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Advanced Features


It’s a sign that you’re really getting along when you can finish each other’s sentences. Let nvUltra complete your thoughts (or at least your words) for you.

Autocomplete Labels and Footnotes

In the PreferencesEditing pane, under Smart editing features, you’ll find options for “Autocomplete labels” and “Autocomplete footnotes.” When one or both of these are turned on, nvUltra will keep track of what titles you use in link and footnote references, autocompleting them for you when it detects you’re adding a link or footnote marker.

For example, if you had the following in your document:

Autocomplete example
Autocomplete example

When you start to type a link, e.g. [text to link][], and your cursor is inside the second pair of square brackets, nvUltra will start offering you a list of existing links, narrowing it down as you type more characters. Press Return to accept the highlighted completion.

Smart Autocomplete

nvUltra keeps track of words you’ve used in the current document, autocompleting those in addition to the standard dictionary. After the first time you’ve typed out an unusual word like “adscititious,” that word is now in the autocomplete dictionary. Start typing “ads,” hit Option-Escape (or F5), and nvUltra will pop up a selection of completions for the word, including “adscititious”.

By the way, because nvUltra uses the escape key to end editing of a note or field, it doesn’t serve as the autocomplete key as it does in many other applications. If you miss that binding, you can change the settings in the PreferencesAdvanced pane (under Autocompletion) to restore it.

You can also edit the default dictionaries used by autocomplete to include completions in all of your documents automatically. In the PreferencesAdvanced pane, click the “Open Dictionaries Folder” button under Autocompletion. Dictionaries are text files with one word or phrase per line.

Smart Capitalization

When you use autocompletion, the case of the replaced string can be affected by the capitalization of what you’ve typed.

Tab Completion of Folder Names

If you store notes in nested folders within your main notebook, notes within the subfolders appear in the notes list as Subfolder name/Note To add a new note within a subfolder, use the Tab key to complete the folder name, then add the name for the new note. A note created with “My Folder/My Note” would create “My” inside of a folder called “My Folder.”

Text Expansion

Under the PreferencesAdvanced pane, you’ll find a section called “Text Expansion.” You can enable and disable the feature here, as well as determine whether expansion happens instantly when a snippet is typed, or requires a space/punctuation character following it to trigger.

To create your own expansions, click the button in the Preference pane labeled “Open Expansions Folder.” There you’ll find a default.json file with some expansion examples that you can copy to a new file and start editing. The files are written in JSON, but even if you’re not familiar with JSON you can use the default.json as a base to start adding your own.

Each snippet has a “shortcut” and an “expansion.” The shortcut is what will be typed to trigger the expansion, and expansion defines what will be inserted in the editor instead. Including a punctuation character at the beginning of the shortcut (e.g. ,short) is recommended to avoid accidental triggering. Any punctuation character is allowed.

In the default.json file, you’ll find examples showing how to include the current date and time in your expansions. These use strftime formatting, which you’ll find documented here. Percent (%) symbols followed by a single character represent each part of a date/time string, and you can construct your own formatting as needed.

You’ll also find an example showing that you can use one snippet inside of another. By using the format %snippet:[trigger]% you can trigger one snippet within another. For example, if the snippet had a shortcut of .mmd, you could include it in another snippet using %snippet:.mmd%.

Note that changes to expansions require closing the current window and re-opening to take effect.

Undo Mode

nvUltra can undo your typing actions the way you always would: hit ⌘Z and make your last edit disappear. But you can go one step further by changing your Undo Mode under the PreferencesPro pane. There, you’ll choose between Regular Undo, and History Mode Undo.

To explain History Mode, we have to first look at how regular undo handles the undo history. If you make three edits, then undo them, once you type anything in the document, there’s no way to redo the other two things you just undid. They’re lost. With History Mode, if you undo the three changes, then type something, you can undo the most recent change and then still use undo/redo to move back to the changes you removed initially. Give it a try!

AppleScript Support

Using AppleScript, nvUltra can provide information about the current folder and selected note. Use it to integrate nvUltra with other apps and utilities.

tell application id "com.multimarkdown.nvUltra"
    -- target the foreground window
    set _win to window 1 
    -- Get the URL of the parent folder for the window
    get file of _win
    -- Get the URL of the currently selected note
    get note of _win
    -- Get an x-nvultra:// link to the currently selected note
    get note link of _win
end tell

URL Handler

You can use the x-nvultra: URL handler to create links that open notebooks, and search and create notes.



Add an editor theme or preview CSS using a percent-encoded string. If the parameter containing the string is css, a CSS style will be added. If it’s theme, an editor theme will be added. One of css or theme must be included, along with a name parameter:

x-nvultra://addtheme?name=My%20Editor%20Theme&theme=[percent endoded string]

x-nvultra://addtheme?name=My%20CSS%20Theme&css=[percent endoded string]
(Compatible with the nvALT and Notational Velocity url handlers)

Start a search in the frontmost window with the txt parameter:


The method can also be called with a path instead of a query parameter:

(Compatible with the nvALT and Notational Velocity url handlers)
Create a new note with the specified text (and optional title)

If no title is provided, it will be created using the first line of the text


This method also accepts a notebook parameter which will open a specific folder in which to create the notebook. You can use forward slashes in the note name to create the note in a subfolder of the notebook.


Open and search in a specific notebook. Provide either a full path to a note, or separate notebook and note parameters:

This method is essentially a more full-featured version of the find method, allowing specification of the parent folder. The note parameter can be used like find’s txt parameter, setting the search without having to be an exact file match.

Hidden Preferences

To set new values for the keys below, quit nvUltra, open Terminal, and run:

defaults write com.multimarkdown.nvUltra KEY VALUE

To return to the default setting, use:

defaults delete com.multimarkdown.nvUltra KEY

Be sure to quit nvUltra before running defaults commands. This avoids cached values overriding your new values, and prevents deleted values from causing issues with the running application. Deleted preferences will be restored to default on the next launch.

For advanced users, you can make changes to the editor appearance beyond what the themes allow using defaults:

Appearance settings
Key Description Value Default
NVTableColumnSpacing Spacing between columns Float: pt 28.0
NVTableFontName Font for file list String: font Avenir
NVTableFontSize Font size for file list Float: pt 14.0
NVTableGridLineInset Divider line inset (affects width) Float: pt 14.0
NVTableRowSize Row size for file list Float: pt 48.0
NVTableRowSpacing Spacing between rows Float: pt 0.0
NVTableSelectionIndicatorWidth Note selection indicator width Float: pt 6.0
NVTableTextPadding Note name cell padding Float: pt 6.0
STInfoBarFontName Info bar font name String: font name Helvetica
STInfoBarFontSize Info bar font size Float: pt

You can also control some behavior settings:

Esoteric preferences
Key Description Value Default
NVMoveFocusToSearchOnActivation Hotkey activation behavior Bool NO
STTextFileExtensionWhitelist File extension whitelist Array: File extensions empty
NVSuppressWikiLinkCompletionExtensions Suppress extensions when completing wiki links Bool NO

Next up: Keyboard Shortcuts

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