Productivity Tools

How to Pick Out a Good Notes App

sticky note

Do you need to jot something down and there’s no paper around? Are you at an online meeting and need to take quick notes? Or are you looking for an easy way to organize and visualize your notes for a project? No matter the reason, your note taking needs can be fulfilled with a good digital notes app.

Quite simply, note taking apps let you take notes on your electronic devices, from computer to mobile. This lets you create and access notes wherever you are as long as you have access to the app. Notes apps also allow you to better organize your notes and add visuals to them. Through these apps, you can visualize projects, goals, and ideas much more easily than you can on regular paper.

In this article, we will go over the top 5 notes apps available in 2021. We will cover their features, pricing, and use cases. By the end of the article, you should know which paid or free note taking app best fits your needs. 

5 Top Notes Apps

1. Evernote

evernote meeting notes on laptop and mobile

Evernote is one of the top notes apps for both desktop and mobile users. It is perfect for individuals and business teams alike as it includes top integrations, individual and shared spaces, and a multitude of unique features that make note creation and management simple.

Features

  • Multiple ways to organize: Set your own system of notes with notebooks. You can add pictures, audio, and checklists to your notes for more visual organization. 
  • Team spaces: You can share notes in team spaces. Owners of spaces can create a virtual bulletin board and update teams on new developments. You can even make your own personal space searchable to others in your business, even if you’re not on the same team, to benefit from the insights and information of others. 
  • Document scanning: You can use Evernote’s mobile apps to scan documents for safekeeping on your account. 
  • Screenshots: You can take screenshots of web pages, articles, and PDFs with Evernote’s web clipper. You can annotate your clips and add them to your Evernote account. 
  • Note templates: Use Evernote’s templates to quickly create notes by type, such as meeting notes or a project tracker.
  • Note search: Tag notes with keywords to sort them by category and make search easy. You can also search for notes by title, date, content type, and words, including words in pictures or handwriting. 
  • Sync across devices: Your notes are synced across all devices, so you can access them from anywhere. Evernote works on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, Linux, and more! You can also set your notes to be accessible offline. 
  • App integrations: Evernote includes integrations with popular apps like Gmail, Salesforce, Slack, Google Drive, and more!

Pricing

Evernote offers a free account that includes syncing across 2 devices, web page screenshots, rich formatting, a 25MB maximum note size, and a 60MB monthly upload limit. For more features, you can purchase a premium account for $7.99/mo. Premium adds in unlimited device syncing, offline access, PDF annotation, custom templates, a 200MB maximum note size, and a 10GB monthly upload limit.

2. Microsoft One Note

build list and diagram of a bike on microsoft one note workbook

Microsoft OneNote is included as part of the Microsoft 365 package for individuals. It is a solid notes app for Microsoft users on all devices and can serve as an inexpensive digital notebook. OneNote is also particularly recommended for educational purposes.  

Features

  • Notebooks: Organize your notes by different notebooks that are further divided into sections and pages, making it easy to find the note that you need. 
  • Annotations: You can annotate your notes with a highlighter, typing, or ink annotations. 
  • Tags: Tag your notes with keywords so that you can quickly search for the right note.
  • Mixed media notes: Add audio, video, and other files to your notes.
  • Screenshots: Like Evernote, you can take clippings of websites and save them to your notes.
  • Sharing: Share your notebooks with others through online sharing.
  • Content library: OneNote is particularly useful for education as you can create a sharable content library to share lessons and handouts with students.

Pricing

OneNote is available as part of Microsoft 365’s personal and family plans. You can get OneNote along with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and Outlook for $69.99/year. You can use each app across 5 devices, which can be PC, Mac, iOS, or Android devices. If your whole family wants to use Microsoft 365 to share files and work together, you can purchase the Family plan for 2-6 people for $99.99/year. 

3. Apple Notes

icloud notes new note

Apple’s Notes app is a free app on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It offers one of the best free notes apps on the market.

Features

  • Pin notes: You can pin your favorite notes for easy access.
  • Folders: Divide your notes into folders for easy organization. You can move notes to different folders as needed. 
  • Note formatting: You can create checklists, add attachments, and add photos and videos to your notes.
  • Document scanning: You can scan and sign documents with your Notes app.
  • Drawing tool: If you have an Apple device with a touchscreen, you can draw on your notes.
  • Search notes: You can search notes by words, images, and attachments. Your device will recognize any images found in your notes, even if you don’t label them.
  • Share notes: You can add people to your note or note folder if your notes are backed up on iCloud. Notes can be sent over messages, email, or via link.

Pricing

Notes is free and comes pre-installed on all Apple devices. For storage, you get 5GB free on iCloud with your Apple account. If you need more cloud storage for your notes, pictures, and other files, you can upgrade to a paid plan.

4. Joplin

joplin on mobile, tablet and laptop

Joplin is a free, open-source notes app that is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS. It is the best free note taking app that is available on all devices.

Features

  • Notebooks: Notes can be organized into notebooks and sub-notebooks. All notes are in markdown format.
  • Tagging: Tag notes for easy searching.
  • Import notes: You can import notes from Evernote with all formatted content and attachments (including images) included. You can also sync notes with Nextcloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, WebDAV, or your network directory.
  • Web clipper: This browser extension lets you save web pages and screenshots to your notes. It is available on Firefox and Chrome. 
  • File attachment: Attach images and other files to your notes.
  • Note history: View the complete history of your notes with revisions. 
  • Notifications: Set alarms in your mobile and desktop apps.
  • External editor support: You can open your notes in an external editor from the app.

Pricing

Joplin is 100% free.

5. Milanote

sneaker ad campaign notes and images on milanote

Milanote is the perfect notes app for creative types that need to add visuals to their notes. It is especially good for creative and artistic projects on both desktop and mobile.

Features

  • Visual boards: Organize notes, to-do lists, and images into visual boards.
  • Web clipper: Save text, images, and links from the web.
  • Drag & drop: Drag and drop files, notes, images, and clippings onto your visual boards and arrange them in whichever way makes sense for your project. 
  • Sharing: You can share boards with others. Send a read-only link, invite someone to edit, or invite someone to leave comments.
  • Real-time collaboration: Collaborate together in real-time on shared team boards.
  • Templates: Use templates to help organize your boards, like storyboards, project plans, graphic design, and many more!

Pricing

You can use Milanote for free and get 100 notes, images, or links, 10 file uploads, and unlimited shared boards. For unlimited notes, images, links, and file uploads, you can pay $9.99/mo.

Teams can purchase a team account and get all features along with priority support for as low as $49/month for 10 members. This price increases when you add more members to your account, so be sure to contact Milanote’s sales team for a more accurate pricing package.

Bonus: Droplr Note Taking

droplr meeting notes

Are you looking for a more simple note-taking experience? How about an inexpensive app with multiple unique features and secure cloud storage? Then you should consider Droplr. Droplr is primarily a screenshot and screen recording app, but you can also use it to take notes and store them in the cloud! You can take notes from the Droplr Mac, Windows, and Chrome apps. Sharing your notes is as easy as copying and pasting a short link. You can learn more about Droplr’s exciting features and affordable pricing by contacting our team

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