Inspiration and prompt for your creative ideas may strike anytime and anywhere, and you must be ready to capture and store them away for permanent access.
Digital note-taking apps will help you with this task and helps introduce discipline and cultivate a useful habit around note-taking.
My dependency on a note-taking with a smartphone is so extreme that I will not surprise if I ever come to dealing with" Carpal Tunnel Syndrome." In my life, note-taking is the one aspect where I don't mind clutter.
But everybody has their own set of needs and usage for note-taking apps. For some, the app with the simple and minimalist feature does the trick, and for others, they need feature-rich, and integration heavy with an external and third-party system is a must.
No matter whichever the camp you may fall on, we have found options available in the market which may perfectly fit your needs.
So, without further ado, here is the rundown. First, tackle those OS platforms friendly options.
If you happen to be one of the windows operating system and office suite heavy user, then Microsoft OneNote is an ideal option for you.
Because of OneNote out of the box integration with a range of office products - the word, excel, and the ability to sync it with 365 clouds will come in handy.
And what I most like about this is the desktop app, with sophisticated features to organize content in a structured way using sections and pages group. For someone who doesn't mind the cluttering but prepares it in a structured way, then OneNote is the best option to give it a try.
Apple Note —
Any products and services that come out of Apple will meet certain features and quality expectations; Apple Note is not an exception to that. However, the one thing I don't like about this app, and forcing me to look for an alternative, is the search. I can't do a keyword search on each note level, which I want to do pretty much in all of my pages while writing and reviewing.
Other than that, packed with features sets and free to use, making it the winner of note-taking apps. On the other plus side, it has the text formatting feature, and Apple default 5GB iCloud storage to sync as a backup. And, peace of mind comes with Apple security and transparency.
If you happen to be the split OS aficionado with desktop in Windows and mobile with Apple, still, you can access to Apple Note app through the iCloud.com in PC.
Google Keep —
If you are into sticky note style organizing and color coding and labeling, then Google Keep is the most suitable one for you.
An ideal tool to use among team wants to organize their tasks or create content, and help team collaborate and contribute. On the plus side, content can include images and hand drawings, which is missing in other free services like Simplenote.
Beyond that, nothing much positive to talk about this Google free service. It's ideal for scribbling and light note-takers. And for substantial article writing, it may not be a suitable one.
This one to me right now is the clear winner among all the free services. Until something comes along to challenge the Simplenote minimalistic approach and ability to syncs across platforms, this is my goto app. For the foreseeable future, I will be typing away my thoughts and taking notes using this app.
One standout feature I want to highlight; search in the mobile app. Nothing comes quite like this in any of the alternatives. You can quickly locate all the matching keywords with a built-in navigation feature.
You can do some level of collaboration with this app.
On the downside, formatting is not easy, and adding the image is missing. But for pure writing and taking note, Simplenote is the pleasure to use.
Despite checking all the boxes on the feature side, and more than price to buy the premium options, the fact that my note text will be used in AI analytics to recommend something I wrote, freaking me out. I don't want my notes used elsewhere as a source, other than where I want to.
Don't know how you feel about that, but for me, that's a show stopper.
Among other things, it's also a note-taking app. So, you can pretty much use this one for note-taking.
I have written this article section using The Notion mobile app. And I'm not thrilled with it as much as I do on the other apps. Especially on the mobile, the editor is jumpy and not smooth; I think it's because of the vast amount of use cases it's trying to cover may causing some technical debt on performance.
I would only recommend it if you don't have a lot of typing involved through the smartphone. For simple note-taking, Notion sucks in mobile. But, for storing much-structured content, personal or otherwise, this is the best well-balanced app available in the market right now.
Final thought —
Overall, from a cost and usability standpoint, my vote is going to Simplenote. It does what it says on the tin, help you take simple notes, and writing the article draft. And do the post-processing somewhere else to make it distribution ready. Which I can live with, and formatting in another platform will give me the chance to review work once again.