From that random idea that needs to be jotted down, to making complex notes and mind maps, in today’s day and age, it’s better to stick to a note taking application, rather than relying on physical pen and paper.
In our previous article, we saw some of the best note taking apps for Windows, and in this one, we have got you covered with our list of the best note taking apps for Mac.
Best Note Taking Apps for Mac
1. Apple Notes
The stock Notes app that comes with Mac OS itself, is actually not that bad. It comes with basic note taking functionalities like formatting, lists, checkboxes, drag and dropping pictures/files. While it doesn’t offer anything out of the box, where Apple Notes shines is how fast it is to open and get started with a new note. Also it syncs immediately and effortlessly with the Notes app on your iPhone and iPad. We highly suggest you first checking out this app which already comes with your Mac, before buying or installing another note taking app.
– Very fast and simple to use
– Comes pre-installed
– Sync with notes app on iPhone and iPad
– Not ideal for handwritten notes or drawings
– No charts, graph support
– Works only within the Apple Ecosystem
Bottom Line: If you are someone who needs to take notes on your computer very rarely, might be for a grocery list or quick information, you’ll get by easily using the stock Notes app. Apple Notes does offer all the basic functionalities you might need and best of all, you don’t even need to install another app.
Link: Use Apple Notes on iCloud here
Chances are you have heard of Evernote, as it is one of the most popular note taking apps available on almost all platforms. Evernote offers some great ways to keep all your notes perfectly organised. You start off your note by creating/selecting a particular notebook and all your notes are kept organised in these notebooks. You also have a tags to classify all your stuff, and it basically works like a File Cabinet.
In terms of features, it is a beast and it has almost any and every feature you’d want in a note taking app including pie charts and bar graphs to searching text in a picture. We also strongly recommend trying Evernote with its Web-clipper companion which makes taking notes/clips form the web so easy, you can never go back. But all this does come at a price, which makes Evernote a little on the bulkier and slower side.
– Feature packed to the brim
– Available on all platforms
– Easy organisation of notes
– Heavy app and takes time to start up
Bottom Line: Well, if you are someone who has to take loads of notes and are also looking to keep them organised in the best way possible, Evernote is a really good investment.
Price: Free(Basic), $34.99/Year(Plus), $69.99/Year(Premium)
Link: Download Evernote from here
Unclutter is a neat tool which can increase your productivity by many folds. The app works almost like Sticky Notes; you can access it very quickly from any window you are working on. Just go to the top of your screen and scroll down, Unclutter should appear with its three windows: the first being the Clipboard, second being Files and the last being the Notes section.
Creating a note is pretty fast, just make Unclutter appear and start with your new note or even copy directly from the clipboard or even a file. Click on the ‘+’ to take another note and you can also see all your notes or search through them.
But do keep in mind that the notes you can take are pretty limited to text only and the absence of formatting and checkbox lists might be. Ideal breaker for some.
– Easy access, one swipe away
– Pretty fast
– Comes with a Clipboard as well as a file holder
– Supports only text notes
– No organisation
– No sync, only on Mac OS
Bottom Line: Unclutter is a very cool app where you can take notes in a jiffy, so we’d recommend this app for someone who is looking to take some quick text notes while working on their computer and doesn’t need any fancy formatting or feature.
Price: $9.99 (Free Trial available)
Link: Get Unclutter here
Next on our list, we have a note taking app specifically designed for programmers. BoostNote started out as a open source project and has gained a lot of popularity among the programming community over the years.
What this app basically allows you to do is store your code or code snippets as notes. You can access quickly or even take notes in markdown. Once you open the app, you can select if you want to create a markdown note or create a code snippet. And when I said it is meant for developers, I meant it. BoostNote supports code syntax highlighting in more than a hundred languages and it is also very easy to keep all your notes organised.
– Supports markdown notes
– Code highlighting
– Plenty of syntax and UI themes
– Open source
– Available on all platforms
– Takes time to startup
Bottom Line: Well the answer is obvious, this app is a blessing for programmers as they can now manage all their code snippets and keep them organised while also not losing on the ability to take notes in markdown.
Link: Download Boostnote from here
OneNote is a full blown note taking application from Microsoft, which has been here for a while now. And over all these years, it feels like Microsoft has almost perfected the note-taking experience.
