The Best Alternatives to Evernote You Need Today

Evernote is the big tusker of note-taking apps.

The note-taking tool and its 200 million users rivals the number of Pinterest and Snapchat users, and one can bet that Evernote users spend more hours on the tool than the other two. It often seems like Evernote is the pacemaker for everyday productivity for its millions of users. Unfortunately, a portion of those millions are turning into the malcontents.

The reason? This little blog post which announced a BIG change to the way we freeloaders use Evernote. Two bits of disturbing news leapt out:

The prices for our Plus and Premium tiers will change for new subscriptions, and access from Evernote Basic accounts will be limited to two devices.

Evernote does not have an advertising model, and so the price increase – even though it is a substantial 40% — can be swallowed as a reasonable pill. But many Evernote users have spoken out against the restriction of using just two devices in the Free plan.

The core appeal of Evernote is its cross-platform reach. Record notes on one device and access it on another. Has Evernote destroyed the Golden Rule of any worthy note-taking tool? The noise of 1500+ posts on the Evernote Forum  goes both ways. And then there’s Twitter.

Evernote is making all the noise, but there are other species in the note-taking jungle now. A few of them are ready to pounce on any dissatisfied fraction of its 200 million users. So, if you want to jump ship, it’s time to check out the best Evernote alternatives, and then start to migrate your notes.

Let’s look at the popular and free Evernote alternatives which tick the boxes Evernote just blanked out for us.

Evernote Alternatives for The Simple User

Even with the 2 device restriction, you can still use the Evernote web app and work with your notes. But maybe this change is making you introspect and review your note-taking needs. Maybe you don’t use all the bells and whistles that Evernote provides. Maybe you need a simpler note-taking workflow.

Here are a few good choices.

Google Keep (Free)

Platform: Web, Android, iOS.

Google Keep

You can find a lot of creative uses for Google Keep. Google Keep started its life as a barebones sticky note-taking tool, but now it has morphed into something more powerful with text recognition and automatic note organization. It is still not a feature-for-feature competitor to Evernote.

For example, it lacks the rich text formatting options or the app ecosystem of Evernote.  But it is the tool of choice for anyone who likes a simplified but streamlined note-taking system. You can fit Google Keep into any workflow with the right tips.

Features of Note:

  • Sync notes across all platforms.
  • Supports audio notes, automatic transcription, checklists, images, and reminders.
  • Fast search. You can search for text in photos, such as images of receipts, by typing the words in the photo.
  • Supports collaboration with an email. Notes can also be sent to Google Docs.
  • Intelligent categorization of notes by topic, color, and labels.
  • Lacks an import option.

Simplenote (Free)

Platform: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, Web


The clean and minimal interface is designed for fast note-taking. Simplenote supports notes of any length, but like Google Keep it is for quick note-taking rather than longform recording. Simplenote is definitely recommended for list-makers who like a clutter free environment that is a bit more powerful than a simple notepad.

Official native apps and third-party Simplenote clients are available on all popular platforms including Linux.

Features of Note:

  • Sync notes across all platforms.
  • Write with Markdown on the web app, Windows, and Linux.
  • Supports version control – go back in time to your old notes with the slider.
  • Find notes quickly with instant searching and simple tags.
  • Share notes with an email.

Apple Notes

Platform: Web, iOS, and Mac.

Apple Notes

Bryan Wolfe dives into Apple Notes and answers the basic question, should you be using Apple Notes for iOS and OS X?

With the coming of OS X El Capitan and iOS 9, it definitely gives the above two tools a run for their popularity. Notes are accessed from iCloud; thus you can sync them across all (Apple) devices on any platform. Now, you can create formatted notes with new text tools. Write notes with titles, heading styles, numbered or bulleted lists, and more.

If you are using an iOS 9 device and are a doodler or a sketchnoting fan, lean towards the colored drawing tools like a pen, pencil, felt tip marker, and eraser. Capture your ideas and annotate with these visual aids.

Features of Note:

  • Organize your notes into folders.
  • Attach photos or videos with a drag and drop.
  • Insert attachments to notes and browse them all with a single click.
  • Recover and edit iCloud notes deleted in the last 30 days on
  • Lock notes with Touch ID or a password.

TiddlyWiki (Free)

Platform: Any

You shouldn’t discount personal wikis for note-taking. TiddlyWiki is the best known among them and comes with the benefit of a worldwide community who are putting the software to many creative uses. TiddlyWiki is simple and easy to customize, even if you are ignorant about HTML and CSS. It is Open Source and designed to run on any browser. You don’t need to install anything or use a web host.

Thanks to the mature community, you can extend TiddlyWiki with the variety of plugins, themes, widgets, and languages. To get started, save the “Empty TiddlyWiki” HTML file to your computer and start creating your notebook.

Features of Note:

  • Completely customizable and private.
  • Encrypt the contents of your notebook.
  • Store your information wherever you want to – locally, on a cloud folder, your mobile, or on a USB Drive.
  • A custom desktop application called TiddlyDesktop is available which works with Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.

Evernote Alternatives for Power Users

Note-taking morphs into document collaboration when teams need to work together in real-time and spill their guts out on long documents. Sprawling documents are sometimes the product of fruitful brainstorming sessions and need more sophisticated features to handle the overload of notes and thoughts.

