The Best Note-Taking Apps To use
When inspiration strikes or you come up with a brilliant new idea, where do you put your thoughts? When a friend recommends a great documentary for you to watch or a great product to check out, how do you make sure you don’t forget it all by the time you’re back home? Whether you hear or dream up an interesting piece of information while you’re on the go or relaxing at home, note-taking has always been one of the most secured and preferred ways to store it.
Note taking has surely changed throughout the years, especially with the introduction of smartphones and tablets. Before, people’s desks were swamped with post-its and piles of paper, containing information. Now, mobile apps for taking notes have taken over.
Note-taking apps presented a convenient way for people of all ages and professions to write down whenever they want, whatever they want and wherever they are. All they have to do is download one of many apps providing such service and start writing. Their thoughts and ideas will remain just one click away!
As one can imagine, there are indeed a large range of apps available. Yes, they are the online equivalent of notebooks but because they are digital, they can do so much more for you than a piece of paper ever could. Endless possibilities, supplemented by the creative minds of developers can surely make it hard for the users to pick a note-taking app and stick to it.
Features such as design, speed, synchronization across multiple devices, personalization items, etc. are just some of the aspects that can attract note-takers and make them purchase the app. Not just that but there are far more advanced apps that allow handwriting, sketching, the ability to take meeting minutes, add images, audio, video and more and share it directly with your friends or colleagues.
The following article will take all of the above-mentioned note-taking app features (and more) into consideration and present a list of some of the best, most convenient and preferred apps. Of course, we do understand that what works for one may not work for another. But the good news is that there’s just so much note-taking apps to pick from that even the most difficult-to-be-satisfied users can find what they’re looking for. Let’s get started!
What makes a great note-taking app?
Before we move on to the list of note-taking apps, let’s specify some essential characteristics that each app should have in order to be considered a “good one”.
- It should be fast. This goes without saying. No one wants to forget their idea while waiting for the app to load.
- It should sync your notes across multiple devices. People use multiple screens – tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc. A good note-taking app should let you see your written thoughts across all those devices accurately and quickly.
- It should be available on all computing platforms. One day, you might have to switch to another and you want to be able to keep your profile and note-taking history with you.
- Searching notes should be as fast as lightning.
- It must have the right amount of features, without going overboard with some unnecessary and confusing characteristics.
- Security should be top notch. The platform must protect the privacy of your notes.
- It shouldn’t be that expensive. If it can be offered for free, that would be the best.
Best note-taking app for taking all kinds of notes
We can’t have a list of the best note-taking apps without Evernote as it’s one of oldest and most widely-used tools for planning and organizing. On Evernote, you can create simple, as well as more complex workflows, using a well-developed mixture of notebooks, notes and tags.
One of the most impressive features of Evernote is letting users save entire webpages (including text, images and PDFs) through its Web Clipper extension, available on Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Furthermore, users can get access to their notes on laptops, mobile devices and the web. This means that there will never come a time when you won’t be able to retrieve what you’ve saved.
Standard features such as setting up reminders and crafting presentations similar to PowerPoint, make Evernote the best note-taking app for taking all kinds of notes.
Evernote also allows for integration with Slack, Google Drive, Outlook and Microsoft Teams. It also provides AI for content suggestions and content information from media websites. There’s also a collaborative option and team administrative features that come in the paid business plan.
Some newer features include Siri integration (for those using the iOS version) and various new tables and templates to pick from.
The good news is that there’s a free plan. It does come with limited features but it’s still acceptable to use for everyday purposes. There are two paid plans – one for businesses and one for individual users.
Let’s summarize some of Evernote’s main features:
- Free version available
- Ability to save webpages with Webclipper browser extension
- Secure and protected
- Invite other users to collaborate
- Various functionalities inside a note – the user can format it the way he/she finds it appealing.
- Add voice messages, attach photos, videos and audio.
- Ability to handwrite
- Set dates and reminders
- Offline access
Best note-taking app for iOS users
If you’re a Mac user, you don’t have to look far for the best note-taking app for you. Apple notes, which is built into iOS and macOS and is integrated with Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, impresses with ease of use and great features which we will now dive into.
Taking notes with Apple Notes is as easy as you can expect. Users can create a new note directly on the app or ask Siri to start one for them. The app lets you create checklists, draw, add attachments, photos, videos or weblinks. Not just that but with iOS 11, Apple Notes now lets users format text the way they want to. They can also add tables, heading, bullet points and more.
Apple Notes takes pride in its strong search feature, allowing users to search for images, texts or attachments even on scanned documents. Siri is a huge helper and a great addition to your note-taking team. Siri can pull out notes from any time with any related key phrase you use.
According to many users, the desktop version of Apple Notes is pretty good but the iOS app is the ultimate winner. With the app, note-takers can add or take photos or videos directly to the note page and attach content from Safari or Apple Maps.
Let’s round up Apple Note’s best features:
- Free version available
- Can sync with iCloud, making all your notes available across devices.
