Top 7 note-taking apps for Mac in 2021

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What’s the best way to take notes on Mac? The way that fits your workflow and content best, of course! That’s right, picking the most suitable note-taking app for Mac is the key to your productivity and satisfaction with the app’s functionality.

But worry not, you don’t have to do it alone. In this post, we will be looking at seven excellent note-taking apps, exploring their features, and discussing how they can improve into your daily routine.

Let’s dive in!

How to choose the best note-taking app for Mac?

To choose the best Macintosh notes solution, browse our curated selection below and install the one you love most. But before we start, here’s a quick primer on what to look for in a note-taking app:

  • Lightweight
  • Fast
  • Has the functionality to accommodate your specific note-taking habits
  • User-friendly

Pro tip: With Setapp, all the apps are part of the subscription, so you can simply try them all and decide later.

Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, let’s look at the note-taking apps to possibly meet your requirements. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Best note-taking apps for Mac

Below, we take a look at seven excellent Mac note-taking applications — SideNotes, Ghostnote, MarginNote, Unclutter, NotePlan, MarsEdit, and MindNode. We discuss each on the list in detail, outline the key features and highlight some pros and cons to help you get a balanced view on each of the tools.

We tried to find a balance between brief and concise while also giving you just enough to make the right decision. Scroll down for our overview.

SideNotes

SideNotes is a convenient Mac note-taker that can be swiped into life from the right side of your screen. Create notes, manage to-do lists, and add images and files to your notes. Color code your items for easier management. What’s more, the app supports markdown formatting and has built-in sharing.

We love SideNotes because it’s always just a swipe away, it’s discreet but accessible, has all the right tools for note-taking and management, and is integrated seamlessly into your Mac workflow.

Pros:

  • Easily accessible
  • Built-in to-do list functionality
  • Code-friendly
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • No note tagging

Sidenotes note-taking app mac

Ghostnote

Add notes to websites, files, and documents with easy context notes app Ghostnote. This is the best note-taking app for Mac if you are looking for sticky notes but for your files. Jot down thoughts and notations to keep track of your work.

Ghostnote is designed with the bigger picture in mind — sometimes things just won’t fit into a note and you have to annotate an item as you go. The app lives in your menu bar and all you have to do to add a note to a file is click the Ghostnote icon when your file is open and jot down the thought or idea.

Pros:

  • Adding notes to files, folders, websites
  • Adding notes inside apps
  • Easy note browsing
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • Limited text formatting options

Ghostnote app mac

MarginNote

MarginNote brings highlighting and margin note-taking from the physical world and into the digital one. Highlight bits of your text documents, add comprehensive notes — both handwritten and typed, and much more.

This app is perfect for really getting into the nitty-gritty of your project or study materials. Actively working with text helps you digest and remember the information better, and MarginNote is just the tool to do that, without all the paper waste.

Pros:

  • Functionality to draw on top of documents
  • Perfect for complex, multilevel notes
  • Flashcard functionality
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • Takes some time to figure out

MarginNote macos

Unclutter

Systemize your files and take notes? This Mac notes app does it all. Try Unclutter if you want to take notes, but also add files and use clipboard history to keep better track of your work and items.

We have to admit, we are fans of Unclutter not just for its note-taking capabilities but for file management. Dragging and dropping a file or folder onto the Files tile of the app and then moving the item directly where you need it when you need it? This simple solution frees up a lot of mental space spent on remembering which files go where. Just relax and let Unclutter take care of all the stuff on your plate!

Pros:

  • Built-in file management
  • Clipboard history
  • Sections can be used as desktop sticky notes
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • Limited ability to structure notes

Unclutter macos app

NotePlan

One of the best notes solutions for Mac is NotePlan, and we are not just saying that because it looks so good. The app has a handy built-in calendar and a bunch of note editing and structuring functionality, enabling you to really get your thoughts and ideas in order.

Ever find yourself in a meeting and someone says “as we’ve discussed last time” and you have no idea what they are talking about? NotePlan is perfect for people who are drowning in meeting invites and struggling to keep track of it all. The app allows you to create brief meeting notes, agenda, and action points, keep track of past events, and show up prepared every time!

Pros:

  • Perfect for detailed, highly structured notes
  • Markdown functionality
  • Built-in calendar
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • No image embedding

Noteplan mac

MarsEdit

If your primary use for note-taking software on Mac is creating content for your blog, MarsEdit is just what you need. The app is designed to help you make full-fledged blog posts and publish them to integrated blog services.

Now, you don’t have to be an influencer or a full-time blogger to need MarsEdit. This amazing tool can make it easy for you to post to multiple platforms, plan content, create and backup drafts and posts for any purpose, whether professional or hobby, — all without getting distracted from what you really have to say.

Pros:

  • Ideal for anyone running a blog
  • Smart previews
  • Built-in publishing
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • Geared strictly towards blogging

Mars edit mac note-taking app

MindNode

Perfect for organization, planning, structuring, and refining ideas, MindNode is yet another option for your note-taking needs.

This mind-mapping and note-taking tool is as flexible and comprehensive as you want it to be. Need to take down just a few key points and understand your main flow? Easy. Want to create a detailed plan with numerous simultaneous steps and additional info? No problem! MindNode can handle your most eclectic ideas and seamlessly fit anything you throw at it while keeping it neat, structured, and truly glanceable (just zoom out of your map to view all of its elements).

Pros:

  • Mind-mapping capability
  • Cute icons
  • Comprehensive idea structuring tools
  • Available on Setapp

Cons:

  • Each map is stored as an individual file

MindNote macos

Conclusion

Selecting the best note-taking software for your Mac can make or break your productivity. Whether you are working on a project, developing a piece of software, planning a trip, designing a marketing campaign, studying, or running your blog, picking the note app tailored to your needs is one of the best things you can do for your productivity and inspiration.

Get inspired by our selection of seven amazing note-taking apps that can turn your workflow around and become invaluable helpers in creating content, producing ideas, and getting results without leaving anything out. Produce amazing plans with NotePlan, annotate files and folders with Ghostnote, jot down ideas without breaking your flow with SideNotes, create mind maps with MindNode, work on your blog posts with MarsEdit, track ideas and items with Unclutter, get your hands dirty with highlighting and handwritten notes in MarginNote.

And the best news? You can try all of the note-taking apps we’ve mentioned today with your Setapp subscription! That’s right, all the apps — SideNotes, Ghostnote, MarginNote, Unclutter, NotePlan, MarsEdit, and MindNode — are on Setapp. Get them all, several, or just the one you like most and become a true note-taking aficionado.

Not on Setapp? Try our app suite for free with the 7-day trial and find these and many more apps to help you save time, improve productivity, and solve tasks you face on the daily!

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