How I set up Panda for writing: text size, text style, spacing, version history

I’m sharing a couple of tips to make Panda more awesome on your Mac and iPad/iPhone.

Panda’s default text sizes are too small for me. I like writing with big text sizes (18-20px on desktop). So I went into Panda’s theme files and changed the sizing, spacing, and typeface style to my preference. Here’s what my editor experience looks like now.

If you also want to change your text sizing, spacing, and typeface, first locate the theme files within the Panda package (right-click on app → show package contents). There are two files, panda.theme and dark.theme, which are both located in this directory:

Open the panda.theme file in any text or code editor, and scroll down to lines 86-115. You’ll see the values for font, text size, spacing, etc. for both main text and heading text in those lines. Change the values to what you want (e.g., the value of text size from 15 to 18) and then save the file. Open up dark.theme and apply the same changes to that file and save it. Now open up the Panda app, and ta-da your text will be bigger. :slight_smile:

I think Bear (and Panda) are a far superior writing experience than FSNotes app. Yet one of the remarkable things about FSNotes is that it has automatic git version history: you have an ongoing record of all the changes you made to your document that you can instantly revert back to if you need to correct a mistake. Git versioning/reverting isn’t feasible with Bear because it uses a SQLite database.

But Panda doesn’t use a SQLite database (so far…). Instead, it opens and saves files on your drive, which means you can enable git version history for all your docs!

How did I add git version history to Panda?

  1. I created a local repository on my Mac that syncs with a repo on GitHub.
  2. Then, I put all my Panda doc files in that local directory. (From now on, I only save and open files in Panda to this directory).
  3. Then, I installed a script that automatically checks the local directory for changes and pushes them to the GitHub repo online.
  4. To make the script work, I first installed fswatch.
  5. Then, I downloaded a syncing script called git-auto.
  6. There is also a script here that might work for you instead of git-auto.

Once everything is installed and set up, get version history up and running:

  1. Open your terminal app of choice and run the sync script referred to above.
  2. By the way, keep this terminal window open and running before you open Panda and close the terminal window (or exit the script) after you exit Panda.
  3. Start Panda and open a file from your local directory, or create a new file. (If you create a new file, be sure to save it in your local repository folder on your Mac.)
  4. Every time you save your file in Panda, you should see the script in the terminal window saving the changes to your online git repo.
  5. Once you’re done working in Panda, save your file and close the app.
  6. Wait for the last push to finish in Terminal and close Terminal (or exit the script).

I don’t know if this is worth the effort to get git versioning working on iPad because there isn’t a way to push changes to a git repo automatically. Instead, you need to do it manually, which might be too inconvenient. However, if you want to enable it and sync it with your Mac, this is how you could do it:

  1. Download the app Working Copy to your iPad or iPhone.
  2. Start Working Copy, and sign into your online git account (GitHub, Gitlab…)
  3. Add your online Panda document repository to your iPad and pull the files.
  4. When you start Panda app on your iPad, in the bottom navigation, you should see a “Browse” icon; press it, and you’ll see your file locations.
  5. You should see Working Copy listed as a location for files. Open that folder and find your Panda docs.

  1. Once you’re done working on your doc, close it in Panda, exit Panda.
  2. Switch to Working Copy and push your changes back to your online repository.
  3. If you want to work on the same documents on your Mac after using your iPad/iPhone, make sure you pull the changes to your local Mac repo before you begin work.

I hope this helps anyone who is looking for these features!

PS: To anyone at Panda reading this, these two features are by far the two top features I hope you can integrate into Panda in the future (text customization and document versioning).

1 Like

How do you change the bold style of the headings? I want to make the headings less bold.

In the .theme files go to line 100, under the “headers” section, and change the font. You could choose one of the fonts installed on your Mac that has a “-Regular” or “-Thin” style.

Thank you so much @shantera; this worked perfectly.