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daily journal softwareIt seems like everyone owns a blog or microblog, with the advent of Twitter and increasingly simple blogging platforms like Tumblr How To Easily Create a Blog with Tumblr How To Easily Create a Blog with Tumblr Read More . And why not? You can showcase your talents in writing, spread the word on a cause you care about, and document your whereabouts. But when you simply want a place with no distracting comments to type your thoughts in, and don’t want to store them on someone else’s server, desktop journaling software might be a solution.

There are many note-taking software that would probably suffice for journaling, including Zim Zim: An Easy To Use Desktop Wiki For Your Life & Everything Zim: An Easy To Use Desktop Wiki For Your Life & Everything Read More , QuotePad Use QuotePad To Take Quick Notes & Set Reminders [Windows] Use QuotePad To Take Quick Notes & Set Reminders [Windows] Read More , Tomboy Notes How To Sync Tomboy Notes Across Different Computers & Operating Systems How To Sync Tomboy Notes Across Different Computers & Operating Systems Read More , CintaNotes How To Sync Notes & ToDo's Across Your PCs and Mobiles with CintaNotes How To Sync Notes & ToDo's Across Your PCs and Mobiles with CintaNotes Read More , etc. FOSS RedNotebook is, however, geared exactly for journaling and is available as a portable application so you can easily try it on Windows and Linux (you can try building it on OS X with the links on the Downloads page). Here are some of RedNotebook’s best features.

WYSIWYG Editor

daily journal software

RedNotebook is a Wiki-style journal, which allows you to easily format text, as well as include links, embed images, attach files, etc, by using a simplified markup language (in a way, like HTML). RedNotebook has the feel of a WYSIWYG text editor as you’ll have buttons to insert media (pictures on your hard drive or direct image URLs) and links, as well as attach files and format the text (e.g. make bold, underlined, etc) easily even if you don’t know all the different syntax.

journal software

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You also have one-click previewing of your styled entry, which would equal Save on Wiki-style websites.

Even if you’re not familiar with wikis at all, you’ll be guided with instructions from the default template upon loading the program for the first time. Templates can be useful if you’re planning on adding similar entries (e.g. notes or journal entries) on a regular basis so you don’t have to style the text every time.

Calendar Feature

journal software

Each entry can be added to a category and/or tagged and will be loaded every time you click on a date in the calendar on the left pane. There’s a lot of potential uses for an application that can link to calendar dates; in fact, Ryan discussed using iDailyDiary Create Printable To Do Lists To Get Organized With iDailyDiary Create Printable To Do Lists To Get Organized With iDailyDiary Read More , a similar journaling tool that also features a calendar, to create to-do lists that you can see upon clicking a date in that built-in calendar. If you use Remember The Milk, you’ll notice that even the weekly planner sheet the site offers you to print does not list the tasks in a calendar view, so this kind of calendar feature can prove more useful for the visual learner.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Another thing worth mentioning would be the fact that you can use keyboard shortcuts to quicken your way around RedNotebook. Some of the less obvious ones (the more obvious ones being the universal Ctrl + F to find a keyword, and Ctrl + N to add a new category) would be Ctrl + P to toggle preview mode, Ctrl + PageDown or Up to see the entry from a day back or forward in the calendar, Ctrl + L to insert links and Ctrl + T to add tags. You can see these on the menus and on the program’s Help section.

Exporting data

Your entries, which you can see all listed by typing a space (” “) in the search box, are saved on regular intervals, and they’ll also be saved when you quit the program, but if you ever wish to try another journaling platform (e.g. blogging), you can export your entries in plain text, HTML, PDF or LaTeX formats. You can also backup your entries in TXT format in a zip file.

journal software

If you’re looking to password-protect your entries, however, you’ll have to use something like TrueCrypt How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can't View with Truecrypt 7 How To Make Encrypted Folders Others Can't View with Truecrypt 7 Read More , or even take each of the entries (each stored as a TXT file) and zip them up yourself in a password-protected file with 7-zip 7Zip - A Free Program to Unzip Uncommon Archive Formats 7Zip - A Free Program to Unzip Uncommon Archive Formats Read More .

daily journal software

These are the major features that make it a keeper (at least, for me), but one downside of using this tool would be that there’s no direct and easy way to media other than pictures, so YouTube videos are out. Also, I don’t know what was up with the grey interface that you see here (I got the same for both the install and the portable versions), as the screenshots of the program from the official website (and other reviews from Lifehacker and GHacks) look really great. Overall, this would a great tool if you want to find an alternative to blogging.

Do you prefer blogging or keeping a private journal? If you do the latter, what method do you use?

  1. Liendi11
    December 29, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Jessica, Thank you for writing about RedNote. RedNote is a little confusing to a 'newbie', as I am. It took me quite awhile to figure out how to clear the screen...how to use it. I like the idea of being able to tag different things to a 'journal' that is my own. Right now, I've been on such a learning curve, that this was just one more leap on the road of life. Thanks again.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      December 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm

      It was a bit hard for me to learn the Wiki markup tags as well, but thank goodness, I could also use "insert > picture", "insert > file", etc.

      If you more questions, have you tried the RedNotebook Forum? Other RedNotebook users could probably give you answers.

  2. Jessica Cam W.
    December 30, 2010 at 12:17 am

    It was a bit hard for me to learn the Wiki markup tags as well, but thank goodness, I could also use "insert > picture", "insert > file", etc.

    If you more questions, have you tried the RedNotebook Forum? Other RedNotebook users could probably give you answers.

  3. Aibek
    December 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Few days ago we published another article looking at somewhat similar (though minimalist) apps.

    5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-quick-simple-ways-write-life-logs-minimalist-online-journals/

  4. Aibek
    December 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Few days ago we published another article looking at somewhat similar (though minimalist) apps.

    5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5...

  5. seenu
    December 17, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Very good tool for using like a diary

  6. Vivek Parmar
    December 16, 2010 at 5:17 am

    not a good one. journalism differs from blogging.
    blogging is all about sharing knowledge that you want

    • Jessica Cam W.
      December 16, 2010 at 6:10 am

      Some people might want to keep private blogs, which is similar to keeping a journal, just not on paper. That's why Posterous and other blogging platforms let you password-protect your site, and that's also why web apps like Penzu exist.

  7. Fawn
    December 16, 2010 at 5:07 am

    i use Microsoft Office OneNote. Best feature: you can password-protect it ^^

    • Jessica Cam W.
      December 16, 2010 at 6:13 am

      Sure, some people may prefer OneNote, but it's only available for Windows. RedNotebook is a very capable and open-source alternative for Linux users. :)

  8. Vivek Parmar
    December 16, 2010 at 6:17 am

    not a good one. journalism differs from blogging.
    blogging is all about sharing knowledge that you want

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