Note taking apps are quite useful in many areas of our lives. When it comes to holding meetings, a great note taking app can improve productivity by helping you take and disseminate meeting notes with minimal effort and in record time.
But, just as other technologies aren’t all created equal, note taking apps can differ in how they work. This is why we have compiled this list of 10 best meeting notes apps that will help you improve your productivity in 2021.
From content-heavy apps like Evernote and OneNote, to smart, AI-based apps like Aira, not forgetting minimalist apps like Googlekeep, we have something for everyone here. Read on for more.
If you are looking for a lightweight app for taking simple notes on MacOS or iOS, then bear is a good place to start.
But don’t let its simplicity fool you because at only $14.99, this meeting notes app comes with powerful features such as:
- It uses markdown instead of the usual menu icons
- You can import and export notes from other meeting notes apps such as Evernote
- Organize notes using tags
- Effortless syncing via CloudKit
Bear’s simple design is deliberate, as the app seeks to provide a platform for simply creating and storing notes. Hence you will not find the notebooks and folders that normally come with more elaborate notetaking apps like Evernote or OneNote.
The main downside of Bear is that if you need to sync among devices or other services (such as .html, .pdf, .docx, .jpg, or TaskPaper), you need the pro version, which is a paid account.
However, the paid version comes with a 1 week to 1 month trial period (depending on whether you are paying annually or monthly). This gives you some time to try it out before committing to the app long term.
Pro version: $14.99 billed yearly, or $1.49/month
Evernote is the workhorse of workhorses when it comes to note taking and note syncing. The app is like a filing cabinet, only more powerful and convenient because it is digital. You can store, organize and record practically all information on Evernote, including voice memos, files, images and notes.
Similar apps may include OneNote, Applenotes and Google keep. However, Applenotes and Googlekeep are great for recording simple reminders, while OneNote’s pages are more like scrapbook pages.
Although Evernote offers a basic package for free, unlocking its more sophisticated features comes at quite a premium. The free version for instance, only allows for 25MB upload size per file whereas when you upgrade to premium, you get 10 GB storage per month and file size increases to 200MB. Syncing is also limited on the free version, as you can only sync on the web app and two devices.
Cost aside, anyone who constantly needs to take, sync and share notes will find it reliable because You can
- Take and sync notes effortlessly
- Use search feature to find information in your stored notes
- Use the browser version to open a whole level of possibilities
- Sync on all devices
- Turn your notes into slideshows
- Digitize your business cards through scanning
- Use geolocation tags to make searching and sorting easier
- Organize your thoughts with notebooks
- Use Optical character recognition, which allows the app to read text in images, including handwritten text
- Use the web clipper to clip and save elements from an internet page
The updated version of Evernote has fixed most of the app’s usability problems, making the notebooks more manageable and the search feature speedier. The editor has also been completely redesigned, making it easier to clear formatting, use different colors and font sizes.
Premium: $7.99/month or $69.99/year (50% discount for students on this plan)
Business: $14.99/ person/month. Minimum of two users
Evernote has been criticized for offering very sparse features on its free package. This makes OneNote a great option for anyone who needs a powerful note taking app, but does not want to part with their dollars. OneNote is a somewhat natural choice if you already use Microsoft or already pay for OneDrive. Some of OneNote’s key features include:
- OCR, which allows users to read text in images
- You can turn handwritten text into typed text using the digital in feature
- Web clipping to save whole or parts of internet pages
- Use notebooks, sections and pages to organize and store your information
- Lots of storage space. E.g 5gb for free OneNote and 1TB for the free education version
- The paid version unlocks features such as Math and sticker Access all Microsoft office apps with the Microsoft personal versionOneNote organizes content on pages by adding it into boxes. You can organize your content by dragging or dropping the pages or resizing them.
Despite these advantages and the fact that OneNote is among the best note taking apps, the app can be has some downsides. For instance, the scrapbook-like design can work against you if you are low on organizational skills, or if you want neat pages.
In addition, Onenote’s structure can be a bit slow depending on the sizes of files you use. For instance, using OneNote on a new device can somewhat slow you down as you need to give the app time to sync old notebooks from OneDrive. Furthermore, OneNote can take time to switch between notebooks, making Evernote’s arrangement more suitable for anyone who has to work with many notebooks simultaneously.
Microsoft personal: $6.99/month or $69.99/year
Family account: $9.99/month or $99.99/year
- Google keep
Google keep is a free note taking app that lacks most of the features you’ll find in similar apps, but, that is great for anyone who
- Needs to transcribe images to text
- Is after simplicity, first and foremost
- Doesn’t need to see all their notes in one view
- Doesn’t need to do a whole lot of note-taking
Google Keep’s impressive Optical Image Recognition (OCR) is behind its image to text transcription. If you have snapped images of text, Google keep can transcribe it, allowing you to format and edit it just like you would any typed text.
Although the app doesn’t have a sophisticated system to organize your notes, color coding makes it easy to organize them (the notes), and tags help you find what you are looking for.
Like Evernote and OneNote, Google Keep has a Web clipper. However, it is limited in that it cannot save page content, only the URL and page title.
Google keep is low on the organization side and doesn’t have the sophisticated note-filing features like you would find in OneNote or Evernote. However, the use of tags will help you find information when you need it.
