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10 Best Note Taking Apps for Boosting Productivity in 2023

Best Note Taking Apps Shortlist

Here’s the shortlist of the best note taking apps that I’ll cover in this article, with detailed tool summaries below:

  1. Evernote

    Best note taking app for combining notes with task management

  2. Simplenote

    Best note taking app for simplicity

  3. Notion

    Best note taking app for focused writing

  4. Obsidian

    Best note taking app for creating an extensible knowledge base

  5. Bit.ai

    Best note taking app for detailed document tracking

  6. Apple Notes

    Best note taking app for Apple users

  7. Google Keep

    Best note taking app for location-based reminders

  8. Clover

    Best note taking app for combining notes with project management

  9. Zoho Notebook

    Best note taking app for a card-based system

  10. Hive Notes

    Best note taking app for meetings

Selecting the best note taking apps for your purposes can be quite a challenge. That’s because you now have many options to choose from, with many offering advanced features and functionality.

That’s why I decided to dig into this niche and investigate further. I carefully researched and assessed the available tools to see which ones provide the best value. 

So if you’re in the market for new note-taking software, you’re in the right place. Here you’ll find detailed evaluations of the top tools in this space, to help you make the right decision.

Selection Criteria

Wondering how I selected the best note taking apps for this article? Here’s a summary of my selection and evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): I look for note-taking apps with an intuitive interface that makes it easy to jot down notes and reminders.
  2. Usability: I’m seeking software that gives you quick and easy access to all the important features.
  3. Integrations: I expect a good note-taking app to integrate readily with popular productivity tools.
  4. Value for $: I look for software that’s affordable for everyone, whether taking notes for personal or business purposes.

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Overviews of the 10 Best Note Taking Apps

Here’s a brief description of each note taking app to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and pros & cons. I’ve also included screenshots to give you a snapshot of their user interface too. 

1

Evernote

Best note taking app for combining notes with task management

Evernote specializes in offering software for note taking, project collaboration, scheduling, and task management—all in one suite. 

Why I picked Evernote: Using Evernote software, you can create notebooks and add web clippings, notes, and images. You can also share your notes with other collaborators using laptops, tablets, and smartphones. 

Evernote allows you to make notes more useful by adding text, images, audio, scans, PDFs, and documents. The flexible search capabilities help you find what you need, and your notes are synced automatically to all your devices.

Evernote Standout Features and Integrations

Features include a web clipper, templates, a task manager, calendar integrations, and a document scanner.

Integrations are available natively with tools such as Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Salesforce, and Slack. 

Evernote Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $9.99/month. A free version with limited features is also available.

Free plan with limited features

From $9.99/month

Pros

  • Fast, accurate search functionality
  • Excellent web clipping capabilities
  • Easy to create and share notes

Cons

  • Limited offline capabilities
  • The spell checker needs improvement
2

Simplenote

Best note taking app for simplicity

Simplenote offers a stripped-down but effective note-taking and syncing experience for those who don’t need advanced features and capabilities. 

Why I picked Simplenote: Billed as the simplest way to keep notes, this app is available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, or in your browser. You can sync your notes in real-time across all your devices to stay up-to-date wherever you are. 

To stay organized, just add tags to your notes to make them searchable. Collaborate with colleagues by sharing notes or publishing them online. Simplenote supports markdown, making it easy to produce rich, complex notes.  

Simplenote Standout Features and Integrations

Features include markdown support, backups, real-time syncing, tagging, and collaboration options.

Integrations are available through Zapier for a wide range of applications.

Simplenote Plans and Pricing

Simplenote is available to use free of charge. 

Free to use

Free to use

Pros

  • Forever free
  • Distraction-free writing
  • Great for jotting down ideas

Cons

  • Dated interface
  • Lacks advanced features
3

Notion

Best note taking app for focused writing

Notion is a digital workspace that helps you manage notes, tasks, records, projects, and calendars. 

Why I picked Notion: Available in both cloud and on-premise formats, Notion allows team members to collaborate and perform joint tasks, share meeting notes, update project expense reports, and maintain benefits policies. The software can also be used for product roadmaps, task lists, repository patterns, and streamlining project workflows.

