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collaborative note takingIn an increasingly busy world, one could do with less clutter. That perhaps explains the trend towards minimalism. From how you design your house to the kinds of apps you use, minimalism is the new buzzword. If you are looking for a collaborative online service that’s minimalistic without giving up its purpose, consider Knowcase (Beta).

Knowcase is a free online web application that helps you capture your ideas, to-do lists, top-of-the-mind notes, and sundry other bits of data. More than an idea capturing online ‘notebook’, it is also a collaborative tool for sharing what you need to with other individuals or teams.

Note-taking apps are a particular breed that lends themselves well to simplicity and minimalism. Knowcase follows the rule to the tee. It is free, fast, and easy. But does it follow all the ABC’s of minimalism, note-taking, and collaboration? Let’s sign-up and find out.

Sign-up is a six-second affair. No unwanted boxes to fill out. No email confirmation of your registration.

The Clean Look

collaborative note taking

There are two obvious ways to decide if an app is simple or you need to dive deeper to understand it. The Settings often show what options you have to customize the app. Complexity goes up with too many options. Knowcase gives you only one – changing/updating your log-in info.

The interface of Knowcase is also self-explanatory. I bet taking one look, you too can make out what it’s all about. I didn’t find a link that said ‘Help’ or ‘Instructions’ anywhere.

Capturing Information

If ideas and thoughts overflowing from the top of your head; make them spillover on Knowcase. Double click and enter the topic headline where it says – Enter topic name.

collaborative notes

You can create your list by simply entering text and pressing enter. Alternatively, you can enter new text items by clicking on Add text. Don’t worry about the correct order or hierarchy now. Just keep on populating the list. We take up organizing the data into outlines and hierarchies in the next section.

Knowcase lets you create as many topics you want. You can move through each topic from the list on the right column. You can delete unwanted topics by making the topic active and clicking on the Remove this topic link at the bottom.

Organizing Information

Organizing all your jot-downs within a topic into proper outlines and hierarchical lists is easy.

The simplest list on Knowcase is a ‘To-Do’. To-do’s are linear lists which you can mark off with a check when you finish them.

collaborative notes

Any other list can be organized topics and sub-topics structure by clicking on the Outdent and Indent buttons. You can reorder the hierarchy by simple drag and drop of the individual topics.

Collaborating with Individuals or Teams

Collaboration is one of the key features of this simple app. You can share your topics and list with your team members using an email invite. Topic items are tagged with the names of the respective team members. Viewing or editing privileges can also be set for each shared member.

collaborative note taking

You can download (or backup) your notes as text or OPML files.

Potential Uses

With Knowcase there is absolutely no learning curve. That makes it a perfect platform for use in no-frill team environments like schools where students and teachers can use it for collaborative activities. The to-do tool can be used to prioritize tasks. Knowcase and its hierarchical note taking feature can be used to create outlines without a fuss.

Outlining is another way to brainstorm and a useful alternative to the more three-dimensional mind-mapping. Though, Knowcase is not a power note-taking or outlining tool, its appeal lies in simplicity. We have covered quite a few to-do and note-taking apps. Which one is your pick?

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