I like my applications to be simple, intuitive and elegant, keeping the user interface minimal and only showing me the options that I really need. This is one of the things I love about the Mac, as there is always a little development house creating these perfect applications.
A few years ago I went on the search for the perfect note taking application and I came back with Notational Velocity for the Mac. This application has the world’s most simple user interface (with no buttons), but it allows you to create, edit and search for notes in just seconds, which is exactly what I want from a note taking application.
When comparing Notational Velocity to the competition (Evernote and OneNote) you quickly discover that it lacks hundreds of “power” features, but this really doesn’t matter, because all I want is an application to take notes. If I want a word processor, I’ll head over to Pages or Word and if I need to grab screenshots or web clips then I’ll use LittleSnapper.
There is however one feature I wish Notational Velocity did have, and that’s cloud synchronisation. For example I want my notes to be instantly and automatically available across all my devices, not just the one I took the note on.
Thankfully, through the power of Dropbox this is easily achieved. For those not familiar with Dropbox, it is a free “cloud” file synchronisation service. Therefore with a few simple changes to Notational Velocity, it can be used to automatically synchronise all your notes, making them available from any device with a browser.
To set-up Notational Velocity and Dropbox for the first time, follow the steps below:
- Download and install Notiaional Velocity and Dropbox.
- In Notational Velocity, navigate to “Preferences > Notes > Storage”.
- For “Store and read notes on disk as”, select “Plain Text Files”.
- In the Finder, drag your Notational Data folder (by default in ~/Library/Application Support/) to the Dropbox folder in your home directory.
- Dropbox will now synchronize your notes across all your devices and the cloud.
To access the same notes from Notational Velocity on a different computer, follow the steps below:
- Follow steps 1–3 above.
- Choose “Preferences > Notes > Read notes from folder”.
- Select the Notational Data folder inside your Dropbox folder.
You now have the best of both worlds. The best note taking application for the Mac and the ability to access and edit your notes from any device with a broswer. Perfect!