Best Free Notes Organizer

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Introduction

In today's electronic world, it can be quite a challenge to organize all useful information such as web clips, articles, bits of text, images, interesting web links, bookmarks, shopping lists, to-do lists, recipes, tips and many others that are hanging around your PC. It seems to be a common easy task but a difficult one to sort out as the information is so disparate.

Some folks have tried to get it organized by using free form databases while others use beefed up text editors or multi-media snippet managers. If you're one of them or just would like to look for a useful tool to organize your random bits of information, you might find that some of these freeware products come in handy and helpful.

For notes organizers featuring a tree-like structure, see Best Free Outliner, and for sticky notes, try Best Free Sticky Notes Utility.

 

Rated Products

Evernote  

An excellent solution to manage notes and snippets of information across multiple platforms


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Limited features)
Supports contents including text and images with drag-and-drop, organize notes with tags, easy sorting and searching, multiple platforms, online syncing.
Free account comes with a lower upload limit and other restrictions.
Read full review...

Tomboy  

A useful tool to relate notes and ideas with Wiki style links


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Relate notes and ideas together with a wiki-like linking system, rich text formatting, plugins, export to html format.
Adding images is not yet supported.
Read full review...

NotesHolder  

An effective way to store all your notes without cluttering up your desk


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Lightweight and portable, auto backup and time-stamping, works great to clip text from webpages, set note subjects and reminders, export notes.
Keep pure text but not images, hot-key doesn't work on some browsers such as Chrome.
Read full review...

CintaNotes  

A lightweight program to keep notes on an endless roll of virtual paper


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Lightweight and portable, auto backup, time-stamping and auto note subjects, tagging, fast search, works great to clip text from webpages, export notes to txt and xml formats.
Keep pure text but not images, no print option.
Read full review...

Other Free Notes Organizer Software

Several other free notes organisers were not rated in this review. I am listing some of them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • AllMyNotes the free version has disabled some useful advanced features such as hyperlinks, data sorting, auto backups, etc, that are available in the commercial version.
  • Flashnote is a quick notes manager but it lacks storing images and other more powerful features as in KeepNote, which is included in Best Free Outliner.
  • Linked Notes uses a Wiki-style notepad to organize notes into pages. The free basic edition lacks some useful features such as search all pages for specific words or export all pages into a single rtf file.
  • Catzware's Simple Notes lets you make up to five notes with the first note allowing for scrolling left or right. It lacks search and many other useful functions available in other note organizers.
  • Quicknote allows taking of notes grouped by category. It comes with an atypical user interface, and additional utilities such as a simple drawing tool, reminder, unit converter, screen measurer, etc.
  • Delphinus Notes contains simple notes, notepad, calendar and expenditure management modules with encryption of data. Additional features include showing time in 3 time zones, import and export of notes, etc. Searching for notes with keywords or tags is not supported.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Jojo Yee. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Comments

I'm not sure an article listing Evernote at the top, and giving it 5 stars is very reliable.... Evernote sucks on so many levels. So do the other 3. None of them offer much. Evernote is a terrible platform, and is just a waste of time.

So which one do you use ??? that is Free of course

I had used Notesholder under Windows 7, and have gone to Windows 10. After going Windows 10, it seemed Notesholder still worked. Then I had to reset, and consequently reinstall Notesholder. While reinstallation went off without a hitch, the software no longer launches upon startup curiously. Any ideas why this is the case?

I installed Notesholder on my Windows 10 laptop, and it installed without problems. It launches on startup too. Maybe you need to install it as administrator? Or, just check in the settings if the launch at startup setting box is checked.

ZuluPad is similar to Tomboy. What is the difference and why it is not here?

Google Keep is also good, most important for me is to keep notes across all devices, I just keep random notes, copy web snippets, reminder, alarm, etc. don't need editing, so Keep is perfect for me.

Yes, I like Keep a lot too. Simple and powerful. Perfect for short, random notes, urls, photos etc. Has OCR. Much faster than OneNote. I use both.

OneNote is the best, the only problem is poor tag management.
The good: multiplatform, OCR and powerful cross-reference between notes. The latter is very useful to annotate anything. For instance, you're reading an article and onenote allows you to create notes that are linked to each paragraph.
The bad: unusual page layout; highlights hover the document and are easily moved, tags are prebuilt (although you can edit, add, delete tags) and don't sync with mobile devices.

Would you please include Microsoft OneNote in the next update, seeing that it is now "available for free across all your devices" [office.microsoft.com/en-001/onenote].

I don't know where you get your info, but Evernote is NOT bundled with OpenCandy. If you download Evernote from the Evernote site it is free of crapware, spyware and anything else you can think of.

I've been using Evernote for about three years and I never heard of it being bundled with OpenCandy.

I run a W7 Sony Vaio, where it comes pre-installed. Before that I was using it with XP pro. I've got it on my Android tablet, and when I recently installed it on my HTC Android phone they gave me a years worth of premium account.

So no, I don't believe that info is correct, at least I've never heard of any mention of it.

Anyhow, thanks for the continuing great website. I use Evernote for all manner of general note-keeping, web clipping, I use it to write my ideas and thoughts down. As it's cloud based with not too much (enough) emphasis on security,I treat it like an open postcard. I've read about people keeping all manner of personal and professional info on it, not sure that is a good idea.

Right now I'm looking for a lightweight portable notes organiser, still working through your excellent selection, TYVM!

Mempad is the best option for me. Text only, fast, extremely lightweight, portable, sync via dropbox.
Shortcuts makes it even faster, moving or creating nodes. Has also a Diary function, it adds automatically a tree node with the date.
User can also password protect files.
It worth a try but spend some time on it, at first glance it might be a bit discouraging as it's quite essential (and that's where its true power relies).

QuickTextPaste is the best for me. It save my time.

How do you use it to take notes?

I have searched the entire internet to find a notes organizer with the following features:
- Search as you type (find all word instances just like in CintaNotes and ResophNotes)
- Rich Text support including images
- Flagging
- Alarms/Reminders like in Pnotes
- Re-arranging of notes in a list using shortcuts or dragging
- Category folders (could be in a folder tree)
- create notes from clipboard
- offline
- portable

The closest is Evernote but with their enforced cloud approach it won't work for me.

If ResophNotes could store images, I would be set. I find ResophNotes much better than CintaNotes since ResophNotes just works. For instance, try searching in CintaNotes for a repeating word in a large note. It displays the found instances in the preview but once you open the note, you only see the first found instance. A huge bug!

If you know anything that has similar features, please let me know.

It would be nice if Cinta Notes had the feature of storing images. After all, as they say, a picture is worth a million words.

Dragdis - Collect images, videos, texts, links from the web just with drag&drop: https://www.dragdis.com/