Four Free Quick Note Taking Apps For The Mac

Jeffry Thurana 13-01-2010

<firstimage=”//” />00 Writing Note.jpgAs technology savvy as modern people may be, today’s computer is far from being fully utilized. While there are those whose sole life purpose is squeezing out the power of their computer to the last drop; to some people, a computer is just a very expensive typewriter. Meaning: there are folks who use this state of the art machine only to type documents.


Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, modern day computers are designed to be whatever their users need them to be. Even it’s only to be the expensive typewriter.

As for me, my word processing needs are fulfilled just fine by Mac OS X’s TextEdit. If I need more bells and whistles, I use Bean (mentioned here Four Free Creative Writing Applications For The Mac Read More ). But both applications – and most word processors for that matter – have one minor disadvantage: they’re only available when we open them.

Quick Note Taking Apps

Before any of you protest my previous statement, let me refine it. Every now and then I need a place to jot down some tiny bits of information like quick ideas, phone numbers, addresses, scripts, temporary passwords – you get the point – to be used later. Ordinary word processors are not suitable for these needs.

The perfect tools to jot down quick texts are note taking apps that:

  • are always open and available the whole time.
  • hide themselves when they are not needed.
  • can be summoned quickly and easily.
  • takes as little system resources as possible.
  • save the contents automatically.

Here are several alternatives to quick text tools available for the Mac:






I’ve used this application for years. It’s an old app and hasn’t been updated for quite some time (the latest version is dated back to 29 December 2007). Still this app does its job well and serves my needs perfectly. It’s also working without problems under Snow Leopard.

01 SideNote.jpg

As the name suggests, SideNote resides on one side of the screen. It will automatically appear every time you bring your mouse cursor to the screen side. You can also assign shortcuts to speed things up.

SideNote allows its users to create multiple notes, each with a different background color. Notes can be printed and also exported as text files.






This very small menubar note taking app allows you to capture your thoughts quickly. Just click on the menubar menu and choose “New note” and a note window is opened, ready to receive your thoughts. After clicking “Save” the note will reside in the menubar and can be accessed anytime.


02 MeNotes.jpg

At the time of writing, the developer’s site is not accessible, but you can download the app from many Mac-specific download sites or through this direct link.

MeNotes has also been mentioned as part of my “11 Tiny And Useful Free Menubar Applications for Mac The Ultimate List of Mac Menu Bar Apps These tiny smart utilities don't get in our way like the dock apps do -- Mac menu bar apps sit in a corner and swing into action only when you need them! Read More





One look and you will agree that this is what a Mac app should look like. JustNotes is beautiful. But appearances aside, this app is also useful.

03 JustNotes.jpg

You can assign shortcuts to quickly summon the notes. Click the “plus sign” (+) to add new note and “minus sign” to delete one. All the notes are available from the list of notes. JustNotes also comes with a search feature to quickly find whatever information that you’ve entered.

And as a bonus, you can sync your notes to the iPhone or iPod Touch using Simplenote. But please note that Simplenote is not free.





When it comes to functionality, Evernote has it all. Creating notes, clipping from web sites, synchronization between different OS’s and computers, OCR, search function, everything. It’s so useful that it has become the “must have” tool for computer users. But even though I use it, I personally think that Evernote’s a bit too bloated for me.

04 Evernote.jpg

There are already so many articles about Evernote here in MakeUseOf. Be sure to check them all out.

If you know any other free note taking app alternatives to Quick Text tools for Mac, you can share your knowledge using the comments below.

Image credit: Linds :)

Related topics: Evernote, Note-Taking Apps, Text Editor.

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  1. John White
    February 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Yojimbo, by Bare Bones ( is more full-featured (and not free) because it's aimed more at long-term storing of otherwise-hard-to-file info (urls, pdfs, notes, images). But like the apps mentioned here, It's got several hot-key and 2ndary-menu access methods, plus it adds several features for labelling and tagging the info for easy recovery.

  2. Miguel Wickert
    January 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    No mention of shovebox. It gets the job done for me. :)

  3. Pattulus
    January 14, 2010 at 2:36 am

    You forgot to mention Stickies… it's part of Mac OS X.

  4. Gus
    January 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Notational Velocity -

    My personal favorite. Setup a Quicksilver trigger to open the program (it loads in zero time flat) type for the title of the note, tab and enter the notes text. The note is automatically saved, format and location can be set in the preferences. Old notes are accessed the same way and will pop up if you type their title in the first field. I use geektool to display the contents of my permanent notes on my desktop.

  5. MJ
    January 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I totally recommend JustNotes. It works great for small notes and its interface is, IMO, beautiful. It's sync w/ SimpleNote is a wonderful extra.

    Another app worth checking is MemoBlock: [Broken Link Removed]