Standard Notes, Computerized Notebook
I've been testing different note-taking apps, and I believe I found the perfect one. Standard Notes is a simple yet multi-purpose note-taking app for anyone. With its extensions, you can write and organize your notes the way you want them. In this article, I will do my best to describe my use case for a note-taking app in general and how well Standard Notes fits into that description.
Why Standard Notes
I believe there should be tools that allow us to share, store, and ask about our most personal things. There's a significant shift in privacy when it comes to search queries or communication since we now understand how well such information can be exploited. When we talk about note-taking app having robust end-to-end encryption is extremely important. Standard Notes have taken privacy seriously. In my opinion, having end-to-end encrypted notes is one of the Standard Note's most essential features.
There's a free and paid version of the service. I used the free version for so long just because I wanted a straightforward note-taking app. The best thing about Standard Notes that even the free version includes the same encryption as the paid ones. Since the university is just around the corner, I decided to start looking for more feature-set note-taking apps. I've always been bad at organizing my notes since I couldn't stick to one method. I've been a Notion user for a while, but I never seem satisfied with my configuration with its complicated system. I've also learned that Notion stores all of my notes in plain text on their servers so every Notion employee can see what I was writing.
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This time I decide to find a better alternative that was also privacy respecting. I've never seen Standard Notes as my main organizing app since I've only used the free version. With extensions, you can add more features to the app that makes it way better service, not just for note-taking.
Main Features Of Standard Notes
- open-sourced apps for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac
- automatic sync
- offline access
Extended can be purchased for 2.48$/month if you decide to go with a 5-year plan. I suggest a one year plan since, in my opinion, that's the best balance between freedom of choice and the price in case you decide not to use the service after a year.
- encrypted attachments stored on your cloud platform of choice
- extensions like editors, themes, features
- note history
I'm sure there are many features that I haven't discovered or won't cover in this review.
Extensions, What Makes Standard Notes Not So Standard
If you want to use Standard Notes as your regular note-taking app, you're free to do so, but with extensions, Standard Notes becomes one of the best services I've used. I'm currently using Markdown Pro editor to help me structure all of my more complex notes. Markdown Pro editor is also my default editor on my laptop since whenever I'm writing on my laptop, I usually write longer, more complex notes. This editor is perfect for writing down during or after lessons at the university since I can better structure my notes.
On my mobile phone, I use the plain editor as my default editor since I usually have to write down things quickly so that the input method works in this context. Having multiple editors is an excellent thing that I never thought of. Depends on the context, I use the editor that fits that context the best. For example, when planning my day, I use Task editor, which allows me to write down the most critical tasks with a checkbox. Having different editors for different tasks is fantastic, and I believe one of the best selling features of Standard Notes. For example, there's also a code editor or spreadsheets editor that can be used to manage your finances or something that requires an actual spreadsheet.
I'm also using a folder extension, another reason I'm going to use Standard Notes as my primary note-taking app for University classes and my life. Writing quality notes is essential but storing and sorting them is another way. Having multiple folders allows for a more organized structure that is important when it comes to hundreds of lessons and various classes.
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Use Cases For Standard Notes
So there are simple use cases that every note-taking app has. You can put in your notes, create tasks with Tasks Editor, and write long articles like this one with Markdown Pro Editor. There's also a 2FA code provider extension that looks interesting. You can even store parts of code and create a personal manual for different procedures. The list goes on and on everything from keeping book recommendations to writing down your meeting notes.
In October, I'm going back to the university, so I'm also going to use Standard Notes as my main note-taking app. With organization tools like folders and tags, I'm managing my notes, which is extremely important. With powerful editors, I can write and learn from my notes hopefully better than ever before. I haven't tested Standard Notes as my primary learning tool, but I've got extremely comfortable with the service over the past couple of weeks.
I've started building my own so-called trackers. This might sound strange to you, but I like tracking my habits, physical activity, eating, etc. Currently, I have personalized trackers for meals and exercise that I use daily. I plan to create more trackers in the future, especially in October, when my life will get busier. I'm not comfortable sharing my data, so here's a brief description of my exercise tracker.
I'm using the Markdown Pro editor to help me create a better structure. First, I have some important links, motivation, the primary goal, and similar static elements. After that, I have months and days where I track my activity. At the start of every month, I have a clear goal, weight, and sometimes some other data that might be helpful. Each day I write about my exercise – time, distance, title... I think this helps me be more organized and motivates me to exercise as much as I can.
Listed, Blogging Platform
Listed is a blogging platform created by the Standard Notes team. You can create and publish your blog using Standard Notes. I'm not using this feature since I already have a micro-blog, but it's a great addition to the app. You can find Listed blogs from people like Alan Pope, Developer Advocate at Canonical, so I believe it's a blogging platform worth a try. I've already written about how micro-blogging is an essential step to content decentralization. With platforms like Listed offering blogging solutions, there's nothing negative I can say.
Nothing is perfect, so here are some of my problems and improvements that would make Standard Notes even better service. I like the platform's simplistic look and its tools, but the application's logo looks basic and, in some sense, even bad. Creating a good logo is hard, but Standard Notes could do better since this generic logo now sits on our home screens looking generic and unappealing. The second problem I found is the way extensions work on mobile. Some extensions don't work on mobile, and some take extra time to load. For example, folder extension doesn't work on mobile while Markdown Pro editor takes a second to load. It's nothing too significant, but it does affect the user experience. This kind of extension management could bring to fragmentation, and that's not good for developers or users. I'm also not happy that Standard Notes doesn't offer native image support. You can upload the image to the external server and link it with the markdown syntax, but they could host the photos for this price.
Are you looking to give yet another note-taking app a try? If you already found something that works for you that that's ok with me, but if you're looking for something new, exciting, and potentially extremely productive, give Standard Notes a try. I use Standard Notes all the time; the security, privacy, features, and cross-platform support is everything I've been looking for a note-taking app. In this review, you've learned that Standard Notes is a lot more than just a note-taking app, offering 2FA codes and other useful features, so give it a go.
This is my review of the service; no one paid for this review. The opinions are my own. I've paid for Standard Notes Extended. If you decide to support their work, continue their mission, and get the Extended version, please use my referral link. Other links inside this article are not referral! If you use my referral link and join Extended, I get one month added to my subscription.
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