- Notion is one of the most popular productivity tools and offers endless features and customization options.
- But not everything about Notion is perfect, as you’ll discover. Notion excels as a productivity management tool, but other apps on this blog excel at things like knowledge management, which is also an important aspect of note-taking.
- In this article, we’ll introduce you to the 8 best Notion alternatives, including some easy-to-use and out-of-the-box tools, as well as some advanced tools that will help you take your note-taking to the next level.
Choosing a note-taking app is difficult because there are several things you should consider before selecting an app. Note-taking apps are designed to help you increase your productivity, keep track of your priorities, and organize your work. While there are a variety of apps out there, the most popular is Notion. It offers you a lot of features and helps you increase your productivity and structure your work.
But what if you want something that helps you more with knowledge management, that can help you build your second brain, or you want something that’s specific to your use case, something you don’t have to set up first, and that’s super easy to use? In this blog, we’ll introduce you to 8 Notion alternatives that take a different approach than Notion and can help you meet your specific needs.
We will not only talk about the Notion alternatives but also tell you the pros and cons of each app and which one is the perfect app for you. If you are interested in the topic and want to take your creativity and productivity to the next level, these eight Notion alternatives will let you do so.
Table of Contents
How to pick the best Notion alternative
Even though Notion takes more of a “jack of all trades” approach with its project management, knowledge management, task management, and database management features, it’s not perfect in all areas, but most people only use it as a productivity management tool that’s just one part of note-taking. And with so many features, it can be a nightmare for beginners just getting started with Notion. Some of these Notion alternatives try to take a similar approach to Notion, but they might be perfect for advanced Notion users because they simply have more to offer compared to Notion.
Before you decide on the perfect Notion Alternative note-taking app, you need to be clear about what your needs are and what category you fall into so you can choose accordingly. There are a total of 3 categories that we will discuss in this blog: The Architect, The Gardener, and The Librarian. This may sound absurd to you, but these categories were developed by Tiago Forte, author of the famous book Building a Second Brain, and will help you find the perfect Notion Alternative for you. Let’s understand what each category means and how it will help you make your decision.
Many who take notes want to take a structured approach where they organize every aspect of their notes and customize things to take full advantage of the app’s features. They take the app’s functionality, customization, and aesthetics very seriously. If you belong to this category, you’re always trying to create the ultimate productivity system that perfectly suits your needs.
Apps like Notion, Coda, and AnyType fall into this category, and both Any Type and Coda are great Notion alternatives.
If you are someone who focuses more on the creative aspect of things than on productivity, you focus more on cultivating new ideas and trying to combine things to create something new and different. Suppose you are one of those people who love to break new ground. Then you fall into the category of Gardener; you are someone who deals with knowledge management while taking notes.
Apps like Obsidian, Rem Note, and Rom Research are the perfect Notion alternatives for you.
When you are constantly gathering new knowledge, you categorize it and love to gather information and combine it with the new data you have collected. You love to take a structured approach, but instead of adapting and structuring everything like a gardener, you take a different approach by digging into a topic. You take full advantage of the note-taking process. You like to research and love to share your knowledge with the world – my friend, you really belong to the category of librarians.
Apps like Evernote are your best bet because it is the best app to gather information from any source. It is available on all platforms, which makes it a perfect Notion alternative.
Now that you know what type you are, let’s take a look at all Notion alternatives with their pros and cons and try to figure out which app really fits your category.
Best Notion Alternatives
We’ll present you with the eight best alternatives to Notion you can choose to maximize your note-taking potential. We will list the pros and cons of all these apps and also tell you which app falls into which category of Notion so that you can decide accordingly.
AnyType – Best Notion alternative that works offline
Just like Notion, Anytype is a completely free workspace app that preaches all-in-one thinking. Although it’s still in alpha, the best thing about AnyType compared to Notion is the ability to work offline, whereas with Notion, you can’t even open anything when it goes offline. There’s no storage or upload limit, and the app is very secure, encrypting data with a key that only you have.
It also provides more templates by default if we compare it with Notion. It has templates for almost everything, unlike Notion, where you have to buy or find templates for everything, while in Notion, you can get specific templates for your needs. AnyType just gives you templates for everything. For example, if you want to create a page with an action plan, a template for it is pre-installed.
Project linking is something that Notion and Anytype approach differently. Notion organizes your notes linearly, while AnyType takes a different approach where you link your notes using a graph, similar to Obsidian: all notes are connected by links and web links.
