Simplify Note-Taking & Sync Notes Everywhere With Simplenote Apps

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note taking 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.

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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.

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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.

note taking software

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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22 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Nathan Kaufman

Way to snake Veronica’s topic for next week, CHRIS.

Chris Hoffman

Sorry — who’s Veronica? I’m confused.

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Laga Mahesa

Pfffit. Notebooks by Alfons Schmid is way better with its Dropbox sync. Direct access to your notes as text files with no desktop client needs.

Chris Hoffman

Never heard of it. Looks to be iPhone and iPad only — I use Android, so that doesn’t help me at all.

Sure, you can access them as text files, but then you’re losing the advantage of easy search and autosaving.

Laga Mahesa

Sorry, didn’t realize the target was all platform.

I’m not entirely sold on the ‘everything in the cloud’ idea, and vastly prefer having local access to my files, especially here in Asia where the internet is somewhat unreliable.

Chris Hoffman

Sure, use what works for you.

For me, the nice thing about Resophnotes is that it saves txt files to the local system. I can access them offline and work with txt files — Simplenote is just a convenient way to synchronize between all platforms. I mostly use Resophnotes and Notational Acceleration, which work fine offline.

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AK

I have used Evernote, Springpad as well as SimpleNote and finally found that Simplenote is the best for me. The reason I gave up Evernote was that it doesn’t store your notes offline in your mobile device and it is a paid feature if you want it. Springpad was too bloated just like Evernote. Now I’m using the Simplenote-Rosephnotes-Notational Acceleration combo since 2 months and am completely satisfied.

Chris Hoffman

Wow, your experience directly mirrors mine. I’ve been switching between note-taking apps for a long time (I spent a while with Workflowy, but it had some problems — no offline access, they wanted to charge for mobile apps, etc.)

I’ve been using Simplenote+Resophnotes+Notational Acceleration for months now, too. I’m finally happy with a note-taking system, so I thought I’d share it.

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RobertSBoone

I lamented the lack of Simplenote apps for Linux for the longest time, but Fetchnotes (fetchnotes.com) has quickly filled the void for me. The developers are extremely active, and it’s quickly evolving.

Chris Hoffman

Oh, very interesting! I like that it has official apps for every platform.

I’ll give it a try sometime, probably — but I’m very happy with my current solution at the moment.

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Ozone

Notational Acceleration has nothing on Flick note. Account sync access, night/dark mode, timed sync’s, widgets, pinning of notes, customization. What more could you ask for?

Flick Note: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teragadgets.android.notes

Chris Hoffman

I had a problem with Flick Note, but I can’t remember what — I tried so many of these apps.

I think Flick Note was laggy? Other people seem to agree with poor reviews on Google Play. You may only notice this with the free version (the lag may be ad-related), but I wasn’t about to shell out for the paid version when the free one had problems.

Ozone

Yes, it is those ads that make it laggy. I paid for it because I wanted the widgets, but I have noticed no lag whatsoever. I also paid for it when keeping in mind, all those ads are probably tracking your activity, and I, for one, rather have peace of mind instead of all that. You get what you pay for I guess.

Chris Hoffman

Fair enough! Flick Note looks like a good option for those who want to pay.

Still, they need to optimize their ad code — it’s scaring users like me off.

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Jeff Schallenberg

I found another Android app that syncs with Simplenote. JadeNote (http://jadenote.com/) is fast, free (no ads) and it has two useful features the others don’t:

– Checklists. Just give your new note a _checklist tag, and it will display each line as a checklist item. Checked-off items get a * at the beginning of the line.

– Map notes. Give your new note a _map tag, and follow the special address format, and JadeNote will place smileys and one-line notes on a Google Map. Saved map views are available offline.

Chris Hoffman

JadeNote is definitely one of the other good options. I prefer Notational Acceleration’s interface — I guess because it’s so similar to Notational Velocity, with the search box and all. Still a free version with no ads is a big pro for JadeNote.

