There are many apps to help you record and organize your thoughts on your phone and PC. These are our favorites.
You’ve got it! That genius epiphany, that brilliant screenplay idea, that jolt of terror that you’ll forget to pick up the dry cleaning. It’s come to you in a flash, and you need to jot it down now before this ephemeral whiff of remembrance floats out of your brain forever. So you pull out your phone (obviously, no one carries a pen and paper anymore) and start swiping through your apps. But the note-taking app you’ve been using is so cluttered and unorganized that your wonderful idea vanishes into the void, following all the other half-formed notions before it.
What you need is a great notes app, one that makes it easy to organize all the disparate thought-ingots in your life. Every app in this list covers the essentials. You can use these options to jot down quick ideas, make checklists, set reminder notifications, or incorporate drawings and images. Beyond that, they each have a few unique features that fulfill specific needs. There isn’t any single “best app” for taking notes. But out of all the options, these are the best we’ve used.Google Keep
If you’re on an Android phone, start with Google Keep—it’s available on both Android and iOS, but it’s tightly integrated with Android, and it comes preinstalled on some Android handsets. It features just about the best mix of simplicity and functionality of any notes app. Easily tap open a new note, or use the voice-to-text feature of Google Assistant to transcribe your spoken words.
On the main screen, all your items look like Post-It notes pasted up on a board. You have several options for style and color-coding, and you can slide notes around to organize them in your own way. Keep is especially useful if you already use the rest of the Google suite. You can access Keep within the browser, and even directly inside Gmail, where a little bar will pop up along the side showing all your notes. As with Google Docs, notes in Keep are easy to share, and you can invite others to collaborate.Microsoft OneNote
If you’re looking for a more detailed notes-management system, Microsoft OneNote is a step up from Keep. While not quite as intuitive as Google’s offering, OneNote is packed with more functions. It syncs with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook, so if your work life is powered by the Office Suite, OneNote will fit right in. On desktop, it operates a lot like Microsoft Word, with a file menu up at the top and all of the familiar layout and formatting options for your words.
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Notes are nested inside custom category tabs—think color-coded tags in a three-ring binder. You can attach specific notes to meetings via Outlook and prioritize them using tags of various levels of urgency. If you’re looking for a “professional” notes app for the office environment, OneNote is your best option.