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With so many different note taking apps available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want an app to capture, organize, and retrieve information efficiently, but you need to figure out which app is best. In this post, I'll help you make your choice easy by sharing my personal insights on dozens of apps to improve your task management, and aid your memory.

What are Note Taking Apps?

Note taking apps are digital tools for recording and managing information on a mobile device (Android or iOS) or desktop computer. They are a modern replacement for your old pen and paper to-do list with enhanced features for handling information efficiently, including sub-tasks, bullet points, and checklists. You can use them to organize your tasks with folders and tags, synchronize your task lists across devices, and search for reference items easily.

Note taking apps can help you stay organized and efficient by giving you an easy place to quickly jot down notes for future reference. By saving notes on your mobile device of choice, they are always accessible to you for easy reference. They are a helpful memory aid for multi-tasking and keeping track of numerous responsibilities or tasks on the go.

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.

Best note-taking app with advanced search capabilities

  • 30-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $10/user/month
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Rating: 4.6/5

Guru is an AI-powered enterprise search tool that's designed to connect scattered company documents, apps, and chats to deliver instant answers through their desktop application or mobile apps.

Why I picked Guru: Guru's AI-powered enterprise search feature differentiates it from other note-taking applications by providing instant access to scattered information. Its minimal yet powerful design makes it easy to access information with just a few clicks, elevating the collective intelligence of any group that chooses to embrace it. Plus, you can take advantage of their Private Cards feature to use it for your own personal note-taking, all still searchable within their mobile apps.

As a note-taking app, Guru excels in offering real-time collaboration and knowledge accessibility. Users can quickly jot down, retrieve, and share notes without the usual clutter or complexity. This focus on ease of use and accessibility makes it an invaluable tool for individuals and teams looking to enhance their productivity and knowledge-sharing capabilities.

Guru Standout Features and Integrations

Features include artificial intelligence for real-time suggestions, knowledge verification processes to ensure the accuracy of information, knowledge triggers to proactively deliver context-specific information to users, and Collections and Boards to help users organize and structure their information.

Guru also supports syncing with external data sources, maintains high security standards with features like SSO, and provides extensive support resources for users.

Integrations are available natively with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, Google Chrome, Zendesk, Chrome, Firefox, Asana, Trello, Jira, and Confluence.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Setup process is straightforward
  • Easy to use with an intuitive interface
  • AI suggestions improve information relevancy and retrieval

Cons:

  • Can become overwhelming if not properly organized
  • Primarily focused on team use, less so for individual note-taking

Best note taking app for combining notes with task management

  • Free plan available
  • From $7.99/user/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

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.

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Limited offline capabilities
  • The spell checker needs improvement

Best note taking app for Apple users

  • Free to use
  • Free to use

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. 

Pros and cons

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

Best note taking app for a card-based system

  • Free plan with limited features
  • From $19.99/user/month

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. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • No list view option
  • Limited functionality

Best note taking app for simplicity

  • Free to use
  • Free to use

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. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Dated interface
  • Lacks advanced features

Best note taking app for flexible, visual notes

  • Free plan available
  • From $12.50/user/month

Milanote replaces linear text documents with a creative space for exploring ideas, based on a flexible drag-and-drop interface. 

Why I picked Milanote: Milanote is an online platform that helps designers and writers organize creative projects effectively. The software can be used to create mind maps, mood boards, briefs, and prototypes. In addition, the web clipper allows you to save links, images, and videos to existing boards from web pages with a single click.

Milanote's uncluttered text editor lets you add headings, lists, and other formatting. The software includes customizable templates, plus the option to add images, PDFs, color swatches, animated GIFs, videos, and design files. All of your content lives in one secure place for easy access.

Milanote Standout Features and Integrations

Features include design-oriented notes, integrated to-do lists, versatile uploads, and keyboard shortcuts. 

Integrations are available natively with a wide range of applications, including Desktop, Shift, and Rambox.

Milanote Plans and Pricing

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

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Rich in features
  • Easy to use drag-and-drop interface

Cons:

  • Needs progress tracking
  • No offline mode

Best note taking app for combining notes with project management

  • Free plan with limited features
  • From $10/user/month

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. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Occasionally buggy
  • Lacks advanced features

Best note taking app for location-based reminders

  • Free to use
  • Free to use

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.

Pros and cons

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

Best note taking app for cross-functional collaboration

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $6.99/user/month

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking app from one of the world’s largest and most influential software vendors. It’s designed to allow users to take versatile notes that can be easily shared with colleagues. 

Why I picked Microsoft OneNote: Microsoft OneNote allows users to type notes, enter handwritten notes using a stylus/fingertip, or add audio recordings. The deep search functionality makes it easy to find critical information. 

Handwritten notes can be converted to digital text, and important ideas can be highlighted using various shapes and colors. Microsoft 365 files can also be embedded into a note for easy editing. Notes can even be shared with colleagues for further collaboration and input.

Microsoft OneNote Standout Features and Integrations

Features include highlighting, drawing, web clipping, and the ability to organize content across notebooks, sections, and pages.

Integrations are available natively with applications such as AutoCAD, Microsoft 356, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word.

Microsoft OneNote Plans and Pricing

Plans begin at $6.99/user/month. A one-month free trial is offered with the $9.99 a month plan.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Makes information easy to share
  • Great for taking meeting notes
  • Well organized and cohesive

Cons:

  • Issues with synching and restoring
  • More integrations with Microsoft tools needed

Best note taking app for meetings

  • Free plan with limited features
  • From $16/user/month

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. 

Pros and cons

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 and business needs.

Tools Price
Guru From $10/user/month
Evernote From $7.99/user/month
Apple Notes Free to use
Zoho Notebook From $19.99/user/month
Simplenote Free to use
Milanote From $12.50/user/month
Clover From $10/user/month
Google Keep Free to use
Microsoft OneNote From $6.99/user/month
Hive Notes From $16/user/month
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Options

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

  1. Bit.ai

    Best note taking app for detailed document tracking

  2. Obsidian

    Best note taking app for creating an extensible knowledge base

  3. Notion

    Best note taking app for focused writing

  4. Bear

    Best note taking app for markdown notes

  5. Roam Research

    Best note taking app for organizing research

  6. Joplin

    Best note taking app for an open source solution

  7. Ulysses

    Best note taking app for writing books

  8. Typora

    Best note taking app for distraction-free writing

  9. Standard Notes

    Best note taking app for a versatile selection of note types

Selection Criteria for Note Taking Apps

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions about 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.

What are the best apps for HR purposes?

Many HR software providers offer mobile apps for both employees and HR teams. Mobile apps for employees cover typical employee needs like submitting PTO requests, checking on pay statements, and updating personal contact information.

Separate apps for HR professionals may offer features for mobile recruiting, monitoring employee performance, or updating employee information within HCM or HRIS systems while away from their desks.

To learn more about specific apps, check out my list of the best human resource apps for more details.

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, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.