This article lists many free note taking software available for Linux that rival Microsoft OneNote in features.
Microsoft OneNote is a very good note taking software. Unfortunately, OneNote is not available for Linux, and it is not Free. So I searched for equivalent Free software in Linux that allow you to take notes. I came across a number of very good ones.
Firstly, you may want to enhance your skills in effective notetaking.
Note taking software
The Free note taking software in Linux I tried out, and liked, are listed below.
BasKet is a note taking software that has a number of features for taking notes and organizing data.
They are –
- Rich text support
- Image creation and embedding within notes. You can even open the image for editing in your favorite graphics editor, make changes and save them back to your notes in a seamless manner.
- Support for four ready made note templates namely – one column, two column, three column and free nodes.
- Tag support. You can tag individual notes and then filter the notes on tags.
- Very powerful search and find capability. It doesn’t yet find text in images though.
- Do a screen capture of your desktop and directly embed it in your notes.
- Easily backup and restore your notes.
- You can import notes from text files and a variety of other note taking software.
- Password protect your notes.
- Export the notes as an HTML web page.
- Embed BasKet into KDE Kontact.
Zim Wiki – a Desktop Wiki, is a wonderful tool for taking notes. It does not behave anything like any traditional note taking software or Microsoft OneNote. Rather, it works like a wiki.
It is written using Gtk2-Perl and can be installed in Linux and Windows. I wrote this article and a couple of previous ones entirely in Zim Wiki.
Zim Wiki lets you to insert pictures into your notes. You can take a screen shot of your desktop and directly embed it in your notes.
For the screenshot feature to work, Zim Wiki relies on a command line tool called Scrot which has to be installed in Linux.
Every page in Zim Wiki is saved as a text file with Wiki markup – Zim uses Dokuwiki markup.
Pages can contain links to other pages, and are saved automatically. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a non-existing page.
You can create TODO lists in Zim Wiki or use it as a personal scratch book. You can also write lengthier notes in Zim Wiki.
Tomboy is a cool note taking software which is installed by default in many Linux distributions.
Tomboy’s beauty lies in it’s simplicity. For example, inter-linking between notes takes place automatically without any user action.
Tomboy has a very powerful search tool which allows you to track down your notes. You can create separate notebooks in Tomboy and each notebook can contain unlimited notes. Automatic spell-checking is provided by GtkSpell.
Tomboy supports both internal and external links. Some amount of text styling is also possible.
On the down side, you cannot insert images in your notes.
Tomboy is written in C# and utilizes the Mono runtime and Gtk#.
CherryTree is a cross platform hierarchical note taking software.
It features rich text editing and syntax highlighting. It allows you to insert images, tables, lists, and hyper links. Written by Giuseppe Penone, this is one fine note taking software.
MyNotex is an upcoming note taking software in Linux that supports a number of features that are ideal for taking notes.
MyNotex allows you to create any number of notebooks which can contain unlimited notes. It allows you to encrypt your notes, and attach files to individual notes, which is something that many similar note taking software lack.
You can tag your notes with key words that will help you find the notes at a later time. The notes area has limited rich text editing support as well.
KeepNote is designed to be a general note taking software that can be used in many different ways depending on the user’s needs.
It supports rich text editing and inserting images into your notes.
KeepNote lets you take a screenshot which is then automatically inserted into your notes at the place you have positioned your cursor. There is an option to open the screenshot in an external graphics editor, make changes to the image, and then save it, to reflect the changes back in your notes. You can resize the images in your notes by right-clicking on them and choosing resize.
KeepNote can store any file as an “attachment” to the notebook. On Linux, you can attach a file by dragging-and-dropping a file from the desktop onto the treeview or listview. To open an attached file, simply double click its icon in the treeview/listview. KeepNote allows you to easily backup your notes as an archive and then restore them from the archive.
You can also export your notes as HTML.
There is a Windows, Linux and Mac OSX version available.
TuxCards is another note taking software which is quite impressive.
TuxCards has support for rich text editing. Optionally it allows you to encrypt your notes using blowfish encryption. To encrypt your notes, while in Tuxcards, press
Ctrl+E key combination and you will be prompted to enter a password, which will be used to encrypt your current notes file.
TuxCards however does not support inserting images in notes.
Kjots is a very good note taking software. Recently, it has been rewritten grounds up using Qt 4 libraries. It is very quick to start up in GNOME even though it is essentially a KDE application.
It supports limited rich text editing and has a slick interface. You can create links, lists, and change font properties. You can search through all the notes easily. KJots allow you to export all your notes as text files or in HTML. But there is no support for inserting images.
RedNotebook is more of a personal diary and journal than a note taking software.
However, RedNotebook has many features beneficial in, and relevant to, taking notes. It allows you to attach tags and categories to your notes. You can insert images into your notes. RedNotebook comes with a very powerful search tool.
Some rich text support is also made possible using Wiki markup.
A simple note taking software written primarily for GNOME/Gtk-2, GJots2 is quite lean in features.
It does not have rich text support. Nor can you insert images.
Gjots2’s chief strength is in its very configurable tree hierarchy where you can do things like sort the tree, merge items, split items, move the tree node up or down the hierarchy and so on.
When you install GJots2, it additionally installs two other command line tools called
gjots2docbook which can be used to convert all your gjots2 files to HTML or Docbook format.
Knowit is a note taking software catering to people who want to store text snippets as notes.
It has the same basic functionality as seen in Gjots but with some additional features such as very basic support for rich text and support for creation of links (internal and external). You can export your notes in HTML format.
NoteCase is a hierarchical notes manager (Outliner). It supports rich text editing and image insertion.
You can install NoteCase in Linux and the application is quite usable in its current form. You will find NoteCase installed by default in many Linux distributions like Puppy Linux, Wolvix, PClinuxOS and so on.
But unfortunately, as of now free version of this project has been discontinued by its developer.
Other Noteworthy Mentions
Wixi – This is a multi-platform wiki application for the desktop. It is written in python/wxpython and uses txt2tags to generate text to many other formats. The goal is to provide a simple wiki tool around the txt2tags document generator and also be multi-platform.
Memoranda – This is a free personal diary and scheduling tool. However, it can be used to keep notes. It contains a notes tab which has a rich text editor built-in. You can insert images and use different styles of text as well.
Of all the note taking software listed above, the ones I really like using are KeepNote, BasKet, Zim Wiki, Tomboy, KJots, and CherryTree. If you are a Linux user, and is on the look out for a good note taking software, the ones listed in this article will serve you well.