Best Note Taking Apps for Students

The 10 Best Note Taking Apps for Students

There are so many note-taking apps for students and teachers to choose from! And they aren’t all equal. Choosing the right note taking app is important if you want to be efficient at taking notes. There are some that are designed for storing notes and others for backing them up to the cloud and syncing them to your smartphones, tablets and computers.

Taking notes can be a big challenge for students with learning and thinking differences. These note-taking apps can help. Whether you prefer to write with a stylus, type text, or draw with a finger, these best note taking apps makes the process as simple as using real paper.

Note-taking skills are critical in secondary school and college settings. Effective listening, clear handwriting, organized outlines and recording of key points are among the most critical note-taking skills. Skilled note taking enhances academic success. You don't want to feel constrained by your note-taking app in class. It's impossible to pick a single "best" note-taking app. Instead, we've made some suggestions that are tailored to specific users, devices and learning styles.

Here are the best note-taking apps for students, teachers and parents that will help them in all aspects of life, socially, at work and during study. 

The 10 Best Note Taking Apps for Students


1. Evernote

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Evernote is one of the best note-taking apps for students. Evernote lets students take notes, share notes, create to-do lists, and organize their notes in one place. Its limitless uses range from planning a course to delivering a lesson plan to capturing feedback after class. It also allows students to capture photos and record voice reminders and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at school, at home, or on the go. Text notes can include embedded images, sketches, or recordings.

Evernote is a cross-platform note-taking app for students and works well with hand-written notes and clipping articles from the web. Evernote can be used for creating student portfolios, lesson planning, classroom management, taking minutes of meetings, and instruction. 

Evernote helps to create and organize notebooks for different purposes and also collects and annotate various resources for research without having to read, print, or bookmark them fully. It is user-friendly, as long as you install the web clipper. Evernote is one of the note-taking apps available across multiple devices such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web, and Linux.

Pros: Offers a variety of features like task management, organization tools

Cons: Can get expensive if you need all the features

Price: Free with limited storage (60MB); $7.99 per month

Platform: Android, iOS, macOS, Web, Windows, Linux

If we missed any of the Best Note Taking Apps for Students, tell us about them!


2. Notability

(iPhone, iPad)

Notability is one of the most versatile note-taking apps available. This note-taking app can be used in schools, at home, or work. You can type or write notes on notebooks and organize them into folders inside the app. It also lets you annotate PDFs, which can be great for grading student papers. With Notability, you'll be able to use multicolored pens, brushes, and highlighters for most of your college work. Notability is a great addition to your arsenal of iPad note-taking apps.

It's a great app for taking and organizing notes. You can type text, drag and drop images, and file attachments into notes, record audio, and take notes at the same time. Notability is the best app for taking notes with Apple Pencil when used on either an iPad Pro or an iPad. This feature can be useful for writing notes in lectures or sketching objects when on a field trip.

If teachers set up a shared folder with their class via Google Drive, students can access their documents, annotate them, and push them back to their teacher via a privately shared folder. Also, students can open PDFs from any website in Notability and annotate directly on the PDF.

Pros: Easy backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive, multi-note support

Cons: Organizing folders

Price: Free with limited features. Paid plans cost $2.99 per month

Platform: iPhone, iPad, macOS

Noteshelf 3



One of the best note-taking apps is Noteshelf 3, which offers a variety of features to help you organise, enhance, and understand your notes. With Noteshelf 3, you can create unlimited notebooks and pages, and use tags and categories to find them easily. You can also add photos and audio recordings to your notes, making them more interactive and engaging.

Noteshelf 3 has a simple and intuitive user interface that lets you take notes as if you were using pen and paper. But what makes Noteshelf 3 stand out is its AI feature, which can generate notes for you based on a heading, or summarise or explain your handwritten notes. Noteshelf 3 is a smart and powerful note-taking app that can help you improve your productivity and learning.

Pros: Ability to record audio and annotate pdfs, plenty of customization options

Cons: Limited export options

Price: Free with in-app purchases

Platform: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows


4. NoteLedge

(Android, iPhone, iPad Windows)

NoteLedge is one of the best note-taking apps on iOS and Android for better study and research. Whether you are taking notes, reading documents, bullet journaling, or editing pages from textbooks, use NoteLedge. You can highlight by pen gestures and capture images & text on the study notes. You can save your time transcribing the summaries by gestures on study notes using an Apple pencil.

Notes can be handwritten or entered into text boxes on a document's original pages or compiled in separate notebook-style pages. You can export notes to PDFs with audio and video included. You can auto-sync to multiple cloud storage, including iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Pros: Powerful features such as capturing ideas, recording video and audio

Cons: Steep learning curve

Price: Free version available / Premium

Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows


5. Penbook

(iPhone, iPad)

Penbook is a powerful note-taking application for iPad and iPhone. There are almost over 1000 different types of notebook and stationery styles available, so you won’t be limited to personal notebooks or diaries. You can use Penbook, a notebook app that supports Apple Pencil, to create various types of documents such as monthly planners, sketchbooks, calendars, and more, using the live dynamic paper that responds to your touch.

The application includes features such as Live Paper, and variations of academic, scientific, and planning stationeries. There are unlimited cover combinations for your notes and you can draw perfect shapes using the Shape Recognition feature.

If you’re looking for a notetaking app that allows you to create and customize your notes with your style and creativity, Penbook might be the answer.

