This article will present four novel, free note taking apps: Treesheets, Tobu, Cintanotes, and MindRaider. Each one of these apps is unique in its own way, yet they have one thing in common in that they are not your traditional, hierarchical-tree based notes programs.
1. Treesheets: this program is a conflation of a note-taking app with a spreadsheet. It employs the same cell-based spreadsheet structure with one important exception: the cells are designed to contain large amounts of data within them. This means that once cell can contain, say, a header or category with 4 cells underneath it containing your information for that category, and yet each one of those cells can be literally”zoomed into” to reveal, say, dozens of rows of information within each one. The result: a visual matrix that can be worked with easily, with huge amounts of information embedded within individual cells that can be accessed/revealed by zooming in (and out) of them.
Treesheets is one of the most original notes programs that I’ve come across in a long time, and despite being quite a mature software it still feels like a work in progress to me. The interface in particular takes a bit of getting used to (especially as it diverges in it’s functionality from that Microsoft spreadsheet that most of us use). Nonetheless it is a great way to organize, store and access information and packs quite a “wow” factor.
2. Tobu: this program’s slogan is “information should organize itself”, and while Tobu doesn’t quite achieve that goal, it offers an excellent interface for organizing notes using tags rather than a hierarchical tree structure.
Tobu displays notes based on relationships; type in a tag and you will get a list of all relevant notes, as well as a column-view of all other associated tags. You can then type in more tags in the filter box(es) to narrow your list of notes further. But the program goes one step further by allowing the user to assign values to tags (for example you can make up a tag such as “Rating” an assign it, say, values from 1 to 5). The end result of this is a database like functionality wherein tags connect notes to each other and function as database fields with user-defined values (and which can be a very useful/powerful tool for organizing information).
3. Cintanotes: is a free, lightweight notes program that is really simple and straightforward and is organized around tags rather than a tree structure.
There are a number of things that make Cintanotes attractive; (1) it is very well suited to entering quick notes; (2) has a note-clipping function whereby you can select text in an app or in your browser and press ctrl+F12 to clip straight into Cintanotes (it will even preserve the URL if clipped from a browser, which is nice); (3) has a handy search function; (4) can display a tag “sidebar” that is really useful for navigation, and (5) can be run portably or from a USB drive.
4. MindRaider: two things you need to know about this one; (1) it can organize your notes around a hierarchical tree structure as well as a tags both, and (2) it will automatically create a “mind map” representations of your notes, outlining the various relationships between your notes and creating a visual representation of the interactions that may exist in your information.
MindRaider offers a slew of other functions, including multiple notes formats, linking between various notes or entities (including URLs and local files), and a powerful search function.
- If you know of other interesting FREE notes apps please let me know in the comments section
- If you are interested in more of a “traditional” hierarchical outliner type notes app check out KeynoteNF (a newer version of Keynote that is back in development; NF stands for “New Features”), SEO Note, or TreeDBNotes Free.