Doing Digital: Delving into Digital Notepads

Notebook and phone
Category: Writing

One of the most common pieces of advice given to aspiring writers is ‘always carry a notebook with you’. A wise recommendation and one well deserving of a digital update. Physical notebooks are brilliant, there’s no argument there, but they can also be bulky and get misplaced or accidentally left at home. Cover all bases by adding an online notepad into the mix and use your phone, laptop or tablet as a way to record flashes of inspiration on the go. Here are a few of the cloud-based, phone-friendly online notetaking apps that could become part of your writing kit in no time.

Cover all of your bases by adding an online notepad into the mix


Comprehensive and very easy to use, Evernote is less like a notebook and more like a whole shelf of them. It allows you to compartmentalise and separate your various notes into a series of ‘books’ – ideal if you’re working on more than one project at a time.

You can log in on your phone, use it through a browser or download the app to your computer. Evernote also makes it very easy to include images, audio clips and other media in your notes, which is particularly handy if you’re a visual planner or you have a lot of research to stay on top of.

Zoho Notebook

This note-taking app has a firm focus on making things easy for you. The aim to is make writing notes enjoyable and it does this by creating a fun, interactive experience. The idea is that you’re in charge of a series of Note Cards and each is able to capture a different sort of media, so you’ll have a Text Card for text, a Photo Card for pictures and so on.

The Cards can be grouped and un-grouped with a pinch, collapsed like an accordion or viewed side-by-side. The app is designed to keep your attention on the content of your notes and not on Zoho itself, good for writers who have a habit of procrastinating!

Google Keep

If a simple, free app that syncs across your devices is all you’re looking for, Google Keep might just do the job. It’s geared towards life admin and productivity more so than writing, but its no-frills style will suit writers who don’t want to have to learn a whole new system.

The app is designed to keep your focus on the content of the notes and not the app itself

One nice feature is the way it lets you quickly filter and search for notes by colour or type, and because it’s linked to Google, you can add it as a Chrome extension as well as an app on your phone or tablet.


Catering more closely to long-form writing and longer notes than some other apps out there, SomNote has a clean interface that will be tempting to plenty of digitally curious writers. It works using a coloured folder system, allowing you to quickly tag and file everything you’re creating.

You can choose the way you view your individual notes, from a simple list to a series of cute thumbnails. it's also got its own Time Machine, letting you step back and fix mistakes or accidental deletions. Another nifty feature it the way it lets you search by keywords – handy when you know you wrote a note to yourself in the middle of the night but the only thing you can remember about it is that it had something to do with wombats…


Do you use digital notebooks or other apps to help you with your writing? Share your tips in the comments.

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