Our Smartphone has replaced notebooks and has become an essential tool for taking notes. Here is our selection of the best fast and efficient free note-taking apps on Android and iOS, if possible, syncing with Windows and macOS services.
Whether for professional or personal reasons, taking notes is an essential step in the management of our ideas. We do not control all our thoughts, and it often happens that we have a sudden illumination at an inappropriate time.
You are in the toilet, and you notice that the stock of paper dangerously low? Note it! Are you at work, and do you have a thought for a personal project? Write it down! Do you try to write a book and never stop thinking about it? Write down your ideas as soon as they come to you!
But for that, forget the notebook and a pen, you already have a Smartphone in your pocket. All you need is the best note-taking app available on Android or iOS, which can sync with your computer if possible.
1. Evernote: The Best Known
Evernote is the historical note-taking app par excellence. Aside from a bad decision in 2016 that was quickly overturned after users’ discontent, Evernote has it all, starting with its plethora of features.
With Evernote, it is possible to save handwritten notes, text, images, sound, and even a file. You can then store everything in “notebooks” to perfectly organize your projects and ideas. Your data is synchronized online and can be accessed from just about any device.
Market leader and present since the beginnings of Smartphone, Evernote is a real gas factory offering a lot of possibilities and interactions with other services. It is possible to create automation with IFTTT, to preview Google Drive files, etc.
It is, however, necessary to register (it is possible to do so with Google) to synchronize your data and take advantage of the free offer (only two devices, size of notes, and uploads limited). To have access to all the possibilities of the application, it will nevertheless be necessary to switch to the premium subscription.
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2. Concept: Even More Complete
If you think Evernote is the most complete and dense of note-taking services, you don’t know Notion. Designed for business use, Notion is capable of replacing several software packages at the same time by offering the creation of notes organized in different formats, be it organization boards, calendars, and much more. More than just notes, this is a real project management application. You will not only be able to take notes there but also organize it all your life.
Note that Notion, in addition to being very dense and off-putting at first, is completely in English. So you need it.
It is difficult to evoke all the possibilities of Notion as they are numerous. You will find the functions of Evernote, Trello, and other software there, all with collaborative options.
A free version is higher than enough for personal needs, but you can upgrade to subscriptions at 4, 8, or 20 dollars per month, depending on your needs.
3. Google Keep: The Simplest
Google Keep imagines more like a bunch of sticky notes than a real notebook, which makes it particularly simple, but much less powerful than Evernote. It comes in the form of small cards arranged chronologically (although it is possible to pin them at the top of the screen) which can take five different forms:
Each note can integrate several different elements (handwritten note + list + photo, for example), but the list format is incompatible with the text format (one overwrites the other). Everything is available from a smartphone, tablet (Android or iPad), and Web from a browser and can be shared with someone. It is Ideal for creating a collaborative shopping list.
To simplify the organization, it is possible to give a color to each element, or else to classify them by labels. It is also possible to add a reminder, well-integrated in the Google ecosystem (calendar, Android), and capable of being set on a location rather than a specific time.
Its strong point? Google Keep is completely free and easy to use. His weak point? There is a lack of possibilities in shaping.
4. Simple Note: Open Source
Same as Google Keep, Simple note is done in minimalism. Very simple to handle, it is particularly well thought out for mobile use. It is also open-source and completely free.
Very basic, it still lacks many features to successfully compete with the other alternatives on this list. Jot down ideas, make lists, manage everything collaboratively if you feel like it, but you won’t be able to organize your most complicated projects as well.
5. Microsoft OneNote: Efficient Free Software
Microsoft OneNote is the note-taking application integrated into Office, but also available for free individually. Despite its slightly dated look in places and its sometimes questionable ergonomics on mobiles, it is one of the most effective that can be found for free, with dedicated applications on the main platforms (Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS) and web access for others.
We find there all the main functions expected on this type of application, like taking handwritten notes, organizing notes in the form of “notepads,” adding images, audio, attachments, lists, links, etc.
OneNote offers to play with all these elements within the same note, which makes everything quite rough and not easy to arrange easily on a smartphone, but we thus find all that we are looking for in the same place if necessary. Also, the application offers basic text formatting and highlighting.
Notes can then be shared as PDF or plain text, but not as a collaborative filling idea. OneNote also offers good integration with the Microsoft ecosystem (with OneDrive) and offers a very large number of additional functions from desktop applications and the Web.
Its strengths are being able to password protect your notebooks. Convenient for your secret projects.