Standard Notes?

Any Standard Notes users out there? I need a new note-taking app:

  • Evernote offers too little on free, and doesn’t have a middle-tier plan anymore.
  • OneNote has all the feature bloat of Microsoft Word.
  • Zoho Notebook doesn’t have tags or nested notebooks.

Standard Notes was just recommended to me on Twitter. It looks good - any users?

First I would like to express the following is my own opinion and experiences with Standard Notes. Therefore I would also suggest you join the Standard Notes Slack, which is very active and filled with people who are very committed to Standard Notes.

I used Standard Notes for about six months because it was on every platform. Unfortunately, that also caused a lot of issues in the end, which is why I switched. The app built with Electron, at least I believe it was built with Electron, and I could be wrong. Therefore it is a glorified web wrapper, which on the one hand makes the app seamless between platforms but on the other makes some functions and features that are normal on those platforms unusable with Standard Notes, or Slack which is also built using Electron.

My issues were related to getting text into and out of Standard Notes. Sometimes the copy/paste keyboard shortcuts would stop working so I would need to restart the app, which when you are trying to get text quickly became a huge inconvenience. I often create lists in my notes, whether they are checklists or just lists of information, usually this is done in another application or comes in via email. Copy and paste into a note would often ruin the structure. On Windows I ended up having to use Notepad++ with a regex to clear formatting and make it suitable to Standard Notes, on macOS, BBEdit did the same thing.

With all this said, some people really like it, as I said check out the Slack, but I’ve also found others with the same issues I have and therefore if you are copying and pasting out, and into your notes application I would be cautious.

I would suggest you also check out Notebooks, the app I am currently using, which has apps for macOS, iOS, and Windows, Notebooks syncs via Dropbox or iCloud because they are just plain text files in a folder structure. Which means if you need to get to a text file from a device without Notebooks, you can sign into Dropbox or iCloud and navigate to your notes.


You might want to consider using the Notes app in conjunction with documents stored in the Finder. I’ve been doing that for a couple of months now, after using Evernote for nearly a decade and abandoning it, and then using DevonTHINK Pro for a couple of months and abandoning that as well.

I was a big user of Circus Ponies Notebook (RIP) and tried everything available at its demise as a replacement. I’m macOS only for this. I settled on Growly Notes. Sort of a cross between Circus Ponies and OneNote but a bit simpler than either. You can have multiple notebooks, each one with tabs and freeform pages.

@stevek Season’s greetings! I’ve just been pointed to Standard Notes as an open source alternative to Apple Notes. I am curious what more have you discovered since your Oct 2018 post? Did you adopt? Please share when you have a chance.


@nplanchon I wanted to update my thoughts on Standard Notes.

Version 3 was released last year (2019) and fixed majority of the issues I had with Standard Notes. I’ve been using it daily since August 2019 with the Extended 5 year plan and it’s been great. Sync has been and still is fast and rock solid.

Copy/Paste on iOS was fixed as well as formatting exports.

Recently, this week actually (v3.3), the only large feature I needed was added, exact match in search.

Beware it’s not for everyone, some people aren’t a fan of how search works. Currently you can only search in the content in 1 extension right now on the desktop. But you can use the browser search in the other editors for searching in a document.

Overall, I’ve been very happy with Standard Notes, and love the fact that it’s a secure place to store notes.

Circus Ponies WAS a really cool app! I wonder why it went under…

I think I remember that they felt threatened by Microsoft OneNote and decided to call it a day. It had a long run if you consider that it started as a NeXT application.

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Jayson Adams closed shop to become a Google employee, and Adams remains at Google to this day. When he abruptly closed shop he referenced Google by linking to a google-owned .xyz domain, and writing, “After 13 years in business, Circus Ponies has gone to that great Alphabet company in the sky." Some sites reported Google bought the company too, making it an acqui-hire.

It seems to have had nothing to do with OneNote.

He and Scott Love created the NeXT app, and went their separate ways with Mac apps; Love created the similar-looking NoteTaker (which makes sense, since it and NoteBook had similar DNA), which has just resurfaced in recent months as a Mac (only) app in the MAS.

MacWorld corrected themselves on the Google-owned domain statement.

The text that was on the circus ponies website specifically mentions onenote, so it would seem onenote contributed to notebook’s demise.

I came across a comment somewhere at the time (I have no memory of where) from someone associated with CPN that (a) OneNote was a rip-off of CPN/Notetaker and (b) that OneNote being free meant that CPN couldn’t compete.

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I never referred to a Google-owned domain, or Macworld; I noted that some said Google bought the company outright (linking to a different site’s news article), but regardless the dev closed shop to immediately go to Google and he remains employed there. And if they bought out the company out as an acqui-hire it wouldn’t be the first (or hundredth) time it’s happened.

When he abruptly closed shop he referenced Google by linking to a google-owned .xyz domain

Ah, that’s right. He later claimed it was merely a cheeky comment, but given his immediate decampment to Google …

Yes, but that is a quote from your post.
(My phone didn’t want to select-quote the text, so I quoted by hand.)

Yrs, I agreed with you. And filled in more info. He closed shop, he got a job at Google, he referenced a Google-owned domain (cheekily or not), and websites said he sold to Google (which was not confirmed).