Best Open-Source Note-Taking Applications

EdrawMind redefines note-taking with visual mind maps, templates, and collaboration. Capture ideas, boost productivity & deliver impactful presentations.


Our minds are continuously bombarded with fresh concepts, knowledge, and experiences in the modern world of abundant information. Pen and paper and other traditional technologies just cannot keep up.

Here's where open-source note-taking applications come in handy, providing effective means of capturing, organizing, and retrieving information. Students are significantly less likely to become side-tracked when taking notes on digital tablets instead of laptops.

An exclusive benefit of open-source note-taking applications is their freedom and flexibility. Unlike proprietary software, they provide total control over your data, enabling you to tailor them to your unique requirements and workflow.

Also in this article, we will introduce EdrawMind. It’s not open-source but free to use. It provides a vast template gallery and rich symbols and layout options. Try it if you are interested.;

Now without further ado, let's look at some of the best open-source note-taking applications and discover which best meets your requirements!

Part 1. 7 Best Open-Source Note-Taking Applications

1. Standard Notes

standard notes open source code application

Standard Notes can be your best bet for privacy regarding open-source note-taking apps. You can guarantee that you will have access only to your encrypted notes. The public open-source code is available for anybody to edit and modify.

Everything can be stored in Standard Notes, including files and notes, so there's no need to use other apps or run the risk of data breaches. Being in one location increases the experience's productivity even further.

Rich text, basic text, and markdown can also be used to write notes. Spreadsheets, to-do lists, and task management are all possible. The entire program is truly simple to use and minimalistic.


  • Unparalleled Data Control: Host your notes directly on your server for comprehensive privacy and ownership, ensuring your thoughts remain in your hands.
  • Effortless Organization: Utilize intuitive tags and notebooks to easily categorize and retrieve your notes, streamlining your information access.
  • Cross-Platform Accessibility: Enjoy seamless access to your notes on desktops, mobile devices, and web browsers, ensuring your thoughts are always within reach.

Reasons to Choose

  • Prioritize user privacy by utilizing strong end-to-end encryption.
  • Simple design and a user-friendly interface.
  • Features for healing and constant access to ensure a worry-free experience.


2. Simplenote

home page for simple note application

Simplenote is an open-source, user-friendly application that supports Markdown for note-taking, previewing, and publishing. Although you can donate to assist the app's development, it is also free. Users may save time and worry-free note access because notes can be modified in real-time on any device without syncing or saving. Every time you make changes, your notes are also stored up, so you may review earlier iterations whenever you'd like.

Since Simplenote is now open source, users can edit the program, modify it, and use the source code stored on each device to develop custom code. This implies that you can distribute and alter Simplenote as you see fit.


  • Seamless Syncing: Automatic syncing across all your devices keeps your notes always up-to-date and readily available.
  • Reliability and Speed: Rest assured your notes are securely backed up in the cloud and experience smooth performance on any device thanks to the lightwseven design.
  • Efficiency and Convenience: Never lose track of your thoughts with automatic backups, jot down ideas effortlessly on any device, and maintain focus with a distraction-free interface.

Reasons to Choose

  • User focus is improved with an interface that is clear and uncluttered.
  • Easy synchronization makes it accessible from multiple devices.
  • Simple structure with capabilities for version history and tagging.


3. Laverna

home page for laverna open-source application

Laverna is unique as a web-based note-taking application that is an alternative to Evernote and prioritizes privacy and user data protection. Laverna maintains user data on the client side while guaranteeing a smooth and effective note-taking experience by utilizing indexedDB for local storage.

Ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive data is an additional degree of protection provided by end-to-end encryption.

Laverna is a great option for people looking for a private web-based note-taking solution that puts their notes' confidentiality first because of its many privacy-focused features.


  • Privacy: Take notes anywhere with your browser, secure them with encryption, and expand functionality with custom extensions.
  • Minimalist Interface: Navigate the app seamlessly with intuitive keyboard shortcuts and unlock advanced functionalities through optional markdown extensions. 
  • Offline Access: Take notes even without internet access with the premium version, ensuring uninterrupted productivity.

Reasons to Choose

  • Ideal for users who value complete control over their data.
  • Runs smoothly in web browsers without requiring additional software.
  • No subscription fees; contribute to development if you wish.


4. Notesnook

notesnook note-taking application home page

Among the many open-source note-taking apps, Notesnook stands out for its extreme privacy and security features. You may build encrypted notes monographs using Notesnook, ensuring no one else can read them. Notesnook is end-to-end secured. With Notesnook, you can make any type of note utilizing code blocks, basic presentation, markdown support, and more, and then group them into notebooks. Furthermore, everything will sync with your devices without a hitch. On GitHub, all Notesnook client applications are now open-sourced. This means you can customize the app's functionality and write your code using the web clipper, importer, and sync server. This implies that even if the app crashes, the code will always remain accessible.


  • Password protection: Protect critical information using individual note passwords, which provide granular control over your thoughts.
  • Cross-platform: With the ability to capture and access your notes seamlessly across all your devices, you can ensure that your ideas are always with you.
  • Tags and notebooks: With the help of user-friendly tags and notebooks, you can efficiently organize and retrieve your notes, thereby maintaining the order of your thoughts.

Reasons to Choose

  • Strong encryption with an emphasis on user privacy.
  • Smooth cooperation for project management and note-taking in teams.
  • The user experience is improved by intuitive design and cross-platform accessibility.


  • Captera: No Ratings
  • G2: No Ratings

5. Joplin

home screen for joplin app

Joplin is a to-do list and note-taking application available for free and open source that supports multiple Markdown notes. It makes copying, tagging, searching, and editing notes simple and allows you to arrange them into notebooks and synchronize them with many cloud services.

