Note taking systems
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Web | Windows | Windows 8 Touch | Mac | iOS | Android | Windows Phone | BlackBerry | Browser Extensions
Given so many supported platforms, you may think Evernote covers all the bases. And indeed, no one covers more. Evernote makes it effortless to take notes and store info online for access anywhere, on any device. We liked the Web-based version so much we gave it 4.5 stars and an Editors' Choice award; same with the mobile version for iPhone and the desktop version for MacOS.
Evernote makes almost every single "must-have apps" list because it does so much for free. You can send Evernote 60MB of data traffic per month as you make and take notes, but there's no limit on how much you can store. There's also almost no limit on what you can store: photos, videos, emails, webpages, and documents. But you'll eat up that 60MB fast with a lot of video "notes." A $45-a-year premium version adds even more features, such as the ability to work offline (the free version requires an Internet connection), search inside stored files, and increased capacity to store files (up to 1GB a month).
Ultimately, Evernote can be used as a backup for just about anything. If you visit a webpage with an interesting article you'd like to read later, you can use a variety of methods to store it such as the Web Clipper extensions and bookmarklets that make it a one click process, or Evernote Clearly, which formats an article into an easy-to-read block of text. Plenty of other apps also support Evernote, along with some hardware, including many scanners. You'd be foolish not to have Evernote in your note-taking arsenal.
Evernote helps you remember everything-and by everything, we really do mean everything. The service’s webapp, desktop apps for Windows and Mac OS, mobile apps for iPhone and iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and even WebOS mean that Evernote can help you take notes, save them, tag them with a location, create and organize notebooks, and share them anywhere you are and on any device you happen to have on you. Evernote is great for taking notes and organizing them, but it’s just as good at letting you capture, scan, and save objects in real life, clip web pages you browse, and share them with friends, colleagues, and classmates.
Web | iOS
WorkFlowy falls neatly in the middle between basic to-do list and mature word processor. It's a Web-based note-taker/outliner/brainstormer that works just about any way you want it to.
You can create page after page of information where one bullet leads to a next bullet, nest more bullets or numbers under each, on and on. Whatever you write is searchable, so you can go on with a point, or just create a new bullet. Click the bullet itself and all the nested info will toggle in or out of view—this is called "folding text." You can tag points in the outline to make it even easier to search.
You only get one list for free, but that's probably enough. Pro users who pony up $49 per year get unlimited lists, plus backup and password protection, and eventually offline editing. There is already offline editing available in the WorkFlowy app for iOS; other platforms like Android don't have an app, but a third-party tool called Workflowy Agent in the Google Play store provides access if the browser won't.
Simplenote is simple but powerful, allowing you to create notes that automatically store online and sync with the iPhone app. You can share and collaborate on notes with others by tagging your note with an email address. Simplenote also saves multiple versions of each note in case someone erases vital info. Notes are searchable by tag or content. You can even make a makeshift blog out of the notes by publishing them; you'll get a shortened URL to share, allowing others to read it. Post an update to the note and the "published" note updates as well.
If plain text isn't your favorite thing, Simplenote also supports Markdown, a lightweight markup language that translates it to nicely formatted HTML on viewing. There's a premium version for $20 a year that throws in sync with services like Dropbox, allows sending notes to Simplenote by email, and RSS access to changes in notes.
A host of third-party note apps integrate with Simplenote, including some favorites in this story. You can get the full list here. Syncing them with Simplenote gives you desktop-based local note storage, as well as online backup accessible while mobile, even on platforms Simplenote doesn't yet support. It's the best of all worlds—you can't escape your own note-taking.
Simplenote is easy to use, free, and has a robust user and developer community behind it creating apps and utilities that plug into the service to make it even easier to use. Simplenote lets you easily jot down your thoughts and organize them by tag, search note contents and tags later to find what you need again later, search through revision history for your notes, share them with others, and access them on any web-enabled device. Simplenote does have premium accounts, but all of the service’s basic functions are free. There are Simplenote apps for the web and iOS, but developers have built dozens of notetaking apps that work in conjunction with Simplenote for Windows and Mac OS.
Web | Android
Ultra-fast Google Keep doesn't really compare to more fully featured services like Evernote or even OneNote (see the next page), but it can still do a lot, such as store voice and photo notes. You can access, edit, and search notes on Google Keep on any connected device. Keep is technically part of Google Drive, so it uses the same abundant storage you have for Drive and Gmail.
The voice notes—only available on the Android app—are not just stored for playback, but transcribed to text you can send to others. With Keep there's not much to learn. The Android app works beautifully; for other mobile users, the mobile Web interface still does the job.
The simple Web interface might be a little off-putting to those expecting some glitz in their Web apps. Nevertheless, it could be the perfect replacement you've sought for the sticky notes on your desktop, be they digital or analog.
