Ask DN: Lightweight alternatives to Evernote?

almost 9 years ago from , Interface Designer at Semantic Arts

I've seen a lot of apps come up lately that are geared towards images, but I'm wondering if there's anything that elegantly accommodates as many note types as Evernote in a lighter-weight package. Evernote is just getting to be a bit bloated and slow for me.


  • Adam HowellAdam Howell, almost 9 years ago

    I personally love Simplenote, especially now that Automattic owns them. It’s been made even simpler since the acquisition and –– since Automattic seems perfectly content to keep it 100% free –- it’s completely free of nag screens and the like:


    11 points
  • Cosmin BadeaCosmin Badea, almost 9 years ago

    Google Keep is lightweight, but there's currently no desktop app (that I know of).

    To be honest, after a short whirl I went back to Evernote.

    4 points
    • Oz ChenOz Chen, almost 9 years ago

      I too have used Keep for a year now and haven't touched Evernote since. Evernote just felt so clunky / heavy to me (but that might be different now)

      0 points
    • M HernandezM Hernandez, almost 9 years ago

      This is especially great if you have an Android phone and create a full widget on a screen.

      While there's no desktop app, using keep.google.com has worked out pretty well for me.

      In terms of simplicity I like being able to use their color system. Gray for ideas, orange for work, green for reminders, etc.

      2 points
  • Jake ZienJake Zien, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    Time for me to rep Workflowy again on DN! My comment from the last notetaking app thread:

    I've tried a million, but I always go back to Workflowy, the endless bulleted list. It only has one rule, which is that you can nest bullets infinitely — no multiple lists, notebooks, documents, etc. to worry about. The lack of enforced structure makes it wonderfully flexible, adaptive, and lightweight.

    I've been using Workflowy for years. What makes it stick is that rather than imposing its organization on your data, the way Evernote does, Workflowy works like a big piece of paper: it's simple and flexible enough for you to organically create your own system.

    2 points
    • Jimmy HookerJimmy Hooker, almost 9 years ago

      I love love love Workflowy. It makes so much sense to my brain. Lists on lists on lists, but without getting overwhelmed. It's so brilliantly simple. I pay them $50 a year just to support them, even though I don't need the features they provide at the paid tier.

      One thing that would be nice is images or other media though (maybe a perk of paid accounts?). Stuff embedded in the list. I'm sure it's on the roadmap, or it could be contrary to their goal of keeping it super simple with lists. But I think it would be great.

      2 points
  • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    I use notes.app

    It's on all my devices, connected to Siri ("Take a memo..."), and the iCloud website. It's stripped down and simple, very fast, and pretty good with synching. The only problem I ever get is a duplicated note, which is much better than a dropped one. It's simple and perfect for jotting down or copying and pasting text.

    Or at least it was until iOS8, now I often have to paste something in to a freaking markdown or plain text editor and then paste it in to notes because they support rich text. The notes.app on OSX has a bunch of options for how it deals with pasted content, hopefuly all of those will eventually come to the iPhone version too.

    1 point
  • Jamie MartinJamie Martin, almost 9 years ago


    1 point
  • Wayne HaworthWayne Haworth, almost 9 years ago

    I just use the native Mac Notes app. Full text search and I can include images etc. Available on all my devices and it "just works"

    1 point
  • Matthew Williams, almost 9 years ago

    Quip might not be as light weight as you are looking for but I sure like it as an alternative to Evernote.

    1 point
  • Theus FalcãoTheus Falcão, almost 9 years ago

    I really love the simplicity of the Keep, but I'm starting to test the Octobox and for now I'm enjoying it.

    1 point
  • Will SimonWill Simon, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    It is pretty limited in terms of functionality, but I'm a huge fan of Notational Velocity

    1 point
    • Scott Ogle, almost 9 years ago

      I've actually started to use NV for some things (anything that just needs to be a quick dump of text) for its speed but I find myself wishing that it could accommodate images, links, article extracts etc like Evernote does.

      0 points
      • Nathan LongNathan Long, almost 9 years ago

        +1 for Notational Velocity. I pair it with Dropbox for sync and Vim as my external editor for SUPER SPEEDY writing and editing on all my machines.

        I use Diigo to manage links and research. It does those things fairly well, but I don't think it manages images.

