Keep It v2, Obsidian native alternative?

Keep It released their version 2 a couple of weeks ago - major one (randomly came across it today). I must say it is a huge step forward with their new Finder Integration.
I think it will click with those who are desperately looking for the Obsidian native alternative.
Always liked how the app looked and their extensive organisation tools, however, never used Keep It before as it reminded me of Evernote. With this new version and the functionalities introduced I am welling to give it a shot.

Did I mention they do linking as well :slight_smile:


may be it is a viable alternative to Obsidian, but it is going to be a costly option

It looks more like a DevonThink alternative to me, no? Is it good for just note taking? I would love a Mac native alternative to Obsidian, although I am happy with it for the most part.

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That looks pretty cool, but I can’t quickly tell if the app uses individual plain text files at its core. Do you know?

I really wish app developers made a habit of saying somewhere: We store your data in in . E.g., “We store your data in plain text files in /path/to/directory.” Or: “We store your data in a proprietary database inside the application bundle.”

add as many adjectives as you want: encrypted, secure, markdown, etc.

I don’t know KeepIt’s internal format, but its export creates .rtfd (a variation of rich text.) It’s not an app for managing local plain text files.

I got this from their support page: Reinvented Software - Support - Keep It for Mac

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It looks like images are first-class citizens in KeepIt. That would be hard to do well in plain text Markdown files. Files formatted as .rtfd, however, make perfect sense.

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I can have my Obsidian Vault sitting in the Finder Sidebar, too.
So, what is the special deal with Keep It on that?

To me Keep It strength compared to DT is the note taking, while DT strength is in it file management and amazing search.

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It does seem you have the option to work with whatever file formate you like.
How does the app deal with the files internally I have no idea tbh. However, to me it was more that I can just use plain text with Finder Integration.

It is a native app :slight_smile:

I still don’t understand, where you see the real differences?

And by the way, the description, within the link in the first post, seems to have a mistake
They wrote

When Keep It is using iCloud, Finder integration also makes it possible for files to no longer be stored on your Mac to save space, while still appearing in the Finder, searchable by Spotlight, and backed up with Time Machine.

So I wonder, how they do this, because TimeMachine will only be able to backup, what actually is stored on the system. If it is just a download link, TimeMachine will not be able, to backup the file, only the link.
So, if the link becomes invalid in the meantime, there is normally no restoration possible!

Isn’t this the same potential problem we all have with our files that are stored in iCloud? The files that have the little dotted cloud symbol in Finder are not on our Mac and are not available for Time Machine backup.

…At least as far as I have always understood the way iCloud Drive works. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, as far as I understood, they are also using only water for cooking. :potable_water:
Therefore I wonder, why they mention something else on their website… :thinking:

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Hello, I’m the developer of Keep It.

Apple introduced Finder extensions in macOS 11 Big Sur. These use new features in APFS (Apple File System) to allow files to be (in Apple’s terms) either dataless or materialized. A dataless file stores enough information to show it in the UI, while a materialized file will be fully downloaded.

With this ability built into the file system, whenever any app, script, Terminal command, or whatever tries to open a dataless file, its content will be automatically downloaded by the Finder extension. Similarly, whenever another app makes changes to those files, the Finder extension can upload those changes automatically — you don’t need a separate app running, monitoring the changes.

The same applies to Time Machine or Spotlight, which temporarily download the content to back up or index it, and the system can then automatically convert the files back to being dataless to free up space.

Ironically, iCloud Drive doesn’t seem to use this system (yet?). When you remove an iCloud Drive download the file becomes a placeholder, and you won’t able to see that file in Terminal, for example, or it might have a .icloud extension, and attempting to do anything with the file will fail. I don’t know why they don’t use it yet, because this is the same system they’ve forced Dropbox and OneDrive to adopt recently, but who knows, maybe iCloud Drive will start using it in a future macOS release.


Hi @steveharris. Nice to see you here. Love your app.

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The value in Keep It for me is that it is not DevonThink or Obsidian. I find DevonThink way overkill for anything I am ever likely to need. I’ve not tried Obsidian, but my impression from extensive coverage (even from Federico alone) is that it’s trying to be everything to everyone.

I was going to make my case for the value in Keep It, but Steve already has the perfect words on the web site.

Keep It is a notebook, scrapbook and organizer, ideal for writing notes, keeping web links, storing documents, images or any kind of file, and finding them again. Available on Mac, and as a separate app for iPhone and iPad, Keep It is the destination for all those things you want to put somewhere, confident you will find them again later.

I will just add this: I never spend much time interacting with Keep It because it just lets me do what I need to without becoming the centre of attention.


If I weren’t so ingrained with EagleFiler, your recommendation would tempt me to try it. Half the battle with software is getting accustomed to how it works. At this point, EagleFiler is a comfortable old shoe for me. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’m a huge fan of Eaglefiler and use it almost every day. I’m tempted, however, by KeepIt for the mobile app which looks impressive and might save me using multiple apps on the phone. In addition, it looks like I can use callback URLs in KeepIt to reference specific items on Mac and mobile… I like to link to documents from calendar appointments and reminders for ease of access.

Eaglefiler can only generate item URLs on Mac (of course) and the URLs only work on Mac.

I’m trying the new version v2 to see if it can replace Devonthink. It works well so far for my 10GB folders, need to wait quite a while for first time iCloud upload and indexing though.

I like its features pairing between IOS and Mac. The search functionality on iOS works better than DTTG. The Quick File and Saved Search on iOS really meets my needs.

I’m sure I’ll miss some features of DT3 on the Mac side, such as See Also and OCR PDF, will see how it goes. On the other hand, the Finder Integration is something that I wish to have on DT3.

I have some good news for you…