Note-taking apps are not all created equal. In fact, the deeper you dig into them, the more you realize how different they all are in terms of what they offer in both concept and abilities. While a solid note-taking app is a necessary piece of any suite of productivity apps, figuring out what to do with it in the first place is half the challenge.
Getting the right note-taking app is as much about finding one that clicks with you as it is about the nitty-gritty details of the service. In general, however, a reliable note-taking app lets you jot down all the things you want to remember quickly, easily, no matter where you are, and likewise lets you refer to all those notes anytime and anywhere.
Desktop sticky notepad free download - Sticky Notes, Sticky Notes, Sticky Notes: Notepad, and many more programs. The Best Mobile Apps for Watching Video The Best Baseball Apps to Follow the MLB 2018 Season 9 Best Food Tracking Apps. Best Video Software for the Mac How To Run MacOS High Sierra or Another OS on Your Mac Best Graphic. Best Sticky Notes For Windows: These Sticky Notes applications helps you to save your profitable things at one place. You can find same sticky notepad apps for your Android. You can find same sticky notepad apps for your Android. A significant number of Windows 10 PC users also own a Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android device. Since Sticky Notes is often used to jot down important notes and create to-do lists, many would like to access Sticky Notes data from a Mac, iPhone, Android, and iPad as well.
The giants in the space, namely Editors' Choice Evernote and
Evernote caused a ruckus over the past few years among its paying users for hiking the price and slashing the lower tiers of service. While many people are thinking about leaving Evernote, the sad state of affairs at the moment is that nothing lives up to it. If you use the full gamut of Evernote's features and functionality, there simply isn't a good Evernote alternative just yet. OneNote is a close second, but transitioning to it from Evernote is tough. The two services have structural differences that make it difficult to map one set of notes into the other app.
There are alternatives, of course, and
Pricing and Plans
A huge part of the reason people got miffed at Evernote was its price hike. It costs more than any other note-taking and syncing app. While it does have a free version, nonpaying Evernote members are limited to syncing their notes
Evernote accounts come in four tiers of service: Basic (free), Plus ($34.99 per year or $3.99 per month), Premium ($69.99 per year or $7.99 per month), and Evernote Business. The free tier lets you upload only 60MB of data each month, but the data you use is yours to keep. So technically speaking, the total storage is unlimited because you get more every month ad infinitum. Plus and Premium members can upload more and get a whole host of features that aren't included for free.
Google Keep is free with no upsells or special plans. All it requires is a Google account. The amount of storage space you get in Keep is dependent on your Google Drive storage, which is 15GB by default. You can pay $1.99 per month for 1TB of storage, which will be shared across all Google apps. There is an upload limit for images of 10MB and 25MP.
Microsoft OneNote handles storage similarly to Google Keep, using OneDrive for storage the same way Keep uses Google Drive. OneNote is also free with no special upgrades for extra features. The max file upload size is 100MB. Free users get 5GB of space, whereas Office 365 account holders get 1TB all told, shared among other Office Online apps. An Office 365 Personal account costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.
Simplenote is a free service with no upgrades or in-app purchases. It has a variety of apps for all major platforms, and there is no limit on storage, so long as you don't abuse it, according to the company's terms. Simplenote doesn't support uploads, multimedia, or even formatting—just text. It's worth noting that you'd have a hard time abusing limitless storage with plain text.
Features Worth Having
A few features worth having
OCR comes in handy when snapping pictures of text. Google Keep can actually transcribe text that's in an image into typed text that you can then copy and paste or edit at will. Evernote Premium can run OCR on all text in images, including handwriting, when you look for words in a search. Microsoft OneNote can also read OCR text from photos. It also has a useful Digital Ink feature that turns your own handwriting into
In terms of organizational tools, every app is different, but the important thing is you have an interface that makes sense to you and that helps you find what you need when you need it. Evernote uses notes, notebooks, stacks of notebooks, and tags, whereas OneNote has pages, sections, and notebooks. Both Simplenote and Google Keep only use tags, so if you prefer to not think about where you're putting your notes, those tools might be better options.