That said, if you need an app that you can use to quickly jot down ideas on the fly, google keep is your mate. It integrates well with other google apps, making it great for android users. You can also integrate reminders into the app, in case you have a meeting, or you want to organize or expound on your notes later on.
If you want a great note taking app that is simple and absolutely free, Simplenote is the way to go.
- It works on all platforms and gives unlimited storage
- It uses tags to organize notes
- Offers robust sharing options
- It supports markdown
Simplenote has a surprising sharing feature that makes it quite useful as a collaborative tool. When you need to collaboratively edit a note with someone else, you can add their email as a tag to your note. This syncs the note to their Simplenote to enable collaboration.
Version history is another great feature as it helps you to scroll back in time to see earlier versions of your note.
However, most free things have their downside, and for Simplenote, the fact that you cannot use formatting, upload content, or work with multimedia, can make it quite limiting for an active note taker.
What do you get when you mix AI and note taking?… Aira! This AI-powered app was created to meet the demands of the busy professional who needs to juggle many meetings. Aira is so impressive that in the short time it has been in the market, they have signed up notable brands like Zvolv & UnboundB2B.
One of the main ways that Aira differs with other apps is that you don’t actually need to actively take notes on it. All you need to do is log into your meetings with it and everything that you or other attendants say is automatically recorded. Additionally, you don’t need to send meeting notes or minutes to anyone as the app automatically generates and sends the same to anyone who is on your list of attenders.
Furthermore, recorded notes are transcribed into text format, so anyone can search, edit or add comments to transcripts.
In addition to improving your organization by saving your repository of meeting notes, the app’s use of keywords adds another layer or organization by making searching through notes a lot easier.
Pricing: Contact Aira
- Zoho notebook
Zoho has been around for a while, although it relaunched in 2016 as a note-taking app. It is a fast-growing application that will probably rival big wigs like OneNote and Evernote in the not so distant future.
Zoho notebook is a great app for note taking, although it doesn’t as yet support note taking on Windows. Android, MacOS and iOS users can however enjoy its simple note taking capabilities.
Below are some of Zoho notebook’s features:
- It has a web clipper
- You get unlimited storage, although individual file size is limited to 50 mb
- Notes appear as actual books on the app’s screen, and each notebook’s cover is unique
- Zoho lets you create different types of notes, including images, text and audio
- If you need to keep your notes private, simply password protect them.
- Drag and drop gestures allow you to group notes together by stacking them.
- You can share notes with team members. Shared notes are received as actual content and not as a link
The web clipper functionality is quite unique and fun to use. When you clip web content on a page, it appears like a newspaper clipping. This means you don’t need to copy-paste whatever you clip off web pages.
If you are a small to medium sized business and want a tool for your team to communicate while collaborating on projects, Quip is your tool. SalesForce is behind this collaboration app, hence it’s made to integrate with useful Salesforce CRM features that boost sales, marketing and customer service delivery. Larger teams can benefit from using Quip’s enterprise and Quip 360 versions.
Quip has the following features:
- Multiple team members can contribute to the same work in real time
- Communication is well structured, as the app keeps comments well organized
- You can work from inside salesforce
- It Supports Zapier
- It works offline
- Regulate permissions as needed
- Access different versions of your documents
- Collaboratively create and edit spreadsheets, slides and documents
- Spreadsheets can embed into documents
- Chat one on one or in groups
If you like to add some visual appeal to your note taking, you should try Milanote. This app organizes notebooks into boards that look like canvases. The cloud based web app comes with the following features:
- It’s heavy on graphics, however, you can only import images into it but not draw or sketch directly into the app.
- If you have any unfiled notes, you can put them in a drawer which is accessible from any notebook
- Milanote also excels as a real-time collaboration tool. You can invite anyone and assign them permissions to read only, view, edit, or leave comments.
- You can view edits as they happen in real time or track their source later on as they will be marked with the editor’s initials.
Milanote’s free version limits its users up to 100 files, but you can scale up the storage with a paid version. You might find the pricing a little steep, especially considering that the app isn’t as feature-packed as Evernote or OneNote.
A key downside for such a visual app is that it doesn’t support OCR. This, however, doesn’t take from the fact that it’s a great collaborative tool, or that anyone who needs to organize their visual thoughts could benefit from using it.
Milanote professional: $15/month
Milanote professional team: $12/person/month
Writebox is a free cloud-based note taking app that saves directly to dropbox as you write. It is quite minimalist as it lets you only work with .txt files. This minimalist nature is by design, as the app was designed to give users a distraction-free writing environment.
The app takes its distraction-free promise so seriously that when you use it on the web browser, the entire browser screen turns blank. Nevertheless, some customization features are available to change text color, adjust line spacing, adjust font size upwards or downwards, or change the appearance of the background.
Writebox allows you to keep count of your work as character count displays on screen as you write. This happens not only for text but for lines and characters as well.
You actually don’t need another account to sign into Writebox, as it uses your existing dropbox account.
That’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of apps that we recommend for taking meeting notes.
Remember: Meeting Notes Apps are good depending on what you want to do with them. Whichever app you choose, your level of satisfaction will depend on your needs versus how well placed the app is to solve that need. That obviously depends on the app’s features and capabilities.
As such, study this list, try out these apps (most of them have free trials) and pick the one that best addresses your note taking needs.