Simplenote Review: Is This Notetaking App Worth It?

Is Simplenote a helpful notetaking tool for freelancers, authors, and business owners? This Simplenote review covers everything you need to know about the app.

As a creative professional, there are few things worse than forgetting an amazing idea. Whether it’s for a novel or article, you want a tool where you can record thoughts within seconds.

So, after experimenting with multiple apps like Evernote and Your Camera, I discovered Simplenote and gave it a shot.

In this post, I’ll talk about my experience with Simplenote, how it works, the pros and cons, and if it’s worth it.

What Is Simplenote?

SimpleNote review

Simplenote is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and MacOS devices. As the name suggests, it’s an easy-to-use tool allowing you to take notes when you’re on the go. Unlike other unnecessarily complicated apps, Simplenote aims to keep its interface as clean as possible.

If you get a creative idea while at the grocery store, or you simply want to create a to-do list, whip out your phone and use Simplenote.

Simplenote review
As the name suggests, Simplenote is an easy-to-use tool allowing you to take notes when you’re on the go

It syncs across all devices. So, if you’re away from the office, feel free to use your phone to record ideas, and when you get to work, it’ll be on your desktop.

Who Is Simplenote For?

Simplenote empowers the lives of:

  • Freelance writers
  • Authors
  • Entrepreneurs

Freelance Writers

Creating a to-do list is essential as a freelance writer because you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder. So, you must build a structure to ensure productivity

Fortunately, with Simplenote, creating to-do lists is easy. I like writing one the night before, so I know what to do when I wake up in the morning. 

Simplenote to-do lists
You can also add tags to make finding and organizing notes easier

To create a to-do list, go to your dashboard and click the “New Note” icon. From here, insert some bullet points and record everything you need to do the next day..

You can also add tags to make finding and organizing notes easier. For example, you could have five categories for:

  1. To-do lists
  2. Ideas for articles
  3. Gym exercises
  4. Notes when researching 
  5. Grocery lists

If you’re searching for a specific note, simply filter the categories, and you’re good to go.

Authors

Capturing creative ideas as an author allows you to expand upon them later and write the best book possible.

Carrying a notebook with you wherever you go can be impractical. This is where a digital notebook like Simplenote helps. Download it on your iPhone or iPad and when you get an idea, jot it down.

Simplenote also offers sharing features. This allows you to send your thoughts to editors and co-authors so you can get their opinion on potential storylines.

Entrepreneurs

Many famous entrepreneurs advocate carrying a notebook with you, so if you get a business idea, you can write it down. But instead of carrying a notebook, why not download Simplenote on your phone?

It syncs with all devices, and you can share your ideas with others. The convenient tags feature allows you to categorize notes. For example, if you get an idea for a book and a business simultaneously, tag them, so it’s easy to find later.

You won’t have to scroll back in your notebook trying to find where you wrote a specific idea.

Unfortunately, Simplenote doesn’t allow you to set reminders for specific projects, so you can’t use it as a project management tool.

How Does It Work?

First, go to Simplenote.com and sign up for an account. It’s free and takes less than a minute. You can sign up with an email, Google, or Facebook account. After you’ve signed up, Simplenote sends a confirmation email, which you’ll need to click on.

Next, go to the dashboard. This is where you’ll find everything you need for notetaking. If you want to create a note, head over to the top right-hand corner and select the “New Notes” icon. From here, insert bullet points and add tags to help categorize ideas.

You’ll also notice that the sidebar only offers three options:

  • All Notes
  • Settings
  • Trash

This simplicity is what sets Simplenote apart from other notetaking apps. It isn’t advanced since it doesn’t offer audio, image, and video options, but it’s simple and effective.

Simplenote sidebar options
You can share it via email or a direct messaging app

You can also import text notes and plain text files directly from other apps like Evernote. Because it doesn’t take up much space, you can share it via email or a direct messaging app.

Now that we’ve covered how Simplenote works, let’s compare it against specific criteria.

Ease Of Use

The main Simplenote value proposition is how easy it is to use. You’ll find the interface is clean and uncluttered, and there aren’t any fancy or unnecessary features. This makes it the perfect software if you want a free tool that offers basic features.

Keyword search
Finding a particular note is easy, all you need to do is search for the keyword

If you delete a note, simply go to your menu and select “Trash,” and you’ll be able to recover previous versions.

When organizing notes, click “Tag Notes” on the bottom of your screen. This is what sets it apart from taking notes with a physical notebook. You can create as many categories as you’d like. Finding a particular note is easy, all you need to do is search for the keyword. 

It would be challenging to find old notes without this straightforward searching tool.

Security

Most notetaking software uses two-factor authentication to encrypt notes so others can’t see them. This is where Simplenote falls short. Its security isn’t the best. 

Although Simplenote does encrypt notes, making it harder for hackers, it doesn’t specify which encryption it uses. Simplenote even warns users to not store sensitive information on the app.

