9 Best Note Taking Apps for Mac in 2021

Best Note Taking Apps for Mac

While accessing information and viewing content has never been easier than today, writing notes is still  beneficial. Although pen and paper will work fine, note-taking applications offer more capabilities, features,  and convenience. However, due to the popularity of these tools, there is now an influx of note-taking  programs, especially on macOS. As a result, many new to the digital writing space might experience  difficulty choosing the right one. Luckily, this article would be of help. Below, we’d listed and discussed the  nine best note taking apps 2021 for mac; please read on.

1. Boxy for Keep

Features: 

  • Refined Google Keep interface 
  • Multiple accounts support 
  • Desktop notifications 
  • Multi-window support 
  • System linked dark-mode 

Boxy for Keep is the best notes app, and Google Keep client for macOS. It is part of Boxysuite, an excellent  and well-designed all-in-one suite for Gmail, Calendar, Keep, and Contacts. In the app, Mac users can easily  log in to and manage one or more Google accounts. Writing, creating checklists, and attaching files are also enjoyable and fluid, thanks to the app’s pixel-perfect design, incredible stability, and familiar look.  Moreover, unlike browsers, Boxy for Keep provides a clean, minimal, and productive environment that  removes distractions and clutters while working.

Since it’s the first and only native Google Keep client for  macOS, it can provide System-linked Dark Mode, Desktop Notifications, Multi-window Support, Dock Icon  Notification Counter, and Continuous Background Sync. Boxy for Keep is available to all Mac users who  are looking for the best note-taking experience on their devices, so learn more or try it for free now! 

Pros: 

  • Fast and lightweight 
  • Battery-friendly 
  • Clean and productive interface 
  • Fast and reliable sync

Cons: 

  • Only supports Google Keep notes 

2. Apple Notes  

Features: 

  • Text formatting 
  • Cloud sync 
  • File attachment support 
  • Document scanner 
  • Note folders 
  • Note widgets 

Apple Notes, Apple’s stock note-taking app for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch, is a free and no-frills tool. Its  straightforward interface works great for anyone looking for a non-complicated and lightweight app.  However, when plain text is not enough, it also offers text formatting, table creations, file attachments, and more.

Aside from that, it’s possible to collaborate in notes or note folders, especially since the tool supports  creating checklists for todos, projects, and grocery lists. Apple Notes can sync with multiple Apple devices  and is recently made accessible through web browsers in any OS. Despite these excellent features, it’s only  possible to export data into PDF format, and notes consume iCloud storage, so users relying on the free 5GB allocation will have to be conservative or subscribe to premium plans. Alternatively, you can sync your Gmail account to export data directly to Google Cloud.

Pros: 

  • Fast and lightweight 
  • Powerful search 
  • More options for notes (text, images, files, etc.) 

Cons: 

  • Notes consume iCloud storage 
  • Limited notes export format (PDF only) 

3. Evernote 

Features: 

  • Cross-platform sync 
  • Tasks and Calendar integration 
  • Web clipper 
  • Document scanner 
  • Notes formatting 
  • Widgets 

Evernote has been around since 2008, so it’s one of the oldest note-taking apps that are still available today.  Though, its users had not seen significant updates until recent years when the competition had grown.  Thankfully, it has become better since then. Today, it offers various writing functions like plain text,  formatting, file attachments, and its unique feature, paper scanning, using OCR and Scannable’s technology.  However, its new task and Google Calendar integration are what make it more compelling than other  choices.

In detail, users can now work on their notes, projects, and schedules without leaving Evernote.  Also, notes can attach to events/tasks and vice versa for easier referencing. Moreover, with its long-time  perfected web clipper feature, it’s easy to capture areas or save an entire webpage and annotate, attach, or  save it as a new note. However, it’s still important to know that Evernote’s free tier only offers 60 MB of  storage, so users will have to pay to create more notes, use the app offline, and unlock other productivity  perks.

Pros: 

  • Powerful search 
  • Support for more attachments 
  • Incredible web clipper features 
  • Flexible notes display and homepage view 

Cons: 

  • Limited free version 
  • Freezing and lagging app issues when having more notes 

4. Bear Notes 

Features: 

  • Advanced markdown support and editor 
  • Notes protection 
  • Focus writing mode 
  • Cloud sync 
  • Hashtags note organization 
  • Cross-note linking 
  • Multiple themes and typography choices 

Bear Notes is a beautiful note-taking application exclusive to Apple devices. Unlike other programs, Bear  focuses more on long-form writing. Its focus mode, markdown support, minimal interface, document  statistics, and over 150 programming language syntax highlighting are highly beneficial for users looking to  compose novels, web articles and dabble a little bit of coding.

Furthermore, having many notes shouldn’t be  an issue thanks to cross-notes linking, hashtags organization, and fast syncing. After writing, it’s possible to export into PDF, DOCX, HTML, JPG, MD, and more, making it an ideal choice for professionals. However,  its inability to sync without paying for a subscription and the reliance on iCloud storage might not be suitable for some. 

