OneNote is one of Microsoft’s achievements. Not only is the note-taking software free, but everything is optimized for everyday use, helping you stay focused and organized. The same goes for Evernote.
However, neither application is perfect. This is especially true for software. Their browser-based versions have no features, while software versions can be bloated and slow.
If you choose OneNote or Evernote, you have options.
1. A simple note
If you have a small, effortless note-taking app, you should choose Simpltenote. The app lives up to its name because you won’t find swelling or advanced features here. The main focus is on distraction notes. As a result, the application is also pleasing to the eye.
There are no notebooks. Notes are organized using custom tags, although you can pin individual notes so they stay at the top of the note list. The notes themselves are clear text, so there is no need to edit rich text. But if you need formatting, you can switch to Markdown mode on a note basis.
Another noteworthy feature is the annotation versions. When you edit notes, Simplenote saves regular shots. You can review them and return the note to the previous snapshot if necessary.
Charge: Simplenote (Free)
Laverna’s main selling point is its focus on privacy. Your notes are never stored on company servers. However, you can save your data to Dropbox or RemoteStorage if you want to sync between devices. It is also possible to set a password that also encrypts your notes.
Laverna has two other big points to take advantage of. First, all notes are written in Markdown in a real-time preview window. Second, it has three levels of organization; profiles, notebooks and tags. Notebooks can even be nested in other notebooks.
It also has a hassle-free editing mode, syntax highlighting if you’re typing code into your notes, several handy keyboard shortcuts, and it’s open source GitHub.
Charge: Laverna (Free)
3. Standard notes
Standard Notes is a secure, encrypted, and open source note-taking application. If you are after the privacy-centric Evernote option, this software is ideal. Not only is the app available on all desktop and mobile platforms, but there is also a web version.
Standard Notes uses the freemium model; the application can be used freely, but additional features must be opened using the extended version. The free version includes all the encryption features of the application, synchronization services and offline use.
The Advanced option opens additional editor styles (only the text version is available in text only), adds double-authentication, and enables note history. For anyone who has used Apple Notes software, the Standard Notes interface also feels familiar.
Charge: standard Comments (Free, premium edition available)
Turtl is a secure Evernote option. Most of the app’s features reflect the services of Evernote and OneNote. However, privacy is the top priority here. Turt for this purpose Turtl is open source and can be viewed on the project’s Github page. All notes are encrypted locally before being uploaded to the sync server.
Even though you are an alternative to OneNote, the way you use the app is different and it becomes a learning curve. Another important thing to keep in mind is that Turtl is not currently available on iOS. However, you can use it on your desktop and Android devices.
You can also use Turtl browser extensions to collect files, images, and bookmarks. All of these products are arranged on a whiteboard, which is a notebook that has a more visual look and can be marked in a more detailed organization.
Charge: Turtl (Free)
CherryTree is a great open source alternative for OneNote. Many of the features of the Microsoft Notes app are here. Despite the fact that the application is an open source application, it is updated regularly. That is why it is one the best note-taking tools for programmers
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It can handle rich text annotations and code-based notes with syntax highlighting. And while CherryTree doesn’t have laptops per se, notes can be placed on other notes, so top-level notes act as notebooks.
One of the distinctive features of CherryTree is the ability to create internal links to other notes. In that sense, it works a lot like a wiki. This is great for notes compared to notes like when designing characters and novel plots.
Charge: Cherry (Free)
Unlike all the other apps on this list, TagSpaces is completely offline. It never sends data on the Internet. Instead, it only uses local folders and files, which also means there is no synchronization between devices. That is, unless you sync using a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
TagSpaces is free, although you can unlock additional features by upgrading to the Pro version. The application supports three types of notes: text (TXT), Rich text (HTML) and Markdown (MD). The interface is a little overwhelming at first, but once you get used to it, it all makes sense and increases productivity.
And because TagSpaces uses the local file system, organizing is as easy as creating your own primary subfolder hierarchy.
Charge: TagSpaces (Free, Pro version available)
7. Google Keep
If you prefer digital stickers to a virtual notepad, you may want to switch to Google Keep. Like most Google services, there is no desktop application here. Prim is designed primarily for network and mobile devices. However, if this is not the provider for you, it may be the best Google equivalent of OneNote.
This app is ideal if you keep track of smaller notes, quick reminders, and checklists. However, if you dig a little deeper, Google Keep can also make a great digital notebook. So if you choose a switch, use these Google Keep tips for better listings
7 useful Google Keep tips and features for better lists
If you use other Google services or have an Android smartphone, integrating Keep into your account makes it a valuable option.
Charge: Google Keep (Free)
The best note-taking app for your needs
While we’ve listed some of the best OneNote options, you shouldn’t spend too much time deciding what to use. Regular switching between applications can be a waste of time, and is often a symptom of procrastination.
You may find that these versatile options offer more than you really need. In this case, consider using one of these uncomplicated note-taking web application
5 Web applications that make easy note-taking more productive