The owners clearly state that Simplenote collects all users’ private information. This includes:

  • Notes and logs
  • Location
  • Cookies
  • Usage

They’ll share this information with other companies for marketing purposes. The government can also access your private data if they wish.

So, although I respect the honesty of Simplenote, it isn’t a good option if you’re storing confidential information. It falls short of most notetaking tools like Evernote and Apple Notes’ security systems.

If you’re just using it to write grocery lists, to-do lists, and article ideas, then Simplenote is still a practical option.

Pricing

Simplenote is 100% free. Unlike other apps that offer free versions but limit your access to features, you can use all Simplenote’s features without paying anything.

There’s no cap on storage, number of devices, or bandwidth. They can do this because you can’t upload images and videos.

You might be worried about ads. Most free mobile apps use ads to generate revenue, which can be annoying when taking notes. Fortunately, Simplenote is ad-free and depends on their parent company, Automattic, to keep it going.

But, there are some drawbacks to having a 100% free tool. Because Automattic isn’t making money with Simplenote, they’ll rarely improve the app by introducing new features. That’s why I’d like to see Simplenote offer a paid plan with more advanced features.

Additional Features

Simplenote aims to be as straightforward as possible. This ensures a clean interface, but it does offer some additional features:

  • You can easily share notes with others
  • Finding old notes is easy

You Can Easily Share Notes With Others

This feature allows you to quickly get feedback on your ideas and business plans from colleagues and bosses. There are two ways of sharing notes with Simplenote.

First, you could invite others as collaborators. This way, they can view and edit your notes. To do this, go to your dashboard, select the note you want to share, and click the “Collaborate” icon in the top-right hand menu.

The second way to share notes is to publish them, and Simplenote will generate a link. You can share this link with anyone via email, social media platforms, or instant messaging apps.

Finding Old Notes Is Easy

Let’s say you want to find a note you wrote five years ago. With a traditional notebook, it’ll be almost impossible. But if you’re using Simplenote, type a keyword in the search bar, and then you can access the note..

This search feature is beneficial if you go to the gym regularly and would like to record your workouts. You can keep track of what lifted in the last session so you can lift more the next time.

Areas For Improvement

After using Simplenote to record ideas, grocery lists, and gym sessions, here are some areas where I think it falls short.

The Developers Should Improve Security

The biggest weakness that Simplenote should fix is its security. This isn’t a significant problem for me because I don’t use it to record sensitive information. I mainly use it for article ideas, workouts, and grocery lists. 

But, if you aren’t looking for a secure notetaking app, then Simplenote isn’t practical. Consider Evernote or Microsoft OneNote.

It’s Too Simple

Simplenote doesn’t offer features like file attachments, audio, video, or email notes that you’ll find when using other tools. If you like taking audio, video, or picture notes, this could be a dealbreaker. 

If you want something more advanced, try Onenote or Google Keep.

Why Trust Us?

I’ve been using Simplenote to record blog ideas and gym workouts for a while now, and I’ll continue using it in the future.

It’s free, straightforward, and doesn’t have any ads. When I’m going to the gym, I’ll open the app and enter the number of sets, repetitions, and weight I’m doing for a specific exercise. This means that the next time, I’ll try to lift more.

Or, if I’m running errands, I’ll take my phone instead of carrying a notebook with me. if a new idea pops up, I can type it into Simplenote.

My Testing Criteria

When reviewing and testing Simplenote, I used the following criteria to see if it’s a valuable app:

  • Ease of use
  • Security
  • Affordability
  • Functionality
  • Extra features

Simplenote is easy to use and affordable. But, it should improve its security while introducing more features if it wants to compete with industry leaders.

If you’re recording personal notes that you don’t want others to access, then opt for a more secure app. Simplenote might also be impractical if you use note apps to take video and audio recordings.

If you’re looking for a free app that allows you to quickly jot down some ideas, few tools are better than Simplenote.

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Author

  • Yaseen is a personal trainer turned professional writer and he’s obsessed with everything health, fitness, and business-related. If he isn’t at the gym, you can find him playing video games or spending time with friends and family.

Simplenote review
  • Ease of use
  • Security
  • Pricing
  • Additional features
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Simplenote review: The Bottom Line

If you’re a creative professional, then Simplenote is a must-have. You’ll never forget a brilliant idea again because you can record it within seconds. You can also share these notes with friends and tag them for easy access later. In short, use Simplenote if you’re looking for a free and straightforward digital notebook to record ideas, to-do lists, workouts, grocery lists, and non-confidential information.

Pros

  • The Simplenote app is simple and easy to use
  • The cross-platform feature syncs notes on multiple devices
  • You can quickly share notes with others
  • The web app is compatible with Markdown and Dropbox
  • It keeps the formatting of your writing
  • You can upload directly to Wordpress.com

Cons

  • It’s too simple
  • Simplenotes doesn’t offer much security
  • You can’t make audio or video notes
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