Notational Velocity is one of those apps that doesn’t look like much when you first open it up, but turns out to be surprisingly effective. It’s a free open-source note-taking app for the Mac (s aapl), and what makes it so great is that it’s incredibly fast to use.
Fire up the app and you’re presented with a minimal search box and a list of notes. Rather than having to wade through menus in order to work with your notes, Notational Velocity knows that you’re there to either add a new note or find an existing one. Type a phrase in the find-as-you-type search box and any notes that match your phrase will pop up in the list below. Even when you have lots of notes, searching for them is easy and fast. Select a note and the full text appears in the bottom pane:
To create a new note, you just hit return — the text in the search box will be the title of your new note. Because there are no folders or tags, everything is found through the search box; you don’t need to worry about organizing your notes. There’s no “save” button, either; any changes are stored automatically.
Unlike many other primarily text/keyboard-driven apps, Notational Velocity is intuitive because it’s so straightforward and well-designed. You won’t have to spend hours learning arcane keyboard shortcuts in order to be productive; you can start using it right away.
Where Notational Velocity really excels for me, though, is that as of version 2.0, it has built-in support for seamless wireless syncing with Simplenote, the free note-taking app for the iPhone.
That means that I can have a blisteringly fast note-taking app on my MacBook, and my notes are also available to me wherever I go via Simplenote. Here’s a note synced from Notational Velocity:
Unlike more heavyweight note-taking apps OneNote (s msft) and Evernote, which can be used for storing a wide variety of information like PDFs and images, Notational Velocity and Simplenote are only suited to storing text notes. But if that’s all you need to do, it’s a brilliant combination, and you really should download both of these apps today. As they’re both free, they won’t cost you a cent!
Let us know what you think of the Notational Velocity + Simplenote combination in the comments.
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