The 5 Best Note-Taking Apps on Earth Today

The 5 Best Note-Taking Apps on Earth Today

Key Points

  • Our pick for the best note-taking app today is Evernote. 
  • Most note-taking apps are free to download and use. However, some offer more features when you pay for a subscription. 
  • The best note-taking apps let you write text and import photos, videos, and other files. 

Choosing the best note-taking app can be a personal experience. Some people want advanced features, while others just want a bare-boned app to copy/paste text quickly. Some features of note-taking apps include adding media files, taking web clippings (or text-only screenshots), and keeping everything organized. The best note-taking apps allow you to export everything for quick sharing and collaboration. Traditional pen and paper notes are challenging to share, search through, or keep track of. That’s why many people have ditched the customary notepads for more high-tech yet user-friendly options. 

This article will look at the five best note-taking apps available on Earth today and how to pick out the best one for you. 

History Computer’s Top Picks for the Best Note-Taking Apps

Best Overall Note-Taking App: Evernote

reasons to use a note-taking app
Notes in Evernote are stored in virtual “notebooks.”

©Faizal Ramli/Shutterstock.com

Our pick for the best overall note-taking app is Evernote. Evernote takes the lead in our list because the app offers an easy-to-use interface complete with a short tutorial to get you started. Once you get a feel for the default three-column notes page, you can edit it to appear as one or two columns instead, even making them horizontal if you wish. 

Taking notes is straightforward in Evernote. You can use text, voice, or even handwriting to get all your thoughts on the page. Also, Evernote makes it easy to stay organized with searchable tags. And, if you use Evernote for work, you’ll enjoy better collaboration than traditional pen and paper notes, with real-time edits and comments. Finally, you can ensure your data is safe with a passcode, two-factor authentication options, and complete note encryption. 

Sadly, Evernote hides a lot of advanced and useful features behind a paywall. You’ll, unfortunately, need to shell out money for a subscription to get the most out of using the app.

Evernote looks good and is easy to use.Many features, such as checklists, require a paid subscription.
You can quickly find what you’re looking for by searching your pages and tags. 


Best for Thrifty Note Takers: OneNote

Apps to download
Microsoft has a free version of OneNote now available on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.


We recommend OneNote as the best free note-taking app on Earth today. Since its release in 2003, Microsoft has allowed users to work in OneNote for free. However, the good folks at Microsoft have recently included OneNote for free with Windows 10 and 11. 

If you find you need to export your notes, you can do so to either an XPS or PDF file. An XPS is great for photo and image editing and printing. Also, you can easily take notes offline and clip web pages if you find you’re constantly on the go. However, you can only import previously downloaded OneNote files while offline. You can still import photos and videos, though. 

Finally, we love that OneNote also offers encryption protection for security.

OneNote comes free on new Windows 10+ machines. There’s no way to interact with saved web clippings. 

Best for Google Users: Google Keep

reasons to use a note-taking app
Google Keep allows text to be extracted from images using optical character recognition.


The best note-taking app for Google users is Google Keep. We like Google Keep because it’s easy to use and is a simple way to stay productive. While Google has discontinued its support for the Keep app, you can still use the app and access your notes. 

Some of the best features of Keep include the ability to make checklists, pin important and time-sensitive notes, and add labels. But we also like the included security encryption. And, if you find yourself forgetting about your to-do lists, you can set reminders to alert you when you need to get stuff done. Finally, Google Keep will sync across the web and app, making taking notes on the go even more accessible. 

Sadly, you will only have 15GB of storage, including that of your other Google apps. 

Keep is free to use.15GB of storage may not be enough for some users.
Keep syncs automatically between devices.
You can encrypt all notes.


Best for Techy Users: Joplin

Joplin is an open-source note-taking app, and it’s our choice for the more technical users out there. We recommend Joplin if you’re comfortable creating your own scripts and app plugins. Being open source, you can edit the source code, but things may get a little funky unless you have some experience doing so. Despite the app being open-sourced and highly editable, Joplin is well-known for being a secure note-taking app due to its end-to-end encryption. Finally, Joplin lets users create many notebooks, all with the ability to add media files. 

Unfortunately, you will need to pay for the cloud service to sync and share your notes. 

