7 Best Note Taking Apps in 2023 (Free & Paid)
By Alex • Updated June 23, 2023
In the digital age, note-taking has transitioned from pen and paper to digital platforms.
With the right note taking apps, you can efficiently capture, organize, and retrieve information, boosting productivity and managing your tasks more effectively.
This article presents a comprehensive analysis of the seven best note taking apps in 2023, providing insights into their key features and why they stand out in the market.
Best Note Taking Apps
What Makes a Great Note Taking App?
A great note-taking app should ideally feature:
- User-friendly interface
- Robust organizational capabilities
- Seamless synchronization between devices
- Support for multimedia inputs (images, audio, video)
- Collaboration features for multiple users working on a single note or document
Notion is an all-in-one platform that offers a powerful, database-driven note-taking experience that's unlike most apps out there.
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Web
- Flexible pages: Create and duplicate almost anything in Notion, including a multi-layered collection of pages.
- Powerful tables: Tables in Notion are databases, combining the functionality of Google Docs and Google Sheets.
- Hybrid editor: Allows you to write in Markdown or use normal keyboard shortcuts and UI elements to format your text.
- Free personal accounts: The free plan offers everything you need to take notes, with a 5 MB file upload limit.
Notion's flexibility and all-in-one functionality make it an exceptional tool for both simple note-taking and complex project management. Its ability to integrate notes with tasks and other elements is a game-changer for productivity.
2. Apple Notes
Apple Notes offers solid organization and formatting features, making it a reliable choice for Apple users.
- Free: All you need is an Apple device to access Apple Notes.
- Good-enough formatting tools: You get the usual bold, italics, and fonts.
- Cross-platform editing: Just log in to your iCloud account from a browser, and you can pull up your notes on a PC.
- Hierarchical organization: Allows you to create nested lists of hierarchical folders.
Apple Notes is a straightforward and efficient tool for note-taking, especially for Apple device users. Its seamless integration with iCloud makes it a reliable choice for storing and accessing notes across devices.
Microsoft OneNote is a free cross-platform note-taking app that provides a good balance between functionality and ease of use.
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Web
- Free: OneNote offers the full feature set without a premium tier.
- Simple organizational system: Using "#" and "/", OneNote lets you tag each note and nest those tags within each other.
- Archive feature: Archiving a note takes it out of search and organization without deleting it.
- Clean writing experience: OneNote looks good out of the box -- writing is readable, simple, and clean.
Microsoft OneNote is a comprehensive note-taking app that offers a range of features without compromising on simplicity. Its robust organizational tools and archiving feature make it a great choice for keeping your notes organized and accessible.
Evernote is a cross-platform note-taking app that's great for processing hand-written notes and clipping articles from the web.
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Web
- Multiple file formats: If you're on a paid plan, Evernote can hold anything your professor throws at you: PDFs, PowerPoints, the three different sheets of requirements for one project.
- Scanner for mobile: Use Evernote as a scanner to take photos of pages of books when you don't want to pay for photocopying.
- Web clipper for browsers: Great for saving those articles that are hidden behind a paywall so you can use them for your essay later.
Evernote stands out with its robust features like a mobile scanner and web clipper, making it a versatile tool for a variety of note-taking needs.
5. Google Keep
Google Keep offers a basic, cross-platform note-taking app that plays well with other Google tools.
Android, iOS, Web
- Free: All you need is a Google account to access Google Keep.
- Simple: Google Keep's interface resembles a wall of stickies, making it user-friendly and intuitive.
Google Keep's simplicity and integration with Google's ecosystem make it a convenient tool for quick note-taking and reminders. Its simplicity is its strength, making it a great choice for those who need a straightforward note-taking tool.
Obsidian is a powerful note-taking app that prioritizes linking and organizing your notes in a unique and efficient way.
Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
- Simple: Obsidian is based around Markdown and a simple (local) file/folder structure.
- Highly customizable: You can write your own Obsidian plugins and turn features of the app on and off to suit your needs.
- Powerful organizational features: Obsidian enables you to create links between pages, helping you to expand upon your previous work.
Obsidian's emphasis on note linking and organization, along with its customization capabilities, make it a powerful tool for those who enjoy a more structured approach to note-taking.
Simplenote is a streamlined note-taking app that focuses on simplicity and ease of use.
Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Web
- Free: Simplenote is free for all users.
- Simple: Simplenote offers a clean and clutter-free interface for note-taking.
- Cross-platform: Simplenote is available on almost all devices.
For those seeking a no-frills, straightforward note-taking experience, Simplenote is an excellent choice. Its simplicity and cross-platform availability make it a great tool for basic note-taking needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any free note-taking apps?
Yes, many note-taking apps offer free versions. Examples include Microsoft OneNote, Google Keep, and Simplenote. However, some features may be limited in the free versions.
Can I use these apps on multiple devices?
Most of the apps mentioned, such as Notion, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep, are available on multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, and web browsers. This allows you to access and sync your notes across multiple devices.
What is the best note-taking app for students?
The best note-taking app for students largely depends on personal preferences and specific needs. However, apps like Notion and Microsoft OneNote offer robust note organization and collaboration features, making them suitable for academic use.
Is there a note-taking app that converts handwriting to text?
Yes, some note-taking apps like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote offer OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology that can convert handwriting into text.
In conclusion, the best note-taking app for you depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Whether you prefer a simple and straightforward tool like Simplenote, a feature-rich platform like Notion, or a secure and powerful app like Obsidian, there's a note-taking app out there that will suit your needs.
Happy note-taking in 2023!
All Note Taking Apps