While Apple Notes checks off most of the boxes, it may not fit into everyone’s needs. This is where the best Notes app alternatives for Mac come into play. Aside from making the task of note-taking pretty straightforward, these third-party apps also double up as a super handy annotation and writing tool. Besides, they allow creating projects in many formats like text, audio, video, and whatnot. Though the App Store has several good options, only a few have walked into our list of the top note-taking apps for Mac. We’ve chosen them based on their effectiveness and how well they work. Dive right in along with me to take a close look at them!
Despite the cut-throat competition, “Evernote” remains one of the most appreciable note-taking apps both for macOS and iOS. The highlight of this app is the wide range of tools that provide more flexibility.
The option to make notes in several formats like video, audio, web clippings, sketch ensure you are able to give your thoughts the right shape. With easy-to-format word processor at your disposal, you can write your thoughts elegantly.
You can create an agenda to be discussed in a meeting, write a quick memo and transfer your Evernote notes to Apple notes.
Often forget to do some important tasks? Make a checklist of all the things you have to do. Besides, you will also create presentations to express your thoughts with the desired impact.
Best Mac note taking app for writing in Markdown Bear is a breath of fresh air in the note taking space. The app was designed with prose in mind, and thus places a strong focus on typography. Another great distraction-free writing app for Mac is Paper. With this app you get a plain text writing environment that you can simply open and get to work. Paper notable features: Use Markdown, publish to Medium or WordPress, and export to PDF, HTML, or RTF. Sync with iCloud and use the app on your other Apple devices. 15 Of The Best Apps For Writers To Download Now. Read on for a list of writing apps that will help with everything from the dreaded writer's block to synonym searches. Scrivener – Best All-Around Writing App Scrivener is the top of our best writing apps list because it’s the most well-rounded. It’s got a little bit of everything, so it’s perfect for writing anything from papers to blog posts to full-length novels. So it’s the perfect tool for almost all writers.
2. Microsoft OneNote
“OneNote” is a complete package. The app lets you capture your ideas in a variety of formats and offer you the needed freedom to keep everything in the perfect sync.
You can tag your notes to find them quickly. Make a list of to-dos and keep track of them so that you are able to do your tasks in time.
The collaboration features works immaculately, allowing you to work with your colleagues. For more security, you will also add an extra shield to your projects to keep them private.
Better still, OneNote for Mac is compatible with a ton of international languages including French, German, Greek, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish and more. So, a language should never become a roadblock to your note-taking.
Zoho Corporation is well-known for producing powerful apps. And Notebook does have all the qualities to be highly efficient.
While there is a lot to like in this app, I find “Smart Cards” very adorable. What it basically does is automatically format the contents into specific cards like the recipe, video, and link.
The app provides several predefined note covers to let you design your stories elegantly. If you don’t like the readymade options, you can create a custom cover. Moreover, there is also an option to make public notes using shareable links so that anyone can view them.
With the dark-themed night mode, you will enjoy working till late at night. Plus, the reminders won’t let any of your tasks go out of your notice.
Should you want to have a top-notch writing-cum note-taking app for your Mac, give a close look to Bear. I’ve used this app for long and always found pretty neat.
The best thing about it is the simple interface coupled with the easy-to-use tools. Therefore, you can write amazing stories and give your wildest thoughts the ideal shape.
Bear has a good library of more than a dozen themes that make it a lot easier to design stories. Features like tagging, archiving and adding tasks to notes enable to take control of your stuff. Furthermore, you can export your projects in multiple formats such as HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG, and EPUB.
Lastly, after a free trial of one week, you will have to upgrade to Bear premium’s $1.49 monthly or $14.99 annually plan.
If you want to streamline all of your projects and get them ready before the deadline, pick out “Agenda.” One of the notable features of this app is the advanced text editor.
Depending on the specific theme, you can give a befitting look to your notes. It allows you to convert your text into multiple formats like Markdown and HTML. Segregate your files into different categories so that will access them instantly.
The app lets you connect your sticky notes to the events in your personal calendar. As a result, you can plan your meeting perfectly.
Better still, you don’t have to pay any bucks to use all the features of Agenda.
For annotation and crafting rich notes, “Notability” is one of the better options. With a wide range of fonts, sizes, custom colors at your disposal, you can design your stories with complete peace of mind.
You will be able to import PDFs, DOCs, PPTs, images, GIFs to your projects and fine-tune them with more flexibility. Easily convert your stories into PDF to share them with your friends and colleagues.
