What's your go-to note-taking app?

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A good year starts off with good ideas. But, how do you remember them all, along with the related information that is helpful for making them into realities? There are a multitude of options, from simple notepads to more robust filing systems, and we all search for the one that's just right. So, beyond finding a tool that you can easily access from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet: What do you look for in the perfect note-taking app?

Jen leads a team of community managers for the Digital Communities team at Red Hat. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and daughters, June and Jewel.


I simply use vi to store my notes in text files. Why is vi not an option?

I agree. I do most of my note taking with either vim or nano and would choose 'vi' as an answer over all of these on the poll. I use it even when mobile or on another computer via ssh, so you get that "cloud storage" thing still.


But with my tablet I use my second choice: google drive

Zim Desktop wiki. All others pale in comparison.

Yeah, Zim is the best!

Never heard of Zim, I thought you meant vim until I looked it up. Thanks Adrian, Zim looks like an awesome note taking app.

Paper, though looking hard at a Galaxy Note for my next phone. (I really do miss my old Newton and Palm. How did Steve Jobs go from a fan of caligraphy to the man who killed pen computing?)

I've not heard of gnote. I'll have to give it a try.

It's a port of Tomboy to C++

I've think I've used just about all those tools and one time or another. Currently I'm creating text notes at Pinboard.

Emacs' org-mode, a plain text file in Dropbox. The idea of using anything else seems ridiculous to me

Me too. Plain text files in a Dropbox folder. I will occasionally also send myself an email if there is an image or archive file etc too. Using tools seems pointless overkill to me unless there is a specific reason to such as keeping open verifiable records of data in a government department or similar.

Springpad! It always surprises me when Evernote is listed in these things but Springpad isn't. I've had an account with both and Springpad is by far better than Evernote. Have the app on my Android, and extension in Firefox and Chrome.


Due to cross-platform functionality Evernote it is for me. My only complaint is the weird way it mangles things on your clipboard.

Springpad is much more functional than Evernote and runs on most any platform even through a web browser. It's also easier to look at but the search function is broken (and has been for some time) which is a total deal breaker for me. :(

1. CherryTree - has code highlighting, export as HTML, etc. (my favorite)

2. Zim - stores data in text files well placed in directories and subdirectories, easy to read the saved notes even without using the application.

Emacs org-mode. It's very good for keeping notes and much, much more!

Emacs org-mode. Anything else is a toy.

Mine is APP.
Meaning: A Pencil and Paper.

I use gedit

tomboy + Ubunto One to share my notes on all computers.
And I'm waiting for cloud support on gnote.

You know tomboy use mono ;)

mono = the reason I don't use tomboy. ;-)

Currently, my mad thoughts and ramblings are on my little sticky note KDE plasmoid app. I'd like to move to a better online solution that I can access via terminal or web but as yet haven't set aside the time to look around.

I wrote a clipboard manager, ClipCat© to keep snippets of text organized and easily retrievable. Many options, full text search ala Google, and a plugin system make it very useful.

I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned elog - http://midas.psi.ch/elog/


I use Evernote; yes I know it isn't open source but I occasionally need to share notes and clippings across a heterogeneous collection of nodes (Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, Windows).

I use Notesdeck instead of that yellow Notes app. Much more professional.

With Notesdeck my notes show up on all my devices instantly (Mac, iPhone and iPad). And it syncs with Evernote and Dropbox and more. ----> http://www.notesdeck.com

I send myself an email message, usually via GoogleMail. Quick, easy, ready to access from any device, with search and sorting capabilities.

I love wikis. Even though I used Zim for a time, I preferred the browser-based TiddlyWiki for its sleek design and ability to show multiple entries on the page at once.

That being said, my research notes are kept in a good old dead tree journal. :)

I take notes with pencil and paper, then use a simple text editor such as gedit to type them up as HTML files. This allows me to organize my notes in an easily navigable tree so I can look them up quickly when I need them. When I do this at work, I share my note tree with the other people on my team so they can also access this information (generally how-tos) easily.

Microsoft's OneNote is terrifically robust and is an all star on convertible slate/laptops.

Paper and pencil (When I do scientific research, it helps me to memorize important concepts)

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