Busy professionals and students, who need to keep track of notes, research, articles, appointments and important documents, are reaching out to a variety of online tools which can help keep your paperwork organized.
Currently, the most popular tool on the market is the cross-platform application known as Evernote. This system works as a virtual filing cabinet, as well as a digital note-taking helper, a daily journal recorder, a recipe filer, and it can also work as your project management task master.
The good things about the Evernote system are that it can integrate itself with pretty much anything else. You can save web pages within it and you can pass emails and tweets directly through to your own Evernote note pages. It works as a kind of all-encompassing inbox and is often describes as the digital version of a sticky note reminder.
Here is a quick summary of some of Evernote’s best features:
- Web page saving – allows you to save websites directly into your note rather than having to take a note of the URL.
- Instruction manuals – save these virtually, within Evernote and you can then search through them far more easily than the paper version.
- Recipes – save anything you find online and create a virtual cookbook
- Business cards – scan them and save them into your notebook
Clearly Evernote is not the only system on the market to do what it does and we are going to explore the top 10 alternative options to using it shortly, however, in the interests of balance, here a number of features on the downside of using Evernote:
Subscription – you have to pay a membership fee to get the best options. If you only use the free version, you have limited data uploads and no options to sync to other devices. This means you will only be able to store all your information on one device, rather than accessing your Evernote information wherever you are.
Larger documents – Evernote has not really been designed to take more than just sticky notes and to do lists. If you try to store all your study notes on it you would use up your download limit really fast.
Linux – Evernote is not available for Linux run computers
Features – some people find it too complicated and want something simpler
So now we have taken a balanced look at the pros and cons of using the very popular Evernote system, let’s examine the alternative options which are currently available on the market and compare the features which they can offer the busy professional or student.
The key difference which marks out the Simplenote system is how simple it is for the user to make use of, particularly in comparison to Evernote. It takes a matter of seconds to work out how to use it. It is worth noting however, that it only supports text-based notes.
However, this system does include the options to share notes, as well as to synchronize any notes you have with other devices, across various other platforms. It can do this by using other third party software synchronization, including Notational Velocity and also nValt. In addition to all of this synchronicity, the Simplenote app has the ability to back up your notes and lots more information besides. It has been created by organization Automatic — who incidentally is the company from where WordPress.com originates.
It is free to use and there are dedicated versions of the tool for use with all devices, including Android, Kindle, iOS and Macintosh. There is also a web-based version of Simplenote. It’s much simpler user interface does make this system stand its ground against Evernote, despite the basic nature of the rest of the features it offers.
2. Google Keep
This platform from Google works on a grid-style system and is easy to use very quickly due its very minimal Google design. Features which stand out for Google Keep are the option for color coding your notes, the creation of lists, and the options to share your notes with other people
Google Keep even includes a handy little reminder feature putting reminders within your notes which can be picked up from Google Now. There is also an OCR option to help extract text from within images and a feature to automatically transcribe your voice-recorded notes. If you use Android Wear you can also use this to see notes made within Google Keep.
Google Keep is free to buy and can be used on Android devices via a dedicated available app, as well as through Chrome. There is a web-based option or a Chrome extension.
The biggest advantage of using Google Keep over Evernote, has to be its easy integration across the rest of Google’s offerings, and also how simple it is to use.
So, this one is a slightly different option to Evernote as the way DEVONthink works is more like a support help to look after and arrange all of your documents and notes. It features several different options depending on what kind of support you require, with varieties such as the Pro Office version, the Pro version, as well as the Personal version and a fourth option known as “To Go”.
So what features are available to you within the DEVONthink range? So, in the Personal version, you have the options to send text, images and also to carry out advanced search. There are even AI based processes, as well as a plethora of other options.
DEVONthink does have synchronization options to bring in all of your notes and documentation, across all of your Macs. You are able to select either the internet or a local network to carry out the synchronization process.
Unfortunately, unlike the other systems, DEVONthink is a paid for service and comes with a premium price tag. DEVONthink Personal comes in at $49.95 while the DEVONthink Pro increases in price to $79.95.
The downside is that the key DEVONthink system is only available for Macintosh devices, however there is an option with DEVONthink to Go to have compatibility with DEVONthink by having an iPhone or iPad client.
