Best Note-Taking Apps | Why You Need Them at Work or School

Best note-taking apps

/ 08:42 AM November 22, 2021

If you want to turn your notebook PC or tablet into a real notebook, the best note-taking apps can help. These smartphone programs make your device feel like your regular pen and paper. Even better, they can do so many things that your old journal cannot. However, you may have to dig deep into the App Store or Play Store to find the best ones.

These online platforms have thousands of options, so picking the wrong one can be easy. You may install a bare-bones free version or pay too much for insufficient features. We recommend the best note-taking apps now!
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Some people may still not see the point of taking notes, so we’ll start by talking about that. Then, we’ll explain how a note-taking app can help with this activity. After that, we will go through our recommendations for the best note takers for Android and iOS. We will also share other ways to take notes effectively, whether you’re in class or at work.

Should I still take notes?

This is a person taking notes.

Is it strange that people are still looking for the best note-taking apps? After all, people usually type instead of write nowadays. You can easily get study materials from your latest lecture.

During meetings, presenters often provide printed summaries so everyone is up to speed. However, note-taking only seems useless if you think it’s just about repeating what was said.

Handwritten notes should also contain what you were thinking about during the meeting. Note-taking lets you catch these flashes of insight that may inspire your plans later.

Even if you recorded the lecture or meeting, you might not recall that fleeting thought again. Aside from jotting down insights, here are the other reasons why you should take notes:


  • Keep reminders – Notes may contain mundane things such as your grocery list. If you just keep your list in mind, you might miss out on an item and waste an online order.
  • Learn better – Taking notes lets you simplify study material or work topics by writing them in ways you understand better. For example, visual learners may draw charts, diagrams, or even sketches to absorb the info more easily.
  • Get references – If you’re a student, you review notes to prepare for exams. On the other hand, records of a past meeting may come in handy for an employee.

Why would I need a note-taking app?

This is a person using a note-taking app on a laptop.

The biggest reason you should consider taking down notes on the phone is that you bring them everywhere. Nowadays, we might as well consider them as another body part.

This means you can easily take your smartphone out to jot down ideas, especially when you need some inspiration. What’s more, they let you do so much more with the notes.

Many of them have collaborative features such as cross-platform sync, which lets other people use your notes even if they don’t use your note-taking app.

Others allow you to insert videos, audio recordings, and even entire websites into your notes. These can help you learn or review certain topics.

Of course, not all note-taking programs are the same, and that’s why we listed our top picks below. Read them carefully to figure out which one’s right for you.

Read More: What Are The Benefits Of Online Learning?

5 of the best note-taking apps

  1. Microsoft OneNote – Overall best note-taking app
  2. Bear – Best-looking note-taking app
  3. Google Keep – Simplest note-taking app
  4. Nebo – Best note-taking app for Apple devices
  5. NoteRiot – A note-taking app powered by blockchain

#1. Microsoft OneNote – Overall best note-taking app

This is one of the best note-taking apps.

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Sometimes, the most obvious options are just the best. Microsoft’s OneNote is our top pick because chances are, you already have it on your PC!

If you have OneNote, then that means you have the other Microsoft tools at your disposal. As a result, OneNote gains features from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others.

What’s more, it’s a great pick for students. Do you like buying colorful and sleek journals? Well, you won’t have to with OneNote as you can freely choose from numerous page templates.

Write one note or as much as the 7GB cloud storage allows. That’s a lot for note alone! You could pay for a larger 200GB of space if you need more.

As we said, many note-taking apps let you take snippets from websites. Microsoft OneNote Web Clipper is available as a Google Chrome Extension.

Then, you could pass the note to unlimited devices and save it on Google Drive. This versatility makes OneNote our top pick. If you still don’t have it, you may download it here.

#2. Bear – Best-looking note-taking app

This is the Bear app.

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Some people like to make their notes as neat as possible. They can’t bear to see cluttered bullet points and scribbles, and that’s why they choose the Bear app.