Pros: 

  • Refined and clean interface 
  • More note export options 
  • Free for single-device use 

Cons: 

  • Uses iCloud storage for syncing 
  • No web app 

5. Simplenote 

Features: 

  • Cross-platform sync 
  • Markdown support 
  • Notes collaboration
  • Tags 
  • Version history 

As the name suggests, Simplenote, a product from Automattic, is a basic yet entirely free note-taking  application. In Mac, one can create as many notes and tags and access them on different devices, regardless  of the OS. Unlike other tools relying on short undo and redo memory, Simplenote offers a version history  feature where users can go back in time with a slider and restore a note’s previous state.

Apart from that,  since it’s from the company running WordPress, the app supports markdown syntax and direct publishing  into a personal website. Then again, the lack of attachment support and further organization other than tags could be a deal-breaker for many. Regardless, whether the app’s simplicity is a benefit or a disadvantage will depend on the user. 

Pros: 

  • Completely free 
  • Fast and lightweight 
  • Unlimited notes 

Cons: 

  • Only allows plain text 
  • Recurring sync issues 

6. Boost Note 

Features: 

  • Real-time notes collaboration 
  • Versatile markdown support and editor 
  • Attached GitHub status 
  • Powerful search 
  • Groups and members management 

Boost Note is an excellent note-taking app specifically tailored for developers and teams. Its interface looks  like an IDE, where every corner displays different sets of information. Boost Note’s markdown editor proves to be the most advanced and customizable one among similar apps. Aside from writing source codes, it’s  also possible to compose plain text, attach files, and create and embed documents. Since it’s focused on  development, users can access up to unlimited version history, share public notes URLs for handoffs, view GitHub status, and push notes to a GitHub repository.

Moreover, regarding sharing, Boost Note makes it easier to collaborate by creating or joining groups, assigning members, real-time co-authoring, and sharing  to different platforms using Zapier, an automation tool. 

Pros: 

  • Highly customizable 
  • Connects with external services

Cons: 

  • It can be fairly complex for casual users 
  • Requires a subscription to collaborate 

7. Zoho Notebook 

Features: 

  • Notebooks  
  • Cross-platform sync 
  • Notebook covers 
  • Media viewer and player 
  • Sketching and drawing tools 
  • Color coding for notes 
  • Unlimited version history 
  • Zia virtual assistant 

Zoho, a company running a suite of productivity tools similar to Google Workspace, has an entirely free  writing program called Zoho Notebook. In the app, each entry or Note Card can have tags and belong to a  stack or notebook. A stack can be all notes or a mix of notes, checklists, and attachments. On the other hand, a notebook is a collection of notes that appear first on the app homepage.

Furthermore, notes can change colors and list orders, while users can choose from a wide selection of notebook covers. Lastly, since Siri is  only for Apple Notes, Zoho Notebook offers its own virtual assistant Zia to make notes creations, searching, viewing, and setting reminders quicker and hands-free. 

Pros: 

  • Completely free 
  • Integrates with external services 
  • Excellent organizational features 

Cons: 

  • No list view for notebooks makes scrolling longer 
  • It might be too flashy for anyone who prefers a minimal interface 

8. Quip 

Features: 

  • Tasks 
  • Documents 
  • Spreadsheets 
  • Slides 
  • Interactive polls 
  • Group real-time messaging 

Quip is an all-in-one work and productivity software. It combines tasks, chat, docs, slides, surveys, and  spreadsheets into one macOS app. As such, users can import or create documents, calculate tables, and  compose convincing presentations for meetings. Apart from that, it’s also possible to keep track and share  checklists for projects and communicate real-time with typing indicators without leaving the app.

Given that not everyone has access to an internet connection all the time, Quip works offline by caching all personal and company notes and sending messages, files, and docs that are on hold during offline sessions. Since it supports diverse files, it can also export into various formats, including PDF, Microsoft Office files, Google Workspace formats, and more. Finally, on a Mac, users can search Quip notes through Spotlight and view  documents alongside other files in Finder. 

Pros: 

  • Works offline 
  • Excellent collaboration 
  • Integrated documents 

Cons: 

  • No free tier 
  • It can be overwhelming for casual note-taking 

9. Dynalist

Features: 

  • Markdown formatting 
  • Color labels and tags 
  • File attachments support 
  • Google Calendar events sync 
  • Web URL clipper 
  • Keyboard shortcuts 
  • Selection of themes and fonts 
  • Version history 

Unlike the standard notes format and app layout that most people have gotten used to, Dynalist takes the  approach of an open document and simplified folders list view. Instead of restricting users to text and  images, it allows note links, sentence descriptions, tags, full markdown support, and more inside a note.

Regarding its customizability, it’s possible to tailor the interface to one’s preference using its themes/font  presets, customizable toolbar, various note information densities, and even using custom CSS code. Aside  from the display, Dynalist also offers advanced functions like Google Calendar sync, collaboration, mind  map for visualization, bookmarks, and more. Though, some premium features are only accessible after  paying for the pro subscription.

Pros: 

  • The free version offers unlimited notes and documents 
  • Excellent search (finder) 
  • Removes distractions when writing 

Cons: 

  • The unconventional notes style might be confusing for beginners 
  • Requires more clicks to view all linked texts 

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