EasyNotes is a simple hierarchical note taking program that offers a good range of functions. The open source program can be installed locally or used portably from a USB.
This a simple program that is very low on your system resources. What I like about it is (a) its straightforward, intuitive design (you can just pick it up and go), (b) the good range of features/functions that it offers (tabs and tree structure, rich text editing, and image support), and (c) the fact that it can be used from portable device.
However, please note that EasyNotes does not offer many functions that other, more sophisticated (and resource intensive) programs do such as support for tables, global search/replace, spreadsheets, support for embedding multimedia objects, and macros/plugins. Here’s more info on this program:
- Tabs: you can open multiple files (each representing a file which consists of a hierarchical tree of notes) simultaneously and each one of these will be displayed in its own tab. I like having both a hierarchical structure on the left pane as well as multiple tabs both, as I find the 3-dimensional depth provides a much better way for organizing information. For example, I like to open a new note (tab) for each project that I am working on and then have all the related /information structured in the hierarchical tree on the left (as opposed to having to sort all of my information into a single, unified tree which some notes programs force you to do).
- Rich text editing: offers simple but adequate rich text editing options (edit font styles, text/background color, bulleting/numbering, indentation, alignment, even line spacing). What I especially like is that you can insert a clickable link within any string, which effectively enables you to use this program as a bookmark manager of sorts (this simple feature is something that many notes programs somehow miss – see screenshot).
- Portability: the setup file will ask whether you want a local install or portable installation.
- Image support: you can insert images into your notes; however no resizing or editing options are offered, so resize or edit your image before importing. Note that you can paste images into your note rather than importing a file if you want, and the images behave much as any other text; you can indent them, align them, and even bullet them if that makes any practical sense to you.
- Memory use: can be minimized or closed to the system tray and consumes approx 20 megs of memory in the background (at least with the handful of notes that I had open).
- Icons: you can assign different icons to your different notes; however you are limited by the program’s own icon set (around 50 icons). It does not seem possible to use or add your own icons.
Wish list: although a large part of the draw this program has is its simplicity and small footprint, I believe that adding the items below will make it better (and that it can be done without making the program much larger).
- Tabs: (a) it would be better if tab headers could display the file name only rather than the entire path to the file as is currently (b) the ability to drag and drop tabs to change their order, and (c) the ability to change the tab color.
- Pre-loading notes: the option to automatically pre-load on program launch the last set of files (tabs) that were open would be a great addition. Another idea: the option to load every note in a specific folder.
- Search/replace: in this era of search engines every program should include a search functionality IMHO. This program can use both an in-text find/replace function as well as search/replace across open tabs.
- Tables support: the ability to create (and format) simple tables would be great.
- Image manipulation: the ability to resize by dragging the edge of an image would be very useful, as would the ability to add a simple outline around the image.
- Password protection: for those notes that contain credit card and social security numbers.
- Text editing: the ability to change font size would be good, as would the ability to change the note’s background color in its entirety. Currently, working with bulleted/numbered lists is a little quirky (you have to select a chunk of text before being able to implement bullets/lists); it would be great if that would be changed such that lists will behave in the standard way they do in MS Word for example.
The verdict: if you need a simple yet functional hierarchical notes program (and/or you need it to work portably from a USB drive) then you will appreciate EasyNotes. For other notable freeware notes programs that offer many more options (and a larger footprint) check out KeyNote or SEO Note; or you might want to check out desktop sticky notes programs such as Shock Sticker and Stickies.
Version Tested: 0.4.0 beta