How To Setup The Ultimate Multi-Platform Writing Environment With Simplenote

I’ve just watched a beautiful animation titled “The Secret of Kells”. I’m not going to spoil anything by telling you the story here, but I can tell you that the movie described how hard the process of writing a book was back in the middle age. It required top notch craftsmanship to write each and every word and to illustrate each page by hand. It took two generations to finish “just” one book.

When we compare that condition with what we have here today; with computers, word processors, smart phones, internet and all the modern technologies (and without the barbaric Vikings lurking in the dark); we should feel so lucky. Moreover, with the help of Simplenote, you could set up a multi platform writing environment that you can use to write, continue, and finish your book(s) anytime, anywhere and using any available devices at hand.

Step One: The Web Version

The first thing to set up is the web version. You could say that this is the bridge that connects everything else. If you haven’t got yourself an account, go to Simplenote’s site and click the green “Create An Account” button. Otherwise, “Sign In” with your account.

Simplenote Web

The web version of Simplenote gives users common features of note taking apps such as add notes (+), search notes, sort by tag, Trash and Pin, add tags, and writing the notes itself.

Simplenote Web App

But the one feature that amazed me is the ability to view the older version of a note by moving the “Version History” slider more to the left. This feature allows you to see sentences from the past, maybe the ones that you’ve deleted but you want to retrieve back. If you are writing a book, keeping all versions of a text is essential.

Simplenote Version History

And when you are ready to move beyond the web app, Simplenote gives you tons of options of accessing its service. You can view the complete list at the download page. Here are few of them.

Step Two: The Mobiles

Simplenote comes with free native iDevices apps. So if you are iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad users, you can go and download, install and use the apps from here.

Since these apps are from the people behind Simplenote, the apps comes with all the goodies that the web version has including viewing the older version of the note. There are also other features that I couldn’t find on the web version: the ability to share notes and publish them as web pages.

Simplenote mobile

There are also other mobile apps made by others for other platforms, for example: Noted! [Palm webOS], mNote [Android], and AndroNoter [Android]

Step Three: The Desktops

Simplenote shines in the number of desktop applications from third party developers that support the services. This means that users can use various type of desktop app to take notes, and the notes will be synchronized automatically with their account.

There are quite a few desktop apps available for Mac and Windows, such as: Notational Velocity [Mac], JustNotes [Mac], and Resoph Notes [Windows].

Simplenote - Notation

Unfortunately, there’s no desktop app for Linux users – yet. But…

Step Four: The Others

Support for synchronization with Simplenote account doesn’t stop at application level. There are add on for Firefox (QuickFox Notes) and Google Chrome Extensions which can help users quickly add and sync their notes from within their browsers.

Simplenote - Google Chrome SimpleNote

This solution is perfect for Linux users who don’t have access to Mac or Windows and the Simplenote-friendly note taking desktop applications.

Step Five: The Usage

Using Simplenote and the multi platform writing environment is as simple as starting notes in one device and picking up where we left in another device. For example, you had an idea when you are on the road, then you could quickly jot down the idea via Simplenote in your iPhone. Then your note would be automatically synchronized to your account, and you could continue cooking your idea at the moment you turn on your computer at work or home.

Of course Simplenote is not the only alternative of multi platform note taking environment. We also have Evernote, Dropbox, and other similar services. But the reason I fell in love with Simplenote is – as the name suggested – because of its simplicity.

Do you use Simplenote? Or do you prefer other note taking method? Share your thoughts and opinion using the comment below.

Jeffry Thurana Jeffry Thurana

Jeffry Thurana is a creative writer living in Indonesia. He helps other writers and freelancers to earn more from their crafts. He's on a quest of learning the art of storytelling, believing that how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. He is also an architect and a designer, and loves traveling and playing classical guitar.


  1. I was recently using simple note the web version had crafted a great post, then in a instant it was gone.

    So have gone back google docs!

    It’s a neat bit of kit but I’m nervous to use again!


    1. I am sorry to see that you have a bad experience. Personally I have no issue in using it, and loving it every moment.

    2. Don’t know if they had the feature back then but you can access the last 10 edits of any note via history. Their customer service is also great and worth emailing if you’ve lost something of importance.

  2. Great guide :) I’ve been using Resoph Notes for a while now and its been great – especially with the recent development of the tags (like folders) to keep the notes a little more organised.
    I love the way it synchs between the iPhone and the desktop – I’ve stopped using paper in meetings now and take notes on the iPhone – I just have to tell people that’s what I’m doing, else they think I’m texting!

  3. I use Evernote and love it on my iPhone and on Windows. Also, don’t know how I lived without Dropbox!

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