Best macOS Note Taking App. There are numerous excellent note-taking apps available, but not all of them work effectively on a Mac. Productivity tools that don’t fit your workflow can be inconvenient, which is why selecting an actual Mac note-taking software is important.
Best macOS Note Taking App
Distracting keyboard shortcuts, notifications, and user interfaces are the last thing you want to be focusing on it when it’s time to take notes. I’ve been publishing about macOS for over a years and am obsessed with discovering the greatest Mac software. List of 5 Best macOS Note-Taking Apps.
1. Apple Notes – Best macOS Note Taking App
The best camera is the one you carry with you, as the saying goes. If you own a Mac, you already have Apple Notes, which makes it the finest note-taking programme for many people. I don’t say anything to disparage Apple Notes—it’s a fantastic tool. However, the fact that you do not have to install it, pay for it, or create a brand-new account to get started is more than enough motivation for most Mac users to try Apple Notes first.
This software loads quickly, and adding a new note couldn’t be easier. You may drag images into your notes and they will appear immediately, and you can also insert audio files. If you like, you may also attach any document to a note, and everything happens quite quickly. After all, this is native Mac software, so you won’t have to wait for things to load.
Notes are filed in notebooks and sorted by date. There are also tagging capabilities (simply type a #hashtag into the text of a note, and the tag will appear in the sidebar) and a quick search function that searches every note. The primary disadvantage is the lack of exporting possibilities. You can export any note to PDF…and that’s all there is to it. Additionally, there is no formal way to export full notebooks.
However, if you’re looking for a notes programme for the Apple operating system, start with Apple Notes. It may fit you exactly, or you may discover whatever missing features are most important to you. It’s a win either way.
Notebook programmes either save files in proprietary formats (Apple Notes, OneNote) or force you to learn Markdown (the other apps on this list). Notebooks is unique. This tool saves each note as an HTML file on the computer, but you don’t need to understand what it means to use it. It combines flexibility and simplicity in a stunning package.
Notebooks remind me a lot of Evernote before they discontinued their native Mac version. There are three panes: one for notebooks, another for notebook documents, and a third for the current note. You can open any note in its own window by double-clicking it, allowing you to work on many notes at once or have a small window to the side while researching online. The UI is truly Mac-like, with all of the pleasant touches you’d expect.
The true power here, though, is adaptability. Evernote notebooks or folders containing plaintext, HTML, and Markdown files can be readily imported. Any note can be exported to a Word, PDF, or plaintext file. Notes are by default simple HTML files in folders that you can view directly in your Finder. If you’re synchronising to other Apple devices, iCloud is the most straightforward syncing solution. If you prefer to use another cloud service for syncing, simply place your notebook in the folder for that service—this is especially useful if you intend to sync to the Windows client.
3. OneNote – Best macOS Note Taking App
OneNote was released in 2003, making it the oldest app on this list. Notes are kept in several notebooks that are separated into sections. This is a framework that many other programmes would go on to imitate, but OneNote still does it best—all while giving a far more liberal free option than anybody else.
OneNote is especially easy to recommend to Microsoft Office users, who will recognise the user interface right once, but it is suitable for everyone. The central metaphor is a paper notebook. Most of the apps on our list function like text editors, but OneNote functions more like a piece of paper: you can click anywhere to begin typing in that exact location. There’s also sketching support, though it’s probably better to use on a tablet than on a Mac, and images and documents may be uploaded inline or as attachments.
And the search is incredibly comprehensive, allowing you to find notes in all of your notebooks. There is even optical character recognition (OCR), which means that if you upload a picture or a PDF, your search will include the contents of those files. No other app on this list does. You may also use the OneNote clipper for your browser to save articles and recipes from the web.
If Apple Notes doesn’t allow you as much freedom as you’d like, try OneNote. The UI may be a touch crowded, but the flexibility is well worth the cost.
Obsidian is the first programme I’ve seen that quotes John Locke in its documentation. That alone demonstrates how ambitious this app is: it wishes to alter the way you think. It’s definitely my kind of crazy.
Obsidian’s notes are nothing more than text documents structured in Markdown. This means you can save all of your notes even if you stop using Obsidian. But don’t be fooled by the file format’s simplicity—Obsidian aspires to be the database of your life.
The programme provides a variety of structures, including a sidebar full of folders for the organisation while also highlighting internal hyperlinks. A key concept here is that you will frequently make new notes and then connect to them in other documents. This generates an easily navigable web of knowledge, and there’s also a handy keyboard shortcut for retrieving notes by name or contents. It’s similar to a personal wiki but better.
This may appear unusual at first, but as you start using it, the principle becomes clear. You have complete control over how it works. The interface is completely customisable, and you can have numerous notes open in the same window. The true power, though, comes from the community plugins, which allow you to add features such as a calendar for daily journal entries or a full-fledged kanban board.
Notes are quite personal, and I understand why you wouldn’t want to entrust them entirely to a firm with its own agenda. Joplin is an open-source and free application, which means that all of your notes are stored on your computer and are within your control. You don’t need an account to begin, and you may sync your notes between devices using whatever service you want: Dropbox, OneDrive, and the open-source Nextcloud are all supported, and if you don’t want third-party services to have access, you may set end-to-end encryption.
The user interface is similar to that of a standard note-taking programme, with notebooks and notes sorted in the left column. You can also use tags to organise notes, and the web clipper to clip content from the web. The main editor is in Markdown, although a rich text editor is available if you’re not comfortable with it. There’s also support for accessing notes in external apps, so you may use your preferred Markdown editor instead.
It’s the most comprehensive open-source solution I found, and it supports importing Evernote notebooks. I recommend it if you want complete control over your notes and are looking for a OneNote replacement for Mac.