Modern versions of Windows come with sticky-note apps, but this one has every feature the crippled native app is missing. You can run it portably (from a USB drive) so it works anywhere; you can format notes by font, color, size, transparency, and more; and there's a manager app to adjust multiple notes at once. They even look 3D on the screen. All note data can be backed up to the cloud.
Windows 8 Touch | Android
It's a fudge to include ArcNote here—typing is not something you can do with this note-taker app—but it's a nice way to capture images of presentations and handwritten notes on a whiteboard, then turn them into stored and sharable PDFs. Shame it's only on two platforms.
Web | iOS | Android
Cross-platform sync, much like you'll find with Simplenote, is what Fetchnotes is all about. You start with tags even before you make a note; the interface expects you to categorize notes ASAP. Tagging a note as you go is the same as using a Twitter hashtag (just add a "#" symbol). Notes can be added via email or text message.
Notational Velocity has several things going for it beyond its straightforward approach to making and retrieving notes (no images, definitely no multimedia files). It's only been developed for the MacOS X so it looks great on the platform, and it syncs with services like Dropbox, Simplenote (previous page) and iOS apps like PlainText. It's open source, so the code is available for development on other platforms.
Keep a private journal using the easiest possible interface: email. OhLife emails you at whatever time of day (or week) you think is best and asks how your day went. Send a reply, including a photo if you want, and it's stored in your private OhLife account to access and edit later.
Web | Windows 8 Touch | Windows Phone | Android | iOS
As part of Microsoft Office, OneNote naturally has a Windows-bent, but the software does have excellent mobile versions to amend, organize and create notes, as well as an Office Web App version. But it's the Windows desktop version where OneNote shines as storage for things you find, as well as a full online notebook. The problem is the desktop version is not actually free. It's available as part of an Office 365 subscription, or with full purchase of Office 2013, but not on its own. Using the mobile versions or even touchscreen Win8 versions without the power of the desktop version to back it up isn't worth the effort. But those living a life fully integrated with Microsoft Office products should embrace it.
ResophNotes is like Notational Velocity, except on Windows. It creates text notes and retrieves them, and that's all it needs. It supports Markdown text-to-HTML conversion, syncs with Simplenote and Dropbox for online backup (so you can access notes while mobile), and comes in a portable version you can carry on a flash drive and use on any Windows PC.
Scribble makes it possible to start building your own wiki full of notes almost instantly. It uses Markdown syntax for editing pages so you can type and type without distraction—it'll look pretty later. Adding collaborators is simple, and you can insert all the notes you like. With the free version you're limited to five wikis, but you can have unlimited collaborators on each.
This mind-mapper/brainstormer looks so good because it's Flash-based. It's free for starters when you only need three private maps for a single user. Unlike some other mind-maps, SpiderScribe lets you embed outside info, from images to video to maps.
Web | iOS | Android | Kindle | Browser Extensions
Think of Springpad as Pinterest for note-taking. It has the same kind of image clipping and storage options, but sans the social aspects. Meanwhile you can make notes, all of which are synched across mobile apps. Organize "Springs" by tag or category—text, images, to-do tasks, Web links, files, events, and more. Read our review.
Springpad takes the hassle out of organizing your notes and thoughts for you, and organizes everything without your help. You have to set up a few basic categories, but of all of the note taking services, Springpad is probably the best at automatically guessing what it is you’ve just clipped from the web, snapped a photo of, or uploaded to your notebooks and organizing it without your help. Products you’ve saved automatically go into a wishlist and you’re alerted on price drops, notes go into notebooks organized by topic, and more. Plus, Springpad’s webapp and mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android mean you’re never without your notes and the ability to access them. Plus, the service just updated to incorporate your Facebook friends’ likes and interests to your account.
Cherry Tree is a free hierarchical note taking software for Linux and Windows. Main difference between this note taking software and majority of others that we’ve talked about before would be that here you can add notes in a hierarchical manner. Each master note can have unlimited number of child notes where additional information about the main note can be added. This can be used for further development of the main note, for example.
Image down below shows us one master note in the left sidebar, and all that empty space under it is reserved for adding new sub-notes. Empty space on the right is where you edit the contents of the note, once you have it selected from the sidebar. Contents of the note can be text, images, code boxes and even tables.
I have a separate page for this. This I used for a long time. Then i bought a tablet. It does not work on a tablet. So began the search. If your on a laptop, notebook or desktop, I recommend this for daily use and journaling.
This is a java-based sotware maker. They have a java-based word processor and note taking. The note taking is new. I have not looked at it yet. They have all kinds of apps that are open source. You can run them where ever java is installed.
NixNote Web Site
Synchronizes with Evernote servers
Local data caching
Local-only and synchronized notebooks supported
Database may be encrypted locally