Ask DN: Evernote replacement?

almost 8 years ago from , Product Designer

I've been increasingly frustrated with Evernote - the desktop product hasn't improved in what feels like years, they seem more concerned with pushing Evernote Plus and Work Chat down my throat instead of improving note creation, search, their desktop UI and other core features.

I've checked out a couple alternatives such as Simplenote and OneNote but wasn't too impressed. I generally use Evernote as a dump for interesting articles, photos, and other web clippings, along with class/meeting notes.

Anyone else in the same boat? Have you found good replacements?


  • Simone Simone , almost 8 years ago

    Th standard Notes.app on OS X and iOS has always served me well. The latest version has better support for images and links, if you need support for mixed media (i personally keep my notes pretty simple). Frankly i've always found Evernote to be a features-bloated application — which is probably the reason why the company is not doing so well these days. In general, i always look for the path of least friction when adopting software: if its free and already installed on all your devices, why look any further?

    13 points
    • Sri KadimisettySri Kadimisetty, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

      Notes, right now is a great alternative.

      • It is free
      • Ad-free
      • Good sync
      • Ubiquitous on the Apple Platform
      • Uses iCloud storage which is very very cheap atm
      • Web accessible via iCloud.com
      • Sharing from apps to Note with standard share button
      • Spotlight on OS X and iOS show results from Notes too
      • Siri can take dictations to Notes
      • Notes does checklists!
      • Notes can be structured or unstructured for e.g. titles are totally optional
      • Markdown style Lists
      • Links/Bookmarks can be dragged in from browser and shows up as a little box with a picture and title. Good representation.
      • iOS lets you put sketches into the notes. Fun to draw.
      • Photos can go right in. Also has a photo browser.
      • All those can be put in the same note
      • Keyboard Shortcuts for formatting as well.
      • Allow Grouping via Folders

      All in all, it deserves another try.

      16 points
  • Matt BaxterMatt Baxter, almost 8 years ago

    Have you checked out Alternote? It uses Evernote as the backend but is a much cleaner client. They say they're currently working on a mobile app.

    13 points
  • Matthew BlodeMatthew Blode, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I'm in the exact same boat. Some of the recent articles about Evernote have decreased by trust for the product and the apps are littered with bloat.

    I have switched to Simplenote which is everything I need for my notes. Simple, clean interface, search, tags, no bloat, cross-platform and especially Markdown support. I made the leap yesterday and so far I couldn't be happier.

    Simple note was bought by the creators of Wordpress. Thus, I have a fair amount of trust in the safety, security and the handling of my data.

    EDIT: I have decided to use ia Writer... better Markdown support.

    6 points
  • Connor NorvellConnor Norvell, almost 8 years ago

    For notes I use Simplenote. syncs pretty well, all around good for just notes. for web snippets i use Dragdis, easy chrome extension and free(ish, if you have 4 or less folders) I use pocket for articles.

    Unfortunately there is no single app that really works well atm. I love dragdis, but wish it had an app. and note abilities but its not really made for that.

    4 points
  • Matt Fondevilla, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    nvALT syncs with Dropbox and is free.

    I've used it for years and hasn't been a problem with syncing between my devices (Android phones, Macbook Pro).

    The tradeoff is the elegance of Evernote's many robust features in favour for simple text files. I love how it streamlines the writing experience into a vertical line. It's as simple as it gets next to Notepad.

    Initially, I used it as a dump for anything but found a way to take down notes and organize it to my accord. The Verge does a good job explaining how they use it for idea-jotting when you're on the go.

    You can read more about it the original NV.

    4 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, almost 8 years ago

    IA/Writer, Sublime Text 3. Anything that can write and you can complement with Google Drive or Dropbox will be enough.

    4 points
  • Peter MüllerPeter Müller, almost 8 years ago

    There are two self-hosted, open-source alternatives:

    Both have a web-demo so you can try it out first.

    3 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 8 years ago

    I am not sure if it will be a real notes taking app, or more of a collaborative text editor, but Dropbox Notes will be coming out eventually.


    2 points
  • Nicholas MandelbaumNicholas Mandelbaum, almost 8 years ago

    Letterspace is promising.

    2 points
  • Milosz FalinskiMilosz Falinski, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    OneNote for notes of all kinds.

    iA Writer for long work to do lists and writing.

    Pixave for collecting images.

    2 points
  • Heather White, almost 8 years ago

    I totally understand where you're coming from - I signed up for Evernote AGAIN (I think this is my 3rd time coming back to it) and still find myself unhappy with it.

    I know DN has been blowing up about Asana this past week, but honestly Asana might not be a terrible solution - unlike Basecamp they charge by number of collaborators, so you have unlimited projects, tasks, attachments etc. up to 15 people, so it might be a useful place to keep all your notes, classwork, images, etc.

    Plus it's pretty ;)

    1 point
  • Sim SkrebeSim Skrebe, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I've been playing with a couple of tools for a while: osx notes, evernote, onenote etc., and I just returned back to Asana. Yes Asana. I know it's a pm tool, but actually, it is so good to store your notes, attach files. I can also share specific parts of my notes by putting them as subtasks. And now that Asana updated their UI it makes it even more pleasurable to use.

    1 point
  • Mehmet FidanboyluMehmet Fidanboylu, almost 8 years ago

    I've been using Evernote's web view (I think still in beta) for a while now, and it's a lot nicer to use. No distraction, loads of white space, good typography etc.

    But with all the commentary of impending doom for them I'm starting to get nervous. There just isn't anything out there at the moment that combines text and image and efficient syncing etc. like Evernote at the moment. Not for my money. Loads of pureplay text editors, sure, but not a lot else. One app that I've been trialling for a while now (currently only in the browser, and read only for mobile) is Notion (http://early-access.notion.so/).