The editor offers distraction-free writing through a clean, simple interface. Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android devices, so users can view and manage tasks from anywhere.

Notion Standout Features and Integrations

Features include a portfolio tracker, designer templates, database management, documentation, and data export.

Integrations are available natively with applications such as Figma, Google Sheets, and Twitter.

Notion Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $10/user/month for business use (or $5/user/month for personal only). They also offer a free plan for 1 admin + 5 guests with limited features. 

Free for 1 admin + 5 guests

From $10/user/month

Pros

  • Highly customizable and extensible
  • Wide range of templates
  • Organizing notes is easy

Cons

  • Limited fonts and styling
  • Initial learning curve
4

Obsidian

Best note taking app for creating an extensible knowledge base

Obsidian is a markdown file reader that sits on top of text files in a designated folder, enabling users to write, edit and interlink their notes. 

Why I picked Obsidian: Built for taking notes quickly, you can use it to build a personal wiki or Zettelkästen. The software provides contextual information about key themes and topics in each note, so writers and note-takes can observe organic connections.

You can customize easily, thanks to a large range of plugins, themes, and custom CSS styling. Data is stored in a local folder, so you don’t have to rely on cloud storage. Notes are in the format of human-readable markdown, so you can create an extensible knowledge base tailored to suit your own requirements. 

Obsidian Standout Features and Integrations

Features include a code fence with syntax highlighting, task lists, tags, footnotes, and internal links.

Integrations are available natively with applications such as Excalidraw, Electron, and Typescript.

Obsidian Plans and Pricing

Obsidian is 100% free for personal use. Paid commercial plans are also available, starting from a one-time fee of $25.

Free for personal use

$25 one-time fee

Pros

  • Supported by strong community
  • Privacy-oriented
  • Highly customizable

Cons

  • Has an initial learning curve
  • Only available on desktop
5

Bit.ai

Best note taking app for detailed document tracking

Bit.ai is a workplace and document collaboration platform for creating, collaborating and organizing knowledge in one place, from wherever you are in the world. 

Why I picked Bit.ai: This software tool helps teams create dynamic notes, documents, wikis, knowledge bases, projects, client deliverables, technical docs, training guides, and client portals.

Use the minimalistic smart editor to collaborate on daily work, adding context with visual web links, rich media, videos, graphic design embeds, social media posts, surveys, files and attachments. You’ll gain real-time insights on your shared docs with detailed document tracking. For example, you can see how much time people spent on documents and how often they came back.

You can organize work by creating workspaces around teams, projects, or clients. Or, help your teams coordinate by making use of @mentions, real-time notifications, shared workspaces, guest access, and permission control. 

Bit.ai Standout Features and Integrations

Features include multiple workspaces, customizable workflows, workspace insights, a content library, smart search, and cloud upload.

Integrations are available natively with a wide range of applications, including Google Forms, Google Sheets, OneDrive Excel, Typeform, and YouTube. 

Bit.ai Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $12/user/month. A free plan with limited features is also available. 

Free plan with limited features

From $12/user/month

Pros

  • Wide range of templates
  • Advanced document collaboration features
  • Intuitive and easy to use

Cons

  • More fonts needed
  • Limited formatting and design
6

Apple Notes

Best note taking app for Apple users

Apple offers a wide range of hardware and software for both personal and business use, with Apple Notes bundled as a free, flexible note-taking app. 

Why I picked Apple Notes: This app helps you capture a quick thought, create checklists, sketch ideas, or write detailed notes. You can then sync these across all your devices using Google Cloud. 

You can create folders to organize your notes or use the gallery view to get a clear overview of your documents. It’s easy to search for a note or attachment, and you can even create a note from your lock screen. 

Apple Notes Standout Features and Integrations

Features include the ability to pin notes, scan, sign documents, and add attachments.

Integrations are available natively with iCloud, Tinderbox, and many Apple applications.

Apple Notes Plans and Pricing

Apple Notes is bundled free of charge with most Apple devices. 

