How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Keep Notes?

Long after we’re out of formal schooling most of us are still keeping notes. This week we’re curious to see how you keep and organize your personal, work, and project notes.

Note taking has evolved quite a bit over the last few decades. While physical paper notes have remained a mainstay in note taking there are a wild array of options now for taking notes beyond the simple written page including word processors, web-based applications, tablets, even speech-to-text dictation. Whether you keep notes with a favorite pen on a plain old legal pad or your keep notes using cross-indexed and cloud-based snippets of text, we want to hear from you.

Sound off in the comments with your note taking system (the more detailed the better!) and then check back in on Friday to read the What You Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/1/11

Comments (189)

  1. André

    Evernote, maybe there are better ways, but I did not find them.

  2. jdDurrett

    Depends on the note content/type etc:
    Evernote for images, web pages
    LastPass/KeePass for info that needs to be secure/encrypted
    ResophNotes/Simplenote for notes to be shared (almost) real time between multiple computers

  3. Joshua

    As a Firefox user I have been using QuickFox Notes. It is the perfect extension for me. With the help of App Tabs I am doing more and more within my browser. For example I have deleted all my local music in favour of GrooveShark which lets you set up your own library (as if you had the music locally). Now back to QuickFox Notes, I have it in it’s own App Tab like I said. So now I switch to it’s tab and QuickFox Notes has it’s own tabs for all your different notes.

    I rarely leave my browser now. I have the taskbar set to autohide. I have my music / tv shows / weather / notes / email / etc all within my browser. I have the time and date visible at all times, so I only use my taskbar when I’m using a word document or launching a game to play. I plan to switch to an in browser document editor soon. It’s just… convenient. More and more I am understanding Chrome OS, but without games I’ll stick with Windows.

  4. Fleon

    Onenote. I just pick up my pen and write my notes, just like I used to with paper. Lets me instantly share notes if I want to, and I can access them from anywhere.

  5. Jani-B.

    for quick note: paper-pen,
    for organized, “read-it-later” porpose: springpad
    for secure: lastpass
    sometimes I use Google Tasks

  6. Brandon-P

    Sticky Notes! And lots of ’em!

    When I do have my computer handy I like to keep track of things using Microsoft Office One Note.
    It was a little strange to use at first, but once I got into it, it gets quite addictive.

  7. Atle Iversen

    For temporary notes; paper-pen

    For long-term notes: PpcSoft iKnow (Disclaimer: my company)
    (running inside Truecrypt for security)

    For inspiration and the importance of writing things down:

  8. Jay

    Evernote for things I’ll need to either remember for a long time, or for very important things that I might not want to forget. Sometimes I write, draw, or write songs, so I’ll use Evernote for ideas. I also use it to clip web pages for places to go, like a regional or national park, or a cool program for my daughter.

    Sticky Notes (I use Windows) for quick things to jot down, like website addresses, phone numbers, or if I have a few different things to copy and paste I’ll use Sticky Notes to temporarily hold some text (e.g., If I want to post a video on Facebook, I might want to link a related source or say something about it or quote something from a related webpage)

    On rare occasions, I use Wordpad for walk-throughs and tutorials, or for lists that I need to check back on every few days. I’ll save the file on my desktop so I don’t forget to look at it. These files are usually deleted within a week.

    Paper and pen for grocery lists, addresses and directions (I had to sell my smartphone last month) and short terminal commands/instructions for when I’m geeking out with my Linux netbook (which is not a Chromium OS netbook).

  9. Jay

    Damn it, I wish I could edit that.

    There’s a redundant, run-on sentence in the Sticky Notes paragraph, and in the last paragraph was meant to say, “…which is now a Chromium OS netbook.”

  10. johnp80

    Most of the time, Notepad, or the stickypad on the vista sidebar. When I was in school, I used onenote to take lecture notes in, since it was easy to organize, and I could add in the various slides/diagrams/pictures used in the lecture(when they were posted online, or from the textbook publisher’s website). Overall, Notepad is the most useful, since I can save it to dropbox directly.

  11. Ammar

    Notepad!! i have hundreds of notepad documents spread all over my drive

  12. Pardes

    I’ve completely converted to using the NotesPlus app on my new iPad 2 but to save websites and such nothing beats Evernote.

  13. teemark

    OneNote for longterm and sizable projects; Stickynotes for short term info; paper for AFK situations

  14. LakerMrB

    GDocs Notepad. It syncs with your Android phone and Google Docs, so you can write online and sync to the phone. Great free app.

  15. Danny

    Anything I might need to remember or refer to suddenly and frequently, I have written/printed on paper and stuck on the wall above my desk. It’s mostly stuff I could easily dig up online, but since I need it so often it does save that little bit of time.

    Anything that I need to remember at a certain time, straight onto my phone as a reminder.
    And I mean anything. Say I bought lunch whilst doing site work; I’ll set a reminder to alarm me with a brief note at a time I know I’ll be back at the PC so I can fill out an expenses form.
    Another example, catching a train. I’ll set a ‘meeting’ reminder for that. You specify the exact time the event starts, location, and brief descriptions, then set an alarm to go off however soon before.
    To remember not to wake up and go to work on bank holidays, I set a ‘meeting’ reminder for that day and have the alarm go off the night before.

    Various lists, I keep under the ‘notes’ section on my phone. I had to buy a bunch of tools for work and just typed them all into my phone. That way I don’t have to worry about misplacing the paper I might’ve alternatively written the list on.

    The last kind, if I find an article I want to read but it’s a bit too big so I have to save it for later, I save the link into a draft email in gmail. That way it’s on the ‘cloud’ so I can get to the link from wherever and don’t have to remember where I found the article or what it’s about to try and dig it up again.

    In short, I keep the amount of remembering I have to do to an absolute minimum. I find it keeps me stress free as possible.

  16. Andrew

    Evernote for urls/websites; I used to email myself to an address dedicated for the purpose of note taking… paper & pen for ideas (I am a writer) and to do’s, colornote on android for concepts (reference ideas as to do’s, as story development) and to do’s. For pasting and copying ‘patches’ of info and interesting things to look up in the future I use Textedit/Notepad.

  17. Black Knight Rebel

    Primarily via OneNote. After that I’m all about paper and pencil, but the pencil has to be Ticonderoga brand.

  18. xjoaniex

    Eee Note.

    Ordered from Taiwan. Been using it for a month.

    It’s awesome.

  19. SuAlfons

    Evernote for HowTos, Project Ideas, Instruction Manuals and (bigger) private project handling
    Sticky Notes (physical) for things not to forget, Sticky Notes (the included Mac Application) if at the computer

    @Office: No Evernote Access :-(
    Excel Tracking files for our projects (Timing, spendings & open issues)

    Lotus Notes Journal for some longer notes on projects that tend to get longer than expected (actually, I hardly use it, since I hate Lotus Note’s UI)

    Lotus Notes calendar & todo list to plan for personal & official milestones (Again, I tend to only use the calendar, the todo features of notes just behave clumsy. I hate LN 8.5)

    Sticky Notes (physical & Win7 App) for quick notes gone within 2-3 days (That’s what I really use besides the official timings & open issue tracking Excels)

  20. SuAlfons

    a, ja, a Moleskin-look-alike for note taking in meetings.

  21. joshvito

    I use simplenote for keeping track of person notes (e.g. website ideas, app ideas, to do list, reading list, movie watch lists, etc) .

    I use paper and a pen for AFK notes on conference calls at work, one meeting to a page in a spiral bound steno book. And, I use Notes ( as my note taking software while I am at my keyboard at the office.

  22. Bob

    I do my best thinking with a pencil and paper. (I take up lots of space too!)

    For quick notes, it’s tough to beat windows key+r “notepad” enter.

  23. Orks

    Notetab is being my best friend for a very long time. All notes in .txt which i expect to still be around and workable many years after i die.