Anytype is one of the best Notion alternatives if you consider yourself an Architect type of Notetaker; while it has the functionality of linking notes in the form of a graph, it is not the best for people who are Gardener type of Notetakers.
- It offers the same features as Notion
- It has a mobile app for both Android and iOS
- It works offline.
- Great for productivity management
- It is free as of now
- It’s ideal for advanced users
- And best for people who are Architect type of Note Takers.
- The app is still in the alpha phase, so there might still be stability issues.
- We don’t know how long it will remain free of charge.
Obsidian – The most secure Notion alternative
Obsidian is one of the best Notion alternatives and is designed specifically for people who are Gardener note-takers. Obsidian offers some great features that are missing in Notion, such as control over your data, which is hard to export with Notion because all the data is stored on web services like Amazon web servers, while Obsidian prefers to store your data locally on your computer, which is even better for security reasons.
Then, there are Notes and data visualization in Obsidian that many people use. While Notion takes the linear notes approach, Obsidian takes a more practical approach by linking notes and creating charts from topics and subtopics.
And now comes Obsidian Publish, a feature that lets you publish Obsidian as a journal on the web, though it’s not free for obvious reasons. But there’s nothing like it that Notion offers.
While Notion takes a more project management and task management approach with all the features you can think of, Obsidian is for people who want to take their personal knowledge management to the next level with notes.
- Better for people who are Gardener type of Note Takers
- Has a mobile app for both iOS and Android
- Stores all data locally
- Obsidian Publish is great
- You only have to pay if you want to use it for commercial purposes.
- Has a proper iPad app
- Obsidian is not as good as Notion or Anytype when it comes to project management.
- Knowledge Graph feature might be overwhelming for new users at first.
RemNote – Best Notion alternative for students
RemNote is a great app for students who are also Gardener-type note-makers. Let me explain: As a student, your note-taking process is divided into 2 parts:
- One part is where you need to take quick notes or write something down, or you just use the app for regular lessons, such as writing down notes for each lesson.
- The second part is where you already have your notes prepared and need to organize and study them.
RemNote is an app that makes the second part much easier. While you can do the whole process of taking notes in a single app, Rem Note makes the whole process of organizing and studying much easier because it uses the concept of organized flashcards.
Organized flashcards are flashcards with individual contexts, meaning each flashcard is connected to your notes in a larger picture.
RemNote can also help you remember things more easily by using references and linking them to your old notes. While this all looks a bit complicated at first glance, keep in mind that RemNote is designed to combine Aunky’s functionality with Notion’s workspace. This makes it useful for students and an alternative to Notion.
- Creates flashcards for better knowledge management.
- Probably the best app for students.
- Available on both mobile platforms, iOS and Android.
- Works great offline
- Has a proper iPad app
- You have to buy the Pro version for the full feature set.
- Not particularly useful for you if you’re not a student.
Evernote – Oldest and biggest Notion alternative
Evernote is probably the oldest app for note-taking and also the first real competitor of Notion. Released in 2004, Evernote is the app that started the modern note-taking phenomenon. It is so big that at one point, it recorded a total user base of 220 million, which is crazy in this day and age. It really is the best Notion alternative. But it takes a different approach than Notion.
Notion is the best app if you are a Librarian type of note-taker, as it allows you to gather all the information from different sources quickly and provides a very reliable platform for knowledge management. If you want to know how Notion and Evernote compare in terms of features and functionality, you can read our article about Evernote vs Notion.
- Better search function than the competition.
- Available for both mobile platforms, iOS and Android.
- Better knowledge management for personal use.
- Easier to use than other platforms.
- Has its own iPad app.
- The free version is very limited.
- Not the best choice for productivity management.
Evernote is one of the oldest Notion alternatives that many people still use and prefer over Notion.
OneNote – Easiest and simplest Notion alternative
OneNote is probably the most user-friendly and easiest Notion alternative, which says a lot about Notion and its features. While Notion offers hundreds of useful features that many people use, it’s not as easy to navigate for new users, who might get confused if they’re just getting started with note-taking. OneNote, on the other hand, works on a notebook basis, and you can add sections to your notebooks.
OneNote is probably the most beginner-friendly notion alternative, but at the same time, this tool is not as feature-rich as others, and organizing notes is not easy. We recommend it for users who are involved in the Microsoft ecosystem of apps and services and are taking notes for the first time. This app also falls into the library note-taking category, but since it’s not as feature-rich, we prefer that you stick with Evernote if you are a Librarian note-taker.