You can customize Joplin by using included plugins, or you can make your own.You can only clip web pages from Chrome or Firefox. 
You can edit the source code to fit your needs.
Joplin lets you share online using a personal URL. 

Best Basic Note-Taking App: Notes

scan document with iPhone
Unfortunately, the Notes app is currently only available on Apple devices.


Apple’s Notes app is our pick for the best basic note-taking app. Notes is a free app that comes already loaded on your iPhone. We like this app because it’s simple. It’s an easy way to write text or create quick doodles, organize them into folders, and view and edit them using the mobile or desktop app.

While compared to the others on the list, Notes is pretty basic. So, while the app doesn’t have a web clipper, you can share websites to a note using the share button. Notes also allows you to import media files such as photos and videos. You can also attach files to a note. 

So while Notes is a little paired down when compared to some other note-taking apps, some people may find it’s all they need to jot down anything from a shopping list to a story idea. 

The Notes app automatically syncs across all devices. The Notes app is only available for iOS and macOS.
The app can take up a lot of space on your mobile device. 

How to Pick the Best Note-Taking App: Step-by-Step

Many consider a few factors when deciding what note-taking app to buy. Some of the most important factors people consider are the ease of use and the features included. Let’s take a look. First, we have ease of use. 

Ease of Use

The user interface, or how the app looks, will be one of the most important factors when picking a note-taking app. To see how easy an app is to use, it’s helpful to first look at reviews. You can get feedback from people that have used the app, which can give you valuable insight. Also, take a look at any screenshots of the app. If the screenshot makes the app look visually pleasing and the text and menus appear clear and easy to read, you’re definitely headed in the right direction. 


Now, let’s explore some features you should look out for when picking a note-taking app. 

  • Web Clipper: One of the best features of any note-taking app is the web clipper. Web clippers work by taking screenshots of web pages. However, they don’t include ads and other extraneous data. Some of the best note-taking apps will allow you to interact and edit any web pages you’ve clipped. 
  • Reminder: Sometimes, we need a little help remembering what we need to remember. That’s why it’s helpful when note-taking apps include a reminder feature. Reminders are notifications that appear on your phone or computer at set times or days. Reminders can keep you on-task by reminding you of important dates and times. 
  • Import/Export: Another vital feature of note-taking apps is the import and export ability. Exporting notes and notebooks allows for easier sharing and teamwork. Should importing files and notes from other apps be important, the best note-taking apps will allow you to do both. 

What to Know Before Buying a Note-Taking App

If you’re trying to decide which note-taking app to buy, we understand there can be confusion about what to look for. Let’s review some of the things to know before you buy or download one. 

First, think about what operating system, also known as the OS, and devices an app is compatible with. Consider whether you’ll be taking notes on your iPad or your Windows machine. You can narrow your choices down once you know which you’ll use. 

Second, consider the app’s features. Do you want to work in several notebooks at once, or are you more concerned about being able to create reminders for your tasks? Read the app’s list of features to ensure it will do what you want. Also, try to peruse the app’s reviews, reading others’ take on what the app does. In addition, be sure to check the list of the app’s main features. For example, if an app lets you make web clippings, make sure you can interact with the text in your notes if you need to.

Third, consider the price. If the note-taking app you want is free, then that obviously sounds great. However, some apps hide valuable features behind a subscription paywall, so just be sure the features you need are also available in the free version. Or, be sure you’re willing to pay for whatever isn’t included for free. 

Using the Best Note-Taking Apps: What It’s Like

Most people need to take notes at some point in their life. However, using a pen and paper doesn’t always make for the best way to jot down ideas. Instead, using a note-taking app will help you better record, organize, edit, and share your memos, ideas, and media. Even if you don’t want to pay for a subscription to an app, using a free note-taker such as Notes or OneNote can help you in your daily life.  

The 5 Best Note-Taking Apps on Earth Today FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is Evernote still relevant?

Absolutely. Many people use Evernote for business and personal use.

What is the Microsoft notes app called?

Microsoft launched its note-taking app, OneNote, in late 2003.

Does Google have something like Evernote?

Google Keep is a good alternative to Evernote.

Is Google Keep going away?

While Google has stopped supporting Google Keep, you can still use it. You can even access Keep offline using your mobile device.

Is Microsoft dropping OneNote?

Microsoft will stop support for OneNote for Windows in 2025. The OneNote app will still be supported, however.
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