3 Ways To Keep A Journal Using Your Mac

Nancy Messieh 21-03-2011

free mac journal softwareIf you want to keep a journal on your Mac, there are several free options available for users, depending on the extent of features you want, and how you plan to use your journal.


Three of the best free Mac journal software apps offer very different experiences when it comes to the journaling experience.

viJournal Lite is an elaborate app, with features including text formatting, adding images, and multiple journals. Thoughtback is a microblogging app with both local and online support. MotoDiary is a minimalist app whose primary focus is on the writing itself rather than features.

Each of the apps address essential features needed when keeping a journal, such as password protecting your diary, because let’s face it, who wants your family or friends rifling through your personal thoughts?

viJournal Lite

viJournal Lite is a simple, no frills app which allows you to create two separate journals. This feature is particularly useful if you want to keep, for example a spending and an athletic diary, or any two kinds of journals. The paid version of the app allows you create as many separate journals as you want, post directly to Blogger or LiveJournal, amongst other features.

The free version serves as a private local diary, and entries themselves can consist of text, where you can change the font, font size and color, add images, tables and even checkboxes if you want to keep a to-do list in your diary.


free mac journal software

Another interesting feature is the ability to add side-notes to your journal in a slide out drawer, if there are extra items of information that you want to keep separate from your main journal entry.

mac journal

You can add a password to your journal in viJournal’s preferences, that makes it necessary for a password to be entered when the app is first launched.


mac journal

iPad owners can also sync the Mac app with a mobile version and update their journal on the go, but the app will set you back $7.99


Available in the Mac App Store, Thoughtback [App store link] takes a slightly different approach to keeping a journal. To use the app, you have to sign up for a free Thoughtback account, which you can do upon launching the app for the first time.

mac journal


Once you’ve logged in, you can create small journal entries by clicking on the Thoughtback icon in your menubar. These thoughts are then saved in your online account, and cannot be accessed on your computer at all.

software journal diary mac

Using the Mac app isn’t the only way to add thoughts to your private online journal. You can also do so directly through the web interface, so Windows and Linux users can use the site if they want.

software journal diary mac


Using hashtags in your entries is a convenient way to keep yourself organised, but if you’re looking for a date-oriented journal app, Thoughtback isn’t the right choice for you.

iPhone users can download the free app [iTunes link] and save their micro-journal entries on the go.


MotoDiary is free Mac journal software that will appeal to minimalist fans. The distraction free app consists of a simple, plain white window where you can write the entry for that day, and scroll back and forth between your entries.

software journal diary mac

Signing up for a free account allows you to access your journal from anywhere using the web interface, including on iOS and Android devices, as well as allowing you to sync your entries between the app and the web.

3 Ways To Keep A Journal Using Your Mac MotoDiary1

Like viJournal Lite, you can password protect your journal, and lock it, even when leaving the app open. Be sure to lock it before you quit the app, otherwise it will not be password protected when next opened.

free mac journal software

If we had any requests to make of MotoDiary, it would be to include a calendar, making it easy to jump to specific diary dates.

What’s your favorite free Mac journal software? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Related topics: Note-Taking Apps, Writing Tips.

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  1. Summer Ruckman
    October 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    viJournal Lite and MotoDiary are not an option in the App Store when searching from my MacBook.

  2. spock
    August 30, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    all good

  3. spock
    August 30, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    all good!! thanks

  4. laurel
    April 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I would like to use vijournal lite on my macbook but my macbook won't open it up because of the developer???

    Any suggestions?

  5. deb
    April 5, 2015 at 5:36 am

    looking for app for iPhone to easy voice record to journal

  6. Royf
    March 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I don't like the floating email link to the left of the content. Just because you know how to do something doesn't make it cool. Just put a single link at the top or bottom of the page.

    • nm
      March 23, 2011 at 7:10 am

      Thanks for the feedback.

    • Aibek
      March 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

      Thanks for the feedback. Those floating links were removed.