Free to use

Free to use

Pros

  • Supports many useful features
  • Clean, well-organized interface
  • Free for all users

Cons

  • Cons: Only available on Apple devices Lacks advanced note-taking features
  • Only available on Apple devices
7

Google Keep

Best note taking app for location-based reminders

Google Keep is a free note-taking app available to anyone with a Google account, designed to help you take notes and jot down ideas anywhere. 

Why I picked Google Keep: Using Google Keep, professionals and individuals can create, edit and share notes from a unified platform. It’s easy to add lists, photos, and audio notes. You can then search notes using attributes such as color, labels, and type. The tool also allows you to record voice memos and set location-based or time-based reminders. 

The application syncs across all devices, allowing teams to access the tool from anywhere. Voice notes can be recorded and transcribed, and notes can be copied into a Google Doc with a couple of clicks.

Google Keep Standout Features and Integrations

Features include collaboration tools, notes management, reminders, annotations, task tagging, meeting notes, and handwriting recognition. 

Integrations are available with Airtable, Google Docs, Gmail, Telegram, and many other applications.

Google Keep Plans and Pricing

Google Keep is offered free to anyone with a Google account.

Free to use

Free to use

Pros

  • Has all the features most users will need
  • Integrates with the Google ecosystem
  • Free and readily available

Cons

  • Weak web clipper
  • No rich text formatting
8

Clover

Best note taking app for combining notes with project management

Clover acts as your daily workspace, offering a range of functions that include notes, tasks, whiteboards, and a daily planner. All these are combined in a streamlined workflow. 

Why I picked Clover:  This software tool introduces a new way of recording your thoughts, tracking tasks, managing your daily agenda, and planning work. It’s easy to capture ideas and plan tasks, with incomplete tasks automatically rolling over to the next day. 

Clover also acts as a fully-fledged task manager, collaboration tool, and planner. You can add due dates, color code tasks, and network your ideas. Clover automatically adds backlinks to connect your pages where appropriate. 

Clover Standout Features and Integrations

Features include rich media, whiteboarding, markdown formatting, code blocks with syntax highlighting, inline task features, dynamic references, and templates.

Integrations are available natively with tools such as Figma, Google Calendar, Soundcloud and YouTube.

Clover Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $10/user/month. A free plan with limited features is also available. 

Free plan with limited features

From $10/user/month

Pros

  • Everything works together effectively
  • Makes project management frictionless
  • A great productivity app

Cons

  • Occasionally buggy
  • Lacks advanced features
9

Zoho Notebook

Best note taking app for a card-based system

Zoho Notebook is a card-based note-taking solution for creating color-coded notes, generating checklists, and collaborating effectively within a unified platform. 

Why I picked Zoho Notebook: Zoho Notebook enables you to capture and store images, PDF files, documents, and spreadsheets. The built-in sketch tool makes it easy to create doodles, visualize ideas, or handwrite quick notes.  

Note card types are designed to complement the type of note you’re taking. You can easily jot, list, record, sketch, and snap what you need to remember. Using the audio functionality, employees can also record meetings, lectures, and other conversations for future reference.  

Zoho Notebook Standout Features and Integrations

Features include note tagging, passcodes, TouchID, version history, and secure collaboration.

Integrations are available natively with Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and various Zoho applications. 

Zoho Notebook Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $19.99/user/month. A free plan with limited features is also available. 

Free plan with limited features

From $19.99/user/month

Pros

  • High level of security
  • Supports importing from Evernote
  • Powerful web clipper

Cons

  • No list view option
  • Limited functionality
10

Hive Notes

Best note taking app for meetings

Hive Notes specializes in helping you take better meeting notes, assign follow-up items, and track the progress of assigned tasks.

Why I picked Hive Notes: Perfect for team status or client meetings, Hive Notes keep everyone accountable and on track. You can turn text into an action, assign due dates, and share notes with everyone on your team. 

You can link notes to calendar meetings, populating the note with relevant meeting information. Then attendees can get meeting alerts, linking directly to the meeting note. There’s also a private notes section for your eyes only. So you can add personal notes, actions, and comments on next steps.

