An unfortunate side effect of using and reviewing different Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps is the need to choose which ones to use among many good choices. Note taking apps are a perfect example. There are many, and the good ones are cross platform, which means they run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad and sync notes between each device.
Notebooks are much like mini word processors and carry the same requirement for visual and keyboard comfort. In other words, taste and convenience rule the day. One of the best to grace my Mac’s screen in the past couple of years is elegantly entitled Notebooks. Not Notebook (singular), but Notebooks (plural) because you can create and manage multiple notebooks, easily organized and synchronized between devices.
If you’ve struggled beyond the bare essentials in Apple’s Notes app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, want more control than Evernote provides, then prepare to be impressed with Notebooks for the Mac (I’ll get to Notebooks for iPhone and iPad below).
Create and store as many notebooks and notes as you need. That makes Notebooks good for simple notes and lists, but just as good for journals and heavier duty writing projects and documents.
Notebooks handles about every file format you need; from text, RTF, PDF, web pages, Word, Pages, photos, videos and more– and they can be stuffed into a notebook, and those can be organized and nested in sub projects. The notes themselves are created using what works more like a simple word processor than a notes app. File sync between devices is handled by Dropbox (iCloud Drive can also be used, but I avoid it for critical files; Apple doesn’t do cloud services as well as Google does apps).
One of the benefits of engaging the Apple ecosystem is the ability to get to your files from any device; including iPhone and iPad. So, there’s an iOS version of Notebooks, too, and it works much like the Mac version for organizing and formatting notes, but has a few extras.
Notebooks isn’t just Notes with a pretty interface. It’s far more robust, handles a variety of text options (including HTML to Markdown conversion), but works well as a task manager, reminder, clipboard manager, PDF converter, and mini word processor.
Yet, it’s not complicated. If you can use Word or Pages, Notebooks is a delight, and file management is built in. Notebooks may be one of the pricier note taking packages for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but it’s also one of the more capable and feature laden, and the majority of Mac App Store and iTunes App Store reviewers give it four and five stars.
Because there are plenty of useful features Notebooks has a learning curve to get to all the benefits, but it’s not difficult to master. As noted, if you can handle Word, you’ll love the ease of use built-in to Notebooks.