- Extremely simple to use.
- It’s free, and you don’t have to buy Microsoft Office plans.
- Has a proper iPad app.
- It is available for both mobile platforms, iOS and Android.
- Productivity management is simply not possible.
- Very limited functionality for pro users.
- It cannot be used professionally.
Loop – Latest from Microsoft with AI goodness on top
Microsoft recently published its answer to Notion. While Notion is equipped with additional AI functions, Loop follows the same approach but adds Microsoft’s flavor of AI, Microsoft Copilot. Loop’s biggest advantage over Notion is that it integrates with Microsoft services and also comes with Copilot pre-installed to take your structured notes to the next level.
It’s a perfect Notion alternative for beginners who fall into the Architect note-taker category. Copilot AI helps you organize and structure your notes with ease, and the formatting of the notes is very similar to Notion. Inserting elements such as tables and links is also easy with Copilot. The best thing about Loop is that despite its many great features, it is very intuitive and easy to use, making it an ideal choice for beginners and advanced note-takers who want to move away from their old note-taking app.
- Integrates very well with Microsoft services.
- Copilot will be helpful for beginners.
- Formatting options are similar to Notion.
- Access to Copilot makes the app much smarter than other apps when it comes to synchronizing your tasks.
- The app is available for Android, iOS and Windows platforms.
- The app is only available for Windows and not for MAC. You can use Loop components on macOS via Outlook.
- The app works great within the Microsoft ecosystem, but only if you are outside of it.
- To use Loop, you need a Microsoft account.
- Since the app is new, it might be missing some important features compared to more mature platforms like Notion.
Notability – For those who love handwritten notes
The peculiarity of Notability is that it doesn’t fall into any of the categories of note-takers, this app has its own target audience, and that’s what makes it different from the competition; it’s also a Notion alternative, but instead of typing, this app uses handwritten notes, and that’s something that makes it so special. Even if it doesn’t look like it at first glance, it’s a very personal process that starts with it.
If you’re looking for a tool to manage personal recognitions, Notablity might be the best option for you. If you want to know more about Notability, then you should take a look at our best article about the best iPad writing Apps.
- Great app for personal knowledge management.
- You’ll have a great experience using the app on your iPhone and iPad together.
- Synchronization features are great.
- comes with useful features like annotating PDFs and a wide selection of page options.
- Supports both Apple Pencil and regular typing.
- Not available for Android.
- Works best when you use it with a combination of iPad and Apple Pencil.
Notability is a great alternative to Notion if you’re studying or just want to improve your knowledge management, and handwritten notes are your forte.
Google Keep / Apple Notes – Best for occasional users
These two apps are very similar and work great. Although they are not true Notion alternatives, it is impossible not to add them to a blog about notes. Both apps are extremely functional if you only take notes occasionally, and both do their job very well and are one of the best note-taking apps for users who only take their notes occasionally.
Both apps have an ecosystem of apps and are recommended for anyone who takes notes occasionally and doesn’t fall into any category.
If you want to know more about the features that the Apple Notes app offers, you can find our article on the 20 best Apple Notes Tips and Tricks.
- Works well in the Apple ecosystem.
- Great for privacy and security.
- Has many useful features like scanning PDFs and documents.
- Extremely reliable to use.
- Only works on Apple devices.
- You can collaborate only with people who use Apple devices.
- Lack of integration with other apps.
When it comes to Google Keep, you can’t forget that it’s easier to use and offers a great UI that’s easy to use and understand. The collaboration features are handy but not as advanced as Notion or other apps on the list.
- Easy to use and very quick to get up and running.
- Works great in Google’s ecosystem of apps.
- Offers all the important features of a note-taking app.
- There is no desktop app.
- Text formatting is not possible.
- Integration with other apps is not available.
Choose Your Best Notion Alternative
These are some great Notion alternatives you should try. Also, choosing the right note-taking app is important to maximize productivity, so make sure you’re clear on what kind of notes you’re taking and then choose only the app that suits you. Most of these apps are free for personal use. If you’re interested in personal knowledge management, we recommend sticking with the free version.
Each Notion alternative featured in this blog offers at least one thing that makes it better for you. While Notion takes a “jack of all trades” approach,” all of these Notion alternatives try to take a different approach because they are designed for people who fall into different categories of note-taking. All of the Notion alternatives have a feature that is specific to you and beat Notion in that particular category.