Product Growth at Codegiant
Has Evernote become a unicorn that has stopped caring about its core users while trying to attract broader markets?
In this article, we’ll take a look at Evernote’s evolution (and its downfall) and discover the best Evernote alternatives for 2020 as well.
Without further ado:
Evernote went through a couple of funding rounds, raising nearly $300 million, that largely contributed to the upbringing of one of the most popular note-taking apps in the world today. IF interested, you can read more about Evernote’s history here.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
Evernote is one of the best and most popular note-taking apps for a reason. It allows you to take notes anywhere anytime. You can share ideas with anybody on the team.
Creating projects, to-do lists and jotting down meeting notes happens effortlessly inside Evernote. “With Evernote as your note taking app, nothing falls through the cracks,” — is how Evernote likes to market itself.
Evernote has reported to have more than 225 million registered users.
Evernote’s strengths emerge when it comes to filing documents or archiving PDFs, web pages, cards, physical mail, and others.
As far as web clipping is concerned, Evernote’s browser plugins do a pretty good job too.
The task that Evernote was primarily made for — note taking — is quite easy to implement as well. Creating notes, adding a title, an image, or anything else can happen instantaneously without much hassle. Evernote is definitely worth it if you are going to primarily use it for taking notes.
Evernote automatically saves your data across all your devices as well. Whether you are drafting ideas on your iPad or iPhone, these ideas will appear on your other devices as well. Also, Evernote has said that they have no interest in selling your data.
What’s more, Evernote can also be used as a task manager. It has basic project management features that make Evernote perfect for personal use.
As great as Evernote can be, it also comes with some downsides.
The early Evernote “loyalists” say that the app was definitely a masterpiece at the beginning of its days. Still, later it got too sluggish and complicated to use. The once-a-nice user interface has now turned into a dumpster fire that hardly allows you to keep track of your notes.
Users say that after a myriad of updates, Evernote started to become slow. If you have thousands of saved notes along with various features you don’t use, the interface can become unbearable. Others complain that it takes a couple of seconds to fire up the app and start jotting down notes.
It also appears that Evernote has been severely lacking in its UI. The interface looks very inconsistent when switching between the Windows and macOS applications.
The table layout of Evernote looks quite inconvenient as well.
“Monster margins look ugly and quite frankly, unbearable” — some users say.
Another downside of Evernote is the constant upselling. A lot of paid users have expressed their concerns about being fervently up-selled even though they are paid subscribers. That pissed off some customers which made them abandon the product.
An Evernote client for Linux users lacks as well. Linux users’ only option is to use the web app. Some users, however, complain that the web app interface has become unbearable over the years due to the uncertain updates Evernote is rolling out continuously.
Feature requests tend to be also ignored. You can find 5-year-old tickets for feature requests that have been collecting dust on Evernote’s community forums.
Markdown support is missing which seems to be one of the killer features of Evernote. Some users have been waiting for this feature for up to 3 years (6 years as of today as this comment was posted back in 2017).
Opening notes takes somewhere between 10 and 30 seconds on the Android app, while constantly freezing — according to some users.
“They lost their focus” — others say.
Evernote had an explosion of features after their funding rounds… features that wouldn’t serve their existing users even the slightest… features mainly geared towards broader markets. They thought of a 100x expansion which later on turned into a slow but steady contraction.
Customers say that Evernote isn’t compatible with the VC model of funding. Evernote, according to the majority of its users, was a fascinating app serving a small market. However, after being funded, they started adding more features to appeal to the needs of broader markets (the VC model of funding) which pissed off loyal users and caused them to leave the app. Some users say
“The VCs would rather the product be ruined than miss an opportunity for 100–1000x, and if you don’t agree they will install adult supervision to do their bidding.”
Now that you know the major downsides, let’s explore the top alternatives to Evernote.
Bear is a beautifully-designed app that makes the note-taking process easier and smoother. You can use it anywhere anytime. It works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Jotting down ideas of the top of your head has never been easier.