  24. Andy

    Pencil and a notebook!

  25. catester

    I use Evernote for almost everything. I sync that between my main computer and my netbook, and also my android phone.

    Because I keep notes on all my customer appointments and I don’t want those notes in the Cloud, I use iDailyDiary from Splinterware for that. I use the paid version, but the free one is good. I keep that on a password-protected USB flash drive and back up the data to my main computer. (

    I carry a Moleskine pocket diary in addition to my smartphone; I make notes in there from time to time which I might transfer to Evernote. If I know I’m going to need to make notes (comparison shopping, meeting, etc) I use a 3×5 Moleskine ruled notebook.

    I use KeePass for passwords and the like. I use DropBox to make sure I can access that from my netbook or my android phone.

  26. nixdagibts

    Client: ResophNotes
    It syncs with Online Service simplenote

    Theres nothing better

  27. RJ

    onenote (rearly), sticky notes (frequently in mac), notepad (frequently in windows), and googleDocs (everywhere) …. i think i will try “evernote” once i fix my PC ….. and for audio to text i prefer DNS v10 (Dragon Naturally Speaking)

  28. GK

    For professional work I use TheJournal by DavidRM It’s searchable with a leaflet style presentation I’ve been using since version 2 to store my work notes when programming on individual files. Usually to have more details on the whys and what of a fix along with URLs and such than I can do in commit messages for my SC module.

    For personal stuff I use WriteMonkey as an editor in my Dropbox folder and just keep things as simple text files. It’s something I can access at home or work and not have to worry about keeping in sync.

    I also use pen and paper notebooks for ideas as I sketch and doodle UIs and layouts and that’s just harder to do on a computer than that instant gratification you get with doing it by hand. I use a bunch of the School type single subject composition books for that kind of stuff.

  29. Juri

    Nobody mentioned Springpad. I nearly prefer it over other solutions like Evernote, already for its consistent user experience as chrome extension, android mobile as well as android honeycomb tablet version.

  30. Jim

    MS for work, Google for personal use. I write my notes using pen and paper in meetings then transcribe them with more details into OneNote afterwords. Outlook Tasks for grouping work related thoughts. Outlook meetings for scheduling my to-dos. Google calendar for personal family things like bills, events, birthdays, meals for dinner, etc. Google docs spreadsheets for wishlists, grocery lists.

  31. cmo999

    I still use good old fashion pencil and paper to take notes for school, I just write them down as I read from the text book. For appointments I use Office Outlook calendar.

  32. Dan

    Wikidpad. Amazing local wiki software.

  33. KB Prez

    Stickies to remind me about everyday tasks. Word mostly and sometimes Notepad ++ or Excel for work and school stuff.

  34. Zibeb

    I use the journal app on my Entourage Pocket Edge tablet/e-reader, so I write all of my notes on E-ink.

  35. Jon

    I use actual sticky notes to write things down and remember. Use them at work too.

  36. jim

    Evernote in Winders. Nevernote in Linux… Epistle (syncs w/ dropbox) on my Android device

  37. Vance

    I’m enjoying Springpad. Available as a Chrome app. I also like Springnote but I’m leaning towards Springpad.

  38. Kirk

    For me, technology will never replace the need for pen & paper but it’s making inroads in all the right places. Here’s what I do, from Evernote down to the “sticky” Sticky note:

    1. Evernote now sits at the center of my note-taking world. LOVE it… best thing for me ever. The fact that it syncs with so many devices is very nice. It’s now been drafted to serve as a recipe database in our home too.

    2. When I’m consulting with a customer, I still use a nice big pad of paper. Less distracting and I don’t have batteries to worry about. And, I scan the important notes as images and import them into Evernote. Call it poor-man’s Visioneer maybe? It works for me quite well and I have paper copy for the important stuff.

    3. I move around during the day so carry the Olympus WS-6005 Digital recorder to capture thoughts as fast as they get beamed in to me. The mp3’s then easily transfer to my PC via the switch-blade-like USB that pops out (like a Flip camera).

    4. And, I still carry a personal notebook (smaller one) for those times that you really want to write something down. Gotta have it. Sure, tablet users will say that there are apps for writing on the screen, my friend does this, but he’ll be crying the blues when the somebody accidently sets off a magnetic pulse bomb and the digital world sends us all back to the 1800’s in about 1 second. I’ll still have my notes.

    5. Little yellow sticky notes all over my office…. love’em. Unless those turn into thought-sticky-holograms, they hopefully will be used in 2111.

  39. Jeff

    Depends on the situation:

    -Post-it’s (of all sizes!) for when I’m not at my computer. Will never go out of use.
    -Notepad++ for todo lists, quick thoughts, etc. Simplest way to quickly and easily take a light note while I’m at my computer.
    -LessMeeting for all my meeting minutes, action items, etc. This is for all my meetings and let’s me share my minutes with coworkers, search old mtgs, track my action items, etc.
    -AK Notepad when I’m on my phone. It’s free from the android market.
    -Project wiki pages (via Confluence) for project notes I want to share with the rest of the team, like status, how-to docs, etc.

  40. Khai

    a whiteboard.

  41. Eddie Colon

    I carry a spiral notepad (the small ones you buy at walgreens) in my shirt pocket every day. Then, when I get home, I’ll pass the important stuff over to my cellphone memopad or to Tomboy in my Debian netbook. Then I tear out the pages from my spiral notepad. This works for me.

  42. Foo

    Reminders, either on a sticky note or my white board. Real notes, in a paper book.

  43. Vry

    I use Sticky Notes, its easy to use and just simple looking. But back when I’m using Windows XP, I used Notepad, hey. The name says it all, “Note”-pad :D

  44. Lady Fitzgerald

    Depends where I’m at and what kind of note it is. At home, for temporary notes or ones that need to be readily visible, I use a virtual “sticky note” program to put “sticky notes” on my desktop (I don’t keep program icons on my desktop, preferring to use the quick launch menu; I keep only temporary files and folders and a calendar on the desktop so there is plenty of room). All I have to do is click on the icon in the tray and a blank sticky note pops up. I write my note and, and when I continue working on whatever I was working on before writing the note, the note goes behind the window I’m working in. I can move the note to where ever I want later.

    I put more permanent notes, especially several that are related to each other (which happens frequently), into Word docs and store them in related folders by topic.

    When I’m away from the house, I use a pen and pad that I keep in my purse. Simple, easy and fast to access and use, doesn’t use batteries that can run down, lightweight, and, if I don’t want to lug my purse about, the pad and pen easily fits in my purse. When driving, I have an easy to reach and use digital audio recorder in my purse. I can use it one handed without looking at it (including in the dark). I can either transcribe the audio notes to a Word doc or I can just patch the audio out to my computer and record it with Audacity (handy when working with music ideas). The written notes I can either transcribe or scan (depending how big a hurry I’m in).

    Naturally, all this gets backed up.

  45. tedjoy

    File cards for stuff that I’m just fiddling around with for a day or less.
    Legal pads for outlining articles, et cetera.
    OneNote for keeping large amounts of information organized and linked.
    CintaNote for keeping track of ideas and links while I’m actually writing.
    And, of course, dual monitors so that I can work back and forth from my notes
    to the stuff that I’m working on.

  46. صائب

    how can i strem media on PSP 3000 from Windows 7?

  47. Brad

    Onenote, synced to office live and shared with my business partner so we can both add notes for each other.

  48. Bob

    Microsoft OneNote 2010!!

  49. Stathis

    I usually take notes using a pen and paper, but i always write them down to evernote, for keeping the notes forever…

  50. شازده کوچولو

    i’m using evernote on all of my devices

  51. Lady Fitzgerald

    Oopsie! When I was talking about using a pad and pen, I meant to say when I don’t want to lug my purse around, the pad and pen will fit in my POCKET (not purse as I wrote).

  52. Antriksh

    I only use paper when going digital is not possible.

