Taking notes was so easy. You’d take out a sheet of parchment, dip your quill in ink, and get to writing.

Then a bunch of nerds bought collectively and began inventing issues – and that’s when note-taking bought difficult. All of the sudden we had to select from totally different fashions of typewriters and competing keyboard layouts.

Later the pc confirmed up, and with it we bought GUIs and dozens of various writing purposes. And, after all, Al Gore needed to go and invent the web – bringing cloud syncing into the combo.

In 2019, we’re confronted with a dizzying array of instruments and apps for taking notes. How do you select which one to make use of?

Fortunately, we’ve performed the analysis. After placing dozens of apps by means of their paces and testing each function – from the writing expertise to shortcuts to sharing capabilities – we’ve put collectively this listing of the perfect note-taking apps which can be presently accessible.

Learn on to search out out which software is the fitting one for you, your units, and your value vary!

The High 10 Notice-Taking Apps of 2019

1. Evernote

evernote

Overview: Evernote is a cross-platform note-taking app that’s nice for processing hand-written notes and clipping articles from the online. The value, nevertheless, may very well be prohibitive on a pupil funds.

Compatibility: Browser, Home windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Professionals:

  • A number of file codecs. Should you’re on a paid plan, Evernote can maintain something your professor throws at you: PDF’s, PowerPoints, the three totally different sheets of necessities for one undertaking. One enjoyable additional: Should you paste a Google Docs hyperlink, Evernote creates a Google Drive icon in-line and modifications the URL to the title of the doc.
  • Scanner for cell. You should use Evernote as a scanner to take images of pages of books that once you don’t need to pay for photocopying. It additionally has optical character recognition so the right John Mayer meme will seem once you seek for “tremendously unintelligent”.
  • Net clipper for browsers. Nice for saving these New York Instances articles which can be hidden behind a paywall so you should utilize them to your essay later. You may choose how a lot of the web page you need to seize: the whole lot, simply the article textual content, or a highlighted number of textual content.

Cons:

  • Not a variety of group. Think about your examine space’s desk: You’ve gotten notebooks mendacity round that comprise class notes, random doodles, and annoyed journal entries. You may pile up semi-related notebooks into stacks. You may put sticky notes or flags into pages of the pocket book that comprise sure subjects you need to consult with. That’s the extent of group with Evernote: stacks, notebooks, notes, and tags.
  • No Markdown help. Markdown isn’t only for note-taking; it’s for sooner writing, too. I take advantage of Markdown to put in writing something that goes on the net. And generally I take advantage of it to put in writing essays for varsity, too. Sadly, whereas Evernote is my analysis repository, it’s not a software I take advantage of to do the precise writing.
  • Expensive. Should you use Evernote to scan paperwork and save analysis papers like I do, the 60 MB included within the free plan gained’t reduce it. And if you wish to use it with greater than 2 units or use optical character recognition, you need to go Premium. At the very least college students get 50% off Premium for a 12 months.

2. OneNote

microsoft onenote

Overview: Microsoft’s free cross-platform note-taking app offers Evernote a run for its cash, although the interface leaves one thing to be desired.

Compatibility: Browser, Home windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Professionals

  • Completely. Free. It has the whole lot Evernote can do, however there’s no premium tier. So that you get the complete function set out of the field.
  • On principally all of the platforms (without spending a dime). Simply needed to emphasize this: With OneNote, you get limitless units — a function that different note-taking apps, like Evernote and Bear, maintain behind a premium subscription.
  • Freeform. In contrast to Evernote, you may put textual content containers in every single place on display for OneNote. You may draw. You may even *gasp* change the background to appear to be a dominated pocket book! (Though for some purpose, I can by no means make the phrases align completely to the strains. This bothers me).

Cons

  • Even much less group than Evernote. It lacks observe sorting choices, akin to sorting notes by latest created or latest modified.
  • Messy interface + Restricted tagging capabilities (though it helps you to drill down a pair ranges deeper). With OneNote, you will have notebooks and dividers inside notebooks. Then you can too indent notes inside notes. However it’s all around the person interface: notebooks on the left, dividers up prime, then notes on the fitting. I’m a messy note-taker myself, however c’mon.

3. Bear

bear

Overview: Bear options highly effective Markdown functionality and a very good writing expertise. The one draw back is its lack of Home windows help.

