10 Programs for taking notes

Are you looking for some useful software to take notes when you are in a meeting at work or in class at university and would like to receive some tips in this regard? Well, then I would say that you have just happened on the gusta guide, at the right time. In fact, with this tutorial of mine today I intend to show you those that in my humble opinion are the best programs for taking notes currently on the market.

There are several, both for Windows and for macOS (and Linux), both free and paid. All you need to do is identify the resource that you think will best suit you, download it to your computer and start using it right away. You can use the programs in question both to write longer texts and simple notes, all directly from the PC screen and in an incredibly practical and fast way.

Then? May I know what are you still doing standing there? Position yourself comfortably in front of your trusty computer and immediately begin to focus on reading the following. I am sure that in the end you will be able to tell yourself very happy and satisfied with what you have learned and that, in case of need, you will be ready to provide advice in this regard to your friends eager to receive a similar tip. Are you ready ?


  • Programs for taking notes on PC
    • Obsidian (Windows / macOS / Linux)
    • OneNote (Windows / macOS)
    • Evernote (Windows / macOS)
    • Google Keep (Online)
    • Other programs for taking notes on PC
  • Programs for taking notes on PDF
    • LibreOffice (Windows / macOS / Linux)
    • Other programs for taking notes on PDF
  • Programs for taking notes with a graphic tablet
  • Programs for taking notes on tablets

Programs for taking notes on PC

Are you looking for programs to take notes on PC ? Then you can consider relying on those belonging to the aforementioned category, available for Windows and macOS (as well as for Linux), which I have described below. I am sure that in no time you will be able to find a solution that suits your needs.

Obsidian (Windows / macOS / Linux)

The first of the note-taking programs I want to suggest you try is Obsidian . It can be used on Windows, macOS and Linux and allows you to take notes by writing them in markdown, linking them to each other dynamically via backlinks and tags. Its operation can be extended and customized using special plugins to add concept maps, tables, to-do, etc. Basically it is free, but eventually it is also available in some paid versions (with prices starting from 25 dollars) that allow you to access additional features.

To download the program to your computer, visit its website and click the Get Obsidian for Windows button or the Get Obsidian for macOS button (depending on the operating system you are using) located in the center of the page.

When the download is complete, if you are using Windows, open the .exe file obtained and wait for the software to be installed.

If, on the other hand, you are using macOS, open the .dmg package obtained and move the program icon to the Applications folder , then right-click on it and select the Open item twice in a row, in order to start Obsidian, however, going around the limitations imposed by Apple on non-certified developers (an operation that must be carried out only at the first start).

Now that you see the main screen of the application, select Italian from the drop-down menu for the choice of language at the bottom and press the Create button  located next to the item Create a new vault to indicate the name you want to assign to the folder it must contain your notes and the location where you want to create it.

Subsequently, you can start taking notes with Obsidian by clicking on the icon with the sheet located at the top and typing in the right part of the screen the title and content of the notes.

To move, link and organize the contents of your notes in a different way, just click on the button with the three lines horizontally  at the top right and select the option you prefer from the menu that appears, while the button with the sheet and the rows of adjacent text allows you to switch between viewing and editing modes.

If, on the other hand, you want to open an existing note you can select it from the list on the left, which can possibly be structured into folders, which can be created by pressing the button with the folder . In the sidebar, on the other hand, there are buttons to open the graph view, the command panel, etc.

Keep in mind that all the notes created are saved automatically by the program, but you can possibly export them by selecting the appropriate item that you find in the Obsidian menu.

OneNote (Windows / macOS)

Another note-taking program that in my opinion you would do well to consider is OneNote . It is a free software developed by Microsoft thanks to which you can take notes and create notes that are accessible at any time thanks to the use of the Microsoft account , all perfectly organized between notebooks, sections and pages. You can also insert multimedia content and tags. It is available for both Windows and macOS.

If you have installed Office on your computer and if you have activated the subscription to Microsoft 365 (at a cost of 7 euros / month for the Personal plan or at a cost of 10 euros / month for the Family plan), you will find OneNote among the programs installed on your PC , as an integral part of the Microsoft home office suite. For more details, you can consult my specific guide on how to install Office .

If you don’t have Office, you can download and install OneNote on Windows 10 and later by going to the relevant section of the Microsoft Store and pressing the Get button . If you are using an older version of Windows, on the other hand, go to this Web page and click on the Download button , then start the .exe file obtained and press the Yes button in the window that appears. Then, start the program by clicking on the appropriate link in the Start menu .

If you are using macOS , on the other hand, visit the relevant section of the Mac App Store , press the Get button , then the Install button and authorize the download by typing the password of your Apple ID or using Touch ID , then start the application by selecting the icon which was added to the Launchpad .

Now that you see the OneNote window on the screen, log in to your Microsoft account, then you can finally start using it to take notes, selecting the notebook you want to use from the section on the left or creating a new one by clicking on the Add notebook item .