    OneNote is everything. I use it for all my notes: travel planning, school work, personal stuff, random copy-pasting and whatnot. I can even access them in Linux using the web app.

    I also rarely use Windows 7’s Sticky Notes for some things.

    For reminders, Google Tasks.

  53. xjoaniex

    Eee Note is awesome.

    It is a digital notepad / ereader.
    Think of it as a tablet specialized for notetaking.
    It is designed with syncing to Evernote in mind.

    Using the stylus, you write as if writing on paper, only you can make corrections on the fly, move stuff around on the page. If has about 40 different types of backgrounds that can be applied in a note. From College Ruled, to various types of graph paper, calendars, to-do lists, even a background for Cornell notes.

    The battery life for the device is about 13 hours.

    I am in university right now and this is the only notebook that I carry.

  54. Andrew

    I have a privately hosted MediaWiki installation where I store everything from my car’s oil change history to notes on my latest tinker projects.

  55. kisst

    Currently OneNote for images and things I would like to keep for longer, Notepad for short-term info.

  56. Shogo71

    For temporary notes: paper-pen

    For long-term notes: wiki on a flash drive

  57. bur64rr

    paper and pen for work, Note pad for long term notes, and blackberry for portable notes

  58. dls

    Evernote, I sync to my Desktop, android, and iPad. This is really handy and keeps my notes handy and close. I use “Read it Later” for web pages and internet info I want to keep. I used to just bookmark things, but that got too cryptic. I could not find what I needed.

  59. Kevin

    Microsoft OneNote for most things, I like the way I can organize it better than Evernote.

    I do however use Evernote, because some items I may need on other devices, and Evernote exceeds at that.

    I found an app that allows me to convert my Evernote data to OneNote when needed. It is called Ever2One Converter:

  60. Furryface

    I use Notepad to create notes such as a persons phone, email and physical address and store them all in a folder called Contact Info. I also have a misc. text files folder for anything else.

    Low tech but it works for me.

  61. Mike

    One Note and Sky Drive works for me. Used to me paperport until Nuance *#&@#*’d it up. I clip web pages and print doc clips to O.N. , then access it from client’s PC’s as needed. Easy-Peezy.

  62. Mike

    Sorry – Used to ‘BE’ paperport…

  63. Seth

    Evernote and Roboform safenotes for sensitive data

  64. mcgilbert

    Notepad (actually notepad2) for anything worth writing about
    Bookmarks for Web sites

  65. Gail

    OneNote for both personal and business.

  66. Khalid

    There are 3 basic ways I do this.

    1. I have used paper (with one side printed) which I keep for sketching screen layouts, doing a DFD for systems analysis and for manual note-taking. I always carry an A4 sheet (used – thus saving paper), folded up and in my pocket wherever I go. I don’t believe in using my phone for something so trivial. Whenever I want to jot down something, I pull out my paper and note it down. Maybe a shopping list, a place to visit – anything.

    2. For most of my work, I have to keep a to-do list. For example, on each programming project I implement, I need to note down incomplete tasks. But I don’t like to waste time loading massive apps. So I use GEdit on my Ubuntu-driven Dell laptop, where I spend most of my time. So Whether it’s an FTP account setting, db passwords, bugs I find and need to work on regarding a project, it’s all there.

    The reason I use a simple text editor is because I want to be able to open up the app fast and usually, it’s kept open when I start my laptop for the day. It also allows easy viewing from a terminal if necessary and keeps the notes easily searchable. And to add to the convenience, I have a black/dark background on it so as to make it easy on my eyes.

    3. For some things I need to be reminded. So I use my KAlarm to make noise about it. But this is only if it makes sense doing it this way. Eg: make a call to a client at 9:30AM or renew domain on a certain date.

  67. erwin

    First of all I still use my old pda palm (7yrs)…. or my Android tablet with ultranotes app. Or my voice recorder on my smartphone. Depends on the circumstances. And there Vincent still paper & pencil. …..

  68. John

    ***EVERNOTE***…Being a former Blackberry user I was able to sync Notes w/ Outlook…once I went to android I needed something to sync my notes…I use it on my phone, and 2 pcs…it is the best!

  69. ms_c21

    Temporary Notes: sticky notes
    Quick Note: pen/pad
    Organized: OneNote

    I have it on one of my lists to check out EverNote.

  70. thuss80

    In a word, metapad. Been using it for years. Pin it to the taskbar,and just open and leave notes. What I really like about metapad is that I can paste links to it, and merely click the link to open the browser to the site.

  71. cwilson pen and paper for just about everything nothing boots faster than the paper solution. And the Livescribe solution makes the paper and pen solution electronic and as shareable as I need it to be. Another solution for meeting minutes is (firefox site)

  72. cam2644

    Evernote,Ubernote and Send to My Cloud (Firefox) have all worked well for me.

  73. Jami

    Notepad if it is short, Word if it is long, pen and paper if I don’t have a computer handy, and Gmail drafts if I know I will need to retrieve the notes on another computer.

  74. Kathie

    Evernote has been a boon to my existence. It totally keeps me organized, both at my business and at my “day job.” Saves photos, pdfs, webpages and notes taken at meetings. Love that it compartmentalizes things into notebooks and stacks.

    For home, I use Cozi Calendar for grocery lists, calendar, task reminders. It will text other family members with reminders if the events concern them. Less than $2.

    Trying to keep it simple. Over-organization makes me even more confused, trying to figure out where I filed something.

  75. Thomas Clover is the best way that I have ever found. It works on both of my computers and my Android phone. It is always synced and allows a wide variety of notes. I can take a photo with my phone, add the GPS location using Compass on my phone, and enter text or voice notes to go along with it. I highly recommend it.

  76. Michael Comperchio

    OneNote… I run a Virtual Box under my Ubuntu system just so I can use it. Store the Notebooks in drop box and they’re available wherever I need them.

  77. Mirttenk

    I have ADD and I would never survive without note-taking systems. I use a LiveScribe pen and paper. I also export the audio files and load them onto my phone/Mp3 player to be able to review meetings while walking or riding in the car. One of the best things about LiveScribe is the ability to tap notes at any point and have the audio playback start at that point. Another great thing is the ability to speed up playback to review.
    I also use Outlook tasks extensively to document notes on any task or project I’m working on, adding in relevant information, info from email messages, conversations, etc. until the project is completed. This is helpful because I sync w/my phone and can update notes for a task on the phone’s qwerty keyboard at any time.
    I simply operate on the assumption that I will forget everything if I have not recorded it somehow.

  78. Geek Hillbilly

    I keep notes the hard way,in a small notebook.I have notebooks dating back to the mid 1960s with various items as microphone wiring patterns for old CB radios,Mods to the PLL02A Chip in early 40 Channel CBs to get high and low channels,early BASIC commands,Circuits that I designed,with a parts list,to build,ect.Just whatever came to mind.I still do that with a smaller notebook,transferring the keepers to a larger book.

  79. William B.

    Am I the only one here who uses Outlook Notes? So simple, right there in Outlook, and it syncs with my Windows phone. Have to be sure to set Notes to not autoarchive, though. Based on some comments here, I might take a look at OneNote–since I already have it. First glance looks a bit like so many Microsoft products, though…a solution in search of a problem.

  80. dragonbite

    For most of my classes lately I’ve been typing my notes in Google Docs, because
    – I can type faster than I can write
    – I can review my notes at home if I want even after the class is over

    Then I also keep pen and paper for sketching though I haven’t needed to do that much lately since most of my classes are programming classes.

    I do like OneNote as well, and would really want to try it with a tablet and stylus.