OneNote is suitable for everything from sketches, lists, and clippings to photos and tables. It’s one of the best Evernote alternatives. It syncs seamlessly with all devices. The search feature of OneNote is quite robust and thorough — you’ll have the chance to easily discover the stuff you are looking for. No markdown support tho.
Even though Codegiant, at its core, is a git platform, it features a robust documentation tool with a rich text editor that allows you to jot your ideas down easily. You can also create API docs, status pages, knowledge bases, product roadmaps, a variety of notes, and more. What’s more, Codegiant allows you to publish your docs and brand them with your logo.
“Focus on your work and let DEVONthink remember all the details” is what DEVONthink, another top Evernote alternative, describes itself. With DEVONthink, you can store and organize your docs and notes in one place without hassle. It also allows you to sync all your devices so you can stay up to date. It works best with Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
If we could give Notion a one-word description that would definitely be “simplicity.” With Notion, you can write, plan and organize your notes & docs easily. Navigating visually through your content in Notion feels like a breeze. Notion is a fantastic Evernote alternative, no doubt about it.
Trello, one of the most popular project management tools, can be considered as a worthy Evernote alternative as well. You can create lists, fill them with cards (notes) that are easily accessible by you and your team. Trello is suitable for teams of any size.
With WorkFlowy, you can create to-dos, notes, team projects, research papers, and a whole lot more. WorkFlowy’s docs are text-based and zoomable enough to allow you to focus on particular tasks and organize your stuff the way you like it.
Joplin is a free and open-source Evernote alternative that is great for taking notes and organizing your to-dos. You can search for your notes, copy them, tag them and even modify them. Joplin notes are in Markdown format.
Noteshelf is another fascinating Evernote competitor giving you a workspace that allows your thoughts to flow as you write in the most fluid digital note-taking software. You can record your notes, play them back, and work on a couple of tasks simultaneously in Noteshelf.
If you are a fan of the pen and the keyboard, then Nebo would perfectly add to your suite of productivity tools. It features one of the most powerful handwriting recognition engines. Based on high-tech AI, Nebo can understand your writing style easily.
The cool thing about Roam is that it’s both easy to use and powerful to utilize. With Roam, you can organize your notes & docs for the long haul meaning when you refer back to your docs you won’t have to go through tedious discovery processes to find your notes.
Obsidian is a great Evernote alternative especially when it comes to personal notes. Obsidian, at its core, is super flexible and robust. It’s built with 18 core plugins to help you set up your own toolkit so you can hit the ground running in a couple of minutes.
Jotting down notes and organizing your docs happens easily with Remnote. Remnote, the first spaced-repetition powered note-taking software, will help you structure your notes & docs the way you want it.
WizNote gives you the chance to work better by keeping all your notes & docs in a straightforward place for managing. “Leave brain for thinking, let WizNote to remember” is how WizNote markets itself.
Another free and open-source alternative to Evernote that is bound to make your work life easier is Standard Notes. It keeps your notes in a safe place due to its reliable AES-256 encryption. From simple notes to rich text docs, Standard Notes does the job perfectly.
Even though ClickUp, at its core, is a project management tool, nevertheless, it comes with all the necessary tools for effortless note-taking and documentation. With its tasks and checklists, ClickUp allows you to keep track of everything that’s happening in your life.
Topping the rankings for the best note-taking app in 2019, Google Keep is a simple Evernote alternative that will annihilate the clutter you’ve been exposed to with other not-so-intuitive note-taking apps. When it comes to simplicity, we can say that Google Keep is better than Evernote. Still, there’s no quick-hit importer to transfer your data from Evernote to Google Keep.
Similar to Google Keep, DropBox Paper is another unbelievably simplistic and one of the best alternatives to Evernote that makes taking notes feel like a breeze. Coordinating with your team inside DropBox Paper is more than easy.
ProofHub is another project management tool that offers documentation and collaboration features to help you keep track of your thoughts and ideas. Due to its comprehensive interface, you won’t have trouble structuring your notes & docs. The learning curve is flat so you can hit the ground running in no time.
