The 7 Best Apps for Creative Note-Taking

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When deciding whether to use digital or paper notes, it can be hard picking the option that’s best for your creativity. It’s easy to see how digital note-taking can limit creativity, but with these applications, that’s not the case.

Whether you’re a creative freelancer, working for a creative company, or simply someone looking for a homely environment for your personal notes, this list of applications offers a bundle of innovative features to suit your creative needs. Let’s look at some of the best applications for creative note-taking.

1. Craft

Craft offers a beautiful environment for designing creative notes. The app is built on note cards, which can be sorted into folders for a simple hierarchy. Craft expertly pays attention to the small details to provide an aesthetically-pleasing editing experience.

You can change the appearance of note cards by adding a background or cover image. There are several color options you can customize, or you can select one of the attractive presets. The rich text editor offers many styling features to create visually impressive notes.

In addition to a regular color palette, you can add gradients to text, and choose from a range of highlighter colors. Craft is also one of the few note-taking applications that lets you change the text font.

The Decorations feature allows you to format text in the Block or Focus options in a way that makes the text stand out. You can also select from multiple line divider options to visually separate your text. Craft offers limitless options to style your notes however you wish.

Download: Craft for Windows | Mac | iOS (Free, subscriptions available)

2. Evernote

Demonstrating the image editor in Evernote

Evernote is an impressive note-taking tool with a range of features to fine-tune your digital notes. There are four pricing models available, however, you’ll find the majority of the creative features in the free version.

Evernote’s image editor is one of its most versatile features. Here you can add arrows and shapes to your images and access more advanced options such as blur, marker, and highlighter options. There are no limitations on color choice—the color wheel lets you choose any color, so you aren’t restricted to a specific color set for your annotations.

This app prioritizes simplicity and creativity over complexity. The editor’s table tool is an intuitive, user-friendly way to design simple tables in your notes. You can change cell colors and easily add new columns or rows and change their widths. This saves you from tinkering with overwhelming features when using a database.

You can also annotate PDFs in the personal plan to add text, stamps, and highlights to your documents. Evernote is the perfect choice for creating media-rich and presentable documents with ease.

Download: Evernote for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS (Free, subscriptions available)

3. Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook is a brilliant cross-platform note-taking tool with many options to explore your creativity. The app is built on visual notebooks and note cards, creating an experience similar to physical note-taking.

You can design a front cover for notebooks by selecting from a range of available images, or by uploading your own photo. This customization gives your notes a visually-appealing environment while making certain topics easier to detect.

Inside each notebook, a variety of note cards are available, including text or image cards, and audio recordings. You can change the color of each card and view them either in a grid or list format. The font color will automatically optimize depending on the note color, giving your notes a clean, slick appearance.

The Sketch card is one of the app’s standout features, suitable for larger touchscreen devices. This sketching tool offers an array of features, including changing the color and nib size, and a testing palette where you can test your pen size before making a sketch. The sketching feature supports both the Apple Pencil and Samsung S Pen Stylus.

Download: Zoho Notebook for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS | Linux (Free, Pro version available)

4. Nimbus Note

Color Formatting Options in Nimbus Note

Nimbus Note offers several unique tools for creative note-takers. The text editor utilizes many formatting features seen in Evernote, but offers some extra options to style your notes in innovative ways.

Text labels are an additional option separate from changing the text or highlighter color. These add a colored border around the text, making it easily visible. Buttons are another feature, allowing you to insert links as a stylized button with coloring and shadow options available.

Nimbus Note also offers an integrated screencasting feature called Nimbus Capture to record screencasts and embed them in your note pages. You can easily insert videos via the commands list and even edit them after. This is a powerful tool if you’re a student and want to create mini self-made tutorials as you learn.

Download: Nimbus Note for Windows | Mac | iOS | Android (Free, subscriptions available)

5. Notion

Notion is a well-known tool for building a second brain as seen in apps like Obsidian. But what’s less explored is its creative potential to design a beautiful and neat environment for your personal notes.

Creating a visual workspace in Notion is simple—each note page and folder in Notion can be assigned an icon. These can be emojis or vector graphics, or you can even upload your own image as a custom icon.

Notion’s block-based editor is perfect for a non-linear note-taking experience. You can easily move around blocks and structure your content by organizing blocks side-by-side.

Notion templates offer an array of unique design choices for your notes to save you the work. They range from habit trackers to lesson plans to recipe makers, the majority of which are free. If you’re thinking of using Notion in the long term, you may consider following this guide on the best way to learn Notion.

Download: Notion for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS (Free, subscriptions available)

6. Milanote

New board with creative content in Milanote

Milanote is the perfect app for taking notes on your creative projects. Whatever your hobby might be, whether it be game design, film-making, or creative writing, there are dozens of templates to choose from. What’s more—you can invite editors to collaborate with you and work on documents together.

You can explore limitless creative potential using boards. Every board is an infinite blank space where you can drag multiple forms of content including videos, text, maps, and sketches. It’s easy to connect your ideas using arrows. You can also leave comments on boards if you’re an editor working in a team.

Milanote’s simple drag-and-drop approach makes it easy for beginners and great for adapting your work as you go—something all creative workers will be familiar with.

Download: Milanote for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

7. NoteLedge

NoteLedge is a sophisticated note-taking tool for creating detailed illustrations and annotating content from the web.

The sketching canvas offers many tools for making detailed sketches. You can choose from a range of brushes, including a fountain pen, ink brush, and crayon, and create and save your own color palettes. One smart feature is the ability to create custom brushes, where you can customize the tip shape, stroke path, and texture of your brush.

NoteLedge allows for seamless annotating of content on the web. You can drag images and text from any webpage straight to your canvas to annotate. There’s no need to worry about things getting messy—you can use the built-in layers functionality to keep your notes neat and organized.

Download: NoteLedge for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS (Free, subscription and educational offer available)

Explore Your Creativity and Design Beautiful Notes With These Note-Taking Applications

Creative note-taking isn’t just about making beautiful designs—it can make information stick better by giving them a presentable and meaningful appearance. Give your notes more meaning and explore your creative side with this range of note-taking applications.

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