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.
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.