Circus Ponies NoteBook former users here?

Hi all.

I’m a user of Circus Ponies’ NoteBook application. As you may be aware, that product is no longer supported and will eventually stop working.

I’m looking for a replacement. I’ve tried several programs so far (MacJournal, WikiPad, VoodooPad, Scrivener, Yojimbo, OmniOutliner among others).

Learning enough about a possible replacement to determine if it could or couldn’t make the job is very time-consuming. In some cases, just a few hours were needed to eliminate a candidate. But in other cases, I’ve literally had to learn how to use most of the functions of a new application. OmniOutliner is a good example.

I suspect DevonThink Pro might be the best candidate available on the market at the moment. But it seems (I’ve spent 2-3 hours reading the user manual, lurking in this forum, etc.) that it’s a very complete program, with very detailed functions.

Before I invest many hours learning the program in enough detail to decide if it does the job, I was wondering if there are other NoteBook “migrants” on this forum that would care to comment on how close DevonThink Pro comes to being a good replacement.

A search of this forum turned up mostly older comments about NoteBook.

My BIG question, at this stage is this: I use NoteBook to gather other documents (with the linking function) and it looks like DevonThink really excels at this. However, I also use NoteBook extensively to create structured notes (outlines). How good is DevonThink Pro at this?


I only had a short affair with CPN, but then went to Devonthink.

For “your words” I would add Scrivener to the toolset. There was a very interesting video about someone using Scrivener (for his words) and Devonthink (for others’ words) - as he put it.

And there is an interesting post about Scrivener, Devonthink and CPN from Arno Wouters:

HTH. Best, FJK

I migrated from CPN to Curio years ago.

I’ve never used DEVONthink for outlining, and wouldn’t. (Bill DeVille is going to disagree.) I prefer OmniOutliner, and to some extent Tinderbox. DEVONthink works well with OmniOutliner – the previews of OO3 documents are among the best, and the documents are searchable. (Though, DEVONthink does not highlight search results for some reason.) There are many fine outliners available for OS X. In addition to OmniOutliner, I like OutlineEdit.

With respect to outlining, I’m with Korm. I use OmniOutliner extensively and find it to suit my outlining needs very well. DEVONthink does a great job of handling Omnioutliner files and I have not problem finding them when I need them.

There are other options for outlining as well, OmniOutliner is certainly not the only game in town, but it’s the game I play. It really depends on your needs. Any outline you do natively in DEVONthink will not be too different than outlining in TextEdit. If TextEdit gives you enough power to outline, then DEVONthink on its own should do the trick.


Thanks for the comments and ideas. They helped.

I moved to ‘Notebooks’, available on the Mac, IOS and PC. It handles most file types. What I like about it is it stores files in a directory structure in their native format so other applications can access them too. So if Notebooks goes bust (aka CPN) you’ve not fears on loosing your stuff.
Sync is using dropbox.
Another option is Notability.

Hi Empire01. Thanks for the response.

I did take a brief look at Notebooks put decided against it because, rightfully or not, it looked like a “one-man show” to me.

At this stage, I’m not concerned with not being able to access my data. In this day and age, there are plenty of tools for doing that.

What I’m concerned with is stability and whether the app is maintained/improved continuously.

I’m not happy with having to learn how to use a new app at this time; I happen to be very busy right now.

For what it’s worth, it looks like I’m going to settle on OmniOutliner for the time being.

DevonThink (after spending just a few hours reading the docs, etc.) looks like it could be a very useful addition (with OmniOutliner) to my toolkit. However, it has a lot of features and to learn and master it would require more time than I can afford right now.

OmniOutliner, by itself, will cover about 80% of my needs. But the learning curve is much less steep. Pareto’s Law.


Hi. There is a learning curve with DT, to be sure, but if you follow the Pareto Principle, then maybe you just need to learn 20% of the stuff to do 80% of the stuff you need. I don’t know if you really need to spend hours reading up on it to get started. I am sure if you posted some questions here, people could speed up the process for you a bit.

This is a very common misconception about DEVONthink. You shouldn’t think about “mastering” DEVONthink. I have been using it for 4 years - easily over 10,000 hours with it - and it still continues to surprise and amaze me! You should think about learning to use it in the way you need to use it. This is most often a much quicker “training period”. Other things you can learn along the way.