Compatibility: Mac, iOS, Browser (quickly)

Professionals

  • Hybrid Markdown editor. You don’t must think about what your formatted Markdown will appear to be after you write as a result of Bear codecs textual content as you kind. SUCH a useful function.
  • Easy organizational system. Utilizing “#” and “/”, Bear helps you to tag every observe and nest these tags inside one another. #NestedHierarchy
  • Archive function. A small however time-saving function. Archiving a observe takes it out of search and group with out deleting it. This function is for you for those who can’t let go of issues that don’t spark pleasure.
  • Clear writing expertise. Bear appears to be like good out of the field — writing is readable, easy, and clear. The Premium model will get you a half dozen free themes that look even slicker.

Cons

  • Simply Mac and iPhone. If in case you have a Home windows setup … Sorry.
  • Restricted group After a number of weeks of utilizing Bear, I began bumping up in opposition to the constraints of its #-and-/ group system. This pushed me to check out different note-taking apps (I finally landed on #2 on this listing).

4. Apple Notes

apple notes

Overview: Apple Notes gives stable group and formatting options, although it lacks Markdown help and is (unsurprisingly) just for Apple units.

Compatibility: iOS, OSX

Professionals

  • Completely. Free. YAY!
  • Good-enough formatting instruments. You get the standard daring, italics, and fonts.
  • Permits cross-platform modifying by way of the browser. No want for Google Drive/Dropbox workarounds. Simply log in to your iCloud account from a browser and you’ll pull up your notes on a PC.
  • Can create nested lists of hierarchical folders. That is shocking, provided that some paid apps don’t have this function. Effectively performed, Apple.

Cons

  • No hybrid Markdown. You may’t have all of it in a free software, are you able to?

5. Google Preserve

google keep

Overview: Google Preserve gives a primary, cross-platform note-taking app that performs nicely with different Google instruments. The one draw back is its lack of group options.

Compatibility: iOS, Android, Browser

Professionals:

  • Completely. Free. YAY!
  • Out there on each platform. Because of your Gmail account, you may entry your Preserve notes out of your previous iPhone 5S even for those who drop your present Android in the bathroom.
  • Easy. Think about how you utilize sticky notes, and Preserve will make sense to you — you write ideas down, stick it in a spot you’ll keep in mind, then (ideally) switch it someplace everlasting. Preserve even appears to be like like a wall of stickies.

Cons:

  • No hierarchical group. There’s just one degree of tags. A design trade-off by the Preserve group to stay (no pun meant) to their imaginative and prescient for the app, however a trade-off none the much less.

6. Notion

notion

Overview: Affords a strong, database-driven note-taking expertise that’s in contrast to most apps on the market. Free account is principally only a demo, nevertheless.

Compatibility: Mac, iOS, Android, Home windows, Browser

Professionals:

  • Versatile pages. Notion has a template engine that lets you flip just about something into an easily-duplicated template, together with a multi-layered assortment of pages. It additionally has nice media embedding and previewing instruments, together with a gallery view for images and movies.
  • Highly effective tables. Tables in Notion aren’t simply charts; they’re databases. Consider Notion’s databases as Google Docs + Google Sheets: Each row in a desk is its personal Notion web page you can go into and replace.
  • Nested hierarchical group. You’re most likely bored with this. However Notion does this. You may even flip a set of textual content right into a dropdown so you may roll them up once you need non-immediate data out of the way in which.
  • Hybrid editor. Notion helps you to write in Markdown or use regular keyboard shortcuts and UI parts to format your textual content.

Cons:

  • Free account is basically only a demo. A free account offers you 1,000 free blocks however they go FAST. The premium Private account is $Four monthly. (However then once more, Evernote costs $7.99/month, so perhaps I ought to cease complaining).
  • Quirks within the editor because of the block system. Sadly, Notion falters closely within the formatting division, and it’s all due to their block system. Each paragraph is a block, and every block might be moved round, became totally different parts, labeled, and coloured. Sadly, as soon as you choose past one block, you’re now deciding on blocks, not textual content. For now, it’s merely a tremendous information storage app, however it’s a below-average writing app. (Notion group: Should you’re studying this, perhaps you might allow us to toggle between block mode and writing mode, or make these modes play nicer collectively, like Medium?)

7. Commonplace Notes

standard notes

Overview: Commonplace Notes takes safety critically and has highly effective search options. The one draw back is its lack of in-app picture internet hosting.