What separates OneNote its competitors is that it using the app feels very close to taking notes on a real notebook; you can write, draw, add pictures literally anywhere on the page at any orientation, just like on a paper notebook. It also comes with a ton of features, the biggest selling point would be built in OCR reader. While you can get it for free for almost all platforms, the Mac app is huge in size and a little slow to use.
– Feature-rich note taking app
– Office integration
– Notebook like experience
– Completely free
– Huge size
– Can be sluggish at times
Bottom Line: If you are invested even a little in the Microsoft space, OneNote is a no brainer and even if you are not and looking for a great digital notebook, OneNote won’t disappoint.
Link: OneNote is available here
Notability is our pick as the best note taking app for students. It works exceptionally well with the Apple Pencil on the iPad to create beautiful hand-written notes and sketches. You can rotate, scale, and recolour your ideas and sketches until your notes are just how you want them. You can even markup photos and annotate PDFs and once you’re done you can easily share them through Airdrop or any other storage service.
Notability keeps all your notes neatly organised and also syncs them up between your iPad, iPhone and Mac, so you can access them anytime anywhere.
– Great for hand-written notes and sketches
– Support for pressure sensitive strokes of the Apple Pencil
– No search tags
– No support for shapes
Bottom Line: If you have an iPad which you use to take or sketch notes, Notability works really well with the Apple Pencil and if you have the money to spend, just go for it.
A great alternative to Notability would be ZoomNotes which comes at a lower price, but offers almost all the features of Notability.
Link: Buy Notability from here
The next app on our list is Journey, which takes maintaining your daily notes to a whole new level. While Journey is aimed more to be a digital journal, you can still use the feature-packed text editor to take quick notes and Journey will keep them ordered by the date. You can also search through all your notes and even view them by locations. The app backs up and syncs all your notes using Google Drive and it should be imperative to say, it also does provide impressive security features to protect your privacy.
– Keeps everything organised like a Diary
– Easy note taking
– Streamlined review of your notes
– Requires Gmail/Google Drive account
Bottom Line: Journey works best for noting down your everyday goals or writing something about your day. If you are looking to make the switch from a physical diary to a digital one, Journey might be your best bet.
Link: Download Journey from here
With all the normal note taking apps or text editors, it gets really hard to note down or represent scientific equations, derivatives and mathematical graphs. Enter Manuscripts, a free note taking app made for scientists and scholarly writing. Describing it as just a note taking app would be an understatement as it is capable of much more from a writing a research article to penning down a book.
There are various templates which you can choose from and a plethora of import and export options including LaTeX.
– Scientific Notes/Writing
– Solid import and export formats
– Citation and bibliography formatting
– Not quick for taking simple notes
Bottom Line: Manuscripts is a capable and powerful app for when the going gets tough. Of course, it isn’t for the average Joe, but rather for taking scientific notes with equations and graphs. If you are looking for more of a digital laboratory notebook with support for experiment templates along with equations and graphs, check out Findings.
Link: Ger Manuscripts here
Last but definitely not least, we have iThoughtsX, a mind mapping tool that lets you organise your thoughts and at a glance see the whole project. Mind maps are ideal for brainstorming with means of keeping your ideas structured and nothing gets omitted out in the whole process.
Although it has a steep learning curve, it’s really easy once you get the hold of it. There are multiple templates and layouts from which you can start and there’s an impressive amount of built-in icons and clipart images.
– Create perfect mind maps for summarising and meeting notes
– Task Management
– Hand-off feature(Start your min map on one device and finish on another device)
– Steep learning curve
– Not good for other kind of notes
Bottom Line: Mind maps are especially useful for managers and developers or anyone managing a large project. So if you know you need to create mind maps, this app is for you.
Link: Get iThoughtsX here
Wrapping Up: Best Note Taking Apps for Mac
We believe that there is an app for everyone with their own particular need. So whether you are a student or programmer or businessman, we really hope that you could find at least one note taking app from this list suitable to your own needs. And that concludes our list of the top note taking applications available for the Mac. Don’t forget to connect with us and tell us your favourite app from the list or if we missed yours.