Simplenote is a great Evernote alternative for keeping all of your notes synced, in one place. You can run it on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux and on your web browser. It offers a distraction-free environment that will, without a doubt, pump up your productivity levels.
When it comes to Apple, Mac users are lucky to have Apple Notes on their side. It’s easy to use. It brings robust features to the table. And it offers great integration with Siri. Compared to Evernote’s simplicity, Apple Notes is definitely better than Evernote.
Files.Subfolders.Todos.Checklists.Scan documents.Add photos, video, or web link attachments.Formatting.Search bar.
Boostnote is a simply-designed markdown note-taking app mainly geared towards developers. The cool thing is that it’s open-source. It’s highly customizable which makes it perfect for development teams of any size. Boostnote also features quite a noticeable community of developers. The app is supported by contributors from over 200 countries and regions.
Tettra is a great note-taking app for sorting out knowledge bases. It helps you document essential information such as processes, policies, and procedures. You have all your stuff in one easy-to-access place.
CintaNotes is perfect for taking random notes on Windows. If you stumble upon an interesting article, CintaNotes makes it easy for you to highlight passages and jot them down into the app. It’s definitely one of the best Windows note-taking apps.
Notejoy is the perfect note-taking app for people who feel overwhelmed by email and Slack. Notejoy is fast and easy to use. Sharing files with the team feel like a breeze. Notejoy also empowers your team with great collaboration tools so you can stay up to date with one another.
Quip brings all your notes, docs, and team members in one place. It features quite an impressive chat feature so you can bring your team on the same page. Creating documents and spreadsheets inside Quip doesn’t require any Herculean efforts.
Box Notes is geared towards teams rather than individual users. It makes real-time collaboration a piece of cake. Taking notes, structuring and organizing docs, or writing a newsletter is quite effortless with Box Notes. What’s more, it can run on any device.
Todoist is a unique app that helps you put all the ideas in your head onto a to-do list without any hassle whatsoever. What makes it unique is that for over 10 years, Todoist hasn’t even considered being acquired by other companies, according to the creators’ words. This implies Todoist won’t end up like Evernote throwing spaghetti at the wall trying to attract broader markets while disappointing its core users.
Turtl is an all-in-one competitor to Evernote that is suitable for any kind of projects or notes. Whether it’s bookmarks, passwords, shopping lists, or detailed reviews, Turtl brings everything together in one simple and easy-to-use environment. It syncs with your devices seamlessly.
GoodNotes gives you the ability to create beautiful documents and notes while structuring them the way you want them. Thanks to its powerful OCR technology, GoodNotes makes it easy for you to search for your stuff later on.
Mainly geared towards designers, Milanote is a straightforward note-taking app allowing you to put your ideas into visual boards. Structuring and organizing your thoughts with Milanote is made easy so you can stay in flow all the time.
Squid Notes syncs with all of your devices easily. It allows you to create beautiful notes so you don’t feel overwhelmed every time you look at the app. Whether you are a student, a teacher, a marketer, an attorney, or whatever else, Squid Notes can fit your needs.
Zotero is a free Evernote alternative that makes jotting down ideas on the canvas as easy as it gets. Collecting, organizing, citing and sharing materials from the web happens effortlessly inside Zotero. It’s an open-source app developed by an independent, nonprofit organization that claims to have no financial stimulus over your data. With Zotero, you can put your mind at peace knowing that your data stays intact.
“The #1 app for journaling,” is how Day One likes to market itself. Day One definitely makes jotting down ideas a piece of cake due to the tons of features it brings to the table.
One of the most beautiful note-taking apps. Zoho Notebook is definitely a masterpiece when it comes to keeping your notes in a beautifully-designed workspace. What’s more, Zoho doesn’t sell your info nor does any ads. Zoho truly strives to appeal to the customers’ desires, unlike many other apps out there.
WhizFolders is an excellent Evernote alternative built for Windows users. The app is great for taking notes, reviewing and printing them. You can use it for kinds of projects. Whether you are in a business environment or you just want something for personal use, WhizFolders does a great job in keeping your notes organized.
