When it comes to my note-taking app, I have a few criteria.

  • Can I write in it? I’m talking about simple, distraction-free writing. Markdown support is necessary to write and add some basic formatting without leaving the keyboard.
  • Can I get my notes out of it? I don’t want to use any application where I’ll struggle to move my notes elsewhere.
  • Is it available everywhere? As a user of Windows, Mac, and iOS, I need an app that will work everywhere.
  • Is it flexible? Can I organize my notes by folders or tags? I don’t organize much and rely on search to find what I need. Some simple tags and a couple of folders suit my workflow.
  • Can I easily publish my notes elsewhere? Sometimes it’s my blog. Sometimes it is to a PDF or some other application.

If I were only using a Mac, I’d probably use Bear for my notes. I love its clean and simple interface, speed, and export capabilities. But I’m also using Windows, so I’ve been searching for an app that will meet my requirements.

I have been using Evernote for years, and it checks some of the boxes. The biggest downside to Evernote is the note editor is not as clean as I would like, and getting notes out of Evernote can be a pain Although many apps import from Evernote, it’s not a great experience.

Then I discovered UpNote, a notes app similar to Bear. UpNote supports markdown and has a focus mode, making it a pleasure to write in. The sync is fast and reliable. It has plenty of features. I can organize by folder and tags. And it’s available on macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and even Linux. I can export to various formats, including Markdown or PDF.

What is UpNote missing? Well, on paper, it’s not missing much. In reality, a few things would make it perfect (for me). One is the ability to drag and drop notes into folders. Not a big deal. Since folders can be organized in any order, you can create sub-folders and even add colors and images to folder thumbnails, I’ll let it slide. Maybe some more explore options and better Markdown export. When I copy Markdown into other apps, sometimes I have to fix some things.

There is also something else that is missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. You may get some level of polish from apps like Bear or Ulysses. UpNote is a beautiful app, but if I were to compare the UI, Bear might be a 9 or 10, while UpNote is an 8 or 9. UpNote’s UI is beautiful but safe and not as exciting to use as other premium apps.

I will stick with UpNote for a while and see if it meets my needs long-term. Let me know if you use the app yourself or know of any similar apps!

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