- Cleaner and user-friendly UI
- Security and protection
- Ability to lock your notes with a password
- Organize notes in folders
- Attach photos and videos from iPhone
- Scan documents
- Various format text options
- Collaborate with others on shared notes
Best note-taking app for teams
When it comes to best note-taking apps for teams and collaborative efforts, Notion is probably the best one. If you’re looking for a simple app, just for taking notes, this is probably not the right one for you.
What truly distinguishes Notion from the rest of the apps on this list is its ability to offer several tools, all combined into one – it’s an app for knowledge management, note taking, data management and project management.
With Notion, you can create a dedicated workspace where you can store all your meeting notes and share it with your colleagues. You can also link other relevant notes to your original note.
In Notion, each new document is called a “page” and every other element, like text, to-do list, photo, video, audio, etc. is called a “block”. Users who choose to go for the free plan of Notion are limited to 1000 blocks.
Let’s line up Notion’s best features:
- Free version available
- Rich text formatting
- Ability to assign tasks and create projects for your team.
- Move tasks around and link projects together
- Create folders to categorize your notes
- Task notifications available
- Note templates
- Can integrate with Google Drive, Google Calendar app, Typeform and more.
- Multiple views of your daily tasks for better self-organization
Best personal note-taking app
One of the most eye-grabbing features of Google Keep and probably the reason why so many people are using it, is the interface. The Google Keep interface is basically a digitized version of Post-It Notes where users can choose from 12 bright colors for each note and visually categorize their notes by topic.
Creating a note on Google Keep is just the easiest thing! You can type, draw, add images or videos and on mobile you can even use your voice. By using Google Keep extension for Chrome, users can also save URLs, text and images directly from the web. Every note you save in Google Keep also stays synced across all the platforms.
If you’re using the rest of the G-Suite products, including Gmail, Google Calendar, or Google Drive, you will better witness Google Keep’s admirable features. For instance, if you’re working on a document or presentation, you can drag a Google Keep note directly into your Doc or Slide. Notes with a due date will also automatically appear on your Google Calendar.
So, what are some of Google Keep’s best characteristics?
- It’s free for up to 15GB of storage across all of your Google apps
- Easily synchronized with other Google services
- Simple and user-friendly design
- Speech-to-text functionality
- Alerts and Reminders
- Send a note directly to Google Docs
Best free note-taking app
If you’re looking for a free full-featured note-taking app, Microsoft OneNote is just the one for you! OneNote resembles actual paper and gives you the ability to create a new note, click anywhere you want on the page and add various types of content, just like you’re typing on an actual notebook or journal. Backgrounds mimicking textured or lined paper are attractive features for users who prefer the traditional feel. Moreover, with OneNote you can organize your notes in sections and tabs, just like you do with a classic binder.
On this free note-taking app, you can also create checklists, draw sketches, record audio, use digital highlighter and drag and drop images and file attachments. It resembles a piece of paper gives you the full freedom of moving elements around the page and placing, for instance, a video memo next to a block of text.
Users can also add OneNote badge on their homescreen and quickly capture an idea directly on the badge, instead of opening the app first.
Here’s the list of characteristics we think make OneNote the perfect free note-taking app for free everyday use:
- Notes can be synced across all devices
- Ability to scan and upload handwritten notes (for example a picture of a school whiteboard with notes from the teacher) and use Microsoft’s optical character recognition (OCR) to search the writing.
- Ink-to-text feature which lets you write by hand and convert it to type.
- Zapier integration – with it you can create notes whenever you have a new assignment or calendar event in another app.
- Create memos, journals and sticky notes.
- Personalized content features
- Collaboration with team members
Best note-taking app for Android
To be fair, some of the above-mentioned note-taking apps can be perfectly suitable for Android users. Evernote, GoogleKeep and Microsoft OneNote, for instance, are preferred and used by many Android users. However, for this section we will introduce a new note-taking app which we believe is highly compatible with the way Android users are used to navigate through their smartphones.
As its name suggests, Simplenote is a straightforward and simple app for taking notes. The app’s most appealing characteristic, according to many user reviews, is that it’s handy, transparent and doesn’t overwhelm you with fancy functionalities.
Still, some extra items you may find on Simplenote are search notes, pin important notes and make a checklist. Tags help users organize their ideas which can be shared with people by adding an email address. Notes can also be shared with other Android apps. App history is also available and users can restore deleted notes.
What are the best functionalities of Simplenote?
- Light, dark or dark at night themes available to protect your vision.
- Access notes on the web and other devices
- Easy to navigate, take notes and to-do lists.
- Tags and pins for organizing ideas
- No confusing features
- Online sync and storage included
- Fast search functionality
- History for all your notes
- Free with no upsells
- Distraction-free environment
- Share and collaborate with others
Note-taking is a great way to capture your inspirational thoughts and ideas, daily tasks, reminders and pretty much all types of information you can think of. With the digitalization of our world, developers quickly integrated this habit into our smartphones, without which we can’t really imagine our daily lives.
Note-taking apps let you store and secure your precious ideas. You have them by your side all the time and can access them with a click of a button.
There are plenty of note-taking apps to choose from. If you haven’t set your mind on a specific one, download a couple and experiment to see which one best fits your needs. Try at least one or two from the above-mentioned ones. We believe they are truly worthy of checking out!
Enjoy your note taking!
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