tasks with a date but no time will generate a notification at the same time everyday. Change “All day tasks start at” to the time you would like these notifications. Tasks with a time will generate there notification a certain number of minutes before the time set. Set “Timed task reminders” to how many minutes before the set time you would like these to fire.
beorg can show events from your calendars alongside your Org mode tasks. In Settings you can choose which calendars are included in beorg. This is useful if you have duplicates, such as multiple holiday calendars.
By default there are two states for tasks - TODO and DONE. It can be helpful to have more states. For example a task which isn’t yet completed could be:
Similarly completed tasks may need different completion statuses. For example:
beorg can sync files with either iCloud, Dropbox or WebDAV (this includes services such as NextCloud). Once sync is setup then beorg will sync your files when:
For all other sync methods when:
As beorg works with files it is possible that a file edited in beorg is not the latest version. beorg keeps track of previous versions of files. If a remote change overwrites a local change then you’ll be alerted to this. You can then browse the saved versions and either revert or copy out the overwritten change. Where possible make sure that you don’t have unsaved files on your computer that you are going to edit in beorg.
You can view and edit files in beorg. To show a file either swipe an agenda or todo item, or select the file itself from the files tab.
A file is shown as an outline. An outline is an organised hierarchy of text. You may sometimes see items in an outline referred to as nodes. An item can contain other items, known as it’s children. A headline can also contain text. Here is an example of what beorg writes when you save a file you’ve been working on:
* Headline 1 ** Headline 1.1 Some text belonging to headline 1.1 ** Headline 1.2 * Headline 2
beorg allows you to fold (that is show/hide it’s children) an item in the outline. To show/hide the children of an item tap on the left hand side of the screen on the headline. You can see if an item has it’s children hidden because it will contain a triangle pointing right. If it’s children are shown then the triangle will point down. An item with no children will show as an empty circle.
As well as viewing files you can also edit files as well. To edit an existing item tap on the right side of the screen on the headline. So you can see which item is being edited a blue line will appear on it’s left.
You can add a new item to the bottom of the document by tapping the Add Item button.
The top set of icons in the edit area are as follows:
You should experiment with these tools before using on an important file.
Below these tools is a switch between editing the item’s headline and editing the text underneath the headline (sometimes referred to as notes).
When editing an item’s headline there are some additional buttons and information which appears:
You can view a file as formatted text by tapping the button at the top right of the screen. If you want to view just part of an outline as text long press the item and choose Export from the popup menu. The formatted view of the document or subtree can be exported as a PDF for printing or sharing via an app.
The long press menu for an item can also be used to copy the item as Org mode text to the clipboard.
Whilst you can edit an item from the file its in, often it is more convenient to edit the item itself directly from the agenda.
The edit screen contains the details about the item and its text (or notes).
An item can be assigned zero or more dates. A date can be:
It is often useful to set both a scheduled and deadline date for an item which is a multi-day project.
In addition to an item being assigned a specific day it can also be given a time.
The date/time editor allows you to quickly set a date to today or tomorrow, and to move forward/backwards in increments of 1 or 7 days at a time. At the top of the date dialog you can see how many days in the past/future the date is and which day (e.g. Monday) it is.
To add or remove a time to a date tap the clock icon at the top of the dialog. To remove a date (e.g. you’ve decided not to have a scheduled date now, just a deadline) tap the trash can icon.
There are times when its useful to have an item which automatically repeats. beorg supports repeating an item after a certain number of days, weeks, months or years. Here are some examples of repeated tasks:
When a repeated task is marked as done beorg will change the date to when it should next be completed. You can tell beorg to update the date in one of the following ways:
To set a date to repeat:
You can quickly add items to your quick capture file in one of two ways:
You can use Search from either the agenda, in which case it is limited to the current week being displayed, or from the TODO tab. Type some words to search for, or a phrase (in double quotes, e.g. “sales meetings”). To narrow down your search even more there is a simple syntax. Documentation for this can be viewed in beorg by tapping the “Search Syntax” button above the keyboard.
If you have a search you use all the time then you may find the “Saved Searches” beorg extension useful. This is an in-app purchase which can be bought from within beorg. Saved searches can be quickly accessed from the list of filters on the TODO tab. For example you may have a saved search which shows all tasks in files related to work that have the tag Flagged.
If you use apps such as Shortcuts or Drafts then you may find the beorg URL scheme useful. The URL scheme allows you to launch the beorg app and do one of the following:
To add a new item you need to use the URL
beorg://x-callback-url/capture. Without any arguments the quick capture
dialog will be shown. You can also supply the following arguments:
To view the agenda use the URL
To view a file use the URL
beorg://x-callback-url/file with the argument file - e.g.
beorg supports x-success and x-cancel arguments, however they are not mandatory.
The documentation on scripting beorg and advanced customisation can be viewed by going to the Settings tab, tapping the button top right and then tapping the help icon. This is likely to be most useful if you have some experience of programming or don’t mind learning some basics.
beorg writes files using the Org mode syntax. Whilst you can edit these files using any text editor a text editor which understands Org mode will work best. Org mode was written for the Emacs editor - and if you want to use all of the (many) features supported by Org mode then you will want to use Emacs. However there are plugins for other editors including Atom, Visual Studio Code, ViM, Sublime Text and others. These will only support a small fraction of what Org mode is capable of - however beorg only supports a small fraction of the power of the Emacs Org mode anyway!
Org mode is a very rich, capable system. beorg only supports a fraction of what you can do using Org mode in Emacs. beorg is focused on giving you access to your agenda and basic editing of org files whilst using your iOS device. There are many things not supported by beorg. The following are currently not supported but will be in a future version:
To find out more about Org mode - https://orgmode.org/