The introduction of cloud-based note-taking apps means that employees can not only digitally take and store their notes, but also access their notes from anywhere on any device thanks to cross-platform compatibility. Teams can also work collaboratively and share insights, suggestions, and grant permissions remotely.
The workplace is rapidly changing, and so are the tools that are used to get jobs done. One of the most important changes is in the way that people are taking notes. Gone are the days of taking notes by hand and struggling to keep them all in one place. Whether you’re a creative or an organization freak, digital notes can make life easier for you.
These are some of the top note taking applications to take your workflow capabilities to the next level in 2023.
What is a note-taking application?
A note taking application is designed to help the user take notes on the go and have easy access to their documentation. Note-taking is often intuitive, and the best note taking applications are created to become a notepad in its more dynamic digital form.
A good note taking app:
- Is flexible
- Keeps up with your requirements
- Contains features such as image-to-text and audio-to-text
- Is cross-platform and compatible with most office devices
- Is cloud-based and allows for easy sharing
All these tools come together with a pleasant and simple user interface that makes note taking feel simple, inspiring, and effortlessly collaborative.
What can you use note-taking applications for?
Besides storing your thoughts and ideas, here are some other ways in which you can use note taking apps:
- Share insights and feedback with your peers directly whilst working on asynchronous projects
- Keep track of important schedules and appointments
- Use your device as a digital notepad to store designs, sketches and quickly scribble your thoughts as you would on a piece of paper
30 Best Note Taking Apps of 2023
One of the most powerful collaborative document editors designed to elevate the experience of working remotely, Almanac allows you to create a dynamic workplace accessible to your entire team. With it, you can:
- Create an internal wiki
- Organize your team’s notes and minutes
- Approve suggestions
- Keep track of workflows
- Create knowledge bases
- Free templates, like this template for note-taking at recurring meetings
Plus, you can do it all in one convenient place. Almanac provides an immersive environment that inspires you to create and work as a unit without getting distracted by unnecessary calls and meetings.
With several powerful and fully customizable tools and a gorgeous user interface working together at peak performance, Almanac is more than just another note taking app. It’s an organization and productivity tool straight out of a high-tech, futuristic sci-fi movie.
- A powerful document editor with countless features and embeds fit for creatives, developers, and even researchers
- Tailored to fit the needs of remote work environments
- Async cross-platform collaboration, integration, and communication tools
- Merge different versions of documents with ease to create the best final product
- Password protection and multi-factor authentication
- Rich formatting tools such as checklists, infographics, and more for the ultimate customization experience
- Document analytics, history, and activity field to keep track of your employees
Notion’s core is built around the idea of a note taking app, but it serves as a collaborative workspace and a note taking app in one. Although its better features are blocked by a paywall and its organization capabilities are limited, the free version of the application has a standard set of tools that can make an individual creator’s workflow easier.
- Community features
- Access to thousands of user-made templates, integrations, and more
- Keep track of tasks and events through calendars and timelines
- Simple yet dynamic customization tools
The free version of the app allows you to sync up your content with multiple devices and gives you unlimited pages and blocks. Its paid tiers include:
- Personal Pro: $4 billed annually
- Team: $8 billed annually
- Enterprise: Available on request
Although on the pricey side, Evernote is a no-frills note taking app designed to suit an individual creator’s thoughts and productivity. However, on the downside, Evernote lacks the workflow management capabilities of the other similar applications.
- Attach PDFs, images, audio files, web clippings, and more to your notes
- Customize notes with reminders, checklists, and notifications
- Connect your app with your personal Google Calendar
Evernote’s basic version is free, but it also has three paid tiers with higher workflow management capabilities and storage:
- Personal: $7.99/month
- Professional: $9.99/month
- Teams: $14.99/month
Apple’s own note-taking app is very basic, but it does come with its own set of helpful features. It’s free and comes pre-installed on iOS devices, which is a big plus. Nonetheless, Apple Notes is nothing more than a simple note taking app. Intended for personal use, it lacks extra features that would make it the top note-taking app for work.
- iCloud offers cross-platform use
- Simple GUI and navigation systems
- Built-in document scanner
- Enables web and local attachments
- Minimalistic organization
- Heightened personal security features
Apple Notes comes pre-installed on all iOS devices and is completely free.
