Best note taking apps for Mac: Evernote, Simplenote, NoteSuite, and more!

From the living room to the lecture hall to the conference center, these are the best note taking apps for Mac!

Staying organized means having a good note taking app. Whether you're a student or professional, compulsive or casual, note taking apps can help you gather your thoughts, keep information synced across all your devices, or simply keep your memos handy for when you need them the most, there are a lot of great choices. Apple offers their own, built-in Notes App, but the Mac App Store has amazing alternatives as well. Which one is the best one for you? Here are my favorites!


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Best note taking apps for Mac: Evernote

Evernote handles not only free form notes like champ, but lets you upload images and make checklists too. It can then sync your data across platforms, including iPhone and iPad. As far as organization goes, Evernote lets you use both tags and separate notebooks. One of my favorite things about the Mac app is that if you click on a note to open it, you can also see related notes underneath it based on tags and keywords. In my experience they're always fairly accurate and make it even easier to find notes on a particular topic or subject.

If you want the best cross-platform support available paired with powerful organizational tools, Evernote fits the bill.

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Best note taking apps for Mac: Simplenote

Simplenote, as its name implies, is simple. You're basically given a blank canvas and the ability to create endless amounts of notes. There is support for search and tags though which makes finding things later on a relatively easy task. Simplenote has no frills and absolutely no learning curve. Sign up for an account in order to sync your notes with the Simplenote service and start typing. That's it.

For a barebones note taking app that gets out of the way, there's nothing better than Simplenote.

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Best note taking apps for Mac: Notesuite

NoteSuite is a free form note taking app that lets you take notes in rich text format, instead of just plain text. If you choose to let it, NoteSuite can also double as a task manager of sorts and handles alerts and reminders rather well. In my experience it isn't as powerful and flexible in that aspect as dedicated todo apps, but for an all-in-one solution, it'll work for most people. NoteSuite links in with iCloud too so all your notes are synced across iOS and OS X at all times.

If plain text isn't your thing or you want a complete todo and note taking solution, NoteSuite is a perfectly acceptable option.

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Notational Velocity

Best note taking apps for Mac: Notational Velocity

Notational Velocity is a simple note taking app for Mac that was created around taking super fast notes without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard. With shortcuts and ways to easily start new notes and link to others, it's one of the quickest options around, once you learn the shortcuts. It's plain, it's basic, and it'll be perfect for a lot of people.

If you want to hammer out notes as fast as humanly possible, no mouse required, get Notational Velocity.


Best note taking apps for Mac: Byword

Even though Byword is technically a text editor more than it is a note taking app, I've used it for both in the past. If you're writing lengthy notes or outlines and know Markdown, Byword is an excellent option. Not to mention it tackles two birds with one stone since you can use it for general purpose writing as well. Byword not only contains iCloud support but integrates with services such as Wordpress and Evernote as well.

If your notes are long form or you want Markdown support without the frills, Byword is where its at.

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Your picks?

Have you settled on a note taking app for Mac? If so, let me know which one and why you picked it? Also, what's the most important feature to you when it comes to note taking apps? Let me know that too!

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.