Take Notes, Sync, and Go
While Evernote remains PCMag's Editors' Choice for note-taking and syncing apps, we did lower its overall rating to reflect its drop in value after the changes in its pricing and services. Hopefully, the uproar caused by Evernote will light a fire under competitors to hurry up and improve their apps. There are a lot of promising apps, but most of them need more time to mature. The read the capsule reviews below, and, if one of them sounds interesting, please be sure to click through to the full review for more details.
Featured Note-Taking App Reviews:
Pros: Effortless note-taking and syncing. Incredible search. Great features. Flexible.
Cons: Free level of service too restrictive. Expensive Premium plan.
Bottom Line: Evernote has long been one of the best productivity apps. Even though rising costs have lessened the value proposition, long-time users will have a hard time finding a better replacement.Read Review
Microsoft OneNote (Web) Review
Pros: Rich with features. Reliable. Treats all note content as distinct page elements. Familiar interface for Office users. Office 365 users get 1TB of space.
Cons: Slow and clunky. Confusing structural design. Poor search in Web app. Requires OneDrive for some management features. Can only share at the notebook level.
Bottom Line: OneNote is a feature-rich note-taking and syncing app, and it gives away a lot for free. But it's still second best to Evernote.Read Review
Pros: Combines team messaging with collaborative document creation and editing tools. Quick to set up. Easy to use. Free version available. Supported by Zapier.
Cons: No team calendar or other apps to add. Interface could be more sophisticated. No rich markup tools. Lacks explicit limits on storage space for free accounts. Limited API.
Bottom Line: Quip is a team collaboration tool for both document editing and group communication. It's quick to set up and easy to use, but it may not scale for fast-growing businesses.Read Review
Bear (for Mac) Review
Pros: Supports Markdown. Good options for exporting. Can import notes from Evernote and other services. Inexpensive Pro account.
Cons: Extremely light on features. For Mac and iOS users only. No option to selectively sync to iOS devices. Syncing requires paid plan.
Bottom Line: Bear is a lightweight among note-taking and syncing apps, although it could meet your needs if you only use macOS and iOS devices and only take simple notes.Read Review
Simplenote (Web) Review
Pros: Simple. Apps for a wide variety of devices. Unique sharing options. Reliable search. Supports Markdown on some devices. Free.
Cons: Lacks notebooks or folders for organizing. Only supports text notes. No formatting tools. No Web clipper.
Bottom Line: For a basic note-taking and syncing experience, Simplenote is a reliable, if stripped-down, choice. If simplicity is what you're after, this free service is worth a try.Read Review
Zoho Notebook (for Mac) Review
Pros: Great implementation of locked notes feature. Can stack notes. Free.
Cons: No Web or Windows apps. Can't upload documents. Limited sorting and organization features.
Bottom Line: Zoho Notebook is a free Mac app that makes note-taking simple, but to be really useful, it needs a web version and better organizational features.Read Review
Google Keep (Web) Review
Pros: Fast. Customizable labels (tags). Transcribes image text to typed text. Works well with other Google apps. Reminders are well integrated. Free.
Cons: No audio recording ability in the Web app. No desktop apps. Can't mark up images, PDFs. Weak Web clipper. Preview images not well displayed. OCR feature not automatic nor intuitive.
Bottom Line: Google Keep is a free note-taking and syncing app with a nifty OCR feature, but it lacks the features and mobile apps offered by the competition.Read Review
Mentioned in this articleApple 9.7-inch iPad (6th generation)
Mentioned in this article
With the new 9.7-inch iPad, the Apple Pencil at last comes to the masses. Apple’s recent push to get its scrappy tablet back in schools means you no longer how to shell out mountains of cash if you want to use the iPad like a digital legal pad, and that’s good news for all of us regardless of whether we’re in boardrooms or third-grade history class.
Even better for Apple Pencil newcomers, the App Store is already stuffed with note-taking apps that use it to its full potential. Here are our favorites, chosen after years of enthusiastic experimentation. (We've updated this article with a video demonstration. We've also included Cardflow+, which is a different type of note-taking app than the others we've discussed, but it's no less effective.)
Apple Notes: The best free app
If you want a head start on writing on an iPad with an Apple Pencil, then there’s no better place to start than Apple’s own Notes app. It’s not exactly packed with features: You can’t even adjust the stroke width for the included pen, highlighter, and pencil tools. In fact, true to Apple form, customization feels forbidden. All you can really do is choose between blank, lined, or gridded paper and write in black, blue, green, yellow, or red.
But Notes sometimes makes up for that lack of variety through convenience. Apple built Notes compatibility into the design of the iPad itself, so you can scribble a new handwritten note at any time by simply tapping the Apple Pencil on your iPad’s locked home screen. The selection tool is also impressive; more so than any other app I’ve used, Notes precisely selects the line of script you want to select, even when it’s piled on top of another jumble of squiggles. It’s kind of magical.
The iCloud syncing across all iOS devices is nice, too, but if we’re being blunt, Apple basically did the bare minimum here. To truly see what the Apple Pencil is capable of, you have to look elsewhere (and likely spend a little cash).
Free Sticky Note App
Ginger Labs Notability: The best all-purpose app
Notability, fittingly enough, is by far the most notable app that supports the Apple Pencil, and for good reason. If you’re going to spend money on any handwriting-compatible app, consider spending $10 on this one. Not only does Notability lets you do everything from annotating PDFs to making shapes, but it also captures the experience of writing with a pen or pencil better than any of its competitors. The strokes are fluid and precise, allowing you to forget about trying to get the stylus to work properly and simply focus on your writing.
The appeal doesn’t end there, though. Notability also excels by letting you choose between nine styles of lined and unlined paper, and it gives you 15 choices for paper color as well. (Weirdly, none of those choices mimic the sulphuric yellow of a legal pad.) It’s easy to import PDFs and webpages and mark them up as though they were paper. You can record audio while you’re writing by hand, and you can hear exactly what was being said when you wrote a note.
Notability’s iCloud support works like a dream, so you can easily write out notes from your iPad and consult them on your (separately sold) Mac app within seconds. You’ll find that feature in traditional note-taking apps like iA Writer, but the ability to call up your handwritten scrawl on your phone at any time counts as a major plus.
Time Base Technology GoodNotes 4: The best for organizers
GoodNotes 4 lives up to its name. It’s not quite as intuitive as Notability and so it falls short of “great,” but it offers many of the same options found in its notable rival and even a couple of better ones for good measure. (You can’t record audio, though.)
For one, you can easily create shapes such as triangles, circles, or rectangles. Simply click on the appropriate menu item, doodle the shape on the screen with your Apple Pencil, and GoodNotes automatically converts it into the perfectly formed circle or triangle you had in mind. It doesn’t fully convert your handwritten notes to typewritten text as some apps do, but its handwriting recognition is good enough that you can search all of your notes for specific words.
Need to scribble in a few notes between lines? Just use the magnifying tool, which boxes off a rectangular “window” into a smaller part of the page without the need to pinch in. GoodNotes even does a slightly better job of organizing notes by subject than Notability, as it lets you keep separate notebooks for each class or project, each with their own covers.
In some ways, this similarity to print works against it. GoodNotes remains committed to the idea of writing on digital paper as though it were real paper, so it’s not as easy to scroll through multiple sheets of paper, moving the sheet down as you write in one continuous motion. Much as with a regular sheet of paper, you’re stuck with whatever dimensions the page gives you until you flip over on a new one, resulting in the same scrunched-up notes in corners you might recall in school. This design may help with the ton of exports GoodNotes offers for printable paper sizes, but such restrictions feel especially limiting on a 9.7-inch iPad.
MyScript Nebo: The best for handwriting recognition
We’re still a long way from the days when technology can translate your doctor’s scrawl into a crisp line of 12-point Arial, but MyScript Nebo reminds us that we’re getting much closer. It’s our current favorite pick for handwriting recognition, as it takes carefully written longhand script and —with little more than a tap of the line—transforms it into something you can email. It even gives you a “preview” of how it’s “reading” the line so you know what to correct before a full conversion.
