You’ll find plenty of note-taking apps for every taste and task on a Mac. Lots of the good ones offer an extended feature set – up to the point of allowing you to write a novel in a single note. But many of us simply don’t expect such omnipotence from a notepad – just to jot down an instant short note often is quite enough.
The good old Evernote with its plethora of features has become too complex for an average user. Those who prefer to simply drop quick notes on the fly have other nice apps they can opt for. The only question: which exact one to choose?
So, if you wish to upgrade your note-taking experience, here is your top-5 list of the selected most beloved apps in terms of simple and quick note making.
Unclutter’s Notes must be the fastest way to jot down a note on a Mac. One mouse gesture and you’re already typing your idea, to-do task, a phone number, or anything else.
Unclutter has no sophisticated features like media files support, handwriting, notebooks, etc. At the same time, it’s incredibly simple and convenient – which is ideal for plain quick note-taking. Truly minimalistic approach.
Interestingly, you may drag the Notes panel out of the Unclutter window and place it anywhere on the Desktop (it’ll stick atop other windows). Voilà – now you have it as a Post-it note.
Other app’s abilities include quick full-text search, all screens availability, auto-sync across all your Macs.
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Verdict: Being very fast and simple, Unclutter gives you as much as you need to simply churn out notes. Plus, its neat macOS-integrated interface to sweeten your experience. And even lack of more-than-basic features won’t be an issue if you’re actually looking for instant effortless note-taking.
This one may not be quite so popular and often-used – but it definitely doesn’t make it less worth our attention. Ghostnote specializes in Post-it notes and todos on Mac. But it’s far from a typical notes making app because of its unique approach – being context based.
At first, Ghostnote may appear to be somehow complicated, but after a look at their website or 2-minute explanatory video, it should all become clear.
With this powerful tool, you can annotate virtually everything on your Mac: files, folders, apps, URLs and the list goes on. Thus, Ghostnote should be a great choice for those who need to make lots of comments and remarks during their workflow (coders, editors, etc).
Moreover, the app has its own browser to view and manage your notes from one place; there you can also write classic notes and todos.
This desktop notepad has quite a bunch of things to amaze you with. And its fresh major upgrade only adds points to this app as a member of our top-list.
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Verdict: Ghostnote is quite different from most of Mac notebook apps in terms of how it works. Its main idea is in contextual notes and todos with which you can annotate all kinds of stuff on a Mac. It will take some time to grasp how all of it works, but once you get it, you’ll have a powerful notepad at your disposal.
As its name implies, Simplenote is for making simple notes. Pretty straight-forward. At the same time, the app provides you with all the essentials you’d want from a decent Mac notepad.
Some cool features you get in Simplenote include tags (which are like folders), collaboration (adding an email of someone to work on a note with) and markdown formatting. These allow easy note finding, sharing and visual enhancing.
Another nice thing to have is the app’s history tracking. Thanks to it, you can easily “go back in time” to the preferred version of your latest notes.
Its interface quite resembles the one you have in your native Notes app. Although, it looks refined and simplified at the same time. It’s like if you take Apple Notes, remove all extra, add some nice-to-have features (e.g. tags, markdown) with a pinch of elegance – done.
What’s more, Simplenote is available on literally every today’s platform. Thus, your notes are automatically synced across all your devices.
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Verdict: Simplenote is unobtrusive and intuitively clear. Tags, collaboration, markdown, history – all to keep your note-taking process smooth, comfy and simple. This memo app is an ideal solution for ordinary users who don’t want to spend a penny and still get a nice basic notepad for any kind of device.
Sticky notes from uncle Google. Keep’s minimalistic colorful design cheers you up right from the first look at it. It is basically a wall of stickies – like the one you might have somewhere in your apartment.
You can actually do quite a lot of stuff in Google Keep. That includes everything from checklists and reminders to drawing and adding pictures. Labels, collaboration, keyboard shortcuts – goes without saying.
Keep also has some advanced features (you might never use though 😁): Google services integration, voice input, OCR scanner (recognition of image text). Still, for some users those would be a competitive edge when choosing a notepad.
In order to get this talented app, you just have to download a free Chrome extension or you can use it in a regular Chrome tab.
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Verdict: Google Keep may not be the fastest-accessed or best macOS integrated sticky notes app but it’s certainly worth taking look at. In addition, some of its pro features may really surprise you. The fact remains: Google tends to make a lot of useful free stuff – and Keep is no exception.
Actually, your system Notes app is not that bad as well. It has some basic formatting, checklists, folders, coworking with others… well, even locking notes with a password is possible. Besides, you can add various attachments to your notes.
Apple Notes syncs across your other Apple devices. And obviously, no need to download it as it’s already there, by default. 😊
Right, you won’t see any eye-charming designs or extraordinary solutions – it is dead simple and it just works. So, do not completely reject this option right away. That’s all we’re saying.
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Verdict: If you don’t need your notebook app to be right at hand, look beautiful and have any extra features, stay with Apple’s Notes.
…But why would you search for the best notes apps for Mac after all?
To sum up
We hope our top-5 picks will help you in that uneasy struggle to find your best way to take notes on Mac. We have deliberately omitted notebook apps like Evernote or Bear. The reason is our focus on choosing the best apps for taking notes fast and with minimal effort.
Trying to sum up this article in a few words, we would get the following:
Unclutter – a neat and handy triple productivity tool with instant note-taking.
Ghostnote as the best app for contextual notes.
Simplenote is obviously for simplicity lovers.
Google Keep must be a top choice as a sticky notes app.
And if you are satisfied with plain basic note-taking and don’t want to look any further, you should probably stick with your native Apple Notes.