Supernote, Dropbox, and Transmit

A handy little flow for getting documents onto and off of the SuperNote via Dropbox… without having Dropbox installed locally.

Assumed audience: macOS users who have or are interested in Supernote, don’t want to use Supernote’s China-based sync service, and also don’t have or want Dropbox on their local system. (Bonus: works just dandy with reMarkable 2 as well.)

I picked up a Supernote A5X late this spring, interested in using it for note-taking, paper-reading-and-annotating, and more. I may have more to say about the device itself at some point in the future. For today, I just want to share a handy little workflow I put together for getting PDFs and other such documents and materials onto the Supernote.

However, I am not a huge fan of data services which run through Chinese data servers — to put it mildly! — so using Ratta’s Supernote Cloud service was a non-starter for me. (The Ratta folks themselves seem to be 100% above-board; but there is no company in the world which manages to say no” when the Chinese government comes knocking on the door of their servers.) Supernote has a perfectly solid story for transferring docs via physical cable, via the partner app and a WiFi connection, or via third-party apps like Dropbox.

I decided after only a little consideration that I would prefer to get documents onto the device as easily as possible using a relatively standard cloud service” flow, even if Supernote Cloud wasn’t option. I have had a Dropbox account for a very long time, and have no interest in trying out other cloud drive services. But I also don’t love Dropbox and uninstalled it from my system many years ago: I consistently found it to be a very poor and untrustworthy citizen of my file system.

The web upload UI for Dropbox is, of course, fine for this purpose. But I don’t love it. I really just want to be able to take a downloaded PDF — say, a CS paper I’m reading — and just upload it to Dropbox without opening the web UI, just as conveniently as if I did have Dropbox installed.

I haven’t quite gotten it to be that easy, but I got really, really close: it turns out Panics fantastic app Transmit has a Dropbox API integration, because of course it does. (It also supports SFTP, S3, Backblaze, Google Drive, OneDrive, and plenty of others. It does everything.) Transmit also has a handy little feature called Droplets:

A droplet is a small application icon onto which you can drop files and folders. The droplet then opens Transmit and automatically uploads the dropped items to the location configured in the droplet.

Droplets are a convenient way for non-technical users to upload files to a pre-set location.

Well, I’m a fairly technical user, but this also has something else going for it: considerable convenience! I created a Droplet targeting the Dropbox folder I made for unread items on my Supernote, so now all I have to do is drop a PDF onto the Droplet application” I created and the document goes straight to that folder. The next time I sync my Supernote, the document is there.

Hope this is helpful to the 7 of you out there with a similar workflow and similar compunctions about various cloud services!1


  1. This is, after all, what Assumed Audiences are for. ↩︎