Simplenote: Keeping Note Taking Hassle Free

Whenever an idea hits us, we have a habit of jotting it down somewhere — whether it be on a personal diary, a piece of paper, our cellphones or on some note-taking app. The method of making notes varies from person to person and can be both digitally or traditionally. With the rise and the evolution of smartphones and webapps, most of our note-taking and capturing of ideas have become digital. There are now literally hundreds of note-taking apps out there, each more complicated than the next.

So, to cut your search short for a simple and beautiful note-taking app, we’re going to review an app called Simplenote. Read on for a look at Simplenote.

Getting Started

Simplenote Homepage

Simplenote Homepage

Simplenote is a very simple tool for taking notes and capturing your ideas — fast. In this app, you can take notes, pin them, view different versions of a particular note based on the history, add tags to your note for easy searching and more. Everything is just so simple and unlike other apps, there aren’t hundreds of buttons to confuse you. Now, let’s see how you can create a Simplenote account and get started in no time.

Creating a New Account

Creating a New Account

As you can see, creating an account with Simplenote is very easy and they don’t force you to fill out unnecessary forms and details like other apps do. After entering your e-mail ID and password, you’re directly taken to their webapp, where you can start working instantly. They send you an e-mail welcoming you but don’t worry, they don’t ask you to activate your account by checking their e-mail first.

Design and Usability

The design of its web interface incorporates the principles of minimalism to reflect that when they say “simple”, they really mean it. A white, blue and grey color scheme is used in a way that it is visually pleasing and very functional. As mentioned above, there aren’t too many buttons to confuse you and the functions of the buttons present there are very clear. Now let’s see how you can start creating notes on Simplenote.

Using Simplenote

Adding and Editing Notes

Understanding the Interface

Understanding the Interface

From the labelled image above, it’s clear what can be done in Simplenote. To create a new note, click on the Add note button. Start typing in the blank space that appears. By default, the title of a note is the the first line of that note. If you have a habit of keeping of too many notes and fear that searching for your note may become a tedious task, there’s an option of adding tags to your note. Multiple tags can also be added as per your convenience. There’s also an option of searching your notes by their content. Apart from all this, there are options for deleting and also pinning your important notes.

One unique feature that’s normally not present in other note-taking apps is reverting back to an older version of a particular note. In Simplenote, however, you can choose to view different versions of a particular note, without harming the information in any of the other versions. In the free version of this app, there can be as many as 10 backup versions of each note and in the paid version of this app, the number goes until 30. You can view these old versions instantly just by dragging a slider in the Version history button.

Pricing

Currently, there are three types of plans available in Simplenote:

  1. The first is the “Free” version. In this, as you notice in the screenshots, advertisements are displayed on the left-hand side of the web interface. However, they display only one advertisement at a time.
  2. The second is a paid plan for $4.99. You can opt for this plan if you want to remove the ad from the left-hand sidebar and want to use this app ad-free.
  3. The third is also a paid plan, but for a mere $12 per annum. Naturally, it has more features than the free version, such as more backup versions of each note, ad-free, RSS feeds, creating notes by e-mail and much more. The following image shows the comparison between the paid and the free version of Simplenote.
Free and Premium Feature Comparison

Free and Premium Feature Comparison

Accessibility and Downloads

Download and Installation Options

Download and Installation Options

There are a whole lot of applications present in Simplnote’s downloads page. They all provide ways to access your synced Simplenote notes, whether it be through desktop applications, browser extensions or smartphone apps.

There are a variety of applications to suit your requirements and preferred platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X, Android, Apple’s products like iPad, iPhone and extensions for browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox. By providing the above options for syncing your notes across multiple platforms, Simplenote inches ahead of several other note-taking apps which just work for one or two platforms.

Similar Tools

There are a variety of apps out there which claim to be your ideal note-taking apps. Some of them are good and most of them are not. Some tools which can give tough competition to Simplenote in terms of note-taking are Evernote, Springpad, UberNote and Springnote. Each of them are excellent tools on their own, but none of them have the simplicity and accessibility present in Simplenote.

Final Thoughts

Simplenote does what it boasts — helping you take quick notes, jotting down ideas, brainstorming, letting you take them anywhere and all, but if you were expecting to store something more than just text (like photos and bookmarks), then this isn’t for you. You should probably have a look at the similar tools mentioned above. This is just a text-based note-taking app, but unlike other such apps, it has a great design, is dead simple and provides a lot of options for synchronization of our notes across many platforms. And it just keeps getting better as the days pass by.


Summary

Simplenote is an application that has the capability to easily replace your standard note-taking app due to its simplicity, beauty and great syncing capabilities across multiple platforms and devices.

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Responses

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  • I use Notational Velocity which has a setting to sync using simplenote, I find this very useful.

  • I love Simplenote for it’s simple and right to the point interface, it gets the job done quickly. Thanks for the great review!

  • It seems to be a great tool, and it has a very nice and user-friendly UI, I may give it a try, and see if it fits to my note taking behaviour.