You will then be shown the columns in which the notes are arranged: in the first column there are the sections that group several notes, while in the second you will find the notes for each individual section. To add a new section, click on the Add section button located at the bottom left, while to create a new note, click on the Add adjacent page button .

After creating a new note, use the appropriate section on the right to enter text. At the top you can write the title, below everything else.

I also point out that in the upper part of the screen you will find various tabs: the Home one which contains the commands to format the entered text, create bulleted and numbered lists, add highlights etc .; the Insert tab to insert drawings, tables, files or other elements; the Drawing to create and insert freehand drawings; the Display one to choose a different color for the note, enable the display of lines and squares, etc.

The notes created are automatically saved on OneDrive, but if you want you can share them with other users by clicking on the Share item located at the top right. For more in-depth information on using the program, you can check out my guide on how to use OneNote .

Evernote (Windows / macOS)

It’s impossible to make a review of note-taking programs without mentioning Evernote , one of the most popular and advanced applications for creating and managing information in the form of notes. It allows you to keep your notes always synchronized on all devices, saving them in special notebooks. Works on Windows and macOS. Basically it is free, but in order to use the service on more than two devices and unlock other additional features, you need to subscribe to one of the pay plans (at the basic cost of 6.99 euros / month).

To download the program to your computer, if you are using Windows 10 and later , visit the relevant section of the Microsoft Store and click the Get button. If you are using an older version of Windows, go to the program’s website and press the Download button . Subsequently, open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that appears on the desktop, click on the Yes button , then select the item I accept the terms of the license agreement , click on the Install button and complete the setup, by clicking on the button Finish. Afterward, open OneNote by selecting the link pinned to the Start menu .

If you are using macOS , however, you can find the application by visiting the relevant section from the Mac App Store , pressing the Get button , then the Install button and authorizing the download with the Apple ID password or Touch ID . Then start the program by selecting the icon added to the Launchpad .

Once the main window of the program is displayed on the screen, immediately register an account to be able to use Evernote, filling in the proposed fields with the required data. Alternatively, you can log in with your Google account or Apple account .

Then, follow the short introductory tutorial proposed and start taking notes by clicking on the New item located at the top left, choosing the Note option and typing the title and body of the notes in the writing area on the right. At the top you will also find the toolbar with all the buttons useful for formatting text, for inserting voice notes, files from the main cloud storage services, images, voices for sharing, etc.

When you have finished writing, choose which notebook to store your notes in and add any tags, using the additional commands available, after which the note will be automatically saved to your account. If you want, however, you can still export everything by clicking on the button (…) at the top right and choosing the most suitable option from the menu that opens.

All the notes you create will be visible in the Notes section of the program, which you can access by selecting the appropriate item in the left side menu. Also through the latter you can also reach the sections to create and manage new notebooks, tags, activities, etc. For more information, see my specific tutorial on how Evernote works .

Google Keep (Online)

If you don’t want or can’t download new note-taking programs to your computer, I recommend giving Google Keep a try . As easily understood by the name itself, it is a solution made available by Google through which it is possible to write notes directly via the browser and create lists of things to do. It is totally free and has a nice user interface as well. The only thing to keep in mind is that it can only be used through the Google account, which allows you to synchronize the notes written between all the devices connected to it.

To use Google Keep, go to the home page of the service and log into your account (if necessary). Then, start writing your notes, by accessing the Notes section that you find in the left sidebar and clicking on the Write a note field that appears on the right.

At this point, fill in the proposed sheet with the title of the note at the top and the body of the same at the bottom. Below you will find the buttons to change the color of the note, add images, add labels etc., while at the top there is the button to fix the note. Once you’ve finished writing your notes, click the Close button .

All the notes you write are accessible from the main Google Keep screen and by clicking on them you can expand the content. To manage, however, any reminders, labels, notes stored and those moved to the trash, you have to click on the appropriate items in the left sidebar.

Other programs for taking notes on PC

None of the solutions that I have already pointed out has convinced you in a particular way and, therefore, would you like me to show you other programs through which you can take notes on your computer? Find them in the list below.

  • Simplenote( Windows / macOS / Linux ) – it is a free software that works on all major operating systems, which allows you to create notes and write notes. Its strong point is simplicity, in fact it is very intuitive and has a stripped down user interface. It is completely free.
  • JustNoteIt( Windows / macOS ) – is a software available for both Windows and macOS, very easy to use and which combines the convenience of old post-its with the potential of PCs and the Internet. In fact, it allows you to create notes “on the fly” directly from your desktop and save them in virtual notes that can be shared with friends and colleagues on the local network or on the Web. It also includes a useful reminder function thanks to which you can set alarms and reminders to remind you to fulfill your commitments. It is paid (the version for Windows costs 23.99 euros, while the one for macOS costs 13.99 euros), but you can download a free trial version that works for 15 days.
  • Notes(macOS) – is the free and default macOS application for taking notes and creating miscellaneous notes. It synchronizes with iCloud (so everything is also accessible from iPhone, iPad and via the Web), it allows you to create a practically infinite number of notes, even with images, documents and drawings. It is very easy to use and also has a nice user interface. It also supports the use of tags and allows you to protect access to the writings created.