Combine that with a smooth Pencil experience that’s reminiscent of Notability and textual interaction that resembles Notes Plus, and you’ll find it makes a good overall notebook. Just keep in mind that its handwriting recognition isn’t going to magically keep you from doing any transcription. I find that getting the best results out of Nebo requires writing slowly and deliberately, which for me nixes the appeal of writing by hand in the first place.
Microsoft OneNote: The best for collaboration
Much of the bad blood that formerly existed between Apple and Microsoft is yesterday’s news, and in fact, Microsoft supports Office on iOS with such devotion that you’d think it was Microsoft’s own operating system. You’ll find that same kind of attention and support in its OneNote app, which offers a wide selection of features as well as support for the Apple Pencil.
You’ll need a Microsoft account to use it, but there’s a good chance you’ll have one anyway if your workplace or school is heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. It’s a little like Apple’s own Notes in that it’s mainly there so you can have a place to collect all the little notes you scribble out, but Microsoft goes further than Apple by allowing variations in stroke width and a few extra colors to choose from.
I also admire OneNote for the sheer size of the canvas it offers. Pinch on the page to zoom out, and you’ll find that you have an absolutely massive amount of room to work with, which makes OneNote ideal for mind maps and similar brainstorming exercises.
Unfortunately, that’s probably also why it doesn’t let you export documents to easily sharable files like PDFs like almost every other app listed here. That said, it’s a handy space for note collection, and it offers quite a few more features than Apple it does. As a bonus, OneNote’s Office integration makes it easy to collaborate on projects with friends and colleagues who have Microsoft accounts.
WriteOn Notes Plus: The best use of 'digital paper'
Notes Plus offers the least pleasing writing experience out of all the apps listed here, but it makes the cut because no other “understands” writing on an iPad quite so well. GoodNotes 4 may do a lot of features Notes Plus offers better these days, but Notes Plus continues to have a few tricks up its sleeve.
Here (as in Notability), there’s no flipping to a new page to start writing on another sheet; instead, you can just keep scrolling the pages down, comfortably keeping your wrist in one spot. Need to erase something? Don’t bother with an eraser tool—instead, just scratch out the word and it’ll disappear. You don’t even need a selection tool, as Notes Plus automatically selects script when you draw a circle around it. Much like GoodNotes, it lets you make a box for squeezing in a few liner notes. It’s even got an impressive handwriting-to-text tool. It’s not anywhere near as smart as the tool you’ll find in MyScript Nebo, but it usually gets the job done.
It’d probably be perfect if it weren’t for the writing performance. The strokes the Pencil lays down feel “sticky,” especially while using the fountain pen and calligraphy tools. Most of the time I found myself sticking with the ballpoint pen and wet brush settings, but even after tinkering with the viscosity and thickness settings, Notes Plus still doesn’t offer as satisfying a writing experience as virtually every other app.
Even so, I still find myself returning to it, mainly out of admiration for how well its other pieces fit together.
Qrayon Cardflow+: The best index card app
Screenwriters and novelists will often tell you that index cards make organizing scenes and general themes so much more intuitive than regular outlines. Vladimir Nabokov, for a bit of trivia, even wrote the entirety of some of his novels on index cards, as they allowed him to easily rearrange paragraphs as needed.
Normally, though, using index cards feels like slaughtering a forest just for the sheer thrill of it. Thank goodness for the digital age, and thank Qrayon for Cardflow+. This app mimics the act of spreading a bunch of index cards on a table and arranging them as needed, and no other corkboard, mind-map, or storyboard app 'gets it' quite like this.
Just tap anywhere on the gray background and a new card will pop up, and you can write notes on it with either the Apple Pencil or a keyboard. You can rearrange the cards singly with the Pencil or your finger, or you can group them together and have the app itself align them more neatly.
There's a wonderful free version, but I gladly paid the $10 for the full version for the ability to sync saves to iCloud, draw on the board, change ink colors, insert photos and hyperlinks, and more. As a drawback, sometimes the app will crash when too many cards litter the screen (although the iCloud-syncing feature ensures that I've never lost a project), Even so, it's a fantastic way to outline articles, and I frankly wish it was on the Mac as well.