    Still in beta, but takes rich text note taking to a really interesting place.

    1 point
  • Jon MyersJon Myers, almost 8 years ago


    I'm in love with this application.

    I always download note taking apps and never end up using them.

    Not so with Letterspace.

    Their app ecosystem (OSX, iOS) is spot on.

    The simple, elegant composition interface is all I need.

    Uses iCloud for syncing amongst iOS/ OSX.

    They have a simple tagging system for tagging and archiving notes.

    Letterspace uses Markdown, which comes in handy.

    Output is a nicely formatted PDF or simple HTML page.

    I've been using this for awhile now and love it.


    1 point
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, almost 8 years ago

    I gave up on evernote a while back. I agree that they are trying awfully hard to get you to sign up for their pro rated plans but I can't blame them.

    I've tried other "note" apps and they all try to solve too many problems. In doing so, it kills the vibe to write for me. I realize it may not be a "writing" geared tool but it would be nice to not get a sense of chaos within the interface.

    I personally have resorted to simple markdown documents and dropbox for versioning. No frills. It allows me to focus on the content and writing which is the whole point.

    1 point
  • Christoph Hochstrasser, almost 8 years ago

    Pretty happy with new Notes.app on El Capitan. Also enjoying using Hackpad for collaboration, though it will be succeeded by Dropbox Notes.

    1 point
  • Bruno BarrosBruno Barros, almost 8 years ago

    I'm on the same page here. Evernote is the new Photoshop. It tries too hard to be too much. It became bloated and annoyingly slow — on iOS and on OS X at least.

    The real problem is: Evernote is a walled garden, since there is no way to export your notes. I mean, I have at least 5,000 and some os them are pretty important. Once I leave Evernote, am I supposed to pretend these notes don't exist?

    I've also use Notational Velocity sporadically for some very quick text-only notes... but it's just too simple.

    I tried Simplenote once but I run into a lot of sync problems. That made me a little worried and I decided to not use it anymore.

    1 point
  • baked potatobaked potato, almost 8 years ago

    I've been with OneNote since 2007? Obviously not for everyone, but it's been the best tool for myself.

    1 point
  • Pierre B.Pierre B., almost 8 years ago

    Google keep?

    1 point
  • Mark Talinn, almost 8 years ago

    If you only need basic note-taking features, but want powerful bookmarking, news feed and web-clipping features, https://start.me might be a good solution for you.

    0 points
  • Florent AlixFlorent Alix, almost 8 years ago

    OneNote FTW.

    you can do anything and it is pretty. I really like how it is really fluent when typing notes

    0 points
  • Grow Hax, almost 8 years ago

    Apple's Notes app was updated to include some basic Evernote-like functionality, though not that extensive, but it may work for some things.

    I personally use Pocket to save/tag/sort/read/archive articles and other readable material and for quick notes or to-dos I use Todoist (premium version supports media attachments like voice clippings, images etc.)

    0 points
  • Arpith Siromoney, almost 8 years ago

    I'm building an alternative, and would love to hear what would make you switch - there's a short form here: http://goo.gl/forms/TvsA0J1gus

    0 points
  • Malte NuhnMalte Nuhn, almost 8 years ago

    I like notion.so - covers 90% of my notetaking use cases, and unlike evernote two people can edit the same note in parallel, google-docs style. Wish they had an iPhone app though.

    0 points
  • Leif AbrahamLeif Abraham, almost 8 years ago

    I've just created a dedicated email for it: notes@mywebsite.com ... whatever I have, I send to that email and maybe write some keywords. The greatness is: - It's part of my workflow - Not another app - It works on all devices - It's super searchable

    0 points
  • Oliver PattisonOliver Pattison, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I prefer to avoid using one app that does everything, since there isn’t actually one app that does everything well.

    For Text

    iA Writer with iCloud syncing (backed up and versioned occasionally on a private GitHub repo).

    For Screenshots

    Dropbox synced folder.

    For Links

    Pinboard with its powerful tagging and API support. Pinboard is worth paying a small amount for, has an archiving service to prevent loss from 404’d pages, and is independently run.

    0 points
  • Pavel Burov, almost 8 years ago

    Notability app is pretty good. Syncs between mac and mobile devices with iCloud without any problems. Definitely worth considering.

    0 points
  • Peiran TanPeiran Tan, almost 8 years ago

    I use Ulysses for almost anything I need to type (without extra typesetting effort). The OS X notes app doesn’t let me customize typography, so it’s always a pain to look at.

    0 points
  • Vladimir GorshkovVladimir Gorshkov, almost 8 years ago

    I've been using OneNote for 3 years and it's pretty great for work, I use  Notes for everything small and quick.

    0 points
  • Radley MarxRadley Marx, almost 8 years ago

    Depends how you've been using Evernote. I use Wunderlist for basic list / note-keeping. It syncs between multiple platforms and is free (they only charge for group-based sharing).

    0 points
  • Bob WassermannBob Wassermann, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I've been using DayOne for a while. Great app.

    0 points
  • Sam MularczykSam Mularczyk, almost 8 years ago

    OneNote is brilliant, completely free and all its clients (Mac, PC, iOS, Android, WP8) are pretty stellar and getting better week-by-week. Highly recommend it

    0 points
  • Patrick LoonstraPatrick Loonstra, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I share the same feeling with this beloved product. I totally rely on it for maintaining everything in my live. This article is also related: https://getpocket.com/a/read/1060844567

    On another place, do not remember, I read that they understand the problem and are refocusing to the core instead of the market and everything less related to the cor. Storing notes damn good.

    All the alternatives seem nice for some notetaking. But now for storing a collection of 10.000+ notes like I have right now. Yeah, OneNote, but MS...

    0 points