Here are a few worthy Evernote alternatives with super-powers.

Microsoft OneNote

Platform: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS


Microsoft OneNote is the usurper. It was snapping at Evernote’s heels even before the news came out. And now all that power with the free price tag tilts the result of OneNote vs Evernote in Microsoft’s favor. With the Microsoft Importer tool, it is now easier to get all your Evernote notes into OneNote.

Coming over to OneNote from the linear structure of Evernote won’t hurt you much because it mimics a Moleskine with its neat division into pages and sections. Move your OneNote notebooks to OneDrive for easy access across all your devices and invite others so others can get to it. Sync them and work even when you are offline.

There is no Linux app yet. But OneNote makes a fantastic combo with a tablet like the Surface Pro 4, where you can trigger it with a click of the pen.

Use these tips to get productive with OneNote:

  • 7 Little-Known OneNote Features You Will Love
  • The 7 Best OneNote Apps You Can Have for Free
  • 12 Tips to Take Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote
  • Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You?
  • How to Save Anything to OneNote from Anywhere
  • The Essential Guide to OneNote for Mac

Google Drive

Platform: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Google Drive

With Google Drive we get into serious document editing and collaboration tasks. As an office productivity suite it is not designed for quick note-taking, but you can pump data into it. Google Drive’s folder organization and smart search features make it well-suited to manage any amount of information. Add the seamless real-time collaboration and sharing tools and you have the note-taking solution for any team project.

Giving some thought to the folder structure is the first step. With some creativity, you can design your own note-taking templates (for some inspiration, look at these custom planners or pre-made templates). Notes on paper? Make the Google Drive camera work for you and let the OCR feature take over.

Remember, you can always use Google Keep for quick notes and sync it with Google Drive for follow-up research. Extensions like Notes for Google Drive and Clevernote on Android are just two from the rich eco-system that surrounds Google Drive.

Use these tips to get productive with Google Drive:

  • The Only Google Drive Guide You’ll Ever Need to Read
  • These Quick Google Drive & Gmail Tips Will Help You Work Better
  • Solve Common Google Drive Problems with These Simple Solutions
  • How To Use Google Drive To Capture Your Great Ideas & Never Lose Them
  • 7 Creative Ways to Use the Power of Google Drive with Evernote
  • Make Google Drive Absolutely Awesome with These Tools
  • 15 Essential Chrome Extensions for Google Drive

Dropbox Paper

Platform: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

Dropbox Paper (beta) is another tool which can be diluted for team notes or used as a personal productivity tool. Born from the erstwhile Hackpad, it is a collaboration app which uses shared Dropbox space to capture ideas, create documents, chat, and keep everything together.

The project is currently in beta, but so far it feels like a more stylized version of Google Docs. You can brainstorm as a team and share thoughts quickly with inline comments or compliment your feedback with emoji and stickers. Create task lists and assign tasks to team members or to yourself.

Dropbox Paper has a minimal distraction-free interface very much like Medium’s. The formatting toolbar stays out of the way. You can enrich your notes by embedding YouTube, Google, SoundCloud, and Dropbox content. Programmers can even use code-blocks.

Like any good collaboration software, Paper also has revision control to take you back to past edits.  Your documents can be organized into folders. Folders can be made available to your whole team, or they can be private to you and the people you invite to collaborate. Finally, you can export your documents in Doc X or Markdown formats.

Dropbox is still at an early stage. So, expect more updates and mobile apps soon.

Box Notes

Platforms: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android

Box often goes ignored when we talk about cloud productivity. But Box is not only nibbling away, it is taking nice chunks of the storage pie with a stronger enterprise focus. Starting off, it offers more free storage (10GB) compared to Dropbox (2GB).

With Box Notes you can add document collaboration to the arsenal. Use Notes to share ideas and collaborate in real-time with your team — all without leaving Box or the folder you are working on. Box Notes has a minimal text editor with formatting options. Share a Box Note with read-only access or full editing privileges. Add comments as colored annotations, supported by color-coded and recognizable annotations inserted by other collaborators.

Multiple collaborators can make changes to Box Notes simultaneously, in real-time. Box Notes supports many file types, tables, and revision history.

Some Other Tools You Should Look at:

The industry of note-taking apps is massive and not surprisingly you will find a lot of them in the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

  • Whitespace (iOS)
  • Paper (iPhone, iPad, Web)
  • Squid (Windows, Android)
  • Noteledge (Web, iOS, Mac, Windows, Android)
  • Fetchnotes (Android, iOS, Safari, Chrome)
  • Workflowy (Web, Android, iOS, Chrome)
  • Notion (Web)

And The Best Evernote Alternative Is….

Note-taking isn’t only about the software or the hardware. It is about habits too. Your digital note-taking habits determine which software you should go for. So, one would be hard-pressed to anoint one single app as the best among all the above. And there’s nothing stopping you from using two note-taking apps either. I use Google Keep for quick jottings and Evernote for deeper notes. Maybe, you use more than one tool too.

But have I missed the trees because of the forest?

Are there any other noteworthy apps out there that I have missed out today? What do you think about Evernote’s latest policy turnaround? Does it make the free Evernote account irrelevant?

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