Creating Digital BuJo Bullets For Your Notes

Creating Digital BuJo Bullets For Your Notes

Here’s a little whimsical project that I’ve been working on. I’ve been using the Bullet Journal bullets in my BuJo for awhile now. Bullets are symbols that gives me a visual cue about a sentence. I generally classify my activities into general groups.

  • tasks
  • notes
  • events
  • completed tasks
  • Priority or urgent!
  • Inspiration, quote, idea
  • R&D
  • email
  • errand
  • Mac work
  • Writing
  • Phone call
  • Conversation or agenda item

This time, I tried using emoji bullets to spice up my digital notebook. I transcribe my notes from the BuJo to my digital notes app. In this post, I’ve been using Drafts for iOS and Drafts for Mac as my quick capture app for all notes. Feel free to choose another app such as Agenda, OmniOutliner, Day One, or Apple Notes.

To learn more about the Bullet Journal bullets, you can look at this:

TextExpander and Keyboard Maestro are great apps for creating Text Shortcuts. But for those of you who don’t want to get either apps, the iCloud Text Shortcuts for MacOS and iOS is an adequate tool for creating Bujo Emoji Bullets. A couple of advantages to using the iCloud Text Shortcuts are:

  1. It’s free and built in to MacOS and iOS
  2. Your Text Shortcuts will be synced with all of your devices that are logged into the same iCloud account.

I’m not a big fan of the TextExpander iOS keyboard. Keyboard Maestro doesn’t have an iOS equivalent. Using the iCloud Text Shortcuts provides crossplatform support at no cost.

Creating the BuJo Bullet Shortcuts

Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences…


Click on the Keyboard icon.


Click on the Text tab (1) to go to keyboard shortcuts and click on the + (2) button to add a new text shortcut.


In the first column, type in a text abbreviation that you want to use to create a bullet. In this example, I use .wr as my text abbreviation and choose a notepad emoji to represent a writing bullet.


Take time to identify common bullets and ideas that you want to use for your digital notes. Eventually, you’ll build up a nice library.

For a quick reference, here are some of my favorite bullets that I used.

#BuJo Bullets

Text Shortcut Emoji Bullet Description
.ta :o: task
.- :memo: note
.ev :date: event
.x :white_check_mark: completed task

BuJo Signifier Bullets

A signifier is a bullet that gives your note or paragraph additional context. I can add a :fire: emoji to indicate a bullet as a high priority item. I can use the :exclamation: emoji to signify a quote or idea that I captured and wanted to highlight it.

Text Shortcut Emoji Bullet Description
.* :fire: priority
! :exclamation: Inspiration, quote, idea

#BuJo Migration Bullets

Text Shortcut Emoji Bullet Description
.> :inbox_tray: task migrated to a Collection (Project)
.< :mantelpiece_clock: task scheduled to Future Log (Calendar)

These bullets are optional and come from the physical BuJo ideas. But they can work in the digital BuJo too.

When I am doing my inbox processing at the end of the day, I see
a bullet in my digital notebook:

** :o: Plan for Shanghai vacation**

In the physical BuJo, I would use the bullet .> to tell me that I recorded this bullet into a Collection or Project page. In my digital notebook, I would use the emoji like this:

:inbox_tray: :o: Plan for Shanghai vacation (OmniFocus)

Now, I indicated that I process this bullet and moved it to OmniFocus.

In this next example, I captured a calendar event:

:date: Dentist 02/21 10 am

I can see that there is no emoji which tells me that I haven’t processed this bullet yet. I create a dentist appointment in my calendar and then use :mantelpiece_clock: emoji to indicate that I have processed this item into my calendar.

:mantelpiece_clock: :date: Dentist 02/21 10 am

I’m still playing with the “Task scheduled to Future Log”bullet (:mantelpiece_clock:). I know that this bullet is a calendar event (:date:). I think using the :inbox_tray: bullet would simplify it because I want to indicate that I have processed this bullet into my calendar.

:inbox_tray: :date: Dentist 02/21 10 am

After all of my bullets have been processed, I keep these inbox notes as historical items that can be archived. If I ever need to refer back to my archives, My Drafts archive holds an archive of any previous notes. I don’t like to throw away old digital notes because I might need to refer to them later.

Create your own BuJo Emojis

TextExpander and Keyboard Maestro are robust apps that helps you create shortcuts. I have a lot of other bullets for common activities that I want to record. Here are some of my other favorite words and emojis that I use often:

Text Shortcut Emoji Bullet Description
rnd :mag_right: Research & Develop; explore
.em :e-mail: email
.er :oncoming_automobile: errand
.mac :computer: Work on Mac or iOS device
.ph :telephone_receiver: Phone
.wr :memo: Write
.ag :speaking_head: Agenda item or discussion

You can quickly build up an impressive library of BuJo emojis that will work on all of your iCloud devices.

How do you take notes? Do you use bullets to organize your notes? Feel free to share some of your favorite emojis for common words that you use in your digital notebook. Enjoy!



I would like to add that you can search by emojis inside Omnifocus on both iOS and Mac.

From drafts , where do your notes land up in ?


I sent the old Draft notes to the archive for historical purposes. Then I can search the archive if I need to remember what I originally captured. But so far, I haven’t had the need to search for archive.

Drafts is my capture notebook. At the end of the day, I process my notes out. Events go to the calendar, tasks and projects go to the task manager, and reference notes goes to DevonThink, Agenda app, or whatever file reference system needed. I try to process everything out of Drafts and then archive it.

I think I might just clear the archive after 12 months. But I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m in month two of using Drafts as my digital capture notebook.

The Text Substitutions panel in the System Preferences is a bit awkward to get to. You can easily create text shortcuts in TextExpander. Going to the Keyboard Maestro app to create a text shortcut can take me out of my current workflow and disrupt my current job. But thankfully I haven’t had to create text shortcuts on the fly. But I did create a Keyboard Maestro shortcut to quickly open the Text Substitutions screen in System Preferences.

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Thank you willsong for another detailed reply. I’m going to evaluate your processing technique.

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