Incollector: a desktop note-taking app that uses tags to structure information

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Incollector is a freeware note-taking program that runs in the background and offers simple notes on demand from the system tray.

It uses user-defined tags and saved searches to structure information rather than a traditional folder/category hierarchical structure.

If you have been following this blog you may have noticed that I am always on the lookout for good note-taking programs. Lately I’ve been keeping an eye out for non-hierarchical, tag-based notes apps (see the Tobu review), moving away from the standard, hierarchically-structured notes programs.

Incollector is another good option that uses tags as its primary means of organization. It resides in the system-tray to facilitate the quick creation of notes and even provides a search box in the system tray for easy notes retrieval. Here are more notes on this program:

  • Structure: note are structured using a framework of user defined tags as well as virtual “folders” that are created out of saved searches.
  • Incollector Tags dropdownTags: allows you to create tags on-the-fly when creating a note. What’s cool is that a dropdown will appear as you type in your tag that filters the letters you type by the existant tags and allows you to scroll down and select a tag that has been defined previously. You can view information by checking or unchecking multiple tag labels in the left pane.
  • Note types: Incollector provides for 7 different note “types” (note, quote, conversation, serial number, web address, source code, word). The difference between these is the in the form used to enter information (for web address, for example, it asks for title and URL; for source code it will ask for the language used, etc. Personally I am uncertain as to the usefulness and value that this extra layer of information might provide.
  • Other info: aside from tags and type, each note can have a star rating (out of 3) and have a comment text filed associated with it.
  • Incollector searchbox in the system traySearch box: a quick and easy way to find what you are after. Scans all fields including tags, comments, content, etc. The system-tray based search box is really cool.
  • Saved searches: a virtual folder is created for each saved search. What is interesting is that you Incollector folder criteriacan apply multiple filters that utilize the tags created, the note type, the rating, and the contents including the comment field. You can either require the search to satisfy all or some of the search criteria when retrieving results.
  • Importing/exporting: of notes is supported, which makes backing up and/or moving your notes easy
  • What it does not offer: no rich text editing, no support for images or other objects, no links to files, folders, or URLS (except in the web address note type).
  • Memory use: approx 10 megs minimized, 16 or so megs while in use (note: .NET Framework based apps are a bit hard to gauge in terms of their “real” memory usage).

Wish list:

  • Any or all of the items mentioned in “what it does not offer” above would be good.
  • The ability to define the location of the saved notes file on the hard drive.
  • Portability; although I imagine that might be difficult to achieve with an app that requires the .NET Framework.

The verdict: there aren’t many free non-hierarchical, tag-based desktop-note taking programs out there, which is what makes Incollector so interesting. You will appreciate Incollector if you are (a) not looking for a lot of bells and whistles necessarily, but (b) are interested in a good, straightforward desktop note taking program with the ability to structure information based on your own user-defined tags. A very nice program overall.

Version Tested: 1.1

Compatibility: Windows, Linux; no info on Vista. Requires .NET 2.0 Framework for the Windows version, requires Mono and GTK-Sharp to work on Linux.

Go to program home page to download the latest version (approx 4.87 megs).