Hive Notes Standout Features and Integrations

Features include flexible project layouts, native email, resourcing, group messaging, and file sharing.

Integrations are available natively with applications such as Dropbox, Google, and Zoom.

Hive Notes Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $16/user/month. A free plan with limited features is also available. 

Free plan with limited features

From $16/user/month

Pros

  • Turns meetings into projects
  • Regularly updated
  • Efficient and easy to use

Cons

  • Better commenting tools needed
  • Limited functions in mobile app

10 Best Note Taking Apps Comparison Chart

This comparison chart summarizes basic details about each of my top note taking app selections. You can view pricing details and the availability of free versions side-by-side to help you find the best software that works for your budget.

Tool Free Option Price
1
Evernote

Best note taking app for combining notes with task management

Free plan with limited features

From $9.99/month Visit Website
2
Simplenote

Best note taking app for simplicity

Free to use

Free to use Visit Website
3
Notion

Best note taking app for focused writing

Free for 1 admin + 5 guests

From $10/user/month Visit Website
4
Obsidian

Best note taking app for creating an extensible knowledge base

Free for personal use

$25 one-time fee Visit Website
5
Bit.ai

Best note taking app for detailed document tracking

Free plan with limited features

From $12/user/month Visit Website
6
Apple Notes

Best note taking app for Apple users

Free to use

Free to use Visit Website
7
Google Keep

Best note taking app for location-based reminders

Free to use

Free to use Visit Website
8
Clover

Best note taking app for combining notes with project management

Free plan with limited features

From $10/user/month Visit Website
9
Zoho Notebook

Best note taking app for a card-based system

Free plan with limited features

From $19.99/user/month Visit Website
10
Hive Notes

Best note taking app for meetings

Free plan with limited features

From $16/user/month Visit Website

Other Options

Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best note taking apps list:

  1. Microsoft OneNote

    Best note taking app for cross-functional collaboration

  2. Milanote

    Best note taking app for flexible, visual notes

  3. Standard Notes

    Best note taking app for a versatile selection of note types

  4. Roam Research

    Best note taking app for organizing research

  5. Bear

    Best note taking app for markdown notes

  6. Joplin

    Best note taking app for an open source solution

  7. Typora

    Best note taking app for distraction-free writing

  8. Ulysses

    Best note taking app for writing books

How to Select the Best Note Taking Apps

To help you choose the note taking app that’s right for you, here are some answers to frequently-asked questions. 

What are the main features to look for when evaluating note taking apps?

Look for a note-taking tool that is easy to use and can be accessed anywhere from all your devices. A good app will also allow you to add images or other media, and should include options for sharing your notes too. 

You should also have the flexibility to organize notes your way, whether that’s with folders or labels. The best apps will also allow you to enter voice notes or use a stylus to create handwritten ones.

What are the best note taking apps for ipad or iphone devices?

If you’re looking to take notes on your ipad or iphone, you’ll need an iOS app. Fortunately, there are many to choose from in the app store. Some of the most popular tools include Notability, Evernote, GoodNotes 5, and Nebo. However, many people find they get all they need with Apple Notes, the app that’s bundled for free with every Apple device.

What are the best note taking apps for android devices? 

Android users have plenty of options when it comes to selecting a note taking app. Popular choices include OneNote, Standard Notes, Simplenote, and Nimbus Notes. Alternatively, you can choose to save money by using Google Keep, the note taking app offered free with every Google account.

How do note taking apps help improve productivity? 

Note-taking apps are great for capturing every good idea that occurs to you. It’s easy to whip out your phone, tablet or other device to jot down your thoughts. 

A good app will help you organize your information effectively, allow you to set reminders, and integrate readily with other apps you use. In short, a great note-taking app can do a great deal to make you more efficient and productive. 

Other Resources

If you found this article helpful, you might also like to check out our articles on the best meeting management software and virtual meeting etiquette. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, so we can keep you up to date with our latest helpful tips.

Remember, when you combine the right note-taking app with a solid note-taking methodology, you can become better organized and greatly increase your productivity. So select the app that’s right for you and ramp up your efficiency ASAP!

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.