Microsoft OneNote’s design is focused on helping users organize personal notes into skimmable notebooks. It makes taking down quick personal notes during work and meetings much easier. However, Microsoft OneNote lacks the much-needed collaborative features that make remote work feel intuitive.
- Mix media offerings
- Stylus support
- Tags for easy browsing
- Easy sharing for collaborations
Microsoft OneNote is free on all devices, but you can use it alongside other Microsoft apps (such as Excel and Word) at $69.99/year by purchasing Microsoft 365.
The goal of Bear is to deliver a combination of simplicity and ease when creating little notes quickly, making them look neat and tidy with minimal effort. However, it lacks powerful organization and collaboration capabilities and is only available on Apple devices.
- Supports markdown and themes
- Include images and todos in your notes
- Organization based on hashtags
- Link your notes with each other
- Cross-platform syncing with iCloud
- Easy formatting with custom shortcuts
Bear is free on all Apple devices, but Bear Pro unlocks more themes and export options at $1.49/month.
Obsidian was created to serve as a knowledge base within your device organizing your notes in the form of graphs. Its focus is on offline ease, as it stores your notes within your local folder and supports simple markdown features. Note though, that Obsidian’s collaboration tools and formatting features are a bit limited.
- Store your notes directly on your device as plain markdown files
- Graph view
- Markdown supported backlinking
The basic version of Obsidian is free, but pricing tiers and add-ons unlock more features and content from developers and insiders. Those tiers are:
- Catalyst: $25+ (one-time payment)
- Commercial: $50 per user per year
Add-ons are priced at:
- Sync: $8/month
- Publish: $16/month for every site
Google Keep fits into the preexisting Google ecosystem as a free note taking app with basic yet useful tools. If you’re an ardent user of Google’s applications, it can help you stay productive and store your thoughts in one place.
- Sync your notes across all devices
- Allows you to set reminders, use checklists, transcribe audio files and insert doodles and images
- Share notes with others and collaborate with them in real-time
- Organize your notes with labels
Google Keep’s features are all available free of cost.
Dropbox Paper exists for easier collaboration. Dropbox’s free product brings the team together and keeps important notes, agendas, minutes, and feedback all in one place. However, limited exporting options, counterproductive design elements, and a user interface that’s not exactly user-friendly can restrict the app’s functionality.
- Task-management tools
- Organization tools to keep meetings and projects together
- Smart linking, todos, and notifications for mentions and feedback
Paper is a free standalone product offered by Dropbox, so no additional purchases are required to unlock its features.
Zoho’s minimalistic app design and simple features help you create notes on the go. Zoho Notebook’s notes are organized into different categories through cards, which is quite limiting, but still leaves the option of taking mixed media notes open. It also lacks collaborative features, but notes are easily synced and shared with your team.
- Sync notes across all devices
- Seven different card layout options supporting text, audio, checklists, and more
- Secure storage and sharing
- Ad-free operating system
Zoho Notebook is free for all devices and doesn’t contain ads.
Slite is another workplace productivity application designed for larger teams to collaborate, and for individuals to keep track of their notes. However, the major issues with the app jump in with its limited exporting features. Its collaborative and formatting features are also limited, as the app is geared towards employee onboarding and resource distribution.
- At-a-glance organization with channels and daily highlights
- Supports markdown
- Available on both PC and mobile
- Templates help you get started right away
- Free Version: Create up to 50 docs
- Standard Plan: $6.67/month for each member, gives additional features and unlimited docs
- Premium Plan: $12.50 per month per member, offers additional security features
The developers behind Ulysses created it with writers in mind. It provides a distraction-free environment to keep scrawled notes and random bits of inspiration together and make the organization of large projects easy.
However, the tool lacks corporate features and collaboration tools and works best for individuals who want to keep their ideas on a project in one place. Ulysses is also only available on Mac and iOS.
- Distraction-free environment designed to make writing sessions more productive
- Sidebar organization system
- Built-in proofreader and editor
- Export tools suitable for writers such as PDFs and ebooks
- iCloud sync
Ulysses is priced at $49.99, billed annually for up to 5 users.
Simplenote is as simple as its name, which can be good or bad depending on your note-taking needs at work. In terms of functionality, it’s pretty stripped down, only offering a basic text editor and collaboration tools to allow peers to view and edit your notes.
