These next-generation apps are redefining how we take notes.
Note-taking apps are going through something of a renaissance right now. New ones are popping up all the time, while some of the more established options are finding a whole new fan base.
I have used a lot over the years. Some I come back to time and time again. Others not so much. So, if you are looking for something new, here are ten of the best note-taking apps for you to try in 2022.
Fresh off their end-of-year success as Apple’s 2021 App of the Year, Craft offers a fresh take on note-taking. Visually, it’s stunning. It has some real design flair that makes it very easy on the eyes.
Craft allows you to nest notes within notes to create your structure. This makes thoughts easier to group and organize. It also allows you to create links and connections between pages via @page links.
The rich text editor has all the features you could ask for, and you can share your content via a link if needed or collaborate with others in real-time.
You can sign up for a free Personal plan to get a feel for what is on offer or unlock everything in the Pro plan for $4.99 a month ($49.99 a year). Of note, a generous discount is offered on the Pro Plan for teachers and students.
You can access your Craft notes via apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, or the web. Learn more at craft.do.
Obsidian is not for the faint of heart, but with a fan base that includes YouTubers, authors, product developers, academics, and entrepreneurs, it’s hard to ignore this popular note-taking app.
The app itself is free, but if you want the convenience of syncing notes between devices, you can pay $8 a month for Sync or connect an app like Dropbox to do the work for you.
Perhaps the biggest appeal for Obsidian users is the ability to create a personal knowledge base. You can link notes with a single click and view all your connected notes in a graph view.
Obsidian works offline and has apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. Learn more at obsidian.md.
Workflowy is an outliner app. It’s also straightforward to use. Your notes are organized into a series of bullet points that can be nested inside each other for subtasks or related ideas.
Key features include backlinks, hashtags, color coding, and the ability to mirror a bullet and paste it into a second location. You can even change your view to make a Trello-style Kanban board.
Check out the Workflowy Template Gallery if you’re unsure where to begin. The templates show some of the more common ways people use Workflowy, and you can copy any of them into your account.
Speaking of accounts, Workflowy has a free Basic plan and a Pro plan that costs $49 per year. The free plan limits the number of bullets you can create each month, but if you sign up via an affiliate link like this one, you and I will both get an extra 100 bullets per month!
I use Workflowy a lot. I have it on all my devices. It works the way my brain likes to organize content, so, for my needs, it’s the best app for note-taking. Learn more at workflowy.com.
It’s impossible to talk about the best note-taking apps without mentioning Notion. Its popularity has soared over the last couple of years, not without good reason.
Notion is more than just a note-taking app. Much more. You can create databases, websites, wikis, and more. If you only need a note-taking app, it could be overkill. However, if you benefit from all the other features, it could be your one app to rule them all.
Its complexity means that it does have a learning curve, but countless videos on YouTube will help you find your way. There are also many free Notion templates that you can use to get you up and running.
The free plan will be enough for most people, but paid plans are available if you do a lot of collaborative work. Notion is available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. It also has a browser extension to save things from the web. Learn more at notion.so.
If Notion makes you break out in a cold sweat, Bear’s clean and simple interface may be just what you are looking for. This Italian-based company has risen through the ranks to offer a solid note-taking app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Bear is equally adept with short notes as it is with long-form prose. You can add hashtags to tag your notes, link to existing notes, and use a password or FaceID to hide notes from view.
Bear has valuable features for writers like a word count, paragraph count, and a reading time indicator. The focus mode is another excellent option to stay on task while writing.
Bear is free if you only use it on one device, but if you want to unlock more themes or backup and sync your notes to multiple devices, the Pro plan costs a very reasonable $14.99 a year. Learn more at bear.app.
Remnote is another new kid on the block. Founded in 2020 at MIT, its mission is to reinvent how people learn, think, and collaborate.
A note in Remnote looks similar to what you would find in Workflowy — a series of nested bullet points. It’s easy to organize and is built for long-term storage. Backlinks can be utilized to link your thinking together.
What sets Remnote apart from others in this list are the Smart Flashcards. They help address a common problem with digital note-taking apps: we often forget what we write in our notes. With Smart Flashcards, you can use spaced repetition to help you recall your most important information.
If you link web articles or PDFs in Remnote, you can take advantage of the built-in highlighter tools to annotate the text inside of the app. You don’t have to switch between tabs or mess around with split-screen windows.
Remnote is free to get started with paid plans starting at $6 a month. It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Learn more at remnote.com.
Ulysses describes itself as the ultimate writing tool for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, and if you’re a writer, this app needs to be on your shortlist. Although you can use it for quick notes, Ulysses shines brightest when using it for long-form content.
It’s minimal, but intentionally so because the whole purpose of this app is to try and make you more productive as a writer. Ulysses comes with a built-in proofreader that will check your grammar and spelling for you. In addition, it offers suggestions for capitalization, punctuation, redundancy, style, and more.
You can export your work as a Word file, PDF, or even an ebook when you are done writing. If you are publishing online, Ulysses integrates directly with WordPress, Ghost, Medium, and Micro.blog so that you can publish instantly to those platforms with images, tags, and everything else you need.
Ulysses is available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad and costs $49.99 per year. However, there is reduced pricing for students ($23.98 per year), and you can share Ulysses with up to 5 members of your family via Apple Family Sharing. Learn more at ulysses.app.
Evernote is the default note-taking app for millions of people. However, it’s had its ups and downs. Evernote has made many changes over the years, and not all of those have been well received.
However, as it stands today, Evernote is a robust and reliable note-taking app that is worthy of your consideration. It works on any device you can imagine (including the web), and it has a feature set that is hard to ignore.
The note editor will feel instantly familiar and even lets you sketch or annotate on top of your notes. You can add due dates, checkboxes, and upload files. Notes can be organized into notebooks or just left to the mercy of the search tool.
Speaking of which, the search tool is very robust. It searches text for keywords, but it uses OCR to scan photos, whiteboard scans, business cards, documents, and handwriting.
Then there is the legendary web clipper. It lets you save articles, web pages, PDFs, and screen captures directly to Evernote. In addition, it allows you to switch to an article view before saving in order to save a clean version of a website that has no ads or sidebars. You can also tag and categorize web clippings from the extension.
The free plan has some limitations but will sync between two devices. If you want to use Evernote on more devices and unlock more features, paid plans start at $7.99 a month. Learn more at evernote.com.
9. Roam Research
Roam is a note-taking tool designed to help you organize and evaluate your knowledge. It’s great for research projects and is a solid alternative to apps like Obsidian.
Roam Research is another bullet-based app, but it has some unique features like the ability to create a new page by just putting square brackets around a word from your notes. That page is then linked to the original page, and you will see it listed at the bottom of the page, so you know what it connects to.
As you create more content, Roam will suggest pages for you to link together based on keywords that it finds on each page. This contributes to your knowledge graph, a visual network of all your linked pages.
Roam Research is a web-based tool, but there are apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It costs $165 per year. Learn more at roamresearch.com.
Drafts is an interesting note-taking app because, as its name suggests, things that start in Drafts are intended to be finished later. As such, the app is all about the speed of capture.
Every time you open Drafts, you are greeted with a fresh note ready for your text. This makes it one of the fastest ways to start taking notes. You can use speech to text to dictate your notes if you prefer.
New notes go straight to your inbox. They will stay here until you have time to tag, flag, or archive them. Write first and think about what to do with it later.
However, the real power in Drafts comes with Actions (or app integrations). You can link Drafts to lots of different apps so that you can export your text to to-do lists, social media, calendar apps, and even note-taking apps like Bear.
Drafts is available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The apps are free and have some valuable features, but you can unlock everything for $19.99 a year. Learn more at getdrafts.com.
Even More Notetaking Apps…
These are my picks for the ten best note-taking apps to use in 2022. However, as you probably already know, there is no shortage of great notetaking apps. So, if you are an iPad user, feel free to check out my list of The Best Notetaking Apps for iPad & Apple Pencil. These apps are optimized for a tablet view and they all work really well for notetaking, even if you don’t have an Apple Pencil.
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