Compatibility: Browser, Mac, Home windows, Linux (!!!), iOS, Android

Professionals

  • Most-security-focused. Every thing you write is encrypted by default and solely you may entry it.
  • (Kinda) Free. Plain textual content editor, nevertheless, upgrading to the prolonged model offers you entry to a Markdown editor, a wealthy textual content editor, and a code editor.
  • Editor modifications per observe. You may select if you need the Markdown, wealthy textual content, or code editor on a note-by-note foundation.
  • Highly effective search. Customized tags are infinitely nestable, like how Bear helps you to tag notes with a “#” after which add tags inside that father or mother tag with a “/”. You may also outline customized searches primarily based on totally different search standards and save them customized searches.
  • Helps all units. Together with Linux. 🙌

Cons

  • Restricted picture help. It could possibly’t host in-app. It’s a must to save your photos elsewhere earlier than it can save you it within the app.
  • Can’t drag-and-drop notes between folders and tags. 🙁

8. Slite

slite

Overview: Slite gives the perfect Markdown modifying expertise we’ve discovered, and the free model gives sufficient storage for many college students. The interface nonetheless leaves one thing to be desired, nevertheless.

Compatibility: Browser, Mac, Home windows, Android, iOS

Professionals

  • Free (for many college students). Limitless personal notes, and 50 shared notes per months on the free account. That is completely usable for many college students.
  • Finest hybrid Markdown textual content editor of any app on this listing. Except for Dropbox Paper, that’s. The editor codecs the textual content as quickly as you apply the Markdown syntax. It additionally helps you to embed photos, movies, and tables.
  • Desk of Contents view. This allows you to bounce round and zoom into the totally different headings of your doc. (Uncommon in a note-taking app).

Cons

  • Nested hierarchy. Slite has “channels” and have “collections” inside every channel (suppose: Evernote stacks and notebooks). You may nest collections infinitely, however you may solely sort-by-recency on the channel degree.
  • Consumer expertise. Not as quick as another platforms, however it’s getting higher. Preliminary CIG checks of Slite had been irritating. Though the options had been wonderful, the UI was painfully gradual and the formatting didn’t seem instantly. The devs have performed lots to enhance issues since then, nevertheless, and it’s now snappy sufficient to make the listing.

9. Ulysses

ulysses

Overview: Ulysses is nice for each note-taking and writing long-form essays or articles, although it lacks a free model and solely works on Apple units.

Compatibility: iOS and OSX

Professionals:

  • Finest organizational app. Ulysses has the fabled nested, multi-level hierarchical group that we wish. It could possibly additionally kind your notes by date created or modified. It additionally has totally different views, like an Inbox that holds new, yet-to-be-sorted notes. You may also create customized filters that kind notes inside every folder.
  • A totally-featured writing app. If you’d like an app that you should utilize all through your complete writing course of from analysis to writing and printing, then Ulysses is your choose.
  • Focus mode. Many authors write books in Ulysses. However in contrast to another heavy-duty writings apps, Ulysses will get out of your method with its Full Display focus mode.
  • Customizable. Ulysses has themes, together with Darkish Mode. You may also select from a number of totally different markup kinds and publishing codecs – it’s actually fairly versatile.
  • Publishing to WordPress (together with photos!) Ulysses is the one app that may deal with my full running a blog workflow. After writing, modifying, and formatting a complete weblog put up inside Ulysses, I don’t must log into my WordPress dashboard to publish it anymore. Ulysses permits me to format photos, tags, classes, and meta-data and add all of them from the app.

Cons:

  • Expensive. It’s $5/month with no free plan, however you may apply for a pupil low cost for 6-12 months and get it all the way down to $1.83/month.
  • Mac and iOS solely. Identical subject as Bear, the Ulysses app is an Apple ecosystem-exclusive. However for those who simply need to edit your information on a Home windows laptop, it can save you information in a synced Google Drive or Dropbox folder after which edit the wealthy textual content file it offers.

10. Typora

typora

Overview: Typora is very customizable and works on all main working techniques, although it lacks on-line and cell apps for engaged on the go.

Compatibility: Home windows, Mac, Linux

Professionals:

  • Free (for now). It’s in beta mode proper now so it may cost $$ sooner or later.
  • Hybrid Markdown editor. It codecs textual content as you kind and it’s sooner than Slite.
  • Focus Mode. It dims the textual content you’re not presently engaged on.
  • Desk of Contents mode. Like Slite, it lets you zoom into headings and descriptions.
  • Themes. LOTS of themes you can customise with CSS — a language that allows you to dictate precisely the way you need your content material offered.
  • For Home windows, Mac, and even Linux! All of the desktops!

Cons:

  • No app storage. Because it’s only a Markdown editor, Typora doesn’t retailer notes within the app. Information are literally saved in your laptop’s file system, that means you may’t transfer notes round within the app.
  • Desktop-only writing app Typora doesn’t have a cell app, however you may at all times complement it with a Markdown-editor cell app, like iA Author.

