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Create a Custom Themes

How to Get Started

Open NotePlan, click on “Preferences”, choose a theme as template and click on “Copy & Customize”:
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This will copy the theme JSON file into NotePlan’s synced folder structure from where you can modify it. Any changes you make on the theme will be automatically synced to all your other devices, including iOS.
You can also import other themes by clicking on “Import Theme...” in the same window.


The theme file contains two major keys: “editor” and “styles”. The “editor” key defines the main colors of NotePlans user interface:
"editor": {
"backgroundColor": "#ffffff", // Base background color
"altBackgroundColor": "#FAFFFF", // Slighlty lighter
"tintColor": "#d87001",
"tintColor2": "#0091f8",
"toolbarBackgroundColor": "#F2F3F5",
"toolbarIconColor": "#444444",
"menuItemColor": "#444444",
"shouldOverwriteFont": true
The “styles” key contains all text styles, like font, text size, color, etc. for the titles, open tasks, closed tasks, quotes, etc.:
"styles": {
"body": {
"font": "AvenirNext-Regular",
"size": 16,
"color": "#333333",
"title1": {
"color": "#000000",
"size": 28
"title2": {
"color": "#000000",
"size": 24

Style Attributes

Following attributes are valid for style keys with example values:
"lineSpacing": 3,
"paragraphSpacing: 8,
"paragraphSpacingBefore: 8,
"color": "#000000",
"backgroundColor": "#FFFFFF",
"size": 24,
"type": "italic",
"underlineStyle": 1,
"underlineColor": "#000000",
"strikethroughStyle": 1,
"strikethroughColor": "#000000"
Strikethrough and underline styles have a thicker line the higher the number you are using for the attribute. Adding a color is optional.


Colors support ARGB written as hexacode (#AARRGGBB). You can omit the A value and write: #FF0000 to get red for example or #66FF0000 to get transparent red. color or foregroundColor is the text color. You can also define backgroundColor to change the background behind text (as opposed to the whole editor background).

Link Colors

The color for following keys will be overwritten by tintColor, because they are all converted to links and only one link color can be used (limitation in Apple’s text editor framework):


The font of most keys, including the following is overwritten by the app preferences under “Editor”, so that you can change the font and font-size from within the app without having to modify a theme:
You can turn off the overwriting and define your own font by setting following attribute under the “editor” key in a theme file:
"shouldOverwriteFont": false
It’s set to true by default.

Font Names

You can look up the correct font name using the app “Font Book”. Copy the “PostScript name” value into the theme file:
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In the theme file change the value for “font” in the “body” key for example:

Custom Fonts on iOS

On iOS the font will revert to the System font if you choose a custom font on Mac which you have installed from the internet. To install custom fonts on iOS use an app like: or . Follow the instructions when you open FontCase.

Bold and Italic

If you use a custom font, you need to add the correct bold/italic font names from your custom font to the “bold” and “italic” keys, otherwise they will be overwritten by the custom font you picked and won’t render as bold/italic.
For “Avenir Next” this would be “AvenirNext-BoldItalic” for example:

System Fonts

If you want to use the system fonts, you can use following values for body, italic and bold. It will automatically use the system’s font:
Bold: .AppleSystemUIFontHeavy
Italic: .AppleSystemUIFontItalic
Normal: .AppleSystemUIFont


If you want to change the paragraphSpacing, lineSpacing or paragraphSpacingBefore for the titles, you need to add the attributes to the corresponding "title-markX" keys instead of ”titleX” keys.
By default the paragraphSpacing is different from the lineSpacing. In most apps these values are the same. If you want to have the same value for both, add them to the ”body” key. Make sure to add it also to the “tabbed” key which styles anything that is indented.


This defines the indentation of the first line vs the other lines inside a paragraph. There is a difference between the lines if the line is a task for example. In case of a task there is a task icon in the first line and it shouldn’t indent along with the text, that’s what headIndent is achieving:

Tasks and Bullets

Tasks and bullets are styled by the ”todo” key. There is no separation, because the preferences determine what a task is and what a bullet is. For example, * task is by default a task, but if you turn it off in the preferences, it becomes a bullet and - task can be a task or the standard markdown: - [ ] task.

Task States (Open, Scheduled and Canceled)

All state styles are covered under ”checked”. In the background a regular expression is defined to identify them in the text. They are bundled into one style to reduce computing power required.


This refers to * and - which are special characters in NotePlan. By default a different font is assigned to those two characters (Menlo-Regular) to make them look better. This font is not overwritten by the one defined in the preferences.


title1 covers headings with a single pound # Heading, title2 with two pounds ## Heading 2 and title3 covers anything else, from ### Heading 3 and more pounds. There is no support for title4 or higher.

Building Custom Styles with Regular Expression

Every style is based on a regular expression to detect the text. The regular expressions are stored in a JSON file inside the app bundle, but you can add custom regular expressions to the theme JSON file.

Example 1 → ::highlighting::

Here is an example for a new style you can add below the existing ones for highlighting text by surrounding words with a double colon:
You can also overwriting the regular expression of an existing style by adding the ”regex” attribute.
Here the keys highlighted, highlighted-left-colon, and highlighted-right-colon were added. They all have a ”regex” attribute with the value "(::)([^:]{1,})(::)" which will find words surrounded by :: and apply the style defined in the same key.

Example 2 → !! flagging by importance

In this example you can change the background color of the full line from a light to a strong red tone to mark the priority using !, !! or !!! at the beginning of the line:

Example 3 → ~~Strikethrough~~

Add strikethrough style to a word using following styles. This works together with underline where you use single tilde characters left and right of the word:
With visible markdown characters:
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