Cian Mac Mahon
Cian Mac MahonSoftware Engineer, HubSpot

What's the best notes app for Mac?

I'm a long time paying user of Evernote, and have finally given up on hoping that they'll improve the Mac editor UI. The only thing locking me in is their OCR - I have 6 years of handwritten notes saved in there. What notes app do you use on Mac OS and iOS? OCR support is not a requirement, but a huge plus.
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46 recommended
  1. 251

    A beautiful, flexible writing app for notes and prose

    Tyler Dow
    Tyler DowFront End Developer Β· Written
    I just recently imported all of my notes from Evernote to Bear. If you are a fan of using multiple notebooks, getting used to the Hashtag as a way to organize your notes will take some time. However, I am a big fan of the interface and think they do a fantastic job keeping the app fast, light & enjoyable.
    Comments (5)Share
    Vladimir Vasilevski
    Vladimir VasilevskiProduct Designer @ Β· Written
    It's an amazing note taking app. I love the design that is what got me to use it more than any of the other features. If someone knows the designer(s) tell him that she/he/they have done a great job. The only downside for me is the subscription :( I am willing to pay for it for sure for this version and I would pay for the next version for sure. Great app I highly recommend it!
    I wish there was some open web sharing of notes, but other than that I dig it. I'm dyslexic and they have the option of using the "Open Dyslexic" font, which helps a lot for folks like us.
    • Justin Deardorff
      Justin DeardorffHunter/Gatherer of Ideas

      I searched high and low for a replacement to the Mac OS default Notes app, which is incredibly limited in functionality and insufficient for my needs. I had one twist - I needed to find a note taking app for Mac that did not sync or store notes in the cloud. Bear does just that and it happens to be great. I really enjoy the hashtag categorization system and ability to have multiple tags on a note. It's a twist on Evernote style tags, but with a lighter-weight style of notebook organization and management.

      Comments (0)
    • Scot Krueger
      Scot KruegerFounder of

      Overall I love Bear. It is beautifully designed. I love the simple interface and the ability to tag notes is amazing. It makes searching for old notes so much easier. This is better than Apple Notes and I love it so much more than Evernote.

      Comments (0)
  2. 122

    Note taking gets even simpler

    Vytas Butkevicius
    Vytas ButkeviciusFreelance designer Β· Written
    Never had to look for a different note taking app. It's got an incredible amount of useful features as well
    Comments (1)Share
    Kumar Louhit
    Kumar LouhitFounder, Spontie, Inc Β· Written
    I have been using Evernote since Day 1. Works seamlessly and syncs with all my devices via iOS and macOS. Simplest tool ever.
    Frederik Waller
    Frederik Waller3Product @ N26 Β· Written
    I've been using Evernote for a long time and am a big fan. It syncs easily between iOS and macOS.
    Comments (1)Share
    • Emily Kellert
      Emily Kellerttech lover & travel freak & tractive PM

      Absolutely love Evernote. Use it for work and personal use and that is easy with the ability to make notebooks. Tags are super helpful as is annotating a document or editing a picture with Skitch. Makes my life easier and more organized!

      Comments (0)
    • David Neira
      David NeiraChape Fitness - Online Personal Training

      Evernote is a platform that allows you to organize, store, share and then search your information. Evernote impacts a business's productivity by streamlining the collection and distribution of critical information by enhancing its retrieval. Evernote's gives your business enhanced control of the information you own or information already collected by your employees. It's your business. It's your information.

      Comments (0)
  3. Probably not that cool and all, but damn straight useful to me. Especially since Apple updated a couple of years ago. I've tried Evernote, Bear and many others. But in the end I always came back to Notes on my Mac/iPhone/iPad.
    Victor Bous
    Victor BousDoing this and that on the web Β· Edited
    I am such a flip flopper. I used almost all note apps mentioned in this list. But the truth is, native Notes app is the fastest of them. I could open Notes 3 times before Evernote really launches. Plus, I like the design. Minimalistic from its core. The only thing I miss is adding anchors, but can live without it. Furthermore, the sync between devices is totally free (Hi, BearπŸ‘‹πŸ») and it's secure and encrypted.
    I really like the simplicity of Notes app. I don't need all the fancy features that other apps have. Just for noting down some random stuff I need to, this is the fastest to open and easiest to work with. Syncs immediately and is a ease to work with. I use the native Evernote app too, but it takes more time to open and I usually use it for more structured and long notes. For everything else, its the Notes app!
  4. 57
    Dropbox Paper

    Collaboration tool built for teams

    Abel Lenz
    Abel LenzVP Product & Design, Opticlose Β· Written
    Now that they added offline editing (gotta note on the subway), Paper has officially replaced Evernote as my second brain across all devices. It's got something Evernote never got around to: reliability.
    It's simple to use and supports markdown, attachments and much more. Works well across iOS, Android & Web. Did I mention it looks very elegant? Their collaboration options are also very simple and usefull.
    Comments (1)Share
    • Instant Expert
      Instant ExpertInstant Experto, Vlogger

      Its a great tool for starters, For teams I do not recommend. there are lots of apps that do the same, even google docs is more intelligible when collaborating and working with. But we already have OneNote, Evernote, Word Online, with lots of features way ahead Paper.

