Trick questions. They’re not really the same. Chances are good you’ve already tried the Notes app in OS X, but it’s been upgraded and improved dramatically in OS X El Capitan. Notes is more of a mini-word processor now, but syncs nicely– with graphics, photos, fonts, URLs, et al– with Notes on iPhone and iPad.
Add a note or make a change to an existing note and they get updated to Notes on other Macs, iPhones, or iPads using your iCloud account. There’s much to like in the new Notes so check it out (it even lets you sketch a note).
What Notes does not do is exactly what Ghostnote does. Instead of creating a list of notes the old fashioned way, Ghostnote is contextual notes app. That means you add notes to apps, folders, documents, websites. The notes stick with the app and the file it’s attached to.
Ghostnote also adds notes to documents, including most of Apple’s built-in apps, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and many others.
The key to understand how Ghostnote is more valuable at times than Notes is how it works. Ghostnote attaches a note to the app you’re working on, or the document, or to a specific folder, or even a website URL.
Click the Mac’s Menubar to get started.
The notes styles in Ghostnote are extensive: Ordered lists, To-Do lists, standard notes, and you can change the Post-it Note-like and Stickies-like background color with a click to the menu selection.
Ghostnote works by remembering where you took the note and what it was assigned to, so it’s easy to check through your notes and remember where and why you took the note in the first place. Notes can be accessed quickly by using keyboard shortcuts. And, of course, like any decent Mac notes app, you can change fonts and size.
For the power Mac user, Ghostnote has a number of expandable options to add more capability with your own scripts, but it also integrates with Evernote. There are caveats to this change in context, though, so consider the app a work in progress with plenty of promise. Ghostnote is a Mac-only app so it won’t sync notes from Mac to iPhone to iPad. There’s no single location to view all Ghostnote notes, either.