Tana - another tool for thought

I have been using Tana for about a year, and enjoy and admire the product. It has been developing very slowly (still in alpha), but steadily, and the development team seems well funded. For now, there is no cost to using Tana. Merely signing onto their Slack instance, and posting in the Introduce Yourself channel, will result in a direct message back to you with a link to access Tana. No more waiting list.

Everything in Tana is a node in a graph database, and every node can have “supertags” assigned to it. Think of “supertags” as notionally similar to Tinderbox prototypes consisting of other tags, fields (attributes), dynamic “live” searches, and user defined commands (functions).

The interface is still rough; no graphical portrayal of your data (i.e., no “map”). Tana is web-based; no offline version. The integration with Chat GPT is very robust, but Tana’s own API, capture, and export is still rough around the edge. There is a limited iOS app for capture (i.e., Tana Capture on the App Store). Supposedly an Android app to come “someday”. There’s a good active community, like this one, and active support from the development team.

Tana is not a replacement for Tinderbox; but is an interesting TFT to investigate.


Thank you Paul, a recommendation from you is one to make me take note. I had looked at it once before and have just done so again. The focus in their promotional materials had seemed to me to be on collaboration and on project co-ordination and completion. Can you say very briefly the type of use to which you have put it for which it seems well-suited?

The waiting list is still there… I got a “Thanks for signing up for the Tana waitlist!” reply.

Make sure you introduced yourself in the Introduce Yourself channel on Slack, not by signing up on the website. You can ping @Matt (Matt McKinlay), Tana staff and Slack moderator, if you don’t get the link to join.

At this point, in the alpha phase, collaboration is minimal. My own use for now is focused on many of the things I’ve used Tinderbox for: tracking book reading lists and notes; outlining travel plans, destinations, etc.; managing my smaller research projects – references and notes, article outlines, etc.

It’s an alpha product, so I’m not migrating existing notes into from other data sources.

Could you kindly elaborate on what is unique for you compared to Tinderbox?

The release version won’t be free, fyi. Their pricing page advises a $10/$100 subscription model.

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Differences: Tana is web-only, for now; whereas Tinderbox is local-only. There might be a local version of Tana, but not likely, IMO. Tana is a single graph database per user. Everything is a node is that database. Within their data space, users can allocate “workspaces” with their own schemas (supertags and fields) and libraries (nodes). So, a node (e.g., a note with assigned attributes) can be replicated as child nodes of other nodes. Tana has a command-builder where commands can be built using combinations of other commands (user-defined and system) as well as supertags and fields. Think of commands as similar to a wedding of Tinderbox actions / functions and prototypes. As I mentioned, export is very lacking thus far, and other than a simplistic “Tana Paste” syntax, import is limited to cut and paste. The only web objects that can be viewed, so far, are YouTube videos. There is nothing like maps, graph views, or any graphical presentation. (There is a mind-mappish view shown on their web site – doesn’t exist yet, if ever.) Tana has a nice search (“live query”) mode, with several view options: lists (e.g., outline), table (with columns for tags and fields), cards (kanbanish), tabs, and a calendar view.