Make the most of the super handy tools to annotate photos elegantly. Thanks to the automatic iCloud syncing, your tasks automatically sync across your devices.
Additionally, Notability works with multiple cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.
There are very few note apps for Mac that look as familiar as Simplenote. Its user interface is pretty clean, and you hardly have to spend any time to master the tools.
One of my favorite feature of this app is focus mode. Times when you want to write with maximum concentration, this feature comes into play really well.
You can use pins and tags to organize your notes. And with Markdown, you will ideally format your projects. To ensure your eyes don’t burn while working in the night, the app comes with the dark mode.
I have picked out GoodNotes for a couple of main reasons. First, it makes annotating docs really fun. And if you are fond of giving your docs a creative look, this one can be your thing.
You can highlight or strikeout the text in your PDF documents. Easily move, scale and ideally customize the object color. There is also an option to add the bookmarks to your docs.
Courtesy the fast iCloud sync, you will find your notes on all of your devices. You can share your notes with others and also print them. The compatibility with a number of languages like English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese and more make it an evergreen tool.
“Quip” is a lot more than just a simple note app for macOS. To be more precise, this is what you should use to collaborate with your teammates. Thanks to the chat and messaging integration, it helps you work with your colleagues in a fun way.
You can use the app to note down your thoughts faster, create to-do lists, and edit your docs. It also lets you make comprehensive spreadsheets.
Another notable feature of this app is that it allows you to import your address book from several services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Microsoft Outlook, Google, and iCloud.
You will create insightful charts by using the data from spreadsheets and Salesforce records. The smart slides would not just make your presentation more impressive but also save your time.
This open source markdown editor offers several tools that allow devs to take notes faster. The formatting features have semi-live previews so that you can quickly check your writing.
Besides, the text is automatically formatted as you type, which speeds up your task and also saves plenty of time. That’s not all, BoostNote works offline as well so that you can work anytime and anywhere.
“Unclutter” is really smart! It’s designed to be a multitasker and lets you organize your clipboard data, files, and notes. If you aren’t able to take control of them, give it a chance to sort out the mess.
You can keep an eye on your clipboard history and manage it with ease. Store all of your files at once place and access them quickly. And yes, make sticky notes to never forget to do essential things.
The easy editing tools allow you to make changes conveniently. Due mainly to the quick search feature, you will instantly find a list. Besides, the app can be set up with Dropbox to sync data across the devices.
That’s pretty much it! So, this sums up our roundup of the top note apps for Mac.
What’s your favorite?
Now that you have known our favorite note apps, tell us about the ones that can walk into your personal roundup. We’d really appreciate your collection and the valuable feedback.
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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.
Whether you’re writing an email, a blog post, or a full-on novel, you’ll likely find the task impossible without the right tools. Which raises the question: what are the best writing apps to help you with everything from basic composition to firing-on-all-cylinders productivity?
This blog post sets out to answer that question. Here we’ve divided our favorite writing apps of 2021 into three categories (writing apps, editing apps, and focus apps) and provided brief reviews of each, so you can decide which ones you can’t live without! Let’s start with apps that fulfill the most essential need every writer has: getting words down on the page.
While Google Docs and Microsoft Word are more-or-less fine, a dedicated writer like yourself deserves something more substantial. Here are seven writing apps designed specifically for creative writing, with various organizational tools to take your work to the next level.
1. Reedsy Book Editor
Runs on: Web
Best for: Authors seeking an elegant, distraction-free writing interface that typesets your work into a professional-grade book
With its sleek interface and easily navigable formatting options, the Reedsy Book Editor is a first-rate choice for modern authors. You can drag and drop chapters, insert images, and even track changes to look at past versions of your work — a function that most paid creative writing apps don’t offer.
The Reedsy Book Editor's advanced typesetting features will also save you hours of work when you get to formatting your book for publication. You can create intricate front and back matter and export it as a clean, professional file that can be instantly uploaded to any ebook retailer or print-on-demand supplier. If you’re looking for an all-in-one writing, formatting, and typesetting tool, look no further than the Reedsy Book Editor. Start using it for free right now.
Price: Free trial for 30 days, $45 license fee
Runs on: Mac, iOS, and Window
Best for: Novelists and other long-form writers who want an elaborate, organized interface
You’d be hard-pressed to find a list of writing apps that omits Scrivener, and for good reason: it manages to be both streamlined and incredibly sophisticated at the same time. With Scrivener, you can choose a template for your project (novel, essay, screenplay, etc.) and get organizing right away. The left-hand sidebar includes sections and virtual notecards for every element you could think of, and you’re able to arrange these elements however you like.
More advanced features allow you to track your research, create specialized materials like front/back matter, and even analyze the content of the text itself. Needless to say, Scrivener is an excellent book writing app for authors, and indeed ideal for any writer who values attention to detail. You can read our full review of Scrivener 3 right here.
Price: $4.99/month or $39.99/year subscription
Runs on: Mac and iOS devices
Best for: Writers who want to productivity-hack their formatting
At first glance, Ulysses looks a lot like Scrivener, but closer inspection reveals that they cater to different experience levels and interests. While Scrivener is known for its steep learning curve, Ulysses offers several tutorials alongside its features. This is especially useful because Ulysses uses “Markdown” rather than manual formatting — for instance, in Ulysses, you’d type # to create a header, or > to create a blockquote.
While it may seem inconsequential now, writers who familiarize themselves with Markdown will likely find that it helps them keep their “flow” during a writing session, and it also makes editing much easier. Other than this, Ulysses is a fairly standard writing app; it’s not as outline-friendly as Scrivener, but you’ll have no trouble staying organized with keyword labels, split view capability, progress tracking, and all your projects lined up neatly in the sidebar.
Price: Flat fee of $25
Runs on: PC and Mac
Best for: Authors looking for a software that will help them smartly and fluidly outline their books
Plottr may be the one plotting software to rule them all. While Scrivener and Ulysses are built to be all-purpose writing platforms, Plottr was created with only one main objective in mind: to help you outline and plan your story.
To that end, it shines. Plottr lets you easily build the scenes, plots, and arcs of your story, which its intuitive interface then allows you to visually organize, re-arrange, color-coordinate, and filter until your plot begins to flow and sense to you. Additional features like timelines, plot cards, and starter plotting templates (including the Hero’s Journey and Dan Harmon’s Story Circle) are built into the program to help you plot smarter. The sum of its parts is a software that achieves the impossible and makes planning a novel, dare we say it, fun.
5. iA Writer
Price: Free trial for 14 days, $29.99 for Mac, $19.99 for Windows
Runs on: Mac, iOS, and Windows (free trial available for Android)
Best for: Writers who prefer simplicity over style
Reviews often compare iA Writer to Ulysses because it, too, employs Markdown for formatting. However, the interface is much simpler and more naturally integrated into your screen. This minimalist design fits perfectly with the mission of iA writer, which is “to keep you focused on just writing.”
In the upper-hand toolbar, you can still access features like dark mode (shown above) and syntax highlighting for different parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and so on). But the purpose of iA Writer is to facilitate writing, and its setup clearly reflects that — a definite boon for distraction-prone and clutter-averse writers.
Runs on: Windows
Best for: Authors who like to break their stories into bite-sized pieces
Pivoting to the non-Apple side of things, we have yWriter, a book writing app designed for Windows in a similar vein to Scrivener. yWriter boasts a well-organized interface that divides your story into scenes rather than chapters, which is less stressful for easily intimidated writers. This app is also great for tracking your progress, with features like a storyboard to review your narrative arc, and reports you can generate about your daily word count, the state of your draft, etc.
But perhaps the best thing about yWriter is that it’s a free writing app — astounding in light of all it provides. The only “missing” feature is story templates, which experienced writers can disregard anyway. However, we’d caution users not to disregard yWriter’s intended platform, as the Mac trial is pretty glitchy and unreliable.
Best Apps For Writers On Mac Windows 10
Price: Free trial for 15 days, $59.99 license fee
Runs on: Mac and iOS devices
Best for: Screenwriters who are just getting started
Now let’s talk about screenplay writing apps. Though Storyist provides a solid foundation for novel writing, screenplay and stage play projects are where the app really shines. Upon creating a new project, you’ll work from a highly intuitive script template where each new line prompts you to choose action, character, dialogue, etc. This ensures proper formatting and keeps you conscious of which elements you’re using, so you don’t overdo it on dialogue or forget to transition between scenes.
You can also organize your characters, settings, and images via the sidebar tabs, which may be useful for screenwriters who like strong visuals to supplement their work. But Storyist is feature-minimal for a reason: it’s supposed to be basic and affordable for beginners, with just enough formatting flair to make you feel like an up-and-coming Hollywood darling.
8. Final Draft
Price: Free trial for 30 days, $249.99 license fee
Runs on: Mac, iOS, and Windows
Best for: Professional screenwriters who are ready to level up
Speaking of Hollywood, if you’re already such an advanced screenwriter that you’re frustrated by the limitations of “beginner” apps, Final Draft is the program for you. In addition to line-by-line formatting and other standard scriptwriting features, Final Draft offers countless options for comments, collaborations, content analysis, and more!
You can track story elements and measure your character’s traits using the inclusivity analysis feature. You can tweak your “beat board” until you find the arrangement that works perfectly for you. When you’re ready to bring in editors, you can all work simultaneously in real time. And if you want to shop your script around, Final Draft will export the file flawlessly.
The only drawback of Final Draft is the price tag — a struggling screenwriter may not have $250 to spare, no matter how stellar the software. If this sounds like you, stick to Storyist or a similar app for the time being, but keep Final Draft in mind for when you’re able to upgrade.
Best Apps For Writers On Mac Free
And what about when you’re ready to upgrade not just your tools, but your entire text? Well, that’s what this next section on editing apps is for.
But remember, no app can replace a human edit.
Luckily, all the best editors are right here on Reedsy!
Sign up to meet them today.
Learn how Reedsy can help you craft a beautiful book.
All writing is rewriting, as they say. If you’re ready to take on the “rewriting” stage of your project — or if you prefer to edit as you write, either because you’re a perfectionist or you just want to save yourself the work later — these five apps will let you revise to your heart’s content.
Runs on: Web, including browser extension
Best for: Writers who want to carefully check short pieces, such as articles and emails
Grammarly is the writing world’s go-to spelling and grammar checker outside of standard word processors. Like any good editor, it underlines the errors and weak phrases in your writing — but Grammarly also goes above and beyond by providing a label and detailed reason for each correction, so you’ll actually learn from your mistakes
On top of these notes, Grammarly has a number of nuanced features to ensure your writing accomplishes exactly what you want it to do. You can “set goals” in terms of your audience, formality level, and tone (happy, confident, urgent, etc.) and analyze your text for factors like clarity, engagement, and delivery.
All this makes for a very well-rounded writing experience. However, we will say that Grammarly, with its goal-oriented interface and meticulous suggestions, is better for short-form copywriting than long-form storytelling.
So if you write a ton of emails, Grammarly could be perfect for you! But if you write books, you might benefit more from the tools to follow.
Price: Free trial with limited features, $70/year subscription
Runs on: Web, Mac, and Windows
Best for: Long-form writers hoping to hone their personal style
ProWritingAid often draws comparisons to Grammarly, but this app’s approach to editing is a bit more holistic. Though it still points out significant errors, ProWritingAid’s suggestions tend more toward enhancing the flow of your prose — for example, reducing passive voice and filler words — than nitpicking for grammatical technicalities.
You’ll also find more methods of analysis with ProWritingAid, including auto-generated stats regarding your vocabulary, sentence structure, and more. ProWritingAid will let you know which words you’re overusing, which areas are inconsistent, and how you might connect your ideas more smoothly. Overall, it’s a great tool that will undoubtedly help you polish your writing (though keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to access the full range of features).
Price: Free online, $19.99 license fee
Runs on: Web, Mac, and Windows
Best for: Authors who value crisp, clean prose above all
Both a useful tool and clever homage to one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors, Hemingway is a must-have app for writers who like to keep things short and sweet. The purely prose-based editor gives feedback on sentence length, word usage, passive voice, and adverbs — simple elements that can nonetheless make or break a piece.
The app employs different-colored highlights to help you trim the fat in each area, and also identifies the text's reading level to ensure you’re targeting the right audience. But that’s pretty much it! Just as simplicity was a trademark of Hemingway’s prose, so it is of this app’s design.
Price: Free online, $4/month for Readable Pro account
Runs on: Web (no browser extension yet)
Best for: Short-form writers who need their work to be easily digestible
Readable’s core mission is similar to Hemingway’s: to make your prose more, well, readable. But Readable has a few more bells and whistles to it, which may be helpful for writers who want really thorough textual analysis. Besides pointing out run-on sentences and other indicators of purple prose, this app collects tons of relevant statistics, from text composition to reading time. You’ll also receive scores on multiple readability scales — Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog, etc.