Pros: Search your handwritten notes for words or phrases 

Cons: No way to share notebooks

Price: Free version available / Premium version starts from $14.99

Platform: iPhone, iPad

Zoho Notebook

6. Zoho Notebook

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Zoho Notebook is a free note-taking app that gives you virtual notebooks with designer covers to store card-style notes. The covers make it easy to segregate and identify different notebooks. You can also choose fonts, font sizes, and colors as per your preference. 

With this app, you can make notes of different types, such as text, checklist, audio, photo, sketch, and document. You can also use tags to sort and organize your notes and share and collaborate with others. You can sign up for a free account if you want to sync your notes across your devices. This app is a simple yet feature-rich notes app that we recommend to students who want to have a free study notes app. 

Pros: Can password-protect notes, unlimited notes

Cons: Cannot access your notes with a weak internet connection

Price: Free and Paid subscription plan

Platform: Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows, Linux


7. Simplenote

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Simplenote is a free note-taking app for students. It is a great way to take quick notes and set up reminders. Simplenote is a simple but neat way to coordinate all of your notes. The app is very simple in design and allows you to add notes, and tags, share notes, and create lists, tasks, and reminders.

Simplenote allows you to save notes in plain text. All you need to do is sign up for an account and you can start using it right away. It offers basic features like version history, collaboration, and syncing, but text formatting is only available through the Markdown option. The interface of Simplenote is clean and ad-free, and users can change the app’s theme, font size, and column arrangement. Simplenote lets you import and export notes in various file types, including plain text and Markdown files.

Pros: Simple and straightforward, note version history

Cons: Only supports text notes, no formatting tools or file attachments

Price: Free 

Platform: Android, iOS, macOS, Web, Windows

Microsoft OneNote

8. Microsoft OneNote

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Microsoft OneNote is a versatile note-taking app that is perfect for students who want to mix different recording forms. Students can use OneNote to take notes, collect information, and collaborate with their classmates. Students can place notes on pages, and add drawings, diagrams, audio or video recordings, and images.

You can type, write by hand (using a stylus), clip web pages and scan handwritten notes or pages. This makes it easy for students to take notes in a way that suits their learning style and to create notes that are both informative and engaging.

Microsoft OneNote is a free note-taking app. Since it's part of Microsoft's Office suite, OneNote plays well with applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This study notes app is available across all major platforms such as iOS and Android. 

Pros: Free, Excellent organizational tools

Cons: Overwhelming to new users 

Price: Free

Platform: Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows

Apple Notes

9. Apple Notes

(iPhone, iPad)

Apple Notes is the best ready-to-go iOS note-taking app for Apple enthusiasts. Apple Notes can capture rich text and mixed media notes from anywhere in iOS, with features like checklists, tables, images, maps, audio, and document scanning.

Apple Notes is also one of the few notetaking apps that is set up to create tables and interactive checklists. Your notes are organized into a system of folders of your choosing. This app can also sync with iCloud, making all of your notes available across multiple devices. If you're looking for an easy-to-use note-taking app, Apple Notes is an attractive option.

Pros: Offers solid formatting features and allows cross-platform editing 

Cons: Lacks customization features

Price: Free (premium features for additional storage are available)

Platform: iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac.

Google Keep

10. Google Keep

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Google Keep is a free note-taking app best suited for lightweight users. Google Keep is a robust note-taking app that can help students create and share notes, lists, and reminders. Google Keep is loaded with fun features that can help students get organized, track progress, take notes, and more.

Google Keep looks like digital sticky notes that sync your notes across multiple devices that you use. You can type, draw, speak, or save web content as notes. If you use the Google Keep Chrome extension, you can save URLs, text, and images as you browse the web. 

Pros: Fast and simple to use

Cons: Limited organizational features

Price: Free for 15GB of storage 

Platform: Android, iOS, Web, Chrome


11. Bear

(iPhone, iPad)

Bear is one of the best note-taking apps for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch for writers and note-takers. If you are looking for a replacement for Evernote or Apple Notes, then Bear is one that you should take a look at.

Bear app has three parts: the Sidebar, the Notes List, and the Text Editor. You can use tags and sub tags to organize your notes, instead of notebooks. You can also create and move tasks within your notes by clicking on T. This is useful for simple to-do lists, but not for complex project management. Bear is ideal for writers who want a fast, flexible, and clean app for notes and prose. 

Pros: Inexpensive

Cons: Limited features, for Apple users only

Price: Free (premium features are available)

Platform: iOS, macOS

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good note taking app?

A good note-taking app should be easy to use, accessible on mobile devices, and affordable. It should also have top-notch security to protect your sensitive data.

What to look for when choosing a note taking app?

When choosing a note-taking app, you should consider the following factors: organization, user interface, cross-platform compatibility, search functionality, collaboration, security, and pricing. The app should allow you to organize your notes efficiently, have a user-friendly interface, be compatible with multiple platforms, have a robust search function, offer collaboration tools, have security features, and be priced within your budget.

What’s the best free note taking app for smartphones?

Here are some of the best free note-taking apps for smartphones: Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote, Simplenote, and Zoho Notebook. All of these apps are available on both iPhone and Android smartphones.

There are note-taking apps for pretty much any workflow, preference, device, budget, or use case that you might have. You just have to think through what you want and choose a note-taking app that best suits you.

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