Which notes app do you use and why?

Not sure if you use a mac but the Notes app (Apple Notes- that is) is pretty good. Like you I transferred from Evernote and found that Apple Notes does all I need. I have about 900 notes stored there. It will store pdfs, images, video, - just about anything you want. Can be tagged or linked. Everything searchable. Also can be immediately usable (Hey Siri) for either voice note, typed or hand written. Will sync across all your devices and is free.
If you aren’t in the apple world or need to cross platforms than Microsoft Onenote is a pretty good alternative (it is also free - you don’t need an Office subscription). There are both Mac and Windows versions - so it can sync between all your devices.

If I am not at my main computer and/or don’t have access to my notes project, I have a google doc (accessible from any machine, anytime, anywhere – so long as I have internet) where I just throw everything loose, separated by -----------------'s, and which I clean up every now and then, cut/pasting things where they actually belong. (Either in my notes project or wherever.)

. . . . . . . . . .

But that is pretty rare.
Ever since I became a green belt in @pigfender internationally acclaimed method for permanent higher consciousness, I don’t need to note much as I barely ever forget anything ; – especially questions, since I already hold the answer to everything.
(Except to “Why life? Why not just dust and rocks floating around?” – As I said : I’m just a green belt.)


Apple Notes; it syncs via iCloud between Mac and iPhone.

@paulcoholic Occasionally. Tried using Apple Notes for a shopping list when visitng a local Apple Store. Created the note on my Mac Mini but two hours later when in the Store it had still not synced to the iPhone. I find similar huge latency syncing Dropbox for apps other than Scrivener.

I use Google Keep, since it’s free, and I can use it in any device. Whenever I have an idea, which can happen at any time, I can just take my phone and write it there. Then, when I’m on my laptop using Scrivener, I just copy the note/s into my project. That has done wonders for me, since we all know ideas tend to come at the worst possible situations haha, so being able to write it all on my phone at that moment is super, super useful :blush:

I find that syncing takes awhile some times; not often problematic enough for me to switch to non-Apple stuff.

“To each their own” and “whatever works for you.”

It is annoying and frustrating especially as my network connection is full fibre and my Mac is plugged into the router.

From the Mac Power Users forum I picked up a trick of using the command line

killall bird

which forces iCloud to restart on the Mac. Also useful for those times when iCloud is stuck trying to up-/down-load a file.

My MacBookPro is less prone to iCloud syncing hiatuses but still needs a kick using the killall trick.

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Makes you wonder how Apple came up with this name. Doesn’t sound very ecofriendly! And it’s quite dangerous, too. Add just one more letter for the plural (as any diligent writer will certainly do) and who knows what happens. Maybe a little backside hatch opens and a miniature CIWS emerges, removing all plumed flying objects from the airspace around you. And they won’t restart.

For those looking to keep notes in the Scrivener ecosystem, here is a recent thread on the topic, with a long list of annotated links to discussions on using Scrivener in this fashion:


I’d be curious to know if there are any notes apps that allow you to just drag and drop the notes into Scrivener.

You can drag text from pretty much anywhere…

I don’t mean drag text, I mean drag notes. If I have 26 notes, I don’t want to select the text manually 26 times and drag it. I want to be able to highlight 26 notes and just drop them all into Scrivener.

In this case I’d use the export from the said app. If you can fit a symbol in there, Scrivener will split it back into separate documents on import.
So the answer is : no worries, one may use pretty much any app.

Several of my projects were initially Evernote projects. (Back from before I luckily found Scrivener.)

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What you are looking for are programs that create text files when you drag them to Finder or File Explorer, as that is the kind of drop Scrivener is looking for in the binder, corkboard and outliner views.

You’ll probably just need to download demos and experiment to figure that out, as this isn’t typically the kind of feature people boast and preen about on their websites. It’s just something a developer may do or not do, and may not even document it if they do.

With some programs it would be of dubious utility, since they work directly with files already, like Obsidian. Programs like that can often work well with Scrivener’s folder sync feature. Why drag and drop and import and export and all that, when you can just load your project or press a sync button and have any new notes made in that program natively, imported, and all content edited in older notes, updated?

So if I was looking for a “better scratch pad” or a front tool for Scrivener that integrated well with it, that’s the direction I would be looking!


If you really want to do it that way, Notebooks by Alphons Schmidt does it. It’s available for Mac, iOS/iPad and Windows; for the Mac it’s available for direct download or from the Mac App Store. I didn’t realise he’s created a Windows version until I checked the URL just now.

Like Scrivener, it stores everything as a standard hierarchical set-up on disk: “Books” are folders/directories, Notes are separate documents (as .txt, .md or .html). on disk, though you can also drag/import .weblock, .pdf, and any other file format that the OS recognises.

I guess the only caveat is that Notes are either plain text, Markdown or “Formatted document”, which is HTML. So for dragging, to the Mac at least, you’d have to use either plain text or Markdown, and do any styling you need in Scrivener.


PS Just thought, another app that can do it for Mac (and iPad) users is Yojimbo, by Bare Bones Software. That has the advantage that it uses RTF as it’s default format, the editor being the Apple Text Kit. It doesn’t have the hierarchical structure of Notebooks; basically it is a database.


I still stand by my answer which I’ll elaborate a little bit more in case what’s implied wasn’t clear:
Transfer is such a minor part of the equation, likely a one time thing and so easy to do via export/import (export being an operation that any note app with a minimum of common sense can do), that picking a note app based on whether its notes can or cannot be dragged to another app seems beside the point.
If that is the main factor of one’s decision - and not the UI and functionality it offers internally -, might as well take notes directly in Scrivener, then.


My point is that if using a notes app which will allow dragging directly into Scrivener is what @shivohum said he wanted to do, then whatever his platform is, Notebooks will work for him, including adding notes on the go on iPad or iPhone, provided he’s comfortable with plain text or Markdown.

To my mind, opening your notes app, exporting a note or notes, maybe having had to set up dividing symbols, and then importing that into Scrivener is no more efficient than having your notes app open next to Scrivener and dragging across, particularly when what you are dragging are already individual files.

And Notebooks is an excellent app, for many other reasons.

But this is entirely down to personal preference.


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I agree.
(@xiamenese My previous post wasn’t intended as a reply to yours specifically. Just so you know. For clarity.)
Should I use a note app, myself I’d simply drag the text. Which was my first recommendation. – Why make something simple complicated ?
This way one chooses the best app for his/her needs, and if the notes aren’t draggable as “files”, meh, no big deal. (I guess I am of the “so long as it works” type. :wink: )

Everything useful is going to end up in either Scrivener or DevonThink anyway. Every note-specific application that I’ve tried seemed to want to keep me in their own little walled garden. So I keep coming back to Scrivener, DevonThink, or (gasp!) paper.

I’ve recently added GoodNotes on the iPad, because the Apple Pencil makes it the closest thing to electronic paper that I’ve found.

The key question, though, is what are your notes for? A lot of my notes are interview and reading notes with limited usefulness outside of the specific project. I keep them, but am more likely to refer to either the finished article or the primary source than my intermediate notes.

Because I’m a Mac/iOS/iPadOS only person, I switched to Bear a few years back when Evernote effectively died. I need a place to collect everything in my life, and have it easily searchable because I can’t organize / classify for crap. Bear fits the bill, especially now that it searches text inside images.

I’ve never bothered with importing into Scrivener because I just have Bear open in a split screen or a slide over if I need it. But now that I’ve tried it, dragging and dropping works fine for simple Markdown (plain text with an occasional table or link). If the note has an image, though, I need to export it from Bear then import it. Either RTF or .docx works fine.