Frequently Asked Questions


© 2018 GrowlyBird Software LLC Contact Us

Why isn’t spell checking working in Notes or Write?

Unless you’ve turned off automatic spell checking in the preferences for the app, this is always caused by incorrect settings in System Preferences.

  • Go to the Keyboard panel of System Preferences and click on the Text tab.
  • Open the Spelling popup menu and make sure “Automatic by Language” is off.
  • On that same popup menu, select “Set Up” and turn off all languages you aren’t using.

Because Notes and Write don’t know what language you’re writing in, when all languages are turned on Mac OS will refuse to find
any spelling errors.

There’s one more thing to know about Notes: spell checking is only done when you’re typing in the text note. Just click in the text and the spell check will start in the background.

Why did you remove PDF annotations and highlighting from Notes 3.0?

In 3 of the last 5 Mac OS updates (10.9, 10.11, and 10.12) Apple changed the rules for how apps display and annotate PDFs—and each change broke Notes, even though Notes did nothing wrong.

There is already an app on your Mac that is a PDF expert; it’s free, it’s easy to use, it’s more capable than Notes could ever be at working with PDFs, and Apple maintains it and ensures that it keeps on working. This app is called Preview. Notes doesn’t allow you to edit movies or JPEGs directly, and since PDFs are just as complex as these, Notes now requires that you also edit them with a dedicated app.

Editing PDFs with Preview is easier and more powerful than the annotation features in Notes version 2. You still keep the PDFs in your notebook, but open them quickly and edit them smoothly in Preview. You don’t need to merge text or drawings onto the page, and it’s simple to change them anytime you want.

Will you be developing mobile versions of your apps? iPad, iPhone, Android…?

We released an iPad version of Notes in June 2015 and it didn’t sell. That product has now been discontinued. We will not consider any other platform — we are an Apple-only shop — and we will not be offering mobile versions of any of our apps. Chris is good at Mac apps, so that’s what we do. Also, and we mean this in the most respectful way, iOS is a freaking nightmare to write apps for.

Does Growly Notes read OneNote® files?

No. The OneNote file format is convoluted beyond belief and the documentation appears to be incomplete or misleading. It would take us half a year or more to write an importer. To transfer your information from OneNote to Notes, export it from OneNote in .doc, .rtf, or .html format and then import those files into Notes.

Where does Growly Notes store its files?

Everything is on your hard drive, or any other local drive you specify. Notes never stores anything — including your notebooks — in the cloud. However, if you save a notebook to the Dropbox or Google Drive folder, it will be copied out to the cloud in the usual way.

Does Notes support iCloud?

No. In order to provide the full iCloud experience, an app has to opt into a whole package of services from Apple. You can’t pick and choose. Some of those other technologies are not compatible with Notes, so we would have to rewrite Notes (again) in order to support iCloud. That’s not something we’re willing to do. (And the same problem applies to all our other apps as well.)

You can share notebooks between Macs using Dropbox, Google Drive, or any similar service; or with a network server, or any shared folder over WiFi.

I’m using Notes and the help notebook has vanished. Where can I find it again?

Choose Notes Help from the Help menu.

Why aren’t your other apps on the Mac App Store?

It takes a lot of work to prepare an app for the App Store, and Apple restricts what the app can do — and how it can do it. We would rather spend our time working on features and new products. Hundreds of thousands of people have found us here (or been referred by a friend), and that’s good enough for us.

Why is most of your software free? And why is Notes not free?

Our goal has always been to create simple, inexpensive applications that solve real-world problems. With the exception of Growly Notes these are programs that we initially created years ago, for our own use, so the actual cost of offering them to you is very low.

Notes was originally written to be a commercial product, but then we decided to make version 1 free. However, it took over two years of very hard work to develop version 2, and another two years for version 3. We’re not trying to take advantage of anyone, and we don’t want to exclude students or other people of limited means, but we
would like to keep our house.

What's the catch?

We can't promise tech support for apps other than Notes. We don't have a large organization. Actually we don’t have an organization at all: it's just Chris and Nancy—and our pets, who really aren't very much help. Chris does all the development and product support himself.

However, if you have problems or suggestions we are very interested, because we do use these programs ourselves, every day. Please contact us from the Help menu in any of our apps, or the link at the bottom of any page on our site.

That’s it. There are no other gotchas.

Would you consider giving away your source code or making your apps open source?

Absolutely not. We love giving away most of our software. But, to be honest, Chris is a total control freak. You can have the apps, but the code is his. Also, opening the source code would destroy the security of the password protection feature in Notes, Write, Calculator, and Journal, and we’re not willing to throw that away.

What are the system requirements for GrowlyBird apps?

Most of our apps require an Intel processor running Mac OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or later. A few still support older systems, but as they’re updated they will fall in line with the rest.

Do your apps support languages other than English?

Sadly, no. Lo siento, je suis désolé, es tut mir leid, я извиняюсь, すみませんが.

Although the user interface is only in English, all of our apps — Notes and Write in particular — can handle text in any language. However, these two apps do
not support right-to-left scripts such as Arabic or Hebrew.

OK, why don’t you have support for other languages?

It’s hard. The app has to be written from the start to allow the replacement at runtime of every single piece of text in it. But even worse, every dialog, and all the format panels in the apps that use them, have to be laid out by hand for every language, because some languages take more room to say the same thing than others do. (For example, “selection color” vs. “color de la selección”.) On top of that, you need a technical person who can translate “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that” (and thousands of other words and phrases) into each language. We don’t have anybody like that, and we don’t have the resources to do the other work. All of our technical work — including design and coding, product support, the help files, and this website — is done by one person.

Is my information safe with you? Are your programs safe?

You bet. We don't give away or sell email addresses. We don't have ads on our website or in our apps. Our apps do not collect any information about you or your computer. There are no viruses or worms in our software. We hate all of those things.

When we discover a bug we fix it as quickly as we can. If you'd like to help, let us know when you find a problem or have a suggestion by clicking the Contact Us link at the bottom of any page on our site.

What’s with the silly name?

We named our company after the nickname of one of our parrots, who has a somewhat prickly personality. Sort of like our developer, now that we come to think of it.

Why don't you provide Windows versions?

We don't do Windows.

No, seriously, the real reason is that... we
loathe Windows.

OneNote and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp.