The 10 Best Note-Taking Apps for Your Personal and Professional Life

Stay Organized and Productive in All Your Note Taking Endeavors

Busy people want their to-do lists, their reminders, their grocery items and all their other day-to-day information as readily accessible (and editable) as possible. Taking notes the traditional way with pen and paper works just fine for some, but if you have a smartphone or tablet, using a note-taking app can truly change the way you get things done.

Whether your note-taking style demands minimal design and slick gesture-based functions, or advanced organization and cataloging of various forms of media, chances are there's an app out there that's right for you. Here are 10 of the absolute best you should consider trying out.

01
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Evernote
Screenshot of Evernote.com

Practically everyone who has ever looked into trying a note taking app has almost certainly come across Evernote—the app that's right at the top of the note taking game. This incredibly powerful tool is built for creating notes and organizing them into notebooks, which can be synced across as many as two devices. All free users also get 60 MB of space for uploading files to the cloud.

A few of the most unique features of Evernote include the ability to clip web pages and images, search for text inside images and use it as a collaborative tool to share and work on notes with other users. Plus or Premium subscriptions will get you more storage, the opportunity to use more than two devices and access to more advanced features.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Web
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02
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Simplenote
Screenshot of Simplenote.com

Evernote is great for note takers who need all the extra storage and fancier features, but if you're looking for a stripped down note-taking app with a clean and minimal interface, Simplenote could be the app for you. Built for speed and efficiency, you can create as many notes as you like and keep them all organized with just the basic organizational features you really need—like tags and search. 

Simplenote can be used to collaborate with others and all notes are automatically synced across your account whenever changes are made to them. There's also a nifty slider feature that allows you to go back in time to previous versions of your notes, which are always automatically saved before you make any changes to them.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Web
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03
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Google Keep
Screenshot of Google.com/Keep

For a note-taking app that takes a more visual approach, Google Keep's card-based notes are perfect for people who want to see all their ideas, lists, images and audio clips in one place. You can color code your notes or add other attributes to them so that they're easy to find and share your notes with others who need to access and edit them. Like Evernote and Simplenote, any changes made by you or other users you share your notes are automatically synced up across all platforms.

To help you remember when you need to refer to your notes, you can set up time-based or location-based reminders so that you remember to do something at a specific place or at a specific time. And as an added bonus for when typing is too inconvenient, the app's voice memo feature lets you record yourself a message for a quick note in audio format.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android
  • Google Chrome Web Browser
  • Web
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04
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OneNote
Screenshot of OneNote.com

Owned by Microsoft, OneNote is a note-taking app you'll definitely want to consider diving into if you regularly use the suite of Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint since the app is fully integrated with them. You can type, write, or draw using the free form of a pen and use powerful organization tools like pinning to easily find what you're looking for later.

Use OneNote to collaborate with others and access your most updated versions of your notes from any device. Perhaps two of its most unique features is the ability to capture an image of a whiteboard or slideshow presentation with automatic cropping and built-in audio recording so you don't have use an entirely different recording app.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Apple Watch
  • Mac
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows
  • Google Chrome Web Browser
  • Web
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05
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Notebook
Screenshot of Zoho.com

If you like the idea of Google Keep's card-like interface, then maybe you'll like Zoho's Notebook app too. Create a checklist card for your grocery items, a card for a story you're working on with inline images included throughout the text, a sketch card for some doodling or even an audio card of your voice. 

Featuring some of the smoothest and most intuitive gesture-based functions, you can organize your notes into notebooks, reorder them, copy them, group them together or flick through them to easily find what you're looking for. Notebook is totally free and syncs everything across your account automatically so you always have your notes no matter what device you're using.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android
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Dropbox Paper
Screenshot of Dropbox.com

If you already use Dropbox to store files in the cloud, you'll probably want to check out Dropbox Paper—a note-taking app that acts as a "flexible workspace" built to prevent distraction while helping people work together. This app was built for collaboration, allowing users to chat with each other in real time while editing any document.

Don't be fooled by its minimal design—Dropbox Paper has lots of advanced features tucked away that are easy to access and intuitive to use once you're familiar with the app. Use it to create new documents, edit existing ones, see all your team activity in one organized list, post and reply to comments, prioritize documents and so much more.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android
  • Web
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07
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Squid
Screenshot of SquidNotes.com

Squid takes the old fashioned pen and paper and modernizes it with digital features designed to enhance the note-taking experience. Just use your finger or stylus to handwrite notes just like you would on paper. Similar to Google Keep and Notebook, all your most recent notes will be displayed in a card-like interface for easy access.

Every note will have a toolbar at the top, which allows you to customize your ink, duplicate what you've written, resize it, erase mistakes, zoom in or out and so much more. The app also allows you to insert PDF files for markup so you can highlight text and insert new pages wherever you want.

Compatibility:

  • Android
  • Kindle Fire
  • Windows
  • Windows Phone
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08
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Bear
Screenshot of Bear-Writer.com

Bear is one of the most beautifully designed and flexible note taking apps currently available for Apple devices. Made for both quick notes and in-depth essays with advanced markup for options to insert images, links and more, you can enable the app's "focus mode" to help you concentrate during longer periods of writing or note taking.

You can customize the theme and typography to fit your style, use a wide variety of editing tools to optimize your notes, quickly add to-dos to any individual note, tag any note with a specific hashtag and so much more. The core version of the app is free, but pro subscriptions are available if you'd like to take your writing or note taking to the next level with Bear.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Mac
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09
of 10
Notability
Screenshot of GingerLabs.com

For the Apple fanboy or fangirl who loves to write by hand, draw, sketch or doodle, Notability is a must-have app for its incredible suite of advanced note taking tools. Combine your handwritten or drawn work with typed text, photos and videos and zoom in anywhere on your note when you need a closer look.

Notability also lets you do some pretty amazing things with PDF files, allowing you to add annotations on them anywhere, fill them out, sign them and send them off. Unlike many of the other apps in this list, Notability isn't free, but it's at least affordable at just $13.99 from the App Store.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
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10
of 10
Notes
Screenshot of Apple.com

Apple's very own Notes app is uncomplicated and super intuitive to use, yet still just as powerful as you need it to be for all your note-taking needs. The app's features include just the minimum essentials and all the notes you create within the app are neatly organized in the left sidebar. Although you can't organize your notes with hashtags, notebooks or categories, you can easily search through them by using the handy search field at the top to help you quickly find whatever you need.

Create a checklist, insert photos, customize your text's formatting or even add another Notes user to share your list with so they can view and add information to it. Although it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that many other competing note-taking apps bring to the table, Notes is one of the few that really stands out for getting the job done in the simplest and quickest way possible.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
  • Mac
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