The search for productivity in the easiest (or the laziest) way possible always makes us take a second look at any note taking app in the market. From my own personal experience I can tell you that I have rarely stuck to one. Maybe Evernote and OneNote for the computer; but when it comes to free Android apps, I have always had the Zen to experiment. Catch Notes was my last experiment which has stuck on so far. The ubiquitous Evernote is there as the master archivist of my thoughts, but my search for something that’s more impromptu and simpler led me to Simple Notepad.
With a name like that, anyone searching for a simple note taking solution would definitely go for an install and use. I did too.
That’s the description you will get when you go to our Best Android Apps page and get to the recommendation by our legion of readers. Well, that’s one of the reasons I am covering Simple Notepad here in more details and see if it stands up to the call. Simple Notepad starts ‘simply’ enough – with a view of your wallpaper or a blank screen which might make you think that something has got stuck somewhere.
Start a Note
Click the Menu button of your phone to reveal the starting options. To begin with, you can start with a new note or a checklist.
The note interface is as per the usual look – lined (customizable from Settings) and very basic. But did I say ‘basic’? Just click on the Menu option and select More to reveal all that you can do with the note. What seemed like a simple note app, suddenly blossoms with possibilities. Of particular interest are the following:
Set Reminder: You can set timed reminders, a custom reminder, and a nice in-your-face Sticky Reminder that will not go away unless you explicitly ‘unset it’.
Attach Picture: You can attach pictures to notes and checklists directly from the camera or from the Gallery.
Add to Calendar: You can attach a note or a checklist (e.g. a to-do) to the calendar of your phone and also sync it with Google Calendar if need be. This is another way to stay on track with a goal.
Set Password: An AES 128-bit Encryption algorithm should take care of the security of your sensitive notes.
Linkify: This makes all links, phone numbers, email addresses in the note clickable so you can open things like URLs directly in web browsers or any other default application.
Convert to Checklist: You could have started a checklist straight from the menu button, but nonetheless, an option exists to convert a note into a checklist. So, let’s do that.
Start a Checklist
That’s a sample checklist above. With the checklist created, I can drag and drop items to change their order. And of course, check them off when they are completed. Or I can also do a strikethrough for bit of an impact.
You can set multiple levels of priority and have them arranged and marked out in color.
You can shift items on a checklist from one list to another with a touch. Checklists also come with the same menu options as notes. An additional Lock feature stops any further editing of a list.
Organizing All Your Notes
As you can see from the screen above, I have organized my ‘thoughts’ into distinct folders. Notes and checklists can be easily moved from one folder to the other. One neat feature is that you can create a shortcut to a folder and automatically have it placed on the home screen with a custom icon. All your notes and checklists can be similarly placed on the home screen with a shortcut.
With good organization, you won’t need to search and sort for notes and checklists. But if you need to do so, Simple Notepad gives you quite a few options to go looking for the needle. That includes – sorting by color.
Simple Notepad has three add-ons that need to be separately installed. These allow you to upload to DropBox, clip from the web, and print via the cloud. Is Simple Notepad missing anything? How about voice notes? Oh yes, you can insert a voice note with a ‘V’ gesture to activate Google Speech Recognition.
Then there are the plethora of settings which allow you to customize the app to your note taking habits. You might call for features like note tagging or location sensing; but hey…that’s really a bit of overkill anyway.
Simple Notepad belies its name and in the end has proved itself to be a powerful note taking application. On the surface it keeps everything simple, but if you want to dive deep and configure the app a bit more, you have the scope and the features. It sure looks like a keeper for now. What’s your take? Which is the one simple note taking app for the Android that you would like to throw in the ring?