- Automatically syncs your notes across all devices
- Organization through tags
- Markdown support
- Allows you to view a note’s version history
A plus for Simplenote is the fact that it is completely free to use and supports syncing.
Milanote is a highly visual note taking tool designed for creatives and their endless brainstorming sessions. It is essentially a brainstorming inspiration board you can doodle on, but its layout could be off-putting for some. It also lacks the features needed to keep projects organized neatly. Its collaborative features and task management tools are very limited, as well.
- Drag and drop text boxes, images, and web clippings on a collective board
- Collaborative whiteboard and chat features
- Available across all your devices
- Free for up to 100 notes
- $49/month for teams of 10, with unlimited notes and shared boards
Standard Notes prioritizes your security and privacy over everything else. It’s a plain and compact app that is geared towards helping individuals create a secure personal knowledge base.
Standard Notes falls behind when it comes to collaborative tools and task organization and management, though. Teams aren’t likely to find this app useful, and its pricing is also on the higher end.
- Expansive list of note types
- End-to-end encryption and password protection
- Different themes
- Cross-platform and automatically backed up
The app’s basic features are available for free, but it has other pricing tiers with improved features, security, and more note types.
- Core Plan: $29/year
- Plus Plan: $79/year
- Pro Plan: $119/year
Roam Research is often considered as an alternative for Obsidian. It interlinks your information through graphs and tags to help you create a personal body of interconnected notes.
Its organization system is based more on how information links up together, which makes looking for related topics you make notes on easier. However, its interface can be complex and it lacks features for collaborations and teams.
- Bi-directional links
- Searching with filters
- Intuitive organization
Roam Research itself is free and open-source, but the Pro version is available at $15 per month if you’d like collaborative tools.
Typora is a basic markdown text editor with some additional features designed to create simple and streamlined documents with minimal tools and distractions. While it gets the job done by offering a smoother reading and writing experience, it lacks most other organization and collaborative features that a good note taking app for work requires. Instead, it’s mostly designed to help writers work intuitively.
- Supports all markdown features and bonus features such as highlighting, flowcharts, subscript and superscript, and inline mathematics
- Several import and export options
- Customizable themes and writing modes
Typora is available after a one-time payment of $14.99 for up to 3 devices.
Notability is an app primarily designed for the educational setting, with a focus on creating lecture notes, making diagrams, scanning textbooks, recording explanations, and more. The app is available only on Apple devices and has limited organization, collaboration, and workflow management tools, but it serves as a variation of a flexible digital whiteboard with stylus support to aid your note-taking abilities and style.
- iCloud Sync
- Designed for the Apple pencil
- Support mix media and multiple imports
- Has features for presenting data on a larger screen
Notability is free on Apple devices with limited features. Its full features can be unlocked with an annual subscription of $14.99.
Craft could be called a watered-down version of Roam Research with its bi-directional linking and organization of notes into separate pages and create-your-own-note hierarchies and structures. However, this app is available only on Apple devices and lacks the management and collaborative tools.
- Integrates visual elements and supports videos, backlinks, inline markdown, and code
- Simple and frictionless layout
Craft is free for Apple devices, but Craft Pro’s prices start at $4.99/month.
Upword Notes has been created as a more advanced version of Apple Notes, offering a variety of new fonts and features like repeating reminders and shortcuts. It’s only currently available on Apple devices and does not include many collaborative opportunities.
- Backup your notes on Dropbox and Evernote
- Customize your notes with new fonts and markdown features
Upword Notes is available for free on the App Store, but users can purchase additional features such as fonts and reminders via in-app purchases.
Goodnotes has been created to create a handwritten note taking experience by transforming your iPad’s screen to a page from an actual notebook. It is primarily focused on design elements, therefore lacking many formatting, linking, workflow management tools.
- OCRs your handwriting to search handwritten notes using keywords
- Small file sizes while exporting
- Automatically backup and sync your notes across all devices
Goodnotes is a universal app, available at a one-time price of $7.99.
Notepad is a very simple note taking application that only serves one purpose: quickly jotting down notes and storing them in your phone’s storage. The app is small and compact but lacks almost all the features that could make it even remotely useful in a fast-paced office setting.
There are no collaborative features to it or advanced tools to save mixed media notes and organize notes efficiently. Instead, you can only save text notes in the form of .txt files.