Thanks for chiming in!

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Adrian

Hi there, I’m on a quest to find a decent note taking app that syncs with SimpleNote. This is my experience:
– FlickNotes – It would have been perfect for me if not the fact it does not sync after initial sync at installation, and keeps crashing. I paid for a full version, developer does not respond to my emails.
– Evernote – paying every month to edit your notes offline, I don’t think so. nice try.
– Notational Acceleration – extremely laggy and choppy when you scroll and when it loads (I just have 80 notes, 300 words or so each), lack of more options (dark screen when editing notes) lack of tags (not a dealbrreaker because it has good search function), annoying feature when you want to scroll inside your note it goes into edit mode v often.
– JadeNote – big fat “delete” button next to “edit” button inside the note, one accidental press and that’s it your note is gone forever. Seriously, has anyone tested this app before releasing. Shame because otherwise it’s an excellent app
– Mnote – extremely laggy, unusable
– AndroNoter – OK, but I wish there was a dark screen mode and going into edit mode when inside the note (similar as with NA) v annoying
– GlanceNote – OK, but no automatic syncing and no dark screen, no option to remove adds

Concluding I will most likely use GlanceNote / AndroNoter if I don’t find anything better. I love functionality and speed of FlickNotes but broken syncing and crashing is unacceptable (as well as poor developer support or rather lack of it).

I wonder if someone has any suggestions or also finding it difficult to find a decent notetaking app. I would prefer to stick to SimpleNote as I love the idea (Gmail extension / Metanote is excellent) of syncing my notes between my PC and phone but maybe there is something else out there (dropbox syncing?). I’m using Xperia Pro and Gingerbread.

Chris Hoffman

Unfortunately, I share your quest. Notational Acceleration is the best one i’ve found. I wish SimpleNote would develop a high-quality official app for Android like they do for iOS. I’ve looked into some alternative note-taking systems and I’m not happy with any of them.

I was thinking of paying for FlickNotes after seeing it recommended elsewhere — thanks for letting me know it’s broken and saving me some cash.

I’d look into AndroNoter but it apparently doesn’t support ICS. GlanceNote also seems to have problems. Notational Acceleration is still the one for me, although it’s imperfect.

Seriously, let me know if you find a better app. I think there’s just nothing out there yet.

One last thing, though! You mention wanting a Dropbox-syncing alternative, and I have heard of such a thing. It’s called Epistle: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kooklab.epistle

Epistle seems to have good reviews — let me know how you like it if you try it out!

Adrian

Thanks for the reply.

I agree SimpleNote needs a quality note taking app on Android. There is a potential and a great idea behind it “just” needs to be utilised.

I solved the problem with FlickNotes. It’s a great app that meets all my needs, worth every penny. As opposed to other apps it seems that whoever designed it actually used it with some imagination (sorry but I’m still amazed with a big fat “delete” button in JadeNote)

Just to remind, I had a problem with syncing (or rather lack of it) and crashing.
I went into options (Gingerbread) then “accounts & sync” then I added FlickNotes account manually. No problems since then (a few days). It syns OK and crashed only once :) Saying that a lack of response from the developer is out of order – maybe he’s on holidays. So it looks like my quest is hopefully over.
I’ve played with Epistle for a while and it seemed very promising.

Chris Hoffman

Awesome, thanks! I’ll try it out. If it works as well as you say, I’ll buy it.

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Jim

On android, using Notational Acceleration, where does one add sync details for syncing with simplenote? I have a simple note account, downloaded Notational Acceleration to my Samsun Y, but I can’t find any place in preferences of the app. or in settings of Android.

Chris Hoffman

Sorry for the delay in response.

On Android, tap the menu button in NA, enable Synchronize with Simplenote, and enter your Simplenote account’s email address and password.

I’ve also been successfully playing with Flick Note recently, which seems less laggy than when I first used it (either that or my Nexus 7 is just faster).

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