  81. Bill Shaw

    The only way – EVERNOTE. On my iMac (Mac OSX and Windows 7 under VMware Fusion), my HP Mediacentre Desktop PC (Windows 7), my HP laptop (Windows 7), my iPhone and my iPod Touch. I always create a note before posting it into browser forms so I have a copy. I paste in copies of all online Chat sessions. I keep copies of important emails. I keep call logs especially to Apple, Virgin Media and BT. I keep inventories of everything. I have tested all the multimedia options (audio and snapshots) and the ink note option although I don’t use these very often. I have the Evernote webpage clipper on Firefox and IE9 but use Read It Later for compatibility accross all devices. Only problem I’ve found is the supposed OCR facility to convert Jpegs, etc. (all text) to text – just don’t know how it’s supposed to work. If anyone has had success with it I’d love to know as I have about 50 snapshots of my iTunes app purchases which I would love to get into a spreadsheet or Word document.

  82. Drleostev

    I am trying to do everything on my iPad 2 with Evernote but reading the blogs I am going to try some of the other programs.
    I also use MS OneNote to share with my co-workers at the office.
    Thanks for the forum for new ideas.

  83. JohnC

    I use One Note with many category’s and several pages in the category’s. Very easy to orginize and search. Cut and paste information from anywhere and access from all computers and phones with controlled access. One Note syncs automatically with all computers and phones and always up to date regardless of where I access from. Can’t imagine doing without it.

  84. Paul

    PlainText on iPhone – automatically syncs to Dropbox. Handy as I’m often typing notes on my iPhone when I’m away from my computer.

    Evernote if there’s a document, handout, whiteboard, picture, etc I want to “capture” and save.

    GoTasks on iPhone which syncs to Google Tasks if the note is a reminder or to-do item, especially handy as can be shared across multiple devices. For example, I have a to-do list, my wife has a to-do list, and we have a shopping list that we keep synced up on our phones.

  85. Darron Sellick

    I work with a lot of people on projects all the time, and we always have note and articles lying around. But since we started to use Microsoft OneNote 2007 and 2010 it brilliant, it’s great for meetings, every day notes, project work, and working in groups. This is one of Microsoft’s programs I do give the thumbs up for.

  86. leon

    Since I cannot hold a pencil I use Ubuntu’s Tomboy Notes.

  87. JBRber

    I’m a student so I use pen and paper a lot, but with important things that have to be done I will use the sticky notes on my computer. ;-3)>

  88. Sami

    ToDo’s – TaskPad (Android) – Helps me to remember everything from Dr appts to the season premiers of my favorite tv shows

    Grocery Lists – Out Of Milk

    Everything else – Evernote

  89. Sumangal Vinjamuri

    Evernote and SpringPad!! together, they rock totally!!

  90. Elliot

    I mostly use Evernote for everything. I don’t have access to the website at work, but I use the Windows Desktop version as a development log. The search capabilities and the tagging are superb.
    At home, I use the local or the web client or the Android client, all of which sync seamlessly.

  91. Heather

    OneNote on windows, Note Hub on the iPad, Post-Its for the rest

  92. Eric

    I go with the good old pen and paper-notebook… Yes, they still sell that -.-‘


  93. Sam

    Catch notes – sync Android and PC, IE plugin, email notes to self and sync…all seamless and free. Works with images, text etc GREAT!

  94. Jeeepers

    I use notepad.exe for quickies saved to desktop and OneNote 2007 for keepers saved as hyperlinks. Have many how to articles saved this way, including HTG.

  95. one.m.davis

    laptops/tablets/slates with digitiser pens are simply amazing tools for keeping notes. (and have been for many years)

    the inability to write notes on them is why “ipad-type-devices” (or touchscreen slate computers, not to be confused with tablets) remain toys (fairly cool toys still) and off my “things to buy” list.

    HP has some great (and has for nearly a decade that I am aware of) digitiser pen input laptops, and they are getting into the “ipad-type-device” market, it doesn’t seem to be on the first release, (probably to be on more of a like-for-like field with the genre defining ipad) but hopefully they will bring out there second evolution with waecom (or similar) pen support.

    even at twice current prices, if apple or HP brought out such a device, that would be a tool I would pay for.

    but back on the question, I keep notes, in “digital notebooks” aka files on a digitiser pen input laptop.

  96. studyhard

    i work all time on laptop reading books and maintaining notes. I have tablet here it works…
    1.notesholder application for the spurts of info which must be penned down immediately….very good.
    2.onenote …i keep my notebooks there…diary entery/daily/todo/coursenotebooks. outlook for managing tasks.

    i dont use word though.

  97. Paul Barros

    I use Iris notes executive.

  98. abdullah

    on papers :) < old school I guess

  99. Aaron Pace

    For things I plan on throwing away I still rely on pen/pencil and paper. Typically, I keep a scratch pad handy and tear out the pages as the fill up with useless stuff.

    For the stuff I want to keep I use Evernote. I’ve used Outlook in the past and recorded daily journals there but I like Evernote a lot more because it is more rapidly accessible from anywhere on earth than Outlook.

  100. Rigs

    Notepad++, simple, plain text notes, each file mean one subject separeted as folders for topics.

  101. Fodaro

    I’m still studying, so when I’m in classes I use pen and paper, although if a tablet came out that would allow me to draw on the screen instead, I’d gladly use that. For notes on how to do various things on a computer, I just use Notepad or GEdit. I could try Evernote or something similar, but I just don’t need the functionality.

  102. Mary Ellroy

    Catchnotes accessible on the net and on my phone…Since it’s an android phone I can speak the notes if I want. I can accompany the notes with a picture. I can paste or type long messages (like road directions) on the computer – sync with my phone- and copy and paste to a text message. It’s my most used app on my droid phone.

  103. HayleyJean

    If I want to keep notes, I just email them to myself with a descriptive title, that way I can search for them easier. I have tried Evernote, and it seems pretty useful, but I don’t keep notes enough to use a specific app for it.

  104. Lukasz Wilim

    – Long term or important – pen and custom DIY notebook (diffrent page templates for diffrent purposes)
    – Quick notes – CintaNotes ( + dropbox

  105. esam

    i have a truecrypt encrypted drive which is shared by dropbox across all of my machines

  106. CDK

    NoteTab Light –

    Set my monthly note tab document to ‘use as pasteboard.’
    Whatever text is copied during my sessions is saved to the Note tab document that is saved in Dropbox.

    I have used this for years and have tried many other note programs.
    None seems to have the ‘Pasteboard’ feature which I can not live without.

  107. Marc

    I have made use of ClipCashe which can be used to save various notes and emails and much more. I have used ClipMate in the same fashion. But for important notes that I don’t want to loose and keep confidential, I use Alpha Realms Journal which can be configured to what you want to include for recording. It is password protected, has a spell checker, and many other functions that bring this program up to your expectations and more. I also have OneNote that has a lot functionality, but I haven’t really started using it. There’s one more program that I recently purchased which is TreePad X Enterprise which is a huge database. As you can see I have invested time and money trying to find the perfect solution to keeping my notes in an orderly fashion. I like all of these programs for their unique way of keeping notes, articles and much more. I have found it rewarding in using these programs and will continue looking for the perfect solution in keeping track of all my notes or assessments on various products and/or personal matters.

  108. ed reid

    I write down anything noteworthy in a long, long and totally disorganized file called TABS.

    Whenever I want to locate something there I use the Find function with a key word.


    I hate sticky notes on my desktop since I prefer desktop wp visible. And soooo I have right now 13 stickies on my monitor forming a square around it. lmao!!!! i know ugly system but this is the only way I’ll remember I’ve tried all the note apps on the internet. Well atleast most. HELP!!!!

