Notepad Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Category: Software

The lack of a native notepad app is one of Android’s little surprises. Sure, I could write draft emails to myself, but there’s more to a good notepad app than stashing words away where no one ever remembers to look for them. Fortunately, there's an app (several, actually) for that. Read on for some of the best options, on Android, iPhone, and desktop devices...

The Best Notepad Apps

As you explore the Internet (or even the real world around you), you're bound to find things that you want to remeber, stash away for reference, or share with others later. It might be a snippet of text from an online article, or an interesting photo. It could be a note to yourself, a reminder. a grocery list, or a to-do list.

All notepad apps let you input your thoughts in text form, either by typing or copy/pasting. Others permit voice memos, capturing an image, or writing with your finger or a stylus. Some turbo-charge common tasks by converting speech to text, setting reminders, checking off tasks as they are completed, or enabling collaboration with others.

If you don't want to install a third-party app, there are some limited note-taking features in both Android and iOS. For example, you can always tap the microphone icon on your Android phone and say "Take a memo." Your voice memo will be transcribed into text and saved as a Gmail message. On your iPhone, summon Siri and say "Take a note." You're limited to simple text-based memos here.

Notepad Apps for smartphones

Other note taking apps are much more powerful. Let's take a look at some of the third-party notepad apps available in the Google and Apple app stores; each has different strengths appealing to different audiences.

Google Keep for Android, iOS (iPhone/iPad) and desktop lets you capture anything in a note and add a reminder alert to it. You can dictate a note and Keep will transcribe it for later searching and reading. Take a photo of a receipt, landmark, or anything else, then add voice notes to it. Google Keep’s sharing features make it easy to collaborate with others on anything from a surprise birthday party to a nationwide marketing campaign. A location-keyed alert pulls up your grocery shopping list just as you arrive at the supermarket. Color codes and labels enable easy finding of note types.

Microsoft’s OneNote is organized like a three-ring binder with color-coded tabs separating notes into groups. It's available for Android, iOS, or desktop. You can scan handwritten text into OneNote and make it searchable. You can type, draw, handwrite, or clip content from the web to create notes. Any item can be positioned and formatted anywhere on a page, much like Word or Publisher. Notebooks can be shared with multiple people, who can leave comments on your notes or edit the notes themselves. The OneNote badge hovers on your phone’s screen and allows quick notes during phone calls or while surfing the web. Being part of MS Office, OneNote integraes with Word, Excel, Publisher, etc.

Evernote is a classic, powerful notepad that’s inspired many of the advanced features in Google Keep and MS OneNote. Like the others, it's available on both desktop and mobile platforms. You can write, capture, and type notes, even insert photographs or videos into notes. Attach MS Office documents, PDFs, or photos to notes. Evernote syncs to all of your devices so you never have to wonder where a note is. Reminders can be set and to-do list items can be checked off as they are completed.

Remember The Milk started as a desktop app to manage to-do lists. It's a popular smartphone app that does even more. RTM promises to "get to-dos out of your head, and let the app remember for you." It will remind you of upcoming tasks by email, text and other notifications. You can share notes and lists with others, and it integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar, Twitter, Evernote, and other productivity apps.

Inkpad is a simple but handy app that lets you capture your thoughts, notes, lists and more. Enter notes and sync to the cloud for access on your desktop, or just as a backup. You can share notes by email or text. A premium version lets you hide ads, or view & restore up to 10 previous versions of a note.

Private Notes is a simple text-only Android notepad app for the security-minded. AES encryption makes it extremely difficult for unauthorized snoopers to read your private notes. Your notes can by protected by a password/PIN, by tap-pattern recognition, or by a fingerprint reading. Encrypted notes are backed up to Google Drive.

Keep My Notes is also a simple, text-based notepad. But it’s also a writer’s notebook capable of storing novel-length entries. Notes can be scribbled with a finger or stylus, or typed. Audio notes can be recorded but not transcribed to text. This notepad can be password-protected, or you can lock individual notes without protecting the entire notepad. A sticky-note widget pastes notes to your phone’s home screen. Pictures can be attached to notes.

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Most recent comments on "Notepad Apps to Boost Your Productivity"

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

Thanks for mentioning Google Keep. I hadn't noticed it on my phone (too many apps!!), and didn't realize it did a lot if not all of the things Inkpad does. The next time I have to sacrifice an app to the Great God of Limited Storage Space, I can nuke Inkpad with a clear conscience.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

Bob, I would include ColorNote in this list--my favorite because it is simple, quick, and color coded.

Posted by:

Bob Dawes
28 Sep 2017

I recommend Simplenote. It's free, works on everything and automatically syncs whatever you input on any device. Not a lot of features but it's free.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

Bob, It would be interesting and informative to know what note taker you use but I would imagine you can't say to maintain your objectivity.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

Hey Bob
Thanks for that, have downloaded EVERNOTE.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

I use Note Everything Pro ($3.99). It allows Text Notes, Voice Notes, Paint Notes, Checklists, Durable Checklists, Photo Notes, Gallery Notes, Video Notes, Note from Barcode, Note from Google Drive.

There's also a free version.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

I love using Google Keep on my phone and tablets. However, it is only available on windows computers when tied to a browser. Not sure why Google didn't make an app for the Windows 10 folks.

Posted by:

28 Sep 2017

I could not call it 'productivity boost' since I rely on OneNote to save on what little brain cells I have remaining! Its formatting capabilities are not 100% in accordance with Microsoft Office products. But copying data from a website also adds the source link (url) on the bottom of data when pasted; which more than makes up for the slight differences in the formatting.

Posted by:

Daniel Mielke
29 Sep 2017

My LG G4 came with Quick Note+ with is better than Microsoft Notepad but not quite Word. It has a basic paint brush program and a screen capture program that has a nice editing feature built in. My LG G3 had something like it also.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2017

I need something simple to use... most have a steep learning curve; I dumped Evernote and Onenote. I use Google Calendar to get notifications and emails for appointments. Easy, simple, and I've already been using it.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2017

Your e-book advert illustration features what looks like a hard-copy book, but I presume this is in fact the container for the CD Rom, please confirm. I would prefer not to have to print out 115 pages! I have recently had to not only replace my computer hard drive but then found both my exterior hard drives unresponsive. Professional data retrieval was not only extremely expensive but also unproductive.

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