NoteLedge is perfect for keeping your PDFs, media libraries, and web pages organized altogether in one simple workspace. Documenting important information inside NoteLedge happens easily.
Zim, another great Evernote-like note-taking app, is a graphical text editor that works best with wiki pages. You can easily format your pages and add images to make the design better. You can store your pages in a folder structure as well making it easier for you to find them further down the line.
If you feel overwhelmed by the complexity of other not-so-intuitive note-taking apps, Nimbus Note can relieve the tension with its simply-designed interface. With Nimbus Note, you can get more done with fewer iterations and meetings.
CherryTree is a simple note-taking app that features a rich text editor along with syntax highlighting to make the note-taking process much easier and enjoyable. You can store your data on a single xml or sqlite file.
Paperwork is another Evernote alternative striving to ease your note-taking process as much as possible. It’s open-source which makes it a widely preferred option for developers. It’s worth mentioning that Paperwork is currently under development meaning you have to be proficient in Docker, DNS, and HTTP proxying to be able to run it. Otherwise, Paperwork won’t be suitable for you.
“Paperwork v2 is targeted to developers that would like to get their hands dirty and contribute to the project.” — according to Paperwork’s own words.
Built mainly for Windows users, Notezilla is a sticky note alternative to Evernote that keeps you well-equipped and organized.
TagSpaces, a fantastic note-taking app, is an open-source alternative to Evernote. On top of that, it works perfectly fine offline. It can also be considered as a file manager as it allows you to structure and organize your notes & docs effectively.
If you are searching for a top-notch outlining app, Dynalist will be the perfect pick for you. You can capture, flesh out, and bring brilliant ideas to reality with Dynalist. The app is designed around the details. It gives you the chance to focus on the granular details so you can make your notes & docs outstanding.
Leanote is perfect for blogging, sharing notes, and cooperating with your teammates. It boasts enough features to make your note-taking process easier.
Polar, a feature-rich note-taking app, is perfect for managing your web pages, text books, and PDFs. Polar allows you to structure your notes the way you want it so you can remember them without any hassle whatsoever.
QOwnNotes is an open-source markdown note-taking application geared towards Linux, Mac OS X and Windows users. All your notes & docs can be stored as plain text files on your desktop.
If you struggle with efficiently organizing your projects, Zenkit can make a good option for you. It syncs with your devices seamlessly. You can create tasks, bugs, invoices, documents and note down other relevant business data. Zenkit will remove the excruciating clutter of other complex tools and spreadsheets.
If you are fond of cloud-based notes, SynapBook is a great note-taking app that will make the whole process much easier for you. It brings tons of features to the table and definitely makes a worthy note-taking application like Evernote.
Org-mode is a fantastic app for managing your to-do lists, projects, and docs. It features a fast and efficient plain-text system that will make the note-taking process effortless.
WeDo is an outstanding note-taking app for personal cases or even for your business. You can use it to organize your work, create a shopping list, jot down movies, homework, habit lists, and a lot more.
TiddlyWiki, a non-linear note-taking app for organizing and sharing complicated info with your team, is definitely an unmatched alternative to Evernote. You can utilize the tool to create to-do lists, write an outline for an essay, or to bring your shopping list to life.
With Supernotes, you can jot down ideas, create records, tasks and lists without any hassle. Supernotes strives to ease your note-taking process by removing formatting, downloading, and loading screens. It’s made for high-responsive people who operate at high paces.
Checkvist is another fascinating option for keeping track of your lists and notes in a way that won’t make you feel overwhelmed. You can organize your notes quite easily so you can search for them without any hassle further down the line. You can structure tasks, make time estimates, add notes, and attach files.
Nuclino is quite an easy-to-use note-taking app for keeping track of your docs and notes in one place. Due to its robust search feature, you can find the information you are looking for in an instant. Its collaboration features also don’t fall behind.
Omni-notes is an open-source Evernote alternative that features a simplistic interface to keep your mind “cleared” and away from clutter. The creators say that the project was inspired by the absence of note-taking applications compatible with older Android versions. It strives to make the note-taking process super effortless.