  110. Pierre

    emacs org-mode

  111. DennisMcCormack

    Since I am highly mobile throughout the day, I use a three tier system. My mainstay is my paper DayTimer, which I use to take all notes throughout the day when I am away from the computer, and have a written schedule of tasks and appointments that is readily available. I use the two page per day Portable (3 3/4″ by 6 3/4″) edition, so everything is visible when the book is open. The two page book is on the right side of the leather wallet, with an Advance Planner yearly calendar with all of my appointments for months in advance on the left. Very handy when responding to phone calls requesting meetings. I learned long ago to have ONE place that you write everything in when you are on the road. I have used DayTimer for well over twenty years, have tried many others, and always come back to it as my primary tool. Batteries, cell phone and Internet connection not needed :)
    My second tier is my Franklin Covey PlanPlus OnLine Program, which I use when connected to the Internet. It is also available through a Web connection on my BlackBerry, but can be a bit laborious to use that way. I keep my Daily Task List, Master Task List, Calendar, Projects, Notes and Contacts all in this program as my master depository. It is easy to use and automatically forwards those daily tasks each day that don’t get done.
    Lastly, I use a small digital recorder that I keep on my belt to record all those brilliant thoughts I get behind the wheel or when walking when I can’t write them down, or remember them after I arrive at my destination.
    Works for me!

  112. Bink

    I have searched and tried all kinds of things, I used UltraEdit because of the powerful searching, scripting and template features till I found Aml Pages a couple years ago.

    Back in the early Macintosh days, I’m talking way back… Mac with 512k of ram, I used an application called AffiniFile. When AffiniFile became obsolete I began my search.

    I looked hard at MS OneNote but it didn’t work out, for many reasons, so I still use Aml Pages. It is inexpensive, solid and support is outstanding. It is constantly being improved.

  113. Don

    My note taking depends on what I am doing at the time.

    For work involving Excel or data sets, I typically use the “comment” feature in the application itself.

    When I worked on Macs (back in the days of the 520c), I used the “post-it note” app. It worked great on my 2 monitor set-up but really sucked when I was forced to only use the laptop when traveling.

    For personal goals, etc., I’ll use Franklin-Covey Plan Plus or simply write in my Covey planner.

    For projects, etc., I typically use a large “portfolio case” to keep my notes.

    On my desk, I’m with LADYTECH, I’ve got notes on the back of receipts, post-its, napkins, papers I’m writing or reviewing, magazine backs and articles…

    To date, I have not really found a very “useful,” “universal” note-taking app. I’ve used ColorNotes and other programs. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to explore the Linux “side” since the vast majority of my work, at this time, “forces” me to use Win7…I’m hoping to port everything over to Linux by the end of the summer, though!

    Am I anachronistic? BTW…does anyone have access to a mimeograph machine? (HARDY HAR!)

  114. Maxime

    For all kind of daily notes i use Evernote that is really useful with intelligent phones applications from the Android market or app store. For example, you could just take snapshot of something on the go, little comment on it and add an hyper-link for further investigation on the web.

    Reading notes..
    For school and papers annotation Mendeley Desktop is definitely my favorite. You can create a free account with 500mb of free hosting or pay for more. You can also create some groups for managing your things and share it with other users, useful for shared annotations…

  115. Sue P

    Depends on the kind of activity and or note.
    1. MS Office 2010 for tasks & Scheduling…
    2 .Mind Manager (mind mapping)for brainstorming in pictures. Strong integration with Msoft products – Office as well as MS Project.
    3. Evernote for Stuff I have to access from all devices – but looking at this thread, I’m going to try Springpad.
    4. ZOOT ( for Miscellaneous important stuff – orders placed, recipes, family info, books, clips from web, data feeds (RSS) and anything else. You can just enter stuff, then afterwards enter categories and “rules” that Zoot automatically assigns those and all futurenotes to those categories. By far my favorite. Zoot integrates with MS Office – you can synch with Outlook, clip pages from any browser or anything else you see on your screen. Zoot lets you either categorize clips yourself, or uses your rules to categorize automatically. A real time and memory saver!

    I used to use Lotus Agenda, because it really did self-classify – i.e., you didn’t have to enter the categories unless you wanted to, and like Zoot, you can organize after entering. This was a brilliant piece of software that understood things like any verbal reference to time (e.g., “next week”, “tomorrow”) and automatically assigned the note to that date. I’d still be using it if it ran under Win 7! No pictures – but then it started as a DOS

  116. Bink

    It is hard to believe I am the only one responding who uses Aml Pages… It is a must-have as far as I am concerned.

  117. Chandra

    Primarily Post-its! For those I need on a daily basis; I print labels (Fax #’s, TIN, DUNS, etc…) stuck to my monitors. For reminders or to-dos; Outlook tasks or Calendar appointment. For quick random notes on the go, emails to myself via my Blackberry.

    Although, after reading all the notes above, I think I will try the Win+R “notepad” idea and look into Evernote.

  118. The Pazman

    Livescribe – when I’m not at my desk – mostly when I’m in discussions with a client. Sometimes for short notes at my desk.

    Evernote – for web pages, docs etc. Wherever you are on a computer Evernote seems to be there.

    Remember The Milk for – ToDo’s and tasks – So, so easy to use and manage and share.

  119. karmat

    I use a Rainmeter Notes skin so that it matches my desktop.

  120. Sarasvati80

    Depends for what actually….

    for things to do, I use the note app that’s on Win 7. For projects, I’m still on paper and pen, having a book for every project, or every subject at school.

    Grocery and errands: pen-paper…

    I guess I’m still old school for that,…. :P

  121. Steve

    Have used my Sony Clie running Palm OS V4.1 for many years: it still works and is much lighter to carry and quicker responding that my cell phone running Windoze Mobile.

  122. tommy2rs

    A moleskine for paper notes

    Digital notes are via text files – Metapad or Notepad++ on Windows, gedit on linux and Text Wrangler on the old Powerbook. All synced to dropbox.

    I keep a wiki-on-a-stick on my keychain for computer fixes, tricks and customer info.

  123. carlb

    Evernote on my HTC android.

  124. Derek Luce

    Simplenote – I was (and sometimes am sitll) using it for text-only notes, but I’ve pretty much replaced it with Springpad

    Springpad – For pretty much EVERYTHING except tasks. That includes internet bookmarks, little text notes, huge document-like notes, some lists, product information, organizing projects, and more. Absolutely love the chrome and firefox extensions! Automatically syncs (if desired) between the website, my android phone, and my iPad. The chrome web-app even works offline.

    Toodledo – For tasks and lists. Stays in sync with my android phone. Highly customizable sorting and filters. I love that you can completely customize your environment by choosing which fields and features you’d like to use. For example, I use folders, tags, start dates/times, due dates/times, star, priority, repeat, and note fields. If I wanted to, I could also use context, goal, length, timer, status, etc. fields for each task.

  125. Dave

    I use Sticky Notes for the quick stuff …for copy & pasting..etc

    and Ms ONENOTE

  126. Paulo

    MS ONENOTE on my pc
    And iPhone’s notes for my day by day

  127. Jim

    After trying several well-known programs, there is now only one for me. It is a great freeware program called Flashnote. It is searchable, printable, and makes it a breeze to organize.

  128. j clinton hill

    I don’t think i saw anyone else mention this one, but I actually use as a personal database for my notes. As my notes are for strictly for personal use and reference, I limit access only to the “author”, i.e. myself. If I want to share a note(s) with someone, I can add up to 100 people.

    There might be better solutions, but this works for me. If someone wants more privacy and control, WordPress hosted on a subscription based or private server can also get the job done and allows private or limited access to pre-selected users.

    Either way, I find the database capabilities of a blog software program as an efficient way to maintain my thoughts and collected information.

  129. j clinton hill

    one thing i forgot to mention is that using a blog for notes seems to be more suitable research projects or special topics of interests…

    if one needs to just bang out quick notes on the fly, there are probably better options out there….

  130. Pete

    An old fashioned day-by-day diary for appointments
    Outlook Calendar to remind me 7 days before specific fixed events – birthdays etc
    Outlook Contacts for addresses etc
    MS Word docs and a well arranged folder system for my project research notes
    and a very large desk pad to scribble on.

