Questions to consider when choosing the best note-taking app: Writing, saving, importing and exporting, integration with other apps, and collaboration

So you want to find the best note-taking app. This post is part of the series on questions to consider when selecting a note-taking app that will work for you or your team.

Today, we focus on writing, saving, importing and exporting, integrating other apps, and collaborating.

Am I comfortable writing in the format that it provides?

It is essential to consider how you want to take notes and how you want those notes to appear. For instance, you may ask yourself: am I proficient in Markdown? Is the tool a WYSIWYG interface?

Can I export my notes? Can I import my notes?

It is also crucial to know if you can import and export notes. Know the formats that would be available to you. Are you content only exporting notes as PDF files? What if you can only import .txt files?

For example, I write in Ulysses and can easily export to Microsoft word when I need to get comments/feedback from collaborators. I may also outline in RoamResearch to organize my thoughts and produce first drafts in Obsidian. I can export these notes as Markdown into a folder accessible by Ulysses on my computer.

How are my notes saved?

It is also important to know where and how your notes are saved. Are your notes stored on your computer? Can you see and manipulate your notes even when you are not using the intended app? Can your notes be backed up to iCloud, Box, GDrive, Dropbox, or other software?

Does the app integrate with some of the other tools I use?

Another consideration is whether the app integrates with some of the other tools you use. If so, yay! If not, are you willing to sacrifice this to use the note-taking app anyway? For example, I used Evernote as a standalone notebook. I did not need it to integrate with other apps that I used. Any integration would have severely cluttered my workflow. If required, could Zapier or some other software help with the intergeneration of your apps?

Can I collaborate with others?

For some people, this is essential; for others, it is not important. If you are a solo user, this may not apply to you. Have you considered how you will approach this should you need to collaborate on a document? I share notes with my family (e.g., itineraries, addresses, general family stuff) with Apple Notes. These are mostly just notes to which we all need access. These notes are easily accessible by invited family members and reduce the back and forth of asking the same questions over and over. With Apple Notes, I don’t have much to explain about the use and function. It is relatively straightforward. When I share Notion spaces with others not already familiar with the app, it takes a bit of onboarding to get everyone up to speed.

Stay tuned for more posts on note-taking, writing, and general productivity.


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