Evernote notes, resources, metadata, formatted text, and plain Markdown files can be imported. Cloud services, including OneDrive, WebDAV, Nextcloud, and Dropbox, are supported by Joplin.

Its three versions—desktop, mobile, and terminal—work with Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS; all have comparable user interfaces and synchronization features.


  • End-to-end encryption: Utilize the optional end-to-end encryption and password security to safeguard any sensitive information you may have.
  • Plugins and themes:  Personalize your workspace with a diverse range of plugins and themes, and format your notes with rich text editing and media embedding capabilities.
  • Rich text editing: Compose richly formatted notes with markdown support, allowing for bold emphasis, italicized details, and embedded media content, providing flexibility and visual appeal to your ideas.

Reasons to Choose

  • Excellent cross-platform compatibility guarantees adaptability in use.
  • Effective encryption techniques combined with end-to-end security.
  • Rich in features, it can be used for business and personal purposes.


6. QOwnNotes

qownnotes open source application for taking notes

QOwnnotes is an exceptional note-taking application that is especially popular among Linux users due to its simplicity and focus on offline usage. Its lightwseven construction guarantees a seamless experience, satisfying the needs of individuals who want effective note-taking free of needless complications.

With its smooth integration, QOwnNotes and Nextcloud Notes enable users to sync their notes across devices and work together more effectively.

Because of this connection, QOwnNotes is a dependable option for individuals who value simplicity of use and offline functionality in their Linux note-taking experience. It also makes it easier for users to collaborate.


  • Offline editing: Edit and make notes without difficulty, even when you do not have an online connection, guaranteeing that your work is not interrupted.
  • Nextcloud integration: Promote cooperation and information exchange by working together and easily sharing notes with coworkers via Nextcloud integration.
  • Automatic saves: The peace of mind from knowing that your work will never be lost thanks to automatic saves enables you to concentrate on freely recording your ideas.

Reasons to Choose

  • Unmatched personalization possibilities for a customized note-taking experience.
  • Sophisticated functions, such as a task manager, to increase output.
  • Options for local storage help protect data.


  • Captera: No Ratings
  • G2: No Ratings

7. Anytype

home screen displayed for any type of application

You can create almost anything with the note-taking app Anytype. Its flexible use and open-source nature allow you to develop a knowledge base, notebook, habit tracker, and more.

Anytype is a very safe app that solely uses on-device encryption that is local. Unless you share them peer-to-peer, only you can see your notes. You can update and share files with peers without requiring permission from a central server or authority.

You can independently examine, compile, and execute software components on your device using Anytype's open code functionality. Additionally, Anytype allows you to build apps without permission by opening protocols.


  • Block-based interface: Create a simple web of interconnected notes using the distinctive block-based interface, which promotes flexible arrangement and greater understanding.
  • Visual knowledge graphs: Explore the relationships between your ideas and concepts with immersive visual knowledge graphs, uncovering hidden connections and sparking new perspectives.
  • Supports various content: Break free from limitations and capture ideas in their authentic form. Integrate text, code, images, and more seamlessly within a unified workspace.

Reasons to Choose

  • Flexibility when using various media formats for a thorough note-taking experience.
  • Numerous customization choices accommodate personal tastes.
  • Increased data security and privacy are guaranteed by decentralized architecture.


  • Captera: No Ratings
  • G2: No Ratings

Part 2. EdrawMind: Free Online Note Taker and Mind Map Maker

edrawmind home screen displayed

With its visually appealing and interactive canvas, EdrawMind stands out as an ideal free note-taking application. The application goes beyond simple text editing and lets users create dynamic flowcharts, mind maps, and concept maps that improve the organization and visualization of ideas.

Users can add different shapes, colors, and connections to their representations using EdrawMind's wide range of capabilities, encouraging creativity and clarity when taking notes.

Due to its collaborative capabilities, it's the perfect platform for brainstorming sessions with the team because it allows numerous users to contribute to the same canvas simultaneously.


  • Real-Time Collaboration: Brainstorm ideas and refine concepts in real-time with team members, fostering dynamic collaboration on shared mind maps.
  • Template Library: Jumpstart your projects with a vast library of pre-designed mind map templates covering corporate strategy, project planning, and diverse use cases.
  • Symbols: Engage your audience and enhance understanding with a diverse library of clipart, emojis, and icons, adding visual clarity and personality to your mind maps.
  • Powerful Task Management: With powerful task management tools, brainstorming sessions can produce real outcomes. Assign assignments straight from mind maps and track progress effectively.
  • Outline View: Craft structured presentations and organize thoughts logically with the traditional outline view, which is ideal for linear thinkers and structured presentations.
  • Presentation Ready: Captivate your audience with interactive mind maps complete with transitions, animations, and speaker notes, delivering impactful and engaging presentations.

Reasons to Try

  • Capture and organize ideas effortlessly using the power of mind maps and visual representations.
  • Jumpstart your creative process with pre-designed templates catered to specific needs and industries.
  • Transform ideas into actionable tasks, driving progress and achieving goals efficiently.



The open-source note-taking application landscape is packed with options that appeal to the preferences and requirements of various users. Every application contributes something distinct to the thread, ranging from the innovative visual canvas offered by EdrawMind to the privacy-oriented attributes of Joplin and Standard Notes.

Whether users place a premium on functionality that facilitates collaboration, customization, security, or simplicity, the seven best open-source note-taking applications presented provide an extensive array of choices. This variety of options shows how digital productivity tools have changed and how important choice and flexibility are in today's connected world.

David Miller
David Miller Jul 02, 24
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