Top Picks: 10 Best Note-Taking Apps for Students

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Note-Taking Apps for Students

Looking for the best note-taking apps for students? Taking notes in classrooms is crucial for most students. Whether you are in high school or happen to be a college student, taking notes while following lectures enhances the learning process. In the digital age, students largely count on note-taking apps to streamline their academic journey.

In this article, we are going to present you with the best note-taking apps for college students. However, in the first place, it’s important to understand why note-taking is so crucial for students. Taking notes helps students engage more with the lessons. They can take down the key points, summarize lessons, and retain information better.

Taking notes also enhances comprehension in the classroom. Summarizing lessons into concise notes enables college students to absorb the lessons.

Besides, taking notes makes the lessons accessible to the students. They can read these notes on their handsets, smartphone, or tablet. Some of these apps also come with organizational features. This allows students to categorize notes according to the topic, date, or subject. The search function in some of these apps also enables students to look out for specific lessons and enhance the overall experience. 

10 Best note-taking apps for students

1. Apple Notes

Apple Notes
Image- Oscar Lagrosen- Medium

Overview

Apple Notes is a popular note-taking app for college students. It is also known as iCloud Notes or Notes. The app comes free of cost and is popular for its simple interface. This tool has some basic formatting options, including text styling like italics and bolding. 

Apple Notes seamlessly syncs with iCloud. This enables students to access their notes and edit them from an Apple device or any web browser.

Key features

  • Basic text formatting (bold, italics, font adjustments)
  • Cross-platform editing through browser
  • Voice-assisted note creation using Siri
  • Creating nested folders to organize note-taking
  • Supports inserted text, images, scanned documents, and hand-drawn sketches

Pricing
Free for Apple device users

Available on

  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Web access through iCloud

Rating: 4.8/5

2. Obsidian

Overview

Obsidian
Image- Youtube

Obsidian is one of the best note-taking apps for students. This tool has been customized to help students enhance their learning process. This is a markdown-based app for taking notes that has a local file/folder structure. As a result, it proves valuable to a wide range of users.

In terms of flexibility, Obsidian is an excellent app. Tech-savvy users can create their own plugins and customize their features to suit specific needs. Being one of the most popular note-taking apps for college students, it boasts advanced organizational features. For instance, it has inter-note links and a graph view that helps users visualize lessons. Moreover, this is a cross-platform app capable of operating offline without an internet connection.

Key features:

  • Markdown-based formatting for images and texts
  • Extensive options for customization including plugins
  • Link creation between notes and graphs
  • Compatible across platforms like iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Functions offline without an internet connection

Pricing

Free, but additional costs are needed to sync notes across multiple devices

Available on 

  • Android
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • Linux

Ratings: 4.9/5

3. Evernote

Evernote
Image- Adobe Stock

Overview:

Are you looking for a cross-platform note-taking app? Evernote is a versatile tool designed to carry out different note-taking tasks. Whether you want to clip web articles or work on handwritten notes, this is one of the best note-taking apps for students. Evernote supports multiple file formats, including PowerPoint and PDFs. 

This tool also comes with the mobile-scanning feature. For browsers, it has a Web Clipper extension. However, one of the drawbacks of this tool is the lack of Markdown support. Also, this is a premium tool, and not all students can afford to use the tool. This app is available at a discount of 50% for students purchasing the Premium plan for one year.

Key features:

  • Supports several file formats
  • Mobile-scanning feature available to capture pages from books
  • The Web Clipper browser extension allows you to store articles for future
  • Compatible across iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and the web.

Pricing

While the basic plan provides limited storage, additional features are available in the Premium plan starting at $7.99 a month.

Available on

  • Android
  • OS
  • macOS
  • Web
  • Windows

Rating: 4.4/5

4. Bear

Bear
Image- X. com

Overview

If you are looking for reliable note-taking apps for college students, check out Bear. It seamlessly combines note organization with word processing, delivering a compelling tool for users. The powerful Markdown feature makes it a great tool to take notes, and the writing experience would be delightful indeed. The organizational system for Bear is simple and relies on tags. This significantly enhances the note-taking experience.

Interestingly, Bear comes with an archive feature to save notes. It is ideal for creative individuals who need to capture ideas and recall inspirations from the past. The only drawback of Bear is that it is available only on macOS and iOS devices. Also, there are some limitations to its organizational features.

Key features:

  • The hybrid markdown editor formats take just as you type so that you need not visualize markdown formatting
  • The organizational system is simple and includes hashtags and nesting
  • Users can temporarily remove notes using the archive feature without deleting anything
  • Neat interface, with additional themes in the premium version

Pricing

The free version of this tool offers most of the features. The Pro subscription costs $1.49/ month.

Available on

  • iOS
  • macOS


Rating: 4.5/5
 

5. Standard Notes

Standard Notes
Image- Blackvoid

Overview

Need one of the note-taking apps for college students that warrant privacy and security? Standard Notes would be an ideal choice, and it comes with powerful search features.

When you take notes using this app, all the notes get encrypted by default. Most importantly, this enhanced security and other features are available in the free version of the software. If you go for the paid plan, you get a better note-taking experience. For instance, this plan brings you features like 2FA, different themes, powerful extensions, advanced editors, and encrypted attachments. Students can store the notes on cloud storage devices such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Being one of the best note-taking apps for students, it is available on all major platforms. However, it doesn’t support drag-and-drop note organization and has limited image support.

Key features:

  • Enhanced security with end-to-end encryption
  • Available on multiple devices and platforms
  • Comes with powerful search features including saved searches and custom tags
  • Supported on Linux devices
  • The free version offers most of the features

Pricing

Most students use the free version, while the Core plan comes at $29 a year with access to markdown support, rich text, and other features.

