Ideas can strike at any time. Inspiration can come and go in an instant, and being slow on the draw can cost you a good opportunity. If you tend to forget your notebook at home, there’s another solution: your electronic pocket companion. Your phone or tablet can work just as well as a regular notebook for note-taking, outlining or even composing your thoughts.
When it comes to note-taking software, Evernote is the literal elephant in the room. Evernote is a comprehensive suite that turns photos, web pages, sound clips and even handwriting into notes. You can attach files, create annotations or comments, organize by folder and search through collections of notes. Best of all, Evernote automatically syncs your data across your devices so you can instantly retrieve your notes on your computer. Evernote is free for personal use with premium subscriptions for additional features.
OneNote is Microsoft’s entry in the mobile note-taking market. As a Microsoft Office product, it has the prestige of being part of the world’s most popular office suite. OneNote separates collections of notes into sections, which are further broken down into pages. Pages can be sorted in a hierarchy, making it possible to form logical relationships between different pages. You can attach files to pages, insert images, and handwrite notes. Pages grow dynamically to be almost infinite in size, resulting in a smooth uninterrupted workflow. Since OneNote is part of Office 365, your notes are automatically saved to the cloud and can be accessed through any web browser. The OneNote app is free, but requires an active Microsoft account.
3. Google Keep
Google’s Keep is a great way to not only take notes, but also find information related to your notes. Keep integrates with other Google components to provide audio transcription, search for data related to a topic and even store location data to pull up notes when you need them. With newer Android phones, using Keep is as simple as saying “OK Google, take a note.” Keep automatically syncs to your Google account, making it easy for you to share your notes with others and to retrieve them later. Google Keep is free and works on almost all Android phones.
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Unlike the previous entries, JotterPad is a full text editor. JotterPad focuses on distraction-free writing by providing a simple, no-frills interface. JotterPad provides common word processing functions while focusing on staying out of the way. While JotterPad doesn’t have an autosave feature, it does support syncing to Dropbox. The JotterPad app is available for free with in-app purchases.
For those of us who are attached to hand-writing our notes, there’s Write. Write’s interface mimics a traditional college-ruled notebook, making it possible to jot down thoughts or ideas as if you were writing on a sheet of paper. Write supports pressure-sensitive styli, document attachments, comments, different “paper” types, copy/paste and split-screen viewing with a web browser. Write is freely available for Android and all major desktop operating systems.
Keeping your thoughts organized can seem like a daunting task. These apps can help you get on the road to becoming more centered, more organized and more productive.