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An essential part of iA Writer, the Library is a feature you will use daily to store, organize and retrieve your documents.

As we develop our apps on all platforms natively, we do our best for the look and feel of the Library in each version to be as intuitive as possible.
On iA Writer for macOS, the Library should seem familiar to users of Finder and Mail.

Reveal and Conceal the Library

You can open and close the Library in 4 different ways:

Open the Library Close the Library
With your mouse cursor over the left side of the editor, use a swipe to the right gesture (two-finger swipe on trackpads) With your mouse cursor over the left side of the editor, use a swipe to the left gesture (two-finger swipe on trackpads)
Click the left button in the top-right of the title bar Same
From the menu, choose ViewShow Library From the menu, choose ViewHide Library
Use the keyboard shortcut S Same

Using the Library

The Library is comprised of the Organizer and File List.

You can make those panels wider or smaller or hide them completely. Some users like to keep their Library open while typing, and some prefer having the Editor in full screen for a distraction-free experience.

The Organizer

The left side of the Library allows you to select cloud storage, organize folders and access tags.

You can hide the Organizer in ViewHide Organizer. The File List will still show; to hide it as well, you have to hide the whole Library.
In iA Writer 6, the Organizer contains Locations, Favorites, Smart Folders, and Hashtags. Right-clicking any item in the Organizer pops up a context menu.

1. Locations

Locations in iA Writer is where you can add cloud storage. The default location is iCloud but you can add other providers such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc…

You can add new Locations to the Organizer in 2 ways:
– by dragging a folder from Finder into Locations
– by clicking the + button beside the Locations label (mouse over to view)

2. Favorites

Favorites allow you to create quick bookmarks to your most-used files and folders.

To add a Favorite:
– drag it from the File List into the Favorites section
– right-click on the file and select Add to Favorites from the context menu

3. Smart Folders

Normal folders are static; Smart folders are dynamic. Which files are found in a Smart Folder depends on the rules which govern it. New files can find their way into a Smart Folder with no user interaction at all.

iA Writer comes by default with a single Smart Folder: Recents. This is a list of the 25 most recently used files, across the whole Library.

If you are using iA Writer with iCloud your Smart Folders stay in sync across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices.

When creating a Smart Folder, you will be prompted to choose the rules iA Writer will follow to select the files, either:
– Search
– Parent path
– Ancestor path
– Kind (text, folder, or other)
– Date created
– Date modified

a) Paths

Parent path: contents of a specific folder.
Ancestor paths: contents of a particular folder and all of its subfolders.

To enter the paths:
/ refers to the default location (iCloud or local).
Location: / can be used to filter files from custom locations.
From Other Apps: / is available on iOS.

Tips: use the contextual menu in Library and Organizer to copy paths.

b) Search

Search works like a search engine. It’s optimized to be fast with a large number of files.

Search is available for:
– Names of all files
– Contents of Plain Text files (txt text)
– Contents of Markdown files (md markdown et al.)

Search supports the following queries:

Queries Matching files
.png when extension begins as .png*
".m" when extension is m
text machine where name or text contain words that begin as text and machine
"text* machine" where name or text contain a phrase with a word that begins as text and a word machine
#priority where contain a hashtag that begins as text and a word #priority*
-microsoft word that don’t include microsoft but include word
[ ] that contain an incomplete task list item
[x] that contain a completed task list item
-# that don’t contain a hashtag
"#diary" that contain a hashtag #diary
^first where the first word of a name or a text is first*
time AND space where name or text contain words that begin as time and space
name:alice where name contains a word that begins as alice*
name:^"note" where name begins with a word note
time OR "space" with time or space
time NOT space with time but not space
NEAR(time space) where time and space are located with 10 or less words in-between
NEAR(time "space" "travel" 4) with time, space and travel with 3 or less terms in-between
(time AND life) OR "me" with time and life, or me

4. Hashtags

Another way to organize your thoughts without multiple folders is by using tags. We implemented the Twitter spec for hashtags as a starting point, being the most universal implementation.

To make a tag, write the # characters beside a word (no space, just like on Social Media).
You will see your tag appearing on the Organizer under the Hashtag category. When you click on it, it will show you in the File List all the documents containing this tag.

The File List

The File List will show you all the folders and files stored in the selected Location (iCloud for example).
Documents can be moved to, from, and within the Library by dragging them. This can be done with multiple iA Writer windows and the Finder too.
If option is pressed while dragging, the selected file will be duplicated instead of moved.
Use command or shift to select multiple files/folders.

Open a document from the File List:
– with a single click, in the same window
– with a double click in a new window

Right-click on a document in the File List opens a context menu allowing you to delete, rename, duplicate, etc… this document:

1. Sort by and Filter

You can turn ON or OFF a Sort Bar (shown above the File List) and a Filter Bar (shown below the File List) from MenuViewShow Sort Bar/ Filter Bar
– the Sort Bar will sort folders by Name, Date, or Extension.
– the Filter Bar will display documents in the current folder which contain your search string.

2. Navigating Files

Buttons in the title bar allow navigating forward and backward in the File List.

Another powerful tool to search for files is the Quick Search feature:
– from MenuGoQuick Search
– shortcut O

This article is quite long but you will quickly realize that using the Library is intuitive.
As always, if you don’t remember a specific shortcut, you can find it from the Menu bar beside the desired action (on the right side).