These days, you can’t simply rely on a single note-taking app on your computer to provide all your needs. Any note-taking tool worth its salt works on a wide range of devices and platforms, synchronising your notes effortlessly via the cloud to ensure you have access to those notes wherever you happen to be.
The most celebrated pioneer in this field is, of course, Evernote, but its best features, including unlimited sync, are hidden behind an expensive paywall. For most people, its rich-text features are overkill, so if you’re looking for a simple, but effective, way to record plain text notes on one device and then sync those notes effortlessly to other platforms, you need Simplenote.
Simplenote’s biggest selling feature is that it’s completely free, and there are apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, thus neatly spanning the major platforms (you can also access your notes by logging on to Simplenote.com in your browser for good measure). But to dismiss it as a basic note-taking app is to do Simplenote a disservice.
First, you can easily search notes, plus add tags to help keep them organised. You can even share notes – publish them for anyone to view via a weblink, or choose to collaborate with other Simplenote users, allowing them to edit as well as view shared notes.
It doesn’t end there either – Simplenote backs up all changes to your notes, so if you want to revisit an earlier version, simply click the History button and use the slider to step back, choosing to restore the version you want.
Simplenote has also implemented support for markdown formatting on all platforms except the Mac – once enabled via the ‘i’ button, you can switch between Edit and Preview views to see the original text versus the formatted preview.
At the end of the day, this app may be too basic for some people’s tastes, but if you’re looking for a cross-platform note-taking tool with just enough frills, it’s hard to look beyond Simplenote.
What's new in 1.3?
- Importers for Evernote (.enex) exports, Simplenote (.json) exports, and plain text files
- Revamp auto updater
- Disable checkboxes and hide bullets in Markdown preview of task lists
- Add preview styling for <kbd> tags
- Add markdown property to the JSON file of exported notes
- Improve keyboard support for modal dialogs
- Show focus outlines on buttons and other controls when navigating with a keyboard
- Strip Markdown in note list excerpts (with the exception of ordered and unordered lists)