      Comments (0)
    • zedgoat
      zedgoatChemist, Developer, Stoic.

      Use Paper to manage technical stuff and my team, and love it. Just the right number of features, document crosslinking and image embedding fits my needs exactly, and works for quick notes or longer documents.

      Comments (0)
  5. 50
    Notion 1.0 Web + Mac App

    Docs, wikis, tasks – a minimal & unified workspace for teams

    Ivan Zhao
    Ivan ZhaoCo-founder, Notion Β· Written
    Ivan Zhao made this product
    There's a beta version of the iOS app too. Message the support in the app to get it!
    Nick Neuman
    Nick Neuman3Product at Casa Β· Written
    I love Notion - super simple and the team is really responsive to any questions or issues. Great for taking notes and sharing it with your team; we use it as a team wiki.
    Great tool for taking notes and organizing things for a team and also for yourself!
    • Kiran Kunigiri
      Kiran KunigiriA guy who makes cool stuff.

      Overall, Notion is like a bunch of widgets and management apps combined into one awesome package. I've been using it for several months now, and it works really well. It's most useful for team projects, where you can make an entire directory of pages for the different types of tasks you need to handle, and keep all progress and information synced into one app.

      Being able to move content blocks and pages around makes it very easy to organize, and the comment feature makes it easy to start a new thread to discuss a topic. Integration is also great, since I can embed code, videos, and even Google Drive documents. You can also customize the look and feel of pages (I love being able to set icons and header images for each page) to make them easily recognizable, and create complex layouts. There is a huge list of features that makes it possible to do almost anything you would want to do in a management/organization app.

      It's still improving, and they have a list of new features coming soon (the one I'm excited for is being able to assign tasks to people). There's an iOS app beta (that doesn't work on my device currently). There are a few minor bugs that I come across, but it's nothing that distracts you from using it. It's a solid app that I'll continue to use for both group and individual projects.

      Comments (0)
    • Brad Dunn
      Brad DunnProduct guy at @Ohno

      I actually was just so sick of confluence and was asking someone at #Productboard about what they use and they told me about this. It's just pretty fun to use. Also the free trial is helpful if you're a small startup.

      Comments (0)
  6. Matija Abicic
    Matija AbicicHead of Product Strategy at Sysrepublic Β· Written
    Easy, fast, synced w your google account, has iOS app...must have.
    David Standen
    David StandenCo-founder, Loveflutter Β· Written
    I use Google Keep a lot, really simple. I never really got into Evernote, guess some things stick and others don't.
    Jimmy Sundjaja
    Jimmy SundjajaTech Net Lover Β· Written
    It's simple and really useful. I use it to take notes, make to do lists with the checkboxes but the lightning fast sync is the one I use it the most, when I need to copy some text from one device to another. Just type or paste the text on the phone or computer, and it appears on all my other devices in seconds!
  7. 33

    The wiki that's always up-to-date

    Mircea PaΘ™oi
    Mircea PaΘ™oi3Co-founder Memo.AI Β· Written
    Mircea PaΘ™oi made this product
    I'm biased... but I think Memo is great for technical teams (works great for code snippets, technical documentation, meeting notes, etc.) and is deeply integrated with Slack. Here's some information on how it compares with traditional tools (Evernote, Confluence, Github Wiki and Slack Posts):
    Hugo Dozois-C.
    Hugo Dozois-C.CTO & Co-Founder at Voo Β· Written
    Really like taking my notes on it. The UI is simple and easy to use. The integration with slack is great because it allows me to look through my notes without leaving my conversation.
    Been using Memo for the last few months and really love the simplicity and lightness of the app. Moved from Evernote which I found to be complex and lacked collaboration capabilities that my team needed. All the best Team!
  8. 30
    Ulysses III