        I think the trouble will be finding something else that does everything Evernote does, it has so many features! But thats why I left it, I fiddled with it more than I got anything done in it.

        0 points
  • David KizlerDavid Kizler, almost 9 years ago

    I still use Evernote as my junk drawer, but nvALT is great for quick notes and markdown.

    When Evernote changed their web clipper to include everything and the kitchen sink, I switched over to Pinboard to manage bookmarks and use Shiori to save and search Pinboard bookmarks.

    Evernote is still great for random things like pdfs but these smaller tools are way quicker and more specialized.

    1 point
  • Oleksandr Rakovets, almost 8 years ago

    Hey Scott!

    I was dissatisfied with Evernote as well, that’s why I’ve built an alternative Evernote client for Mac (iOS client is coming soon too). It’s called Alternote, it is a much more lightweight, elegant and fast client for Evernote backend.

    The good news is that you don’t have to migrate, all your notes are already there. Evernote is great as a platform, but their clients need some love. At Alternote we’re solving this problem.

    Grab a trial at our website: alternoteapp.com

    0 points
  • Tom AtlasTom Atlas, over 8 years ago

    I have heard that there is a team that is building something that has the right UI, features, and support that everyone has been looking for called NoteHash. Evernote seems to be holding off features and is always charging more (which really stinks).


    0 points
  • Trent RaeTrent Rae, almost 9 years ago

    Centrallo! I've been a fan since their beta stages, and they just officially launched last week. Simple, easy to use, life centralization. Allows hierarchical lists, media attachments, has an in-app inbox, sharing/collaboration tools, self-publishing link... It can be as lightweight or as intensive as you please. Definitely recommend checking it out- it's starting to build some buzz.

    0 points
  • Max GustofsonMax Gustofson, almost 9 years ago

    Simplenote. I use it everyday and the fact that I can share from it, post my notes directly to web, and send to my device is fantastic.

    0 points
  • Ran Segall, almost 9 years ago

    Note by squarespace: http://www.squarespace.com/apps/#note

    0 points
  • fogfish .fogfish ., almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    I like EverMemo.[1] It's super lightweight, simple and writes to Evernote. Syncing lags by a few seconds but is otherwise quick. (I used WriteRoom for awhile but it's sadly no longer supported by its developer; hence the switch.) At the moment, EverMemo isn't available in the US App Store but I like it a lot.

    I also use Editorial.[2] It accepts Markdown, accepts Python, if you choose, and syncs with Dropbox. It is definitely a productivity tool.

    [1] http://www.mudlab9.com. [2] http://omz-software.com/editorial/

    0 points
  • Oliver TaylorOliver Taylor, almost 9 years ago

    No-one has thrown-in a vote for Dropbox? Pair that with a camera, a voice recorder, and a plain-text editor and you've got everything you need. And when you want to switch tools you just do it. Everything remains forever flexible and accessible. I'll never understand the desire to hide simple things like notes behind a monolithic inaccessible database.

    0 points
  • Michael XanderMichael Xander, almost 9 years ago

    I’m using the original Notational Velocity, which I prefer performance-wise over the popular nvALT fork, as my central notes bucket. Most of the editing is done with ST3 and MacDown (before that I’ve used the discontinued Mou editor). Occasionally I also open notes with Calca to do some calculations. All notes are synced with Dropbox and accessed via Editorial on iOS.

    0 points
  • Will BakerWill Baker, almost 9 years ago

    I have the exact same complaints, so I'm working on my own lightweight note-taking app. Any requests?

    0 points
  • Paul MistPaul Mist, almost 9 years ago

    Simplenote is great. Love the publish to web functionality for sharing notes and links easily. No frills, solid note taking.

    0 points
  • Tim BoisvertTim Boisvert, almost 9 years ago

    Check out Nevercenter's new notetaking app, Leafnote:


    0 points
  • Account deleted almost 9 years ago

    I've started using the Drafts feature in Medium. Works lovely on iPad too.

    0 points
    • Scott Ogle, almost 9 years ago

      That's kind of clever. That might encourage me to publish more as well...

      0 points
      • Account deleted almost 9 years ago

        I wish I could explain why it helps me write better, but I can't. It's beautifully formatted, auto-saves, and is easy to insert whatever kind of formatting and media you like.

        1 point