  131. webcapino

    I do pretty much all my notes in Google Docs, Tried Evernotes and it works great but it’s a process/memory hog. The solution to my dilemma came with an iPhone App called NoteMaster, it can sync with a shared group of notes in Google Apps so I have all the content at the same place no matter where I am. You can even Dictate to Dragon and paste into NoteMaster to skip most of the typing.

    Hope it Helps

  132. rMatey180

    Evernote. Works on my Win7 Desktop, Linux Desktop, Linux notebook and the Netbook. Can get to my notes anywhere.

  133. Monica

    I’m constantly revising how I do things, searching for that close-to-perfect method. I had a few good options on PalmOS, until WebOS that is, lol. Still waiting for those upgrades, cuz I do love my Palm, er HP, devices. I kept most of my stuff, outside of quick notes or work info, on my smartphones.

    All of the following are some sort of notetaking, in a sense. Let’s see, here we go:

    * I am absolutely in love with Agendus. It was much easier to access PIM data with it, most especially with all of the extras it had. I’m hoping Agendus will eventually be upgraded for WebOS. I was able to set alarms on tasks and even memos.

    * I love SplashWallet (ID, Shopper, Photo, Money). SplashID has been proprogated to WebOS; before I continued to use the PalmOS version via Classic. Just about every single password I have is in there. I’m still waiting/hoping for the rest to be converted. I used to used SplashNotes to keep small projects in. I will probably replace SNotes with WebOS app Outline Tracker.

    * I had a homebrew outliner I came across called Progect that I would write stories and articles with. I would then export to a Word doc after syncing my Palm. Experimenting with Crypto Lists as a replacement (or maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try and upgrade Progect to WebOS on my own …)

    * I’ve also been experimenting with Google apps:
    > GDocs is replacing DocsToGo;
    > GCalendar is my main calendar now (I might as well mention this one too);
    > I’ve used BlinkPro since maybe 2000 to keep bookmarks. Can’t use it as well in my phone, so I’m looking into exporting my items into GBookmarks (go for that Google consistency);
    > I had GNotebook attached before Google discontinued access to it, so I can still get to mine. I will probably use it in conjuction with writing (still thinking about it);
    > I would use GTasks, except that you can’t set alarms and repeats on them, like I could with Agendus. I’m not totally happy with some comparable WebOS apps. Right now, going back and forth between Outline Tracker and Today’s Tasks. The latter is nice for a one-shot thing, like running by the grocery store on the way home, etc. It can sit on the dashboard, accessible all of the time, so that I can look at my items for the day w/o having to actually open up the app to full size.

    * I will use BugMe to set a quick post-it note, both in PalmOS and now WebOS. I’m slowly converting over to Today’s Tasks for these. I can set an alarm on either of these, and have them repeat.

    * Evernote is working nice, much better than OneNote (can’t, CAN’T stand that one). Except that now I can’t sync at work, so I email the content to my Evernote notebooks, which isn’t so bad. If this had alarms with it, it would be fantastic, alas no.

    * I used to journal into DayNotez on my PDA. A short time back, I moved to Yahoo Groups and recently moved that to Blogspot. I can also mail those from anywhere into either of them.

    * I still rely on having some paper notebook around me, to scribble down things quickly. Those notes then later get put somewhere else, if I need to keep them longer. I have tried to refrain from using Post-Its to jot down stuff on, because they wind up not getting moved to other permanent sources.

    I know that everyone will think that this is quite a lot, if not too much. I have yet to find any one type of note taker (task, docs, etc) that satifies me so I have wound up with a handful of them. That’s an abstract mind for you, lol.

  134. Monica

    I see some others mentioned work items too. We have Outlook and Office here, so I stay to those whenever possible. I have mail all over the place, however I mostly use Windows Live for my Hotmail accounts. I could not attach Live Calendar, so I had to set up Google Calendar for that, along with a Google mail account. I mostly utilize the Google accounts via the phone.

  135. Monica

    One more. Forgot Win-Organizer. I use that at work to keep information for my ongoing work projects. I used to utilize Outlook Tasks, however it only let you set one alarm. In Win-Organizer, I can set numerous alarms for each task.

    And a correction: on the one before this, I was referring to attaching my Live Calendar to my WebOS phone.

  136. Chris

    I cannot believe noone uses orangenote. It is the best note taking tool available, and has some other cool features like clip board sync and memory and hotkey inserting of notes into any program.

    Quick notes (code snippets, commands, etc.) – Linux=Tomboy Notes Windows=Orangenote

    Cross platform and portable notes and lists – Evernote (windows, android) Nevernote (Linux) usually copied and pasted from Tomboy or Orangenote or entered into my droid2.

    More complex notes and ideas (projects) – Piggydb (Linux, but I think it is cross platform)

    Grocery lists – Our Groceries (android) syncs with wifey through gmail.

    Tasks – Astrid (android) Google Tasks Thunderbird (windows, Linux) I am in the process of switching to doit which runs on everything.

  137. Cheryl

    I keep notes on my Iphone for when I go shopping. For email, I have a gmail account and a business account. I email myself at home and vice versa using the 2 accounts. That way, at night when I check my personal mail, I can remind myself to bring stuff to the office! I also use MS Word a lot. I have a folder called, “I put it here” because I can never remember when I put things in a 3-floor house! My needs are pretty simple so I don’t need anything complicated.

  138. xana452

    I just stick to the good ol’ Notepad on windows 7.

  139. Shane

    Evernote, all the way.

    I capture everything into Evernote, in a notebook aptly named capture. I send emails there, clip from my browser there, send tweets there, make my own audio or text notes there. Evernote clients are installed or web service accessed on all my devices (2 x Windows, 1 x Ubuntu, 1 x Kubuntu, iPhone, Macbook) allowing me to use my notes wherever I am. Each day I attempt to clear out my capture notebook either trashing or storing the notes.

    Shared notebooks are great, allowing me to share particular notebooks.

  140. nonosh

    I mainly use TXT files which are stored in designated folders. With proper labeling for the files/folders, a simple file explorer search finds what I need fairly quickly. Plus, I have peace of mind knowing that the TXT format will be compatible with software for many years to come.

    However, the only software which allows me to work quickly with TXT files is GetDiz (freeware):

  141. Keith

    Noted! on my Palm Pre2, syncs automatically with SimpleNote and ResophNotes on my PC, elegant, fast and easy, have my notes always with me

  142. Eric

    I have a couple of OneNote folders synced on SkyDrive for my classes. When it comes to everyday reminders, though, I send myself an email. Because I tackle all my email and news in one chronological folder via MS Outlook, I catch my reminder and do what it says before I get to read emails that came after I left it.

  143. John Ervin

    Until recently, I used my Palm T/X device, but alas, it died and it’s (by current standard) ancient technology. I’d doing my scheduling on Google Calendar for the time being, I use little pieces of paper for notes that how a short life span and I haven’t figured out how to keep my information that I need to keep around for a while. Probably use my computer for the time being.

  144. Allanm

    I found Microsoft OneNote ears ago and feven migrated to a tablet HP (before tablets were all the rage) to make full use of OneNote.

    I keep ALL my notes in OneNote.

    The search and archive benefits are enormous. Some one has a question o a document or procedure… I have the reference at my fingertips.

  145. Remy

    Big fan of Notepad. Sublime in it’s simplicity and I imagine myself typing on an endless scroll like Kerouac.

  146. Lance

    – I really like the old evernote (version 2.1) and curse the day they put it in the cloud, as it is slower and hate certain things (i.e. having to login every week, slow to sync).
    – Still like using sticky notes (for quick notes that I don’t need to keep)

  147. Nitin

    Onenote, keep the Onenote files in a ‘Shared’ folder of Dropbox…syncs easily with all the team :) everyone has the same ‘live’ notes :)

  148. Andrew James

    Sticky Notes for Desktop Reminders.
    Notepad dairy I keep on a external hard drive
    Online backups for things I need records of. *store in email or secure location online*
    Events and other extra notes are kept on my phone.

