Productivity July 24, 2020

Best note taking app?

Richard Awoyemi @RichAwo

I'm currently on the hunt for a good note-taking app!

Right now, Notion is a forerunner but I just need something to:

  • document thoughts sporadically;
  • use on my mobile and laptop;
  • allow me to search and organise my notes; and
  • store them privately.

Also been told about RoamResearch. Any other suggestions? (Free is a bonus)

Edit: I eventually settled on Roam Research, which has been AMAZING. I've been using it to bring together thoughts for my newsletter.

  1. 5

    To each there own, there are millions of note taking apps. Each have their pro and cons, and it really depends on how you work.

    • Bear app is minimalist yet very powerful
    • Evernote has been there forever
    • Notion is almost like an IDE
    • Your very own notebook
    • Roam research is my personal favorite
    1. 1

      Really helpful, thanks for the range of suggestions!

  2. 4

    I love Bear, I’ve been using it for the last 3 years, and I my opinion incredible superior to anything else out there.

  3. 3

    well, I just use Google Keep to make my notes and it worked fine so far.

    1. 1

      Trying it as we speak - looks great!

  4. 3

    I use OneNote as well. Free, simple to use, tons of flexibility. Highly recommend.

    1. 1

      +1
      And it works great with apple pencil. Which most other apps suck at or don’t even support.

  5. 2

    Without a doubt, the answer is Roam Research. There's too much to say to sum up in a comment, so I point you to this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpikCLhpIRY

    if you're the target audience for this app, Roam is a game-changer

    Shameless plug: synapsenewsletter.com

  6. 2

    Currently using https://zettlr.com/, it's great - just set the directory as your dropbox/gdrive and then enjoy :) Files are markdow, editor is open source, search is fast.

    1. 1

      👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  7. 2

    I really like Bear app! It is intuitive, easy to use, and beautiful. I believe it is mac/ios only though. Also free option is a bit limited.

  8. 2

    I use Google Keep because I can fire it up quickly, so it doesn't get in the way of recording some thoughts when they come up. It's a good fit for me as I typically take short notes, and labels are a good enough organization tool for me.

    1. 2

      Yes, Google Keep is my current go-to, find it gets quite messy quite quickly, and not a fan when the notes get too long.

  9. 1

    Notability has been my number one choice for note taking. I simply love the sheet amount of tool options it has, to offer users seeking the traditional note taking style experience.

    Google docs is equally good if you don't want to use a tablet for notetaking. It's easy to use and has all the functionality required for a day-to-day productivity.

  10. 1

    I’ve used pretty much all apps listed below. Notion was the one to change my life, no shit. My whole life is on Notion now, both professional and personal. It’s just the best.

  11. 1

    Hi @RichAwo, I am a bit late to the party, but @acnebs and I have been building Supernotes – it's great for documenting thoughts sporadically as we have built everything around a note-card format.

    Each and every note-card is nestable, taggable and linkable (yep bi-directional links). By default every card is private and viewable only to you, but you can share them with friends, family and colleagues – great for recipes, book recommendations etc.

    Would love for you to try Supernotes and hear your thoughts as a fellow Indie Hacker.

    1. 2

      Signed up, happy to give you feedback in a day or two!

      1. 1

        Thanks! Looking forward to it.

  12. 1

    Hi @RichAwo! What notes tool were you using before? Why wasn't your system working?

    An issue I had with notes is that I had to use two different tools for the two different phases of notes (the "get-it-down" phase and the "refine" phase). The result was that my notes were all over the place. (I'm building an app for doing both in one place).

    Wrote more about it in this IH thread: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/what-are-the-best-note-taking-apps-685ee9e7fe

    Would love to learn more about the challenges you've had with notes.

    1. 1

      Hey @cara,

      I was using a ton of apps:

      • Google Keep was great for getting down quick notes - but whenever I wanted to write anything moderately long, I found it a bit difficult to work with, especially the web app on my mac (wasn't a fan of the screen size or the editor etc.). Also tends to get very messy when you have a lot of notes.
      • Notion was good for product management styled kanban boards, but just never really seemed to enjoy it for note-taking more generally - may have been the way the blocks worked. Also possible I never gave it a proper try for this.
      • Bear.App - I'm using at the moment (following suggestions) and I must say I love it, but the problem is that it is only compatible with my mac and not my google pixel.
      • Quizlet - store quotes and short (tweet like) thoughts here but it's not actually built for notes.
      • Roam Research - this looks amazing, but thought to try free/cheaper offerings first before paying for something like that.

      Hope that helps!

      1. 1

        awesome, thanks for sharing!

  13. 1

    I use Emacs with org-mode and synchronize the files to dropbox and read on my phone using http://www.orgzly.com.

  14. 1

    +1 for Bear, love the simplicity!

  15. 1

    I am writing a note taking extension myself. The most requested feature was the ability to export to Evernote and One Note. I use google keep for my note taking requirements.

  16. 1

    https://www.notion.so/ This one is very good, it helps me manage my work. It's highly customisable too.

  17. 1

    It might be a surprise for you, but recently I am making my notes with the Telegram app. I create specific folders with related channels for the particular topics. It is the app I'm using daily on my phone, tablet, and laptop. I can check and edit everything easily and quickly. I am not sure about the entire privacy aspect, but I have heard that Telegram is taking care of it.

    Previously I've been using Things, Notion (from the beginning of the product launch), Bear, Evernote, and many others.

    1. 1

      This is an interesting approach. Lol, definitely didn't see this one coming. Thanks for the suggestions!

      1. 1

        No problem, my pleasure! If you need any advice, DM me

  18. 1

    Evernote, cause if you set it up properly, you can find anything, anytime, and Google Keep, to capture bullets of knowledge here and there. Both share the same tag structure so its very easy to find everything, and avoid just puking information that you wont ever find again as in other notetaking apps.

  19. 1

    I use paper cards for quick jotting down things, whiteboard for exploring ideas, and .md docs in Typora or Google Docs for long-form stuff. Apple Notes app for catching ideas on the go. If I want to access my .md notes on my phone, I use Dropbox.

    1. 1

      I used to use Notable and loved it but after they went closed source with the intention of charging (at least what I interpreted it as) it left a bad taste in my mouth.

      1. 1

        I see. I am really happy with typora. Tried notable, but didn't like it.

  20. 1

    The challenge with note-taking apps is there will never be a perfect app that does everything for everyone. After hunting for years, I realized I needed to pick and dedicate myself to an app, rather than spend time searching for the perfect app.

    So I prioritized my needs and picked a few apps, which do certain things well.

    If you are looking for free and secure, try https://standardnotes.org/

    If you are willing to relax on the secure but strict on the free, you can try: https://simplenote.com/, BearApp

    Here is my journey/notes with note-taking, it has a list of all the apps I have tried, and my current "stack"

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing your blog post! It was very helpful 👍

  21. 1

    Fan of OneNote only because it is there by default and free.

  22. 2

    This comment was deleted 2 months ago.

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