Writing software comparison

Note taking apps

It’s all about me

I’ve made these notes to clarify for myself which apps I most need. It’s not an unbiased opinion. Your mileage may vary. Some people love OneNote for instance; I don’t get it at all.

I’ve evolved into an Apple ecosystem fanatic, so this is biased. Having said that, the choice of note-taking apps for Windows isn’t great and is one of the  reasons I’m an Apple nut. Typora for Windows is the only one I’ve found that comes close to Ulysses or Bear Notes.


In case you don’t know:


A lot of writing apps use Markdown. Many writers love it. It’s a shorthand way of formatting text styles. Its advantages:

  • When a Markdown document is exported to—for instance—Word format, or HTML, or PDF, or all of the above, the formatting is automagically converted to suit the new document.
  • Proponents point out that you can apply formatting without your fingers leaving the keyboard.
    • OK, true; but if you know your formatting keyboard shortcuts you can do that in almost any text editor or word processor.

This screenshot shows the markdown formatting symbols on a heading and an italicised word in Bear Notes:

Dark mode

Some writing apps, like most web browsers, allow you to switch to “dark mode”; i.e. light coloured text on a dark background. Many writers find it easy on the eyes and that it reduces eye strain.

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