As with ProWritingAid, you’ll have to upgrade for full access to features like keyword density and quality control. This may be worth looking into if you create content for a living, but for writers whose work doesn’t depend on SEO, the free version of Readable should serve you well.
Runs on: Web, Mac, and Windows
Best for: Writers who need fresh eyes — or rather, ears — for editing
Reading one’s work aloud is a great way to catch awkward phrasing and typos. But what if you’re already so accustomed to your own prose that, when reading to yourself, you skim right over these issues?
That’s when you can turn to NaturalReader, the best text-to-speech reader we’ve found this side of an actual person. To use it, simply copy/paste your writing into the text box, choose a voice and reading speed, and follow along with the magnified text at the bottom. You can pause, rewind, fast-forward, and change the other settings at any time; it’s all incredibly easy and conducive to comprehension. (Just make sure you’re actually listening, not zoning out.)
We’d recommend NaturalReader for anyone with a short piece to proofread, as it may not be practical to feed your entire book through the app. Then again, if you’ve got the time, have at it!
Now let's talk writing apps for focus and organization. Buckling down and getting started is often the hardest part of the writing process. Fortunately, these apps will help you cut out distractions, organize your thoughts, and regain inspiration when writer’s block rears its ugly head!
Runs on: Mac and Windows
Best for: Overstimulated writers who want to get back to basics
Thought Ulysses and Hemingway were minimalist? You ain’t seen nothing yet. FocusWriter is exactly what it says on the tin: it compels you to focus on writing and nothing else. The interface takes on the appearance of a sheet of paper, and lacking any elaborate formatting options or research notes to mess around with, you have no choice but to write.
You can still adjust the font, track your progress, and even set a timer for writing sprints using the toolbar at the top — but it safely tucks these features away from view. If in-app distractions are your kryptonite, FocusWriter might be the solution you need.
Price: Free trial for 7 sessions, $6.99/month or $30/year
Runs on: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
Best for: Internet-addicted writers who can admit they have a problem
Of course, even a super-basic interface can’t protect you from distractions that lurk outside that interface. That’s why you need Freedom: app- and website-blocking software to curb your Internet and social media procrastination (which, let’s be honest, is an issue for all of us).
Freedom allows you to set timed blocks, schedule blocks in advance, and even “pause” before visiting distracting sites. It certainly covers all the bases in terms of potential diversions; users can customize a list of distracting websites and desktop apps, plus connect Freedom to their phones to block distractions on there as well.
But perhaps the nicest thing about Freedom is that it feels truly freeing — between the gentle branding and the ultimately self-imposed limits, you’ll come away feeling not restricted, but relieved that you can get some writing done at last.
Price: Free basic plan, $4.99/month for premium
Runs on: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
Best for: Multitalented writers who want a single space to collect all their thoughts
Another one of the best free writing apps out there, Evernote takes written organization to a whole new level. With dozens of templates for everything from classroom note-taking to personal planning to structuring a novel, Evernote makes admin not only easy, but fun!
Besides abundant organizational templates — again, all for free with the basic plan — Evernote also lets you tag everything in specific categories, share your notes with collaborators, and even chat with them in-app. One of its coolest features is the Web Clipper, which you can use to save any excerpt of web content that appeals to you. More than anything, Evernote is a work-saving app designed to be adaptable and accessible for all kinds of writers and their projects.
17. Reedsy Prompts
Runs on: Web
Best for: Writers who just need a spark of an idea to get started
Okay, this one’s not exactly an app, at least not yet. But after comparing Reedsy Prompts to similar writing inspiration apps like Writing Challenge and The Brainstormer, we can honestly say it has much more to offer. For one thing, you’ll get five new prompts every single week — and not just on the Reedsy Prompts page, but sent straight to your email inbox. And if you write a short story based on one of those prompts, you could win $50 in our weekly contest!
That said, if you’re not inspired by the prompts of a particular week, you can explore the infinite possibilities of the 700+ prompts that already live on the Reedsy Prompts page. Though you’ll only be able to enter the competition with one of the five featured prompts for that week, we’re always excited to see what our users create… so if you write a story based on any of the available prompts, make sure to let us know.
At the end of the day, that’s what writing is all about: creating something wonderful and unique to share with others, whether it’s an informative article, a personal essay, or a 300-page book. Whatever your writing project, we hope these apps can be of use to you — and indeed, of service to everyone who gets to enjoy your work.
Didn’t find what you were looking for here? Check out our list of novel writing software for some more intensive writing programs, or this list of writing tools to help hone your creative process.