The seven elements required in a good note-taking application.

Note-taking applications | convert kit|Unsplash

Notes

In terms of the computer note world, almost everything qualifies as possible: from screenshots to snapshots, from handwritten text to cartoons, articles to books, and everything in between.

I’m preparing to move to a smaller apartment and sorting through decades of papers, snapshots, and items my wife and I kept before she passed away. We didn’t save things digitally, and it’s taking up a lot of space. We have moved much of the stuff at least four times. Now, most of the paper goes into the recycle bin, with the remainder getting digitized in my note-taking application. Since digitizing documents reminds me of sticking stuff in a file cabinet, I’m trying to organize things in advance and think about how I might want to use the notes in the future.

Note-Taking Applications

A caveat first: there’re many suitable note-taking applications out there, and more are being developed daily. None are perfect. Please choose the one that best fits your needs and master it.

Seven key elements I want in My Note-taking application.

  1. It must make it easy to save notes from multiple computer applications.

I take notes from articles, newsletters, pdfs, and books I read on Kindle.

2. It must save notes created in different formats, such as handwritten, video, and audio.

3. You need to encrypt or lock specific notes so others can’t see them. They’re your notes, so they’re only visible to you.

We all have certain information that we want to keep private. But unfortunately, many of the note-taking applications don’t handle this very well.

4. You need to access your notes from any of your devices — Phone, laptop, iPad, etc.

5. You need to organize your notes and relate similar notes.

Relationships between notes are critical to me as a writer.

6. You have to search your notes quickly and easily to find what you want.

7. As a Bonus, you need to see your search results beside a blank note to write a new note. (Unless you’re a writer, this may not be one of your requirements.)

The Five Most Robust and Popular Note-Taking Applications

  1. Roam: This one, to me, is for programmers. It requires a lot of add-on code to make it user-friendly. But it’s the most robust.
  2. Evernote: This is the oldest and is becoming very useful and user-friendly. Many changes have occurred during the last year favorable for the user.
  3. Notion: This is another well-known program. It’s a blank page that allows you to construct anything you want. The popular metaphor is that it’s like Lego blocks that you can put together any way you want. Because of this, you end up if you put in the time with a custom-fit note-taking application.
  4. Obsidian: This is one of the newer entrants in this space and has much promise. However, it also has a lot of add-ons that add value.
  5. Mem.ai: This is another new entry that I have just started exploring, and I have to say I’m impressed with its ease of use so far.

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