12 Comments

Summary:

Years ago — even before Getting Things Done was all the rave — a powerful note-taking application named Notational Velocity, was all the rage. And then it lay nearly dormant. For years. But just a couple nights ago I received a fantastic email notifying me of […]

Notality

Years ago — even before Getting Things Done was all the rave — a powerful note-taking application named Notational Velocity, was all the rage. And then it lay nearly dormant. For years. But just a couple nights ago I received a fantastic email notifying me of all that’s been going on with Notational Velocity these many, many months.

Notational Velocity captures your notes in a way that’s so simplistic, you really need to try it out to grasp its brilliance. The application window, from top to bottom, consists of a text entry field, a listing of all notes that have been created, and then the selected note’s content. The top field is multipurpose: Type a note’s title into it and if there’s no currently saved note with that title, hitting return creates the new note and moves your cursor to the body area. If the title you’ve typed matches an existing note, hitting tab selects that note and moves you into the body of that note’s content to continue editing. It’s an elegant concept, and in this writer’s opinion, creates a hugely simple and effective user interface.

Notation Velocity Window

There’s a great deal of new features in version 2.0. Making it a universal binary (for Intel Macs) is a great first step. The list is long, so here it is directly from the email:

- Option to maintain/synchronize notes as text files for Spotlight and/or text editor access
– More robust and space-efficient database with encrypted, compressed write-ahead logging
– On-demand mounting of disk images and servers while loading the database
– Optional AES encryption with variable-strength key derivation
– Styled text editor supports font-independent formatting, an alternative to “rich text”
– Partial word-by-word or full-phrase searching
– Highlighting of found words
– Multiple-note selections and sorting by different criteria
– Support for input methods and unicode searching
– Basic support for editing structured text and code
– Per-note undo histories
– Importing of additional file types, including the Mac OS X Stickies database
– “Paste clipboard as new note” command grabs the current web context
– URL and email address recognition

Though the list of enhancements is great, almost more noteworthy is the open status of this great application. If you’re a developer who’s interested in getting your hands dirty in Notational Velocity code, or just want to learn a thing or two, check it out over at github. Hopefully this means that subsequent updates won’t be nearly as few and far between.

It doesn’t get easier than taking and retrieving notes with Notational Velocity. I’m thrilled with the update, and highly recommend giving it a try to see it it will fulfill your note-taking needs as well.

  1. It sounds great and like it has a few extra features over Notes in Mail or Stickies. How would you compare it to those two options?

    Share
    1. I think they’re two very different solutions – I like NV because it’s easily searchable and updatable via a single interface. It’s very concise, which works for me.

      Share
  2. I don’t like user interface. The main problem is that the notes disappears when you need to create new note. Useless app!!! Save some time and get Evernote, Yojimbo or something else.

    Share
    1. @Palius: “THE SOLUTION IS BY NATURE NONCONFORMIST” – So it’s never going to be for everybody, but it’s very useful to some of us.

      “NOTATIONAL VELOCITY is an application that stores and retrieves notes.
      It is an attempt to loosen the mental blockages to recording information and to scrape away the tartar of convention that handicaps its retrieval. The solution is by nature nonconformist.”

      I use Evernote (replaced Yojimbo for me) and I’ll continue to use Evernote. But I use NV for instant writing and instant recall. For me, Evernote is for complex things that are often visual, NV is a pure text buffer that replaces the mess of saved TextEdit “notes” on my desktop.

      Share
  3. I have to say I don’t see the benefit of this over either Notes or Evernote. For example:

    Option to maintain/synchronize notes as text files for Spotlight and/or text editor access – or just use Notes and a text editor.

    More robust and space-efficient database with encrypted, compressed write-ahead logging – whatever that means as a number two enhancement!

    – On-demand mounting of disk images and servers while loading the database – how big are your notes?

    – Optional AES encryption with variable-strength key derivation – oh good AES encryption, eh?

    – Styled text editor supports font-independent formatting, an alternative to “rich text” – does font independant formatting mean it doesn’t support fonts? I guess that’s an alternative to rich text!

