The best note taking apps for Windows in 2023: a roundup of personal knowledge management software for Microsoft and PC
Hello note-taking friends! You might be a happy Windows user, or maybe you’re forced to use Microsoft and PC at work. Whether you use Windows happily or grudgingly, you’re looking for the best note taking apps and software to help you stay organised on Windows. Let’s get right to it. 👇
About your guide
Hi there! 👋 I’m Elizabeth Butler, physician, parent, part-time indie hacker, and personal knowledge management enthusiast. I’m the creator of the Calmer Notes method for personal knowledge management.
I get really excited about connecting people like you with the right note taking systems and apps. I firmly believe that having a robust note taking practice will make you happier, more productive, and more relaxed.
How to choose a note taking app
Choosing a note taking app is an incredibly personal choice. Some people prefer to use rigorous organization, with headings, subheadings, and complex tagging structures. Other people want a more minimalist approach, so they can just capture quickly on the go.
If you’re looking for a way to capture typed notes on your Windows laptop or work PC, all of these apps will do the job. You’ll likely prefer the aesthetics or specific functions of one over another, so it’s worth investing some time in exploring each to see what fits you best.
(Looking for a more systematic, detailed approach on how to choose a note taking app? You might be interested in my Calmer Notes for personal knowledge management course— in module 4, we do a deep dive into how to mindfully select the right note taking software that fits your life.)
The best note taking software with dedicated stand-alone Windows apps
Description: “Tame your work, organize your life. Remember everything and tackle any project with your notes, tasks, and schedule all in one place.”
Description: “Organizing your Markdown notes made simple.
With 100+ plugins, cross-platform and encrypted data sync support.”
Created by independent developer Takuya Matsuyama based in Japan, Inkdrop is a beautifully-designed, Markdown-based note taking app.
Description: “Fast and focused notes for you and your team. Capture at the speed of thought. Designed to be the fastest way of getting ideas out of your head.”
Description: “One workspace. Every team. We’re more than a doc. Or a table. Customize Notion to work the way you do.”
Description: “Your team’s collective brain. A modern, simple, and blazingly fast way to collaborate – bring knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place.”
Description: “A second brain, for you, forever. Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files.”
OneNote from Microsoft
Description: “Your digital notebook. One cross-functional notebook for all your notetaking needs.”
Description: “Organize your ideas. Stay focused and productive with a clean and clutter-free note space.”
I’m Elizabeth Butler, MD, PhD, and I’m a firm believer that there is not one single, perfect, one-size-fits-all setup for organizing your personal knowledge management system.
I’ve used personal knowledge management to organize my time and knowledge for nearly two decades. I believe that everyone deserves to be able to create a highly personalized note taking system that’s perfectly tailored to fit their lives.
Maybe you’re done reading and browsing and searching, though. Perhaps today is the day that you’re ready to dive in with both feet and get starting building your own custom-designed, bespoke personal knowledge management system.
You’re ready to leave behind unsatisfying cookie-cutter solutions and endless internet rabbit holes in search of the “perfect” note taking app. If this is where you’re at, Calmer Notes may be just what you’ve been searching for.
Wishing you all the best on your personal knowledge management journey!