The BEST Notice-Taking App – Can You Choose Simply One?

AppFree Model? (Sure/No)Full Model Worth
EvernoteSure$7.99 / month ($3.99 / month for college kids)
OneNoteSureN/A
BearSure$1.49 / month (or $14.99 / 12 months)
Apple NotesSureN/A
Google PreserveSureN/A
NotionSure$4 / month
Commonplace NotesSure$9.99 / month (or $49.99 / 12 months)
SliteSure$6.67 / month
UlyssesNo$5 / month ($1.83 / month for college kids)
TyporaSureN/A

So what’s the perfect note-taking app on the market?

Effectively…

It depends upon what your wants are, so we broke up the winners into Three totally different classes:

  • Writing Expertise
  • Group
  • Basic Notice-Taking

Finest Writing Expertise

Typora’s clear UI, hybrid Markdown editor, and quick-look desk content material view offers it probably the most pleasurable writing expertise, throughout all of the desktop platforms.

Runner-up: Slite has an important hybrid Markdown editor, too, and is arguably higher than Typora at group. However it’s nonetheless a bit too gradual and buggy to take the highest spot.

Finest Group

Ulysses. We don’t actually have a runner-up for this class as a result of nothing comes shut. Its views, customized searches, filters, and tags are all designed that can assist you maintain all of your notes and writing organized.

Finest Basic Notice-Taking App

Whereas seeing the inexperienced elephant emblem now not sparks pleasure in me, Evernote remains to be the highest choose for most individuals. Its huge function set ensures that it does the whole lot nicely sufficient and has the fewest quirks (though it doesn’t have Markdown help — a MAJOR quirk).

It’s an important software to retailer your analysis and college information (and memes!). Plus, it’s free for those who use solely two units.

Full disclosure: I used it for almost all of my post-secondary pupil life however solely as a result of I didn’t have the time to discover a greater different.

A few cross-platform runners-up are Commonplace Notes and Notion. Notion, specifically, got here dangerously near taking the highest spot due to its extra highly effective database and templating options. Once more, Slite would even be on this listing if it was sooner.

For Mac + iOS customers, go for Bear for those who don’t use tables lots, and Apple Notes for those who do. Whereas Ulysses is the top-of-the-line possibility and my (Roxine’s) private choose, it’s constructed for severe writers and doubtless not definitely worth the 4x value over Bear for what most note-takers want.

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Honorable Mentions

Like talked about within the introduction, we didn’t simply take a look at ten apps – we examined dozens. Listed below are some apps that didn’t make the highest ten, however nonetheless may be price your consideration.

Selecting a Notice-Taking App: Different Concerns

Should you’re testing an app that isn’t on this listing, listed below are among the standards it is best to take into account when deciding which app to make use of as your second mind.

Hybrid Markdown Help

As a pupil, it’s good to take notes quick. Once I was nonetheless in class, I discovered Markdown — a syntax that permit me format my notes as I typed. Due to this, I like to recommend prioritizing apps with hybrid Markdown help. This function helps you to see what the textual content appears to be like like formatted as you’re typing. This fashion you may take down bullet factors, ideas, lectures, and talks shortly with out your fingers leaving the keyboard.

Even for those who don’t know tips on how to use Markdown but, having an app that allows you to use it if you wish to will encourage you to study it. And once you do, there’s no trying again.

Group with Nested Hierarchies

You want a strategy to separate, manage, refer to every class’s information as you write. Due to this, we didn’t embrace apps that didn’t have a file-browsing panel. For this reason Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, and Microsoft Phrase don’t make the listing — they’re pure phrase processing, not note-taking apps.

Extra particularly, you need an app that allows you to create nested hierarchies inside that file browser — folders inside folders inside folders. Like this:

  • Stats 101
    • Stats 101 — Notes
      • Course Information
        • Course Define/Syllabus
        • Readings
      • Textbook Notes
      • Lecture Notes
        • Lecture #1
        • Lecture #2
        • Lecture #3
    • Stats 101 — Assignments
      • Venture #1
      • Venture #3
      • Last Venture

You additionally want a strategy to shortly search by means of your notes. That is for these writing periods when it’s good to shortly search up a paper to reference earlier than your practice of thought ends. Having customized searches constructed into an app makes certain you may entry all of your information for various functions, whether or not it’s good to examine for a take a look at or hearth off a fast observe for the present class.

Take Notes Your Means

There are a lot of note-taking apps on the market. And as with most suggestions, you need to determine what works for you.

I hope that this listing will enable you to determine in your note-taking app, whether or not it’s on this listing or not.

Picture Credit: featured

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