    I have a notepad beside my desk phone. Keeps records of who called and what about. But I try and transfer that information onto the computer as much as possible

  149. Ed

    Treepad. It’s been Treepad for me for the past five or six years. Tried other Treepad clones, just kept coming back to Treepad. I tried their commercial Treepad Biz, which uses formatted text and allows graphics and images to be embedded. Found it too much program for scribbling notes and stuff to remember and refer to.

    I have several Treepad files for notes on HTML editing, Photoshop, personals, etc. The most used Treepad files are just a keystroke away, compliments of AutoHotkey. URLs stored in Treepad are active hyperlinks, so I don’t have to copy and paste; I just press Control-H to open the site in my browser.

  150. Jack N

    Adobe Reader X for making notes and highlighting when reading PDF

    Post-It notes to record books to look at, music, etc

    Chaos Intellect for contact details and notes about contacts, and appointments and tasks, as well as email. Really good!

    Pencil and notebooks for on the move and beside the phone and beside the PC etc. A paper diary as backup for important personal appointments, events, birthdays, notes of things like policy numbers I might have to look at in a year or two.

    For important phone calls, tape or digital recording (always, but always, tell the person on the other end of the phone).

    Paper notes on the refrigerator. A list of to do’s each night for the next day, and then I never seem to need to look at the list. Writing is the key.

  151. Harold

    I use Google calendar (sync w/ my IPhone) for events and reminders. I never liked Outlook or other journal program and Notepad worked fine for me until I found EditPad Pro.

    The Project feature allows many files to be open at the same time with the file names in Tabs that are quick and easy to use. I create a project for each year with 12 files with names like NtsYYMM. You can also have several porjects open and the search can scan all files in all projects which helps finding stuff.

    I even use a simple basic script to create a file for the month with lines like:
    ===Start mm/dd/yy
    ===End mm/dd/yy.

    Another nice feature is that EditPad Pro can be installed on a thumb drive so I can take it to another Windows computer along with my notes (don’t have to take the laptop).

    However, EditPad Pro is a Text Editor so I use OpenOffice Write or Google Docs for graphics and rich text.

  152. Vickster

    I use the yellow sticky notes too on a daily basis, but I have just found that the Notes App on my iPhone is a great way to write down stuff I want to remember and refer to later and for appointments, even though I use a small diary in my bag as well. Cos, I am never far away from the iPhone, so it seems easy to grab and take a note than dig into my bag for the diary.

    I like the idea of Evernote so I am going to check that out too.

  153. astralcyborg

    To note down web addresses or text content inside of web pages, temporary notes and reminders, I use CintaNotes. Especially, for the website notes, this tool is great, as it automatically creates titles according to each web page. It also collaborates fine with Dropbox, so I synchronize dynamically my notes at home and at work.

    For permanent notes, I save them in txt files (I use AkelPad).

    For lists, I use Excel or OpenOffice Calc.

    For important notes or reminders, that require really special attention, I use Stickies (application for sticky notes).

  154. Gaby

    Notepad++ and Word with LastPass / KeePass => secured flash memory :D

  155. Martin Wildam

    ZIM (Personal Wiki – for Windows and Linux available), text files (use your preferred editor, I use geany or gedit), e-mails to self, pen and paper.

  156. hobbit

    Public: WordPress
    Private: OpenOffice -> Truecrypt Volume -> Dropbox

  157. Erin

    Well, despite being under 30 (barely!) and having had jobs whose primary tasks involve research and notes (like “journalist” and “investigator”), I’ve always been pretty old-school in terms of organization. Lately, however, I’ve been wondering the best way to “go digital” — so I am REALLY happy I found this page!! :) You guys have given wonderful suggestions, so thank you.

    Right now, I’m doing a combo of my old methods (which involved a lot of paper, a lot of folders, and a few file cabinets) and newer methods:

    – For notes, I prefer to type because I type much faster than I can hand-write. Until now, I’ve been using Word documents and a tree-style filing system in which I use a lot of folders and subfolders, but it’s a pain to resize screens and/or switch back and forth between programs. Plus, I want to be able to access my notes on my phone… Thanks to your comments, I typed notes about this page using a floating Sticky Note, and I loved it!
    – When I’m on the go, I use ColorNote to record things like book and movie lists, grocery lists, words to look up, a great idea I just had, etc. I’ve been using this method even when my computer is around, because I always have my phone. But I’d love a way to sync everything so I can see my lists online and, say, copy the definition of a word or add a book to read with a mere click or two.
    – For research (and I’m a total research geek), I use both Evernote and the Read It Later extension for Chrome (I think it’s called Postponer — the real Read It Later isn’t available on Chrome). Stuff I just want to peruse, I’ll save in Read It Later, but stuff that is relevant to a research topic gets clipped to Evernote and placed in a topic-specific folder.
    – For full screenshots, I use the Awesome Screenshot extension, which lets you crop, draw shapes, add text, etc., and then I save those to Evernote. I also save confirmation pages to Evernote, because I don’t always have access to a printer when I’m on my laptop.
    – And, finally, for tasks, I’m sorry to say that I’ve tried the task programs several times and I just don’t like them. A soft-copy to-do list doesn’t make the to-dos seem very tangible. I like to write them out and cross them off. Makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

    Thanks again for the great ideas!

  158. hkb

    On the Cell phone – Using The bookmarklet
    Laptop – Ms OneNote

  159. Ken Morgan

    Wunderlist is Awesome. Not a great looking app, but for task lists and to-do’s it is great. Syncs between all computers and mobile devices as well. I don’t have a need to the options Onenote and the like have, so this is perfect.
    I use Nudgemail for reminders via email. very simple and quick and of course i get the message on all my devices.

  160. matt taylor

    I enjoy writing with a fountain pen as an anti-dote to my laptop so my tools of choice for paper based notes are Lamy fountain pens (I have 2 – wide nib for more formal and a steel barrel for everyday work) and a simple exercise book (Rmb10 per pcs here in Shanghai). If taking notes on laptop then i use OneNote if im live in a meeting, MS Word for more leisurely writing on laptop.

  161. SKC

    In the 1980’s when I was still using Dos and 20mb HD PC’s got hold of an early Dos copy of Asksam. Since then I bought the Windows version and have been storing a lot of my info on that ever since.

  162. Monica

    @LadyTech: Try 3M’s digital Post-It notes. With those, they are on your PC’s desktop. They can be set up to stay on top if you have one that you need to see all of the time. Also, you can set alarms on them.

  163. The PC Guy (Al)

    I use several methods. My plain 5″ x 7″ yellow tablet is always near. My iPad works when I’m out and about and have it with me. On my iMac I use MS Word most of the time, and a Stickies (sticky notes) program for stuff I want to keep in front of me for the day.

    Then there is my Lightning add on for Firefox — the tasks list works well.

  164. Erin

    Can I ask a bookmarking question? I posted earlier that I’m relatively new to the digital organization thing (I’m quasi-tech-savvy, but I always preferred pen and paper for notes), and I can’t figure out how to integrate my bookmarks into my newly digitized organization scheme… I know Springpad will import bookmarks, and I know Evernote can be used sort of like a bookmarking tool, but I already have a gazillion bookmarks in Xmarks, set up EXACTLY the way I want them. I just switched to Chrome because FF4 was prohibitively slow, but Chrome doesn’t support bookmark tagging (even with Xmarks). I’m at a loss. E-organization should make my life easier, not more complicated, right? What does everyone else do? Ideas? Thanks in advance!

  165. Kerry

    Like most people, I use several methods. However, the most common one I use, because it is very convenient for whatever situation or context I happen to be in, is to carry a dozen or so 3″ X 5″ cards in my shirt pocket. This enables me to: 1. throw it away easily if I know longer need it (OKAY…I RECYCLE IT) 2. keep it with me to refer to it if necessary and 3. file it as appropriate if necessary. And, of course, I can always scan them in.

