Less than a decade ago, “taking notes” meant pen and paper. But now, there are countless apps, devices, and gadgets for such a simple task. It may be hard to choose among the different applications and understand the differences. It is also hard to get used to using them instead of paper notepads. But every next generation of students is even more adjusted to the digital world, and taking notes digitally seems more natural for them than using a pen. So, what does the current tech industry have to offer this generation?
Notion is a note-taking app suitable for any OS that allows you to add media to your notes. The main advantage of this app is its templating feature. You may create a layout out of each note and use this layout later, even combining the different ones into the multi-layered arrays of pages. It’s like designing your own notepad. You may add tables and diagrams to your notes, turning them into a kind of presentation. The main drawback of the app is its formatting, so if you need a neatly formatted text, this might not be the app you want. But hey, it’s a note-taking app, not a text processor! Another issue is the absence of online support, so if you have some trouble with the app, you’d better find a steady connection.
Notion is a database app. Every row of its database is a page, so the whole hierarchy looks more like Wikipedia than an ordinary notepad. For example, say you need to take notes from a website like https://lawaspect.com/law-notes/, you can copy the needed text and add some of your own, then structure it as you wish, and make really unique and convenient notes.
Notion is quite expensive for business use, but the personal plans are still free. Enjoy this app if you need complete hierarchical storage for all your thoughts!
Evernote looks more like a convenient notepad. It supports handwriting and clipping the articles from the web, similar to pinning the newspaper pages in front of your desk in real life. It also supports multiple file formats, so you may use anything that you get as a college assignment: a PDF file, a PowerPoint presentation, or an image. Clip it and start to do your tasks, making notes like in the real textbook. You may even use Evernote as a scanner for the book pages and save a lot of money on photocopying. But don’t try to use the automatic text recognition: it will provide you a completely different text full of random words!
Evernote has a couple of drawbacks, too. It is notoriously disorganized. You are limited to stacks and tags in your attempt to classify your notes. The app also doesn’t have Markdown support. For the people who are used to Markdown, it can be a huge disadvantage. Also, the price of Evernote is quite discouraging, especially for students. They still got the 50% off Premium plan, but to use all the functions you’ll truly need, you have to buy it.
OneNote is a free version of Evernote made by Microsoft. The interface isn’t as ergonomic and pleasant to use, but you get it without paying a dollar. You can use it for drawing, handwriting, typing text anywhere in your files, and clip these files. It still has even fewer organization methods than Evernote, so you have to rely on your own memory while browsing through. You also need to take time to get used to the interface.
A browser-only note-taking extension. It is more for linking notes than for taking them. The main advantage of Roam Research is that you can instantly create a web of links between your notes, making something similar to a local Wikipedia for your topic without using excessive tags, folders, and guides. Roam Research also supports Markdown, which is a huge advantage for quick web browsing and note-taking. Unfortunately, there is no offline version of the app, so you will always require an Internet connection not only to make your notes but to have access to the existing ones. It is also quite expensive for an online app.
There are plenty of different note-taking apps on the market nowadays. It is very hard to decide which one is best to use. We offer the only true criteria: try all of them and compare the feelings that you have. You may be comfortable with the app that isn’t the most organized or the most ergonomic, but it will suit you as much as a favorite paper notebook.