Taking notes used to be super easy. You could go to the store and get a notebook or college ruled paper for your Trapper Keeper and a pencil and write till your hand cramped up. However, now there is A LOT more information from a myriad of digital sources you may need to keep track of..
This means you will need a digital notebook. Whether it is mobile, desktop or web-based, there is an application in this list to fit your needs. The needs of each potential user vary tremendously. For that reason, most notebook applications have no defined way to use them.
Most can be arranged with tags, pages, notebooks or other methods. The rest is up to you on how you arrange things while keeping track of your projects, personal life or client information. A number of the notepad applications have add-ons or plug-ins to extend the features and functionality.
Evernote is probably the most well known pieces of information catch-all software out there. There are so many articles out there on usage and tips, I won’t go into a lot of detail here.
Works with: Web, Windows, Mac, most mobile devices and mobile browsers.
I wrote about Springpad a few months ago here on Make Tech Easier. Since then, the layout and options have changed slightly, but the overall usage is the same. Unlike many note taking apps, Springpad is a bit easier to start using. You have templates for tasks, checklists, searches, a barcode scanner, etc. All of which are there to help you feel less intimidated and make SpringPad easier to use.
Works with: Web, Android, iPad, iPhone.
Zim is a note tool has some pretty cool features compared to the others in the group. While there are plugins, you can do a lot by simply inputing some basic commands typing them inline.
For example, you can:
- Make new pages by typing :new page name .
- Or create check boxes for a to-do list by typing the open and closed brackets like this .
- Give a task priority by adding an exclamation point after the task.
Linux users can do many of these same tasks via the Gnome plugin if they choose too.
Add images or attach files to your notes in Zim to keep everything you need in one place.
Zim reminds me a lot of Google Wave. You have a lot of options and usability in one app to use how it makes sense for you.
Works with: Windows, Linux.
TiddyWiki is a very versatile application because of the way it is designed. The whole thing is one file. What that means to you is easy sharing of the file/app.
Works with: Windows, Mac, Linux.
SimpleNote is the first application on the list that does not have a desktop application. This is great for those of you who are moving to a tablet, iPad or eliminating what information you store locally on your desktop.
With the many add-ons, you can sync with several devices and applications. SimpleNote can import text files and even import your Evernote archive files. If you are looking to move away from Evernote, or want access to those archive files using another application, you will have a pretty simple migration of your information.
Works with: web, iPhone.
Works with: Linux.
7. Zoho Notebook
Zoho has a lot of useful web-based tools. The notebook is one of the productivity tools you can use for free.
What I think you will like about Zoho Notebooks is the browser plugin. Having an easy method to use your notebook, you will likely use your notebook more.
For those of you who are currently using Google notebooks, you can import those notes into Zoho.
Works with: web.
Nevernote is another Linux desktop note pad application. While it can be ran on other platforms, it is meant to run on Linux. To sum up the features in a few words, it is an open source clone of Evernote.
Login and sync with your Evernote account from your Linux desktop.
Works with: Linux.
How do you keep all of your digital information organized?
image credit: Michael Jastremski
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