  166. Nicholas Simms

    I am still working off Lotus Organiser 1997

  167. Christopher Burton

    I keep notes a few different ways. First I have a digital recorder, then for work I also use a small marble pad I keep in my shirt pocket, I use 4″ x 6″ index cards, and finally I use a single subject notebook. All this seems to work for me.

  168. dana ross

    Evernote is winning out for me. I can update it and access from all my computers and my cell phone. It’s the only thing better than pencil and paper. I love pencils and paper but evernote works the best.

  169. Don

    on iPhone, I like Simplist, it’s simple, clean, elegant, but, no has landscape keyboard mode, so…

    I now use Awesome Note, it works pretty well, is easy to organize notes with folders.

  170. Bob T

    1. SimpleNote – The best I’ve found linking iPhone and Web Apps
    2. UberNote – Used to be my #1, but SimpleNote is moving ahead fast
    3. RedNotebook – Great daily diary; no web access, local only; can save data file to DropBox and then reload to local at other location
    4. Google Notebook – All-time fav, but when Google stopped support…well, had to move on. Still access GN from time to time
    5. Anything from Levenger []

    Trying NoteMaster…so far, so good.

  171. Bob T

    oh, and…

    6. Workflowy – While on-line. No easy local to web interface, but it does export easily to Clipboard and then to wherever

  172. BoxunloX

    A Red n Black notebook and a good pen is all I need…..

  173. Alex.B

    I use Awesome note for my trusty iPod touch 2G and love it, it has folder support and does note taking as well as my to-do lists. I have it set up to sync to Google Docs, which in turn syncs to my dropbox by the means of a computer that turns on for 10 minutes daily that has “syncdocs” installed (check it out).
    So I have a copy of my notes wherever I am!

  174. Roger Wilco

    Keep notes? I just memorize everything.

  175. Indy

    I put it on other people’s walls on facebook. With the continuous whining of why its on there, I never forget something important.

  176. Bryan Wetton

    I’ve been using TreePad (by Freebyte Software ) for many years with separate files for different subjects.
    Plus Win 7 Sticky Notes for short term things.

  177. Ginny

    I use Evernote and Last Pass, but for on-the-fly notes, Penultimate (iPad App) can’t be beat. Your finger is your pen – fast and efficient.

  178. MSwhip

    In the past i used the ‘sticky notes’ software, very simple to use…but a big BUT here.. when one becomes lackadaisical and deep in thoughts they are very easy to delete inadvertedly as they are gone if you hit the X instead of the minimizer. I lost very valuable information. Never found the way to ‘save’ them as files directly from the note. Can anyone either let me know if
    a. there is a similar program that would save the note and make it a lil more secure and unable to be easily ‘deletable’ specially by a ‘moment of distraction’? ….or b..
    b. do ‘sticky notes’ have a one or 2 clics way to be saved permanently and avoid what did happen to me more than once?

    Thank you

  179. Wo

    Springpad. Evernote is too chaotic. Springpad works like a dream with my Android. Syncs well and I can send notes straight from my laptop to open up on my phone. Love it. Used Evernote before but this is much better.

  180. Keith Badeau

    I still use notepads to take notes while I’m studying as I feel that I soak more information if I “take note” while writing. I take notes linearly so the topics are generally not organized and referring back is only useful within a short time thereafter.

    I use OneNote for information I will refer back to regularly. This includes typed information but also entire web pages that I will use for reference.

    How I used to save online information before OneNote: If I came across a lot of information while researching a topic and I wanted to keep it for further reference I used to create a shortcut in a folder on my hard drive and further organize the shortcuts within other descriptive folders hierarchically. This was less than ideal. I also tried saving these shortcuts in the same manner in my “favorites” within the browser using the same hierarchy system.

  181. Bill M.

    I used FoxMarks->XMarks for bookmark synching then switched to Firefox Sync for keeping bookmarks, passwords, tab history, etc. for all PCs running Firefox on Windows and Linux. I used Delicious for web-based bookmarking before the big Yahoo scare of the service ending and switched to Evernote — don’t post much to Delicious anymore. Kind of being drawn more to using SpringPad as a replacement for Evernote (which is wayyy to bloated and slow.) Springpad has a great app for my Android-based phone, the Evernote app is clunky. Tried uploading my extensive bookmarks to Google Bookmarks, but found that to be too unstable – upload never really took.
    I also use Tomboy Notes on my Ubuntu Linux systems – laptop, desktops – to sync notes to the cloud so all systems stay current — this uses the Ubuntu One cloud service for Tomboy notes. Also use Dropbox for sharing files between systems (Windows 7, Ubuntu) and the free Ubuntu One for additional sharing of my Thunderbird email as well as Tomboy Notes.
    I use Google Docs on my Android phone in conjunction with Documents To Go (which I’ve used on previous phones – Palm IIIe, Treo) and that’s very convenient for getting access to notes all the time. I use Outlook’s NOTES option and copy any changes to Google Docs while in the desk/laptop browser – no direct sharing there, which is a pain.
    I use Outlook at work (ugh) and have that set to sync my Outlook calendar with GMail calendar.
    I would like to have all my bookmarks and content-rich notes all in one place accessible from all devices: Windows boxes, Ubuntu Linux laptops and boxes, Android-based phone, web access within a browser. Haven’t really pulled all of that together yet. It’s a work in progress.

  182. Dave Jackson

    Just a note to say that there is now a Springpad extension available for FireFox 4+ users. Since it has yet to be reviewed it’s not available from the browser addon manager but by direct request from…..

    Dave J

  183. Frank C.

    I wish there was some type of note taking in email (Outlook, Outlook Express) where you could right click an email, click on Notes in the drop down box, enter a comment, then be able to find that email by doing a word search based on the comment you made or seeing a list of the comments you made and being able to then access that particular email. This would also be a good idea for a website you visit when using Internet Explorer.

  184. DanDiego

    I don’t think anyone mentioned VocaNote. For quick short notes on my Droid X, I love VocaNote (free).
    Tap the icon and dictate your note. It is converted to text, confirmed, and sent to your specified email address or optionally as a text message to your phone.

    I use Evernote on my Droid X, iPad2 and PCs, alond with DropBox and SugarSync.

    Dragon (free) on iPad lets me dictate longer notes and email them to Evernote.

    Someone jokingly mentioned that an EMP detonation would send us back to the 1800’s in one second. Unfortunately this is no joke and I really urge everyone to read “One Second After” by William Forstchen.

  185. Monica

    @MSwhip: try 3M digital Post-It notes. When you delete those, they go to a trash can.

  186. Parker

    I’ve used quite a few, going back to infoselect under dos, which was my favorite. I used keynote (tranglos, not apple) for a while. I can’t adapt to a structured note keeping tool. I’m not a “tree organized” person. My desktop is a series of bits and pieces.

    I started using notefrog after finding it on sale on bitsdujour, and it’s met my needs better than anything since infoselect, but it’s probably not for the super organized in the crowd. It’s more of a dump everything in and then access it via a super search.

    It was 19.95 (on sale for $10) when I bought it on bits, but I just noticed when I looked it up to write this, that it’s currently on sale for $5. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because a new version is about to come out.

    Like I said, it’s not for everybody, then, none of them are.

  187. ozymandias

    I take notes and make sketches on tablet with grid paper. Thinks that are easily copied and pasted or would take a while to type out go into Mac’s os Stickies.

  188. tony

    I’m cluttered when it comes to taking notes digitally (I’ll email myself, use Google Docs, maybe use a free mobile app on my phone, etc) but my preferred old school method? Pen + Field Notes. I’m addicted to Field Notes!

  189. ruudster101

    @ Bill M & Erin about bookmarks….i use…ur bookmarks on the net…no matter which platform (linux-windows) .
    Couldnt live without it…Works great for me…

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