Simplenote and its ecosystem of apps for every platform toss all the superfluous features found in competing note-taking programs and focus on the ones that matter. All Simplenote apps sync effortlessly, with minimal interfaces that don’t get in your way, easy searching, quick tagging, and excellent support for keyboard shortcuts.
The title of a Simplenote note is just the first line of text in a note. You don’t have to tab between fields or pull up additional dialogs to assign a note a name; you just start typing. You can’t insert images, attach files, or use word processor-style formatting – these apps do one thing and do it well.
Web & Sync Backend – Simplenote
Simplenote is a web app that allows you to access your notes from anywhere, but it’s more than that. All these apps use a Simplenote account as the sync backend to synchronize your notes between computers, mobile devices, and browsers. There are a wide variety of apps that use Simplenote – the official page lists 37 third-party apps at the moment. It could take forever to dig through the list and find the best ones, so I’ve done that part for you.
The web app gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from Simplenote. There’s no huge formatting bar with options for formatting your text, nor is there a lot of interface clutter that gets in your way. If you really want to use formatting, you can enable Markdown formatting for a note in its preferences. The web interface also has revision history and sharing options. Tagging is accomplished by typing the name of a tag into the box above a note – no additional dialog required.
Windows – ResophNotes
ResophNotes is the best Simplenote client for Windows. It’s a super simple, lightweight application that syncs with Simplenote and it works similarly.
It stores files in its own proprietary database format by default, but you can also have it store notes as plain text files anywhere on your file system.
You can even edit the text files with a text editor like Notepad, if you like. ResophNotes will notice the changes and sync them with your Simplenote account.
OS X – Notational Velocity
Mac users should check out Notational Velocity, which is widely considered to be amazing. We’ve covered it in detail in the past. This is the original app that inspired ResophNotes for Windows — like the other apps here, it synchronizes with Simplenote.
Mobile – Simplenote App for iOS & Notational Acceleration for Android
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users are lucky enough to have an official Simplenote app, so there’s no contest there. We’ve covered using the iPad app in the past.
Android users will have to use a third-party app – there are many of them, but Notational Acceleration is the clear winner in my book. Its name clearly shows that it was inspired by Notational Velocity for OS X, too. It automatically synchronizes notes in the background when you make changes, has a good search interface, and fast performance.
Notational Velocity does come with advertising by default – you can pay to remove the ad if you like the app. Ad-free apps are available, but none seem to work as well.
Google Chrome – Syncpad for Simplenote
Syncpad is a Chrome extension that synchronizes with Simplenote and provides offline access to your notes. If you’re using an unsupported platform like Linux or even Chrome OS, it’s probably the way to go – the Simplenote app for Chrome has no offline capabilities and Notetak, a spiritual counterpart for Linux, has no sync capabilities.
You can also use Syncpad in full browser tab mode or create an application shortcut to use it in a dedicated window. To create an application shortcut, click the wrench menu, point to Tools and select Create Application Shortcuts.
How do you keep your text notes in order? Do you prefer a heavier, more full-featured app like Evernote to Simplenote? Leave a comment and let us know.
Image Credit: Student With Spiral Notebook via Shutterstock
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