    A powerful writing tool for Mac, iPad, and iPhone

    I use this one for all my note taking needs. Just because it has an awesome library function, markdown support and the iCloud sync is amazing.. It syncs across my devices without any problem. I just love it πŸ˜‹
    Markdown support is just amazing. I use it for quick notes, short stories, and podcast scripts. Just beautifully designed and incredibly flexible for exports. A little on the pricey side, especially the iphone app, but love using it.
    Thomas Schoffelen
    Thomas SchoffelenCo-founder, Scholica Β· Written
    Super nice library function with folders and subfolders, custom icons, etc., which all sync perfectly across Mac and iPhone apps.
  9. 29

    Simple, lighter alternative to Evernote

    Axel Krottler
    Axel KrottlerGlas pΓ₯sk! 🐣 Β· Written
    Just so simple and available almost everywhere!
    Comments (1)Share
    Amy Harper-Smith
    Amy Harper-Smithamy ❀️ · Written
    This is by far the simplest note taking app and it syncs very reliably and fast. I can switch between phone and computer white taking notes. It's like my second brain and I take a lot of notes.
    Duarte Martins
    Duarte MartinsFounder, Β· Written
    Native Mac + Android app. Very simple + easy to share notes. Just wish we could bold text.
    • Arun Sathiya
      Arun SathiyaHappiness Engineer, Automattic

      Simplenote is one of those finest note-taking apps you can ask for. Coming from Automattic, the company behind, it enables seamless ability to publish the notes online. Great app, to sum it up!

      Comments (1)
    • Simplenote truly was the most beautiful app of its day. It completely transformed what productivity was for me. There aren't many apps you expect to still be using ten years later.

      Comments (0)
  10. Jesus Kiteque
    Jesus KitequeBusiness Consultant Β· Written
    Onenote just keeps getting better. The latest update brings a very beautiful interface and more delightful UI. Synchronization across platforms is perfect and the handwriting is a plus.
    Romain Lavielle
    Romain LavielleFounder, Digital Village Β· Written
    I used Evernote everyday then switched to OneNote. As powerful at least but keeps in mind the user (Me) mainly wants to take notes quickly. I dumped Evernote since
    Jade Robbins
    Jade RobbinsProduct Manager, Workiva Β· Written
    There aren't many products that I flat out tell people to at least try, but OneNote is one of them. OneNote is flexible, yet structured and now available on almost every platform (the web version does have room for improvement).
  11. 27
    iA Writer 4

    Embed images, tables and text as blocks of content in text

    Paul Steckler
    Paul StecklerFounder at Ramp Catalyst Β· Written
    IA Writer is cross-platform (iOS, Android, and iPhone that I use). Since it is file-based you can keep notes in Dropbox, Gdrive, etc. Your choice which is nice vs. someone else's cloud. Only needs: 1. Support for tables. I know I *can* do them in Markdown but a simple table editor would be nice. 2. Copy/paste images - I use this often from web sites, documents, etc.
    Very simple & focused.
    best mix of minimalism and well executed features
    • Karthik Subramanian
      Karthik SubramanianContent and Branding guy

      I deep dive into writing rituals using this software. Tough to explain beyond it. But they have gotten their UI perfect for a writing mode.

      Comments (0)
  12. 19

    Turn your entire life into a list.

    ronsheridan5Startup Wannabe Β· Written
    I've recently begun using Workflowy again. It's now my real time Note Taking and Task Manager app. The sharing feature nailed it for me (the ability to share specific outlines with people). Workflowy's hierarchical outline structure has some real advantages. My issues include not allowing embedded images and no hyperlinking.
    Amazing web app that is surprisingly flexible despite its simplicity and apparent rigidity: everything fits under a single heirarchical outline, with a good UX for navigating and organizing this heirarchy. If this happens to align with how your brain naturally organizes things, it's the perfect tool.
    • Pedro Paredes
      Pedro ParedesFullstack developer

      Usually my thoght process goes from general idea to multiple sub-ideas until I get to doable tasks. No other app that I've tried allows you to do this the way Workflowy does. They all let you group by tag, or notebooks or whatever but they are usually one level grups.

      Comments (0)
    • Artem Ushanov
      Artem UshanovPM at Adeptik

      Best outline and note-taking app for me.

      Using WF for:

      - projects list

      - clients list

      - "inbox", "tasks" and "later" lists in kinda GTDish style

      - quick note taking during meetings and

      Using WF everyday for two years, happy with it's simple efficiency. No automation at all, but you can invent any kind of workflow using tags and search. Lately company significantly improved their Android app, but it still need more.

      Comments (0)
  13. 18

    A notebook built for programmers on your Mac

    I was looking for a note taking application where I control my data. I switched to Quiver because it stores my notes in a plaintext library of JSON that I can move across git, gDrive, dropbox or just transfer between devices manually. I also use Quaver (an community-developed android app) to get an _alright_ mobile experience out of it.
    AnirudhSDE Intern @Hasura. GSoC '17 @Haiku. Β· Written
    This doesn't solve the main task of daily notes, I use this to jot down the highlights of what I learn/see online. It's built for programmers, supports LaTeX, Markdown and Code view with line numbers. Love to have all these features at disposal though I don't use them all.
    Mohammed Ridwan
    Mohammed RidwanSoftware Engineer @ShopifyPlus. Β· Written
    I use Quiver for every single note taking need, whether it is making to-do lists or doing research on a project. Quiver handles LaTeX, Markdown, Code so well! Also pair this with Lightshot Screenshot and you have the perfect research scrap-booking tool.
    • Quiver is a great app but your information does not appear in Spotlight search. The author has agreed this is required functionality but after two years it still has not been added.

      Comments (0)
  14. 12
    Standard Notes

    A simple and private notes app.

    Mo Bitar made this product
    You mentioned your frustration with the editor in Evernote. The cool thing about Standard Notes is that the editor can be completely swapped out or customized with extensions, and anyone can easily build their own. Other than that, Standard Notes is lightweight and features end-to-end encryption, so your notes are encrypted before they leave your device.
    joshua bradley
    joshua bradleyPassionate about making life better Β· Written
    I wrote elsewhere how Standard Notes has replaced Evernote for me. I dig everything about how they are building, sharing and decentralizing their product via extensions. Small footprint and encryption just sweeten the deal.
    Pat Walls
    Pat WallsDeveloper. Starter at Β· Written
    Best notes app ever.
  15. 11
    Sublime Text 3

    Sophisticated Text Editor For Code

    Kunal Bhatia
    Kunal Bhatia50Co-founder & Design Lead @SlidesUp Β· Written
    Believe it or not, but me and my brother use Sublime Text for notes. He's a PM, I'm a designer, and we both write software. With Sublime, we can keep detailed notes and expand/collapse sections easily. This was our solution to Evernote! No OCR, but I think you might like it.
    Comments (1)Share
  16. 9

    A web app for structuring your thoughts into lists

    Nitin Labhishetty
    Nitin LabhishettySDE 2, CodeNation Β· Written
    Very easy to organize content without cluttering. Awesome UI / UX.
  17. 9
    Notebook for Mac

    The beautifully simple note-taking app from Zoho. Now on Mac

    It's simple and a bit nostalgic like writing in composition notebooks. It also sync's easily across all my Apple devices. You can also do pretty neat things like Stack notes book pages / cards , attach images , record audio , create checklists , change the background color of each text note , and again it's not overwhelming :)
    Đăng TrαΊ§n
    Đăng TrαΊ§nfont-end developer Β· Written
    Great note tool for me.
  18. 8
    Notational Velocity

    A unique modeless, mouseless Mac OS X note-taking app

    Michael Xander
    Michael XanderProduct Designer, Β· Written
    Slim, fast, and an open file format (Markdown).
  19. 7

    Powerful cross-platform note-taking platform

    Robert Spivack
    Robert SpivackRS Development Group, LLC Β· Written
    Notability is the perfect solution for handwritten notes on an iPad Pro using an Apple pencil. Just the right set of features - more capability than standard Apple Notes, but not too complex a user interface like the more advanced drawing apps. The multi-platform angle - being available on both iOS and macOS is very important as it means all your notes are synced and available back at your desk without digging out your phone or iPad. Not very many other notes apps on iOS also have a Mac option.
    LyondhurT&R Project Manager at Weta Digital Β· Edited
    Without a doubt, all day. Editing, Media, Audio and Scribbling notes on iOS and Mac seamlessly synched via iCloud (with optional Box/Dropbox scheduled backups). What I love about it is the fact you can record a meeting/class' audio while writing notes by hand, adding photos/videos or typing. It's what Evernote wants to be, what OneNote definitely is not and what Bear and its hype pretends being; with the right light and simple UI and a reliable experience.
    Chad Person
    Chad PersonBizDev & Strategy Β· Written
    My kids taught me about this one....they can record a lecture/meeting and their notes appear on the recordings timeline.....or you can skip back to the specific recorded portion when reviewing the written notes.
  20. 5

    Open a new tab and trap your best thoughts.

    Mukul Gupta
    Mukul GuptaProduct Manager, Browserstack Β· Written
    Great for noting something down quickly as it's always one tab away. It supports markdown as well I often paste the notes worth saving from Papier onto Apple Notes for longer term storage.

      I have been using this daily since it appeared on PH, and I love it. It's my go-to for taking phone notes, reminders of things I need to do later in the day, etc..... Love it.

      Comments (0)