It lets you easily modify the text into bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough. Also, it lets you insert links to certain phrases. As we said, this note-taking app looks clean and sleek.

It already looks simple in white, but you can easily switch to black if the brightness is too much. You may even set your notes to look like faded paper.

This may appeal to you if you love reading books, especially the old ones that have dimmed over time. Even better, the Bear app is free to download for Apple devices.

You may also pay for Bear Pro, which costs $1.49 a month or $14.99 every year. Depending on your pick, you get a one-week or one-month free trial.

#3. Google Keep – Simplest note-taking app

This is Google Keep.

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Think of this one as Android’s answer to the Bear app, but it’s even simpler to use. Google Keep is a free note-taking app that is similar to Apple Notes.

Just tap the “+” button, and you can write to your heart’s content. You may also pick various colors as the background for your notes, and you can include audio, videos, and images.

What’s more, Google Keep lets you write on it like it’s a piece of paper. Drag your finger across the screen to start scribbling, or use a stylus for more precise strokes.

It’s also a great tool for quick notes because it loads up so easily. You don’t have to log in to an online account either, and just open it up and start jotting down!

You may download Google Keep on Apple devices and Android phones, though the latter may already have it installed when purchased.

#4. Nebo – Best note-taking app for Apple devices

This is the Nebo app logo.

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You will probably have fun with the Nebo app if you’re an artist. It lets you do so much with your notes by letting you interact with them in unique ways.

For example, you may draw diagrams easily because the app can recognize the shapes. Once you connect them with arrows, the app snaps them together to adjust them freely.

You can also create notes as if you’re working with a real pen or pencil because it detects pressure. A gentle touch gives delicate strokes, while a heavier push produces thicker lines.

This is great if you like drawing the visual aids in lectures or meetings or just placing random doodles. If not, the Nebo app could have been higher on the list from one issue.

It only works on high-end devices, though you can download it for free on the App Store and Google Play Store. Perhaps it’s time to get a new iPad?

#5. NoteRiot – A note-taking app powered by blockchain

This is the NoteRiot app.

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If you’ve been following my other articles here on Inquirer USA, you’d know that I’m all about cryptocurrencies. Many of my works explain its benefits and real-world uses.

This next entry will prove that while recommending a great note-taking app. That’s right, NoteRiot isn’t your standard notes app because it’s powered by blockchain technology.

It’s a decentralized application or dapp, which runs on a blockchain network. Specifically, it uses the BlockStack platform that uses the Stack token as its native crypto.

More importantly, it’s one of the first ones approved by the SEC. This shows that crypto tech is real, and you can now use it as a nifty note-taking app.

It’s similar to Google Keep, and it even lets you share notes with that other app. Like all the others, it allows you to create notes, but it doesn’t give you data security via blockchain.

NoteRiot is at the bottom of this list because it’s just an interesting project right now. Regular folks may find it difficult to use. Still, it just proves that it’s changing the world, bit by bit!

Other ways to take notes effectively

This is a person jotting down notes.

Note-taking apps still rely on how you use them. Adopt the following steps so you can make the most out of jotting down ideas:

  • Prepare notes beforehand – Write down the expectations of your lecture or meeting in your journal. That way, you can immediately take note of the important details.
  • Use your words – Write down what was said using your words, not the speaker. That way, you can understand it when you review it.
  • Organize – Place the larger ideas at the top, followed by the smaller related ones at the bottom. This lets you make sense of what you’ve written later.
  • Write down thoughts – Let’s say you had questions and you couldn’t ask them. If you wrote them down, you could find answers for them later.
  • Read later – Aside from using your notes in class or at work, reviewing them lets you correct any errors.

Final Thoughts

As you’ve seen, note-taking apps vary in cost. Some may be available for free, while others have a free version and a paid one, such as EverNote premium.

A few require an upfront payment and monthly fees. If you can’t find a free plan for your pick, try other apps like DropBox Paper and Zoho Notebook.

Be careful when downloading any app, as you may get scammed. Others may have invasive features that take sensitive data behind the scenes or leave a harmful virus.

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