    – Partial word-by-word or full-phrase searching – see Spotlight, Evernote etc.

    – Highlighting of found words – oooooh!

    – Multiple-note selections and sorting by different criteria – this actually might have been useful – they should have stuck this in the top.

    – Support for input methods and unicode searching – OK

    – Basic support for editing structured text and code – how basic? what about BBEDIT?

    – Per-note undo histories – OK that is actually genuinely something that would make me give it a go.

    Importing of additional file types, including the Mac OS X Stickies database – that is the second thing – I’m gonna give it a go!!
    “Paste clipboard as new note” command grabs the current web context – meh copy and paste.

    URL and email address recognition – Notes does this.

    This might actually be a good application, and I DO like neat, concise apps, but the list was ordered completely wrongly for me to be interested. If I hadn’t gone and done this wee tirade, I probabaly wouldn’t have read as far as impoorting of file types and per note undo histories.

    Apologies for the moad – it’s been a tough day and I’ve been lookign at someone / thing to have a swing at.

    TSR.

    Share
    1. The Benefit: SPEED

      Opening Evernote on my MacBook Air. 26 Seconds.
      Opening Notational Velocity. Less than half a second.

      Once NV is open, the interface has no buttons – it’s DESIGNED to be 100% keyboard driven.

      For me, NV is like a RAM Buffer. Evernote is like a DVD Burner. They both rock, but they rock in different ways.

      Share
  4. [...] has an interesting item up about Notational Velocity, a note-taking application for the Mac. "Years ago — even before [...]

    Share
  5. Clearly NV is not for everyone, but I was delighted when I found the new version. The old version was exquisitely adequate, but when I tried to run it after upgrading to Snow Leopard, I was perplexed to get a message that it would require Rosetta. I have the impression that Rosetta is causing many problems that I want to avoid: I’ve jettisoned Excel 2004 to avoid installing Rosetta, but I would not want to do without NV. I don’t use it for all notes, only unstructured ones–but it’s nearly perfect for that use. I’m quite grateful to whoever updated NV to Universal binary. The other new features are mere icing on the (chocolate decadence) cake.

    Share
  6. Fantastic software. Best part for me is being able to set a keyboard sequence to bring it to the foreground.
    I set it as Control, Option, Command spacebar.

    Share
  7. For certain types of information (ex, for documenting complex unix commands, passwords, simple lists – basically the kind of thing that you would use TextEdit for, NV works better for me than Evernote.

    I use Evernote and NV. For Web Clipping, Research, Record Keeping and even english language OCR, Evernote is wonderful. I use Evernote daily. However, Evernote is slow to load, is primarily mouse drive, and eats too much RAM on my MacBook Air to keep running continuously. Hey, it’s called “Notational Velocity”.

    I used NV continuously from 2003 – 2007, but without a Universal Binary, using it on my MacBook Air was just self defeating, and I’m extremely happy to see that an Intel version is now available. Perhaps better news, NV now supports some Rich Text commands.

    Combined with DropBox and the RTF storage mechanism, you can have access to your NV notes synched on all computers, and even accessible on your iPhone.

    Now to find my backed up Notational Velocity Database!

    Feature Idea – what about hitting ALT+ENTER and jumping into a full screen mode on the current note. Basically combining Write Room with NV.

    Share
  8. @Ryan Erwin: I second your feature request. That would be a great addition. Have you submitted it to the developers?

    Workarounds you probably already know about:

    + [QuickCursor](http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/quickcursor/) (edit any text box in your preferred editor, including WriteRoom)

    + [MegaZoomer](http://ianhenderson.org/megazoomer.html) (zooms any window to full screen with command-return)

    Share
  9. Rotated Toenails Monday, September 21, 2009

    You’ve obviously completely missed the point of the software, as well as this post.

    Download the application and then load 2000 notes into it. What–you can’t even imagine having that many notes? Then I guess your needs can be satisfied by using toy programs.

    Or maybe you can’t imagine creating that many notes with an interface as unwieldy as Evernote’s. It’s perfectly conceivable with Notational Velocity.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post