Taking quick notes — in 2016

Looking for app to take quick notes, one that plays nicely with DT.
(Instead of DT sorter note function)

On this forum, 3-6 years ago, there was some discussion of quick notes apps, but very little since then.
And some of those apps have not been updated for several years.

Now, in 2016, which quick notes apps would you recommend, that will index in DT, and that are still being maintained by their developers?
(Cost doesn’t matter.)

  • SimpleNote
  • nvAlt
  • JustNotes
  • Smart Notes
  • … other?

Thank you.

I use (and index) nvALT. The developer has been delayed in producing the next generation of nvALT, due to medical issues that he has been upfront about. I trust he will produce it in due course. Meanwhile, nvALT is excellent, solid, and its data folder, when placed in Dropbox, can be accessed on iOS with Simplenote or other iOS apps. It is plain text and markdown, with great tagging, search, and wiki-like links between notes. (These links do not work outside nvALT, however.)

I’ve got a folder full of text notes that are indexed in DT. I’ve gone through various apps, but I’m currently using Atom editor (atom.io/packages/project-manager) is great for my notes. When I need to search for a note, I just press cmd+T, type a few letters to locate what I want, press enter and voilá.

Interesting, Atom runs really slowly on my Mac. I use Brackets a bit, but honestly am using this every single day for notes: Macdown

Am I correct that Atom is not a mac native app? If so that might explain the slowness.

It’s not a Cocoa app, but it’s native in terms of browser technologies.
See: electron.atom.io/ . It’s essentially a fancy kind of web app for the desktop.

There’s an up-and-coming note taking app in beta – Bear – which just released its Mac beta


The Safari extension (the download link is on the blog page) is very good.

It’s going to sync with its iOS counterpart thru iCloud Drive – so there is no sync in the beta since it doesn’t come thru the app store. Because of iCloud it will not easily (or not at all) be indexable in DEVONthink, but it uses standard macOS share extensions.

About Bear… there will be an in-app purchase to Bear Pro which includes among other things iCloud syncing, good for one year. Then you purchase again the next year to maintain the sync capability. Other features continue to work without the yearly purchase. If I read this right, it’s a deal breaker for me.

Ugh. Agree. Seems pointless to pay a developer to unlock access to a feature built into macOS/iOS.

I’ve tested Bear for a while and while it is rather attractive and nice, there are a few things that I just don’t like. In beta 2-3 you can finally turn on support for “native markdown”. I honestly don’t understand why apps re-invent syntax…

As for Atom, I’m using the Beta and find it’s quite a lot faster than it was before. Nothing akin to how fast Sublime Text is, but it’s getting better and faster with each update.

Having said that…There are literally dozens of great Markdown capable apps and simple plain text editors work just fine too. Still holding out for Brett Terpstra’s rewrite of nvALT :wink:

Also, I totally forgot to mention Ulysses. You can now add an external dropbox folder in both macOS and iOS and use that to edit you text files on both mac and iOS. Then have that same folder indexed in DT. Works a treat! In fact… now that I mentioned it, I think I may set this up myself too :smiley:

Haha! nice. :smiley:

Ah… It’s great to start fresh. As a new user of DTPO, I have little legacy concerns. No exhaustive note library, in Evernote or elsewhere. (Am a premium user of Evernote and would like to cut that cost if it makes sense.) I have no daily practice of note taking other than capturing tasks in a good-old GTD trusted system. Big fan of OmniFocus. And use their other products like OmniOutliner occasionally. Your feedback here on the forum has been great. I am in the process of picking the tools both on Macs and IOS so that I can be effective in capturing information/notes in meetings and while doing research on the web.

My day gig is a consultant to business leaders in running and growing their businesses. I do write and produce some content.

Looking at nvALT2 for the Mac’s, MBPro and MacPro and Drafts for IOS.

Questions: Are there other applications that I should consider? File formats? Use templates? What is the best practice for getting these into my DT database? Any gotcha’s I should watch for?

Thanks in advance,

nvALT is great on the Mac. Just make sure you store notes as individual files (.txt or .md would be my advice). Lastly, index the folder where you store the notes in DTP. For iOS, I’d recommend an app that can connect to Dropbox or iCloud seamlessly so you can easily edit your notes there. Then, DTTG can index edited notes easily. A nice option is 1Writer or Editorial if you prefer to geek out hardcore with automation.

In summary:

macOS => nvALT => Dropbox Folder indexed in DTP/DTTG <= 1Writer <= iOS

Hope this helps!

1Writer is great. Lots of nice features. A bit of a caution though – it hasn’t been updated in nearly a year and its last compatibility check was iOS 8. Some minor features are no longer working on iOS 10. The good thing is that if it dies, the data will still be good (plain text) and available in Dropbox.

Thanks guys, (assuming guys… ) Will check those out and report back for the shared learning.

The developer is currently running a beta round so I suspect an update shouldn’t be too far off. Having said that, there are plenty of other alternatives out there, most notable being Editorial of course and nvNote seems nice too though I haven’t tried that one yet. Here’s a rather exhaustive list brettterpstra.com/ios-text-editors/

Excellent news (about 1Writer)!

When answering another post I realised that Ulysses for iOS now supports Dropbox external folders too, so it’s possible to edit files stored in a Dropbox folder (indexed in DTPO) using Ulysses on both the Mac and iOS. :smiley:

So just discovered that nvNotes is currently 50% off at the moment. Not sure how long the sale will last, but for those using nvALT on the mac, this will be a great and familiar app for you on iOS.

Update: Seems as though the 50% drop in price is a permanent change so no rush :smiley: