Note Taking App

Hello all,

the last time this topic was touched was 2017 and lots of things have changed since.
I was wondering if, and if yes what note taking app you finde pleasure and profit using outside DTTG/DTP.

I was always using Apple notes and finde it well, but unfortunately there is no Markdown support. I like the block based approach of Craft more than in Notion, but selecting more than on block is not so straight forward and I don’t like the subscription model. Ulysses the same, plus a hilarious subscription fee. iA Writer is a nice app but then again for export you need to subscribe.

I like to password protect some noted (but not all), I like to be able to collaborate on notes, to write them in Markdown and to export them to pdf or so.

Can’t wait to hear from you,

For general note editing, I use the editors in Devonthink; mostly formatted note
If access to the html code is needed, I use an external text editor

For note taking, I use the Notability app on an iPad with an Apple Pencil (stylus)
Supports typing, handwriting, sketching. images, …
I transcribe my handwriting and equations; a Notability feature
When completed, I store the document in Devonthink in pdf format

For word processing, I use Apple Pages
For spreadsheets, I use Apple Numbers
Again, I store the documents in Devonthink

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I take 99% of my notes in DEVONthink directly.
The other 1% in Apple’s Stickies app :slight_smile:


Same over here :wink:


I’m all about Obsidian, Goodnotes, and Drafts. Obsidian is where my academic note-writing happens. I love the ease of getting both (linked) text and images in, and have some great plug–ins. The vault is indexed by Devonthink. Goodnotes is where I go to write notes. Some folders in Goodnotes are indexed by both Obsidian and Devonthink. Finally, Drafts are for the quick notes, some of which may be exported to Devonthink (through a Drafts action) or academic early ideas that may later get exported to Obsidian (also through a Drafts action)


I am nearly there too.
If anybody finds it useful, I have a Keyboard Maestro macro that puts a date and my own codes at the start of a note’s title, so I just mix them in with everything else. I have not had any problems with that and in fact find it way better than a independent note locations and so on where I could never find anything and it just went into the cyber hole. I have a system of four letter codes. e.g. trnq ling 2021-12-08 TITLE…
I use hot key triggered expansion for that as I find that if I open a Keyboard Maestro pallete while the sorter note taker is open it doesn’t work right. I closes as if you pressed escape if I remember. It makes no difference to me, I use the macro all the time so it is in muscle memory: that is just FYI I guess you know all about it anyway.

I use Ulysses but really for composing stuff in now: I like it and I can now use that totally from the keyboard too, as long as I keep export formats steady. Which I like. I am not sure I need it beyond LaTeX and Mellel which are also on my machine but not used a lot.

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@Michaell iA Writer is a one-time purchase and requires no subscription after that for any functionality incl. export.

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I use Applescript
My note title structure is yyyy-dd-mm type [details] keywords


I need to learn applescript

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It is as fun as it is challenging but so worth it IMHO :slight_smile:


@dario I didn’t get that, I thought they wanted me to buy a subscription last time I used export.
I like iA writer and would like to continue using it on the sinew of DTTG. Thanks!

I used Bear before I became a scripting addict. It’s beautiful but too limited.

Today, I use DEVONthink. If I am doing a lot of writing/editing and want to look at something with better markdown syntax highlighting, I use iWriter Pro to edit the notes:

Very nice lightweight markdown editor. Much prefer it to all the others I’ve tried.

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I take 100% of my notes in DT3. No other app is required.


Zettlr ticks all the boxes:

  • free but regularly updated
  • multi-platform
  • non-proprietary file format with local files
  • uses Markdown
  • full search and tags
  • full suite of import/export
  • can do footnotes and integrates with Zotero
  • (needless to say, the vault folder is indexed in DEVONThink :wink: )

In addition to using the built in editor, I’ve recently started using the “Panda” alpha editor that is being tested for the next version of Bear. Both macOS and iOS. I create the md file in DT first, then just open it in Panda.

It’s really a beautiful writing experience, looks and feels a lot like Typora but snappier.

There are a couple of quirks with it though. If you paste an image into the editor, it will auto-convert the note to a text bundle or panda file… which renames the file in the DT filesystem and thus, DT loses track of it. Or when you open a new note, the initial window size is small and doesn’t resize to the content. I have a KM macro to just resize the app for me.

I do still use the built-in editor a lot too depending on the type of writing I’m doing. I’ve created a couple of KM macros to fill some remaining functionality gaps (bullet indenting/outdenting) but it does the job pretty well now.

I use the built in editor. I use iOS/DTTG heavily in work environments for meeting and screening note taking, personally for journaling, and also for some script writing. I track 2 sets of financial and legal documents almost entirely in DT on the desktop.
I’ve tried demos of all the external note taking apps that have been suggested here and given them all a good run through.
I found after all my testing that, because DTTG and DT aren’t at feature parity that they are almost like two different apps when it comes to daily user experience (but with a KILLER sync feature) and that it’s easier for me to just use those two apps (DTTG and DT) than to have another third or fourth app that also has an iOS and MacOS “mindset” required for operating.
When the number of work related software packages I had to be competent and up-to-date with got in to the low twenties I had to choose very carefully when to add new ones.
Any note taking app for me needs to be invisible and reliable but not too complicated.
I’ve become fluent in markdown and my notes are getting better in both iOS and MacOS.
I look forward to the much awaited new text editor in DTTG but I am also pretty happy with the status quo.
If I could just get autocomplete to sync with my iPhone typing speed I’d be happy.


Zettlr sound good, but I can’t find it for iOS…

To be honest I’d also like to use the built in editor, but there are some feature I could image nicer:

  • the top of the editor windows occupies screen real estate without function
  • I like to use a solarized environment and for DTTG to “harsh” color-wise
  • I don’t like the (necessity of an) extra line for the note title

No, it doesn’t do portables.

I use DT’s built-in editor, and take my notes in RTF files. It’s not always perfect, but the convenience of being able to stay within one app and one user environment is a huge benefit.

The only time I take notes outside DT is when I need an outliner (like OmniOutliner) to organize complex documents.

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