With Taskade, you can organize your notes & docs in an efficient way that will help you get more things done in less time. It’s mainly suited for business purposes as it features great chat features to bring your team on the same page.
Notability is the perfect note-taking app to bring your projects to life meaning it allows you to handwrite and insert photos to make your notes more lively. It also provides sketching tools so you can even focus on the slightest details. It’s definitely a great app to organize both your personal and professional life.
As you can probably tell by the name, Cryptee is a note-taking app that keeps all of your docs & notes private, safe, and up to date. You can sync it on all your devices seamlessly.
With Slite, you can stay aligned with your notes & docs so you never lose focus on the important things. You can capture everything from meetings notes to brainstorming sessions. Slite boasts great collaboration features to bring your team on the same page and allow you to move faster towards the goal line. With Slite, you won’t second guess yourself when it comes to executing tasks.
Notable is a fantastic Evernote alternative that keeps your notes as markdown files. You can attach pictures to make your notes more lively. Everything is converted into plain text files to make it easier for you.
ColorNote is a simple and easy-to-use alternative to Evernote. Creating lists and notes happens at cat’s speed. You can sort out things the way you like it so you know what to do next without second-guessing yourself. It works great for both short and long documents.
Cronycle is an all-in-one tool built for content curation, collaboration, and distribution. It also works perfectly as a note-taking app. You can summarize, tag & annotate content. Advanced filtering is likewise available to make the document discovery process much easier for you.
Laverna is an open-source alternative to Evernote that comes with a robust markdown editor to help you write faster along with its live markdown preview. You can utilize the distraction-free mode so your tasks can have your entire focus on them.
Falcon, definitely a great Evernote alternative, makes writing notes as simple as it gets and stores your files as plain-text files. Importing and exporting is made effortless so you can hop onto Falcon any time you want with all your data in your pocket. It uses Markdown so you can write and read in a plain text format and then convert it to HTML.
Scrivener will make you feel like a true poet. Its design and interface are fantastic. It’s specifically built for novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, teachers, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. It boasts heaps of features so you can write without any limitations.
Airstory is a flexible writing system, a direct competitor to Google Docs and Microsoft Word as well, that allows you to write fluently without any distractions whatsoever. It’s suitable for copywriters and bloggers.
Lumhaa allows users to save text notes, photos, videos, and voice notes into collections called “memory jars”. You can create unlimited collections and invite unlimited collaborators to each memory jar for free.
“A markdown editor for the 21st century” — is how Zettlr describes itself. Zettlr makes the process of jotting down ideas slim, fast, and versatile. It won’t overwhelm you with an excessive amount of features. Instead, it will help you focus while working in a distraction-free workspace so you can stay in flow when writing.
Hugo is perfect for teams of any size as it allows you to take quick notes and then share them with your teammates instantly. Moreover, it boasts 20+ integrations to make the note-taking process as smooth as possible.
FSNotes is an open-source alternative to Evernote that is free of cost. It’s built primarily for macOS and iOS users. Although it’s still under development, FSNotes offers a simplistic way of managing your notes.
SilentNotes is another open-source note-taking app that claims to have no interest in selling your data. It also doesn’t run any annoying ads. It’s actually quite a simple note-taking app designed with a WYSIWYG editor. It encompasses basic formatting features so you can customize your notes the way you want.
GigaNotes runs on all your devices. You can customize your notes with a rich-text editor as well. The cool thing is that it gives you a fast and handy access to your notes via trees. Managing your notes inside GigaNotes is like a child’s play.
Typora is one of those productivity tools that can seem magical to you if you have been stuck with other sophisticated note-taking apps for a while. It provides a distraction-free environment without the preview window, mode switcher, syntax symbols, and other unnecessary features that instead of helping you they punch your productivity until it hits rock bottom.
That will make it for this “The Best 75 Evernote Alternatives” article. Share which one you use in the comments. If you feel like I have missed something, let me know and I’ll be sure to add with my next update.
Previously published at https://blog.codegiant.io/the-best-evernote-alternatives-e3ceea8ee7c5