The best differentiation between DEVONthink and Evernote are the key professional features which do add a strong quality to this platform, but it is somewhat limited through not supporting a variety of platforms.
4. Microsoft OneNote
Now the Microsoft OneNote – which used to be called Microsoft Office OneNote – is the best option here for making sure all of your notes are accessible across the full range of devices available.
It is possible to include cuttings from websites as notes, as well as changing your emails into actual notebooks. You can even store photographs and create list style options.
Microsoft OneNote also includes amazing collaboration options, as well as supporting Zapier and other third party apps, such as Chegg.
This free application is supported across a wide number of platforms – in fact it works pretty much everywhere, including on Windows, Macintosh, iPads, Android, iPhones, windows phones, web-based and via Amazon.
If you are used to using Microsoft applications every day, then this clearly gives a benefit for using Microsoft OneNote rather than any of the other options. On top of its familiarity, this note-taking system is easy to use and integrates clearly with all Microsoft Office 365 applications.
5. SOHO Notes
The SOHO Notes system has the capability to store all your notes, whether they are in text format, made up of images or voice recordings. This system can also store your PDFs and video files, as well as element such as application forms and web pages.
Basically, using this note system allows you to use any of your resources to develop note files. The SOHO Notes system will ensure that all of your notes can be accessed via your iPod, iPhone and iPad as needed.
Other specialist areas of note within this system include the options for a Calendar view, as well as lists with check boxes and even the options to include hyperlinks across from note to note.
This system features a highly advanced search ability and also enables you to make sure all your notes are super sorted within the included label system within a very clear folder system.
The SOHO Notes system is also one that costs money to use. The cost of a pack for one user is $39.99 for a pack, while there is also an option for a family group to purchase a pack at $69.99. If you do want to synchronize to your iOS handsets you would need to pay extra as well.
It is supported across both Mac and IOS platforms and while it may appear initially to be rather expensive, it must be said that the SOHO Notes has some of the best digital note-taking tools and archive options for the Macintosh.
The Together application is a somewhat basic offering largely for Mac devices. It is described as the storage place for all documents, text and also for images, audio, video and websites in a way that is easy to access.
All of your notes are then accessible through iCloud synchronization, so across any of your Macs, iPhone or iPads. You can even drag and drop content across into the window easily to store it. There is a price for this premium system but at a flat rate of $49.99 it is available for Mac, and then for iPhone and iPod, however if you need an App for your iOS device this costs an extra $9.99.
Together has an impressive collection of features as well as offering an easy to use interface.
Yojimbo has fewer features as the next Evernote alternative, but it does work across Macintosh devices. As an application to store data, it works with a variety of formats, including bookmarks, your text, web pages, and the classic images and texts.
Yojimbo works using a tab based structure which helps to choose your category when you actually put data in. Yojimbo can also provide synchronization across Mac and IOS handsets via Wi-Fi. This system is again a purchased version, costing around $30 for one person, with a price of $60 for the family package. It is supported across both Mac and iOS but any apps would incur an additional cost.
Yojimbo may be less sophisticated than some of the other options but the features it does have are impressive and its user interface is very easy to get the hang of which is a real bonus.
Nevernote is a Linux version of Evernote, to try to resolve this downside, and it was created through an Open Source network. If you become a Linux client you will be able to log in via Evernote, using that account. It offers some good tools such as sharing of notebooks and also color coding options. It is a free platform and is supported via Linux as well as Mac and Windows. If you want to work on Evernote as a Linux customer, this is the choice for you.
9. Circus Ponies Notebook
This is a notebook which you can use to keep all of your project information, notes and important documents inside. It has an interface which is based on a notebook and as well as taking notes via text, you can use stickers, highlighters, and keywords to promote elements within the text. This system costs $49.95 for the individual version, with a price of $99.95 for the family version. It is supported by Mac and provides a highly professional option for taking notes on Mac devices.
10. Google Docs
You may not have thought about this as an option but with Google Docs you can also develop notes and then store them on your Google Drive, making them accessible from anywhere on the internet. It can also be used to develop presentations as well as spreadsheets. This free web-based platform, and basically offers an alternative to Evernote for every Google customer.