- Fast and simple (you can access the app as a widget on your phone)
- No limit to the number of notes you can save
- Password lock
- Several colored themes
- Saves notes automatically
Notepad is a free app and runs on ad revenue.
StickMe Notes is more of a memo app used to digitally recreate a notice board filled with sticky notes and reminders. The app falls behind in terms of the collaborative aspects, and it also lacks an organized space where notes can be stored and easily accessed. You could find your notes cluttering your lock screen and wallpaper if you’re not up for the notice-board aesthetic.
- Attach alarms, audio files, and images to your notes
- Stick your notes to your notice board, wallpaper, and lock screen for quick reminders
- Syncs across all Apple devices
StickMe Notes comes with a monthly subscription of $1.99.
Supernotes is an efficient note taking app that stores your notes as cards. The stacked interface creates interlinked information that can be filtered through tags. The collaborative workspace isn’t overly efficient and the cards themselves offer limited formatting options.
- Fast and reliable
- Interlink your notes and organize them through tags
- Sync across all your devices
Supernotes is a free app that allows you to start with 40 cards, but the Unlimited version starts at $8.12.
Notes Writer, created for Apple devices, is another virtual notepad with some standard note taking features. While it does the job of recording your thoughts in different formats, its organization is limited and it doesn’t offer workflow management or tools for teams.
- Syncs your notes across all devices
- Stylus support
- Quick scanner and merger
- Supports Scrivener
Notes Writer is a free app, but Notes Writer pro with additional features is currently priced at $9.99.
Keep My Notes
Another simple little tool for storing your notes offline is Keep My Notes. You won’t be able to do much with this app other than store some plain-text notes on your device and organize your notes into folders. Nonetheless, the app still has a password lock feature and lets you sync your notes across multiple devices.
- Offline access
- Online sync
- Password lock
- Simple themes and formatting options
- Alarm reminders with notes
Keep My Notes is free on all android devices.
Quip is an online platform created to bridge the communication gap employees face while working remotely. The app has team chat and in-built collaboration features and a decent way to organize and share notes.
Where the app lacks, however, is in its security and the functioning of collaborative documents and spreadsheets. It also does not offer helpful import and export options and takes up a lot of RAM while running on PC.
- Live chat and collaborative editing
- Productivity and organization tools
Using Quip Personal is free, but starts at $30 for 5 users.
Other Tiers Include:
- Quip Plus: $25/user/month
- Quip Advanced: $100/user/month
Saferoom isn’t a note-taking application but rather an add-on to Evernote and OneNote that allows users to keep their data encrypted on both these apps. It can be seen as an added layer of security to your note-taking apps, but doesn’t offer note-taking on its own.
- No-cloud application to store your data securely in your device
- Zero-knowledge principle
- Supports 1Password and LastPass
Saferoom is a free data encryption app.
Atom is a collaboration app primarily for developers, serving as an open-source text editor for collaboratively editing code. However, it really isn’t for non-developers.
- Cross-platform collaboration
- Several themes and packages for customization
- Simple and beautiful interface
Atom and its packages and extensions are all free and open-source.
Material Notes sets itself apart with a simple and colorful interface. However, the app lacks all the necessary features of collaboration and organization that could make it useful for work.
- Create notes, checklists and reminders
- Easy search and categorization for notes
Material Notes is a free app, but in-app purchases cost $1.29 – $9.29 per item.
Best Free Note Taking Apps
If you’re looking for a free note taking app for work, here are the best options available that you can try and work on for free:
There are a variety of note-taking apps out there trying to keep up with the intuitive way in which the human mind works, while still also creating a structured environment that boosts the productivity of a remote workspace.
Free software can be restrictive when it comes to features that make your workflow and note taking smooth and easy. Nonetheless, Almanac provides the best combination of intuitive note taking with unmatched productivity and management tools.
This app will help the entire team keep up with the project, while also thoroughly enjoying the remote experience. Combining personal and office tools into one powerful document editor, as well as creating a platform with unlimited possibilities, it’ll transform working from home.
With this resource at your fingertips, you’ll be able to create a bustling, communicative virtual office wherever you are. To learn more about how Almanac can help you satisfy all of your team’s note taking needs – and more! – contact their friendly sales team today!