Microsoft OneNote is a great note-taking application that saves your notes in different folders for you, but you usually packages the files into the proprietary format that you can’t see in say, the mobile app for Dropbox, or your web browser. I’ve talked about several other open-source note-taking alternatives, RedNotebook , which suits users looking for locally-stored journal entries in a chronological view, and PNotes , a sticky notes program for Windows that I feel, packs more features than most other sticky notes programs.
I have found the cross-platform and open-source KeepNote project to be a very good OneNote alternative in that it integrates all notes in an Explorer-like shell so you can see and navigate through your notes more efficiently. So if you’re, say, reviewing notes for a class, you can easily view and switch back and forth between notes using the explorer. It, however, takes the word processor approach to notes, and doesn’t create free-form notes like OneNote. For free-form notes, the open-source Jarnal does a really good job, and it lets you annotate PDF files as well! Here are the two major reasons you should check out KeepNote.
Saves In Easily-Readable HTML
Having notes in HTML format means you can view them in any browser, and have lots of ways you can format the text with indentations, fonts, pictures, and there will be no loss of those features in the end files. As soon as you create a notebook, which turns out to be folders in the main location you choose (which you can set in the Preferences), you can create pages for notes.
As you can see, the titles for pages are on the top right panel, as well as on the left panel. You can start typing away in the bottom panel, which is the word processor area.
What’s also enticing about KeepNote is that you don’t have to rely on a third-party application to jot down your notes as everything is kept in your hard drive. Backing up isn’t hard from the application either.
You get the options to export a single notebook or everything in a zipped tarball (.tar.gz) file, and restore your backups easily.
Use It As An Outliner
One feature I really wish Evernote had (besides better synchronization since I sometimes had issues syncing notes), is a way to organize folders or tags. I had to use names like “recipes/asian” and “recipes/pastas” in order to see the folders sorted. So then, I decided Evernote was a great idea, but it wasn’t for me. I’d just have to use Wordpad to create rich-text files and folders in Windows Explorer to see an outline, which became cumbersome when I wanted to see where I had talked about such term and search through my older files. KeepNote allows for instant organization as there is a built-in file browser with user-designated folder and note hierarchy.
You can link notes together just like you do in a wiki , insert images, take and insert screenshots. Taking screenshots is always more efficient if you have keyboard shortcuts, which KeepNote aces as it provides shortcuts for nearly all the editing options.
Now, for the things I wish this app had would be to facilitate the copying and pasting of text. Most online apps have bookmarklets to immediately transfer over selected text and images, and the only desktop applications I have seen that do this are CintaNotes and QuotePad. If you’re looking for more note-taking applications, check out this post on multi-platform notebooks .
What’s your favorite note-taking application? Also do you know of any other alternatives to OneNote?
Photo credit: Dvortygirl
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