Available on

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Web (browser access)

Ratings: 4.5/5

6. Typora

Overview

Typora
Image- DeviantArt

Typora is one of the best note-taking apps for students. It comes with a markdown editor that students can customize for seamless reading and writing experiences. It is compatible with all major operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Some of the notable features of this app include the Table of Contents, Focus Mode, and multiple themes. Students can organize their files using the file tree panel. Besides, they have the option of importing PDF files to optimize the search experience. 

However, one of the drawbacks of this note-taking app is the absence of in-app storage. Still, it continues to be a versatile tool for learning.

Key features:

  • Supports markdown formatting for both images and text
  • Live preview is available for formatted text while you type
  • Enhances writing experience with Table of Contents and Focus Mode
  • Comes with several themes that can be customized
  • Compatible with all major operating systems

Pricing

The one-time purchase fee for this tool is $14.99

Available on:

  • Linux 
  • Mac
  • Windows

Rating: 4.1/5

7. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote
Image- Computerworld

Overview

As you explore the best note-taking app for college students, you cannot possibly miss out on Microsoft OneNote. This is a powerful cross-platform app for taking notes, extensively used by students. The software offers a comprehensive solution for note-taking and is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and the web. So, students can use it on any device as per their needs.

OneNote from Microsoft comes with a freeform text box where you can draw. Thus, you can get creative with your note-taking process. Also, you can access an extensive library of templates that can be used for different purposes. For students, OneNote offers customized templates to organize semester work. The Draw feature significantly eliminates major barriers to taking notes.

However, the note-sorting options in this tool are limited, and the interface looks a little cluttered as it comes with few tagging features.

Key features:

  • Available on all major platforms
  • Features like task management, note organization, and collaboration are available
  • Different templates for students ease up note-taking
  • Supports creative note-taking with freeform text box and drawing capabilities

Pricing

Available for free, also included in the Microsoft 365 subscription at $69.99 per year.

Available on

  • Android
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • Web browser access

Rating: 4.5/5

8. Google Keep

Image- The Express Tribune

Overview

As a free, cross-platform tool, Google Keep has emerged as one of the best note-taking apps for students. The tool is deeply integrated into the Google ecosystem. The tool has a simple and user-friendly interface that seamlessly works with other tools of Google. So, Google application users find it a great pick for taking notes.

The popular note-taking app offers crucial features like task tagging, reminders, note management, collaboration tools, and recognizing handwriting. Students can use up to 50 tags to categorize their notes. They can also highlight their notes in different colors. This helps in organizing their study materials. The tool also features reminders, which help students stay ahead of their academic schedules.

Key features:

  • Available on Android, web, iOS, and Chrome
  • The simple integration is designed for fast note-taking
  • Integrates with Google tools and services
  • Offers features like handwriting recognition, task tagging, and management reminders
  • Helps in organizing notes with colors and up to 50 tags

Pricing

Free, along with 15GB of storage.

Available on

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Web browser access
  • Chrome browser extension

9. Notion

Notion
Image- Edu Email Shop

Overview

The notion has emerged as one of the most popular note-taking apps for college students. The powerful and versatile tool helps in collaboration, making it ideal for students. The software is driven by a database, offering flexible pages with a template engine and powerful tables that work like databases. The tool has a hybrid editor supporting both UI and Markdown formatting. Moreover, the nested hierarchical organization in Notion makes it one of the best note-taking apps for students.

As a student, you may also use Notion to integrate web content into your workplace. It offers a wide range of features like blocks that serve as tags. However, you would need an internet connection to use the tool. The maximum supported file size for uploading with the free plan is 5 MB.

Key features:

  • Available on multiple platforms and devices
  • Offers features like task management, note-taking, collaboration, and project management
  • Customizable templates available for taking notes
  • Flexible page structure with a template engine
  • Robust tables work like databases

Pricing

Free basic plan available, with personal plans starting at $ 4 a month.

Available on

  • Android
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • Web browser

Rating: 4.7/5

10. Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook
Image- Google Play

Overview

One of the best note-taking apps for students, Zoho Notebook is a crafty tool that has been inspired by the functionality and format of physical notebooks. Thanks to its extensive array of features, users can organize their notes and ideas seamlessly. The app is available for Apple, Windows, and Android platforms. Besides being a popular note-taking tool, it also serves as a platform where you can set reminders, and collaborate, organize, and manage notes.

With the strategic use of tags as used in social media platforms, Zoho Notebook brings a unique approach to organizing notes. The tool has an inbuilt AI assistant, Zia to enhance your note-taking experience. Zia is capable of creating checklists, generating images, providing tables, and performing calculations. It can even create code snippets for websites. It has a capacity of 168.8 MB and offers ample space to organize your notes.

Key features:

  • Available on multiple platforms
  • The user interface is thoughtfully designed with different customization options
  • Different color codes, folders, fonts, templates, and layouts are available
  • Students can secure notes using Touch ID and password protection features
  • Supports comprehensive notes organization through tags

Pricing

Free version available, with the premium version starting from $2.49/month

Available on:

  • Android
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Web browsers
  • Linux

Conclusion

Now that you have the list of top 10 note-taking apps for college students, it’s time to narrow down your choices. In the first place, determine the features that you might need. For instance, you might need features like tagging, markdown, or even AI assistance for organizing your notes. Depending on your needs, shortlist the best note-taking apps for students from our list of recommendations.

Next, think of the pricing and decide whether you want to go with a free version, or look forward to enjoying advanced features with a premium plan. Most of the paid plans are affordable, so students often vouch for these to get access to advanced features and storage. We have carefully curated this list of note-taking apps for students so that you can benefit from a comprehensive suite of features. Enhance your academic journey with one of these tools on your device.