Programs for taking notes on PDF

Do you need to add notes to your documents in PDF format and would like to understand which tools are useful for the purpose you can consider relying on? I’ll settle you instantly. Below, in fact, you will find a whole series of programs for taking notes on PDF , on Windows and macOS (as well as on Linux), which you can decide to contact.

LibreOffice (Windows / macOS / Linux)

LibreOffice is one of the best programs for taking notes by intervening on documents in PDF format . It is a free and open source work suite born from an OpenOffice offshoot . It includes applications for writing texts, processing spreadsheets, making presentations, etc. Among the various functions offered there is also the one that allows you to edit PDFs. Using it, in fact, you can add custom texts to PDFs, modify the texts already present in the document (where possible), insert arrows, highlights, images, etc. It is compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux.

To download LibreOffice on your computer, connect to its website and click on the Download version xx button .

At the end of the download, if you are using Windows , open the installation package obtained and, in the window that appears on the desktop, press the Run button . Then click on the Next button , select the Typical option and press the Next , Install , Yes and Finish buttons .

If you are using macOS , on the other hand, open the .dmg package obtained, drag the LibreOffice icon into the Applications folder , right-click on it and select the Open item from the menu displayed. Then press the Open button in the window that appears on the screen, in order to start the program going to circumvent Apple’s limitations towards applications from non-certified developers (an operation that must be performed only at the first start). Next, close the program completely by pressing cmd + q on your keyboard.

After carrying out the above steps, still on macOS, visit the LibreOffice website again and click on the Translated user interface button , to get the package to translate the software into Italian (which on Windows is included in the installation package instead base).

When the download is complete, open the new .dmg package obtained, right-click on the LibreOffice Language Pack executable that is inside it, select the Open item from the menu that appears and press the Open and Install buttons . Then, select the item /Applications/LibreOffice.app from the window that opens and click on the Install button . If in doing so you see a warning about permissions appear , to complete the setup click on the Yes button , identify me , enter the password of your user account and click on the OK button (twice).

Now that you see the main LibreOffice window on the screen, import the PDF document on which you want to insert your notes into the program, by previously clicking on the Open file item located on the left. Once this is done, Draw , the LibreOffice editor for editing PDF documents, will start.

Once the file is open, you can write on it by clicking on the button with the A and the lines of text located on the toolbar at the top and create a selection in which to write in the point of the document of your interest. Instead, to adjust the size and type of writing characters, use the appropriate options on the right side.

You can also modify the text already present in the document, selecting it and writing what you want or modifying and / or deleting the existing one, and you can insert other elements such as arrows, geometric shapes, lines and images using the appropriate buttons on the left sidebar .

When you have finished editing, remember to save the final file by selecting the LibreOffice File menu and then the Export to PDF option . Et voila !

Other programs for taking notes on PDF

If you are looking for other programs through which you can take notes on your PDF files, you can try to take a look at the ones I have included in the following list.

  • PDFElement( Windows / macOS ) – this is a software for PC and Mac that allows you to view documents in PDF format and to intervene on them in various ways: by converting them, compressing them, adding comments, etc. Obviously, it also integrates tools through which you can enter notes, all in a very simple and fast way. It is paid (it has prices from 55 euros + VAT), but it can be downloaded in a 100% working demo version with the only drawback that a watermark is applied to the documents.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC( Windows / macOS ) – program specifically designed to view and edit documents in PDF format and, of course, also to add notes to them. It was created by the software house that developed the PDF format and is usable on both Windows and macOS. Basically it is free, but some features, such as the ability to edit the existing text, are reserved for subscribers to the paid version (with prices starting from 18.29 euros / month), which you can try for free for 7 days.
  • Preview(macOS) – is the free application for viewing images and PDF documents included in the Apple operating system. It can also be used to add notes and various drawings to PDF documents, without however altering the text already present.

Programs for taking notes with a graphic tablet

Are you looking for programs to take notes with a graphic tablet ? In this case, I am happy to inform you that you can take advantage of the software that I have already pointed out to you in the previous lines without the slightest problem.

For more information on how to connect the graphics tablet to the computer you can follow my specific guide on what to do , while for more information on how to use it you can read my post on how to draw with the graphics tablet and take a look to my review of free graphics tablet programs .

Programs for taking notes on tablets

You never have a computer at hand and, therefore, would like to understand which are the best programs for taking notes on tablets ? In this case, you need to turn to ad hoc resources, available for both Android and iPad, such as those you find reported in my reviews on the  apps for taking notes and on the apps for taking notes iPad .

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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