Since the pandemic changed the way we all work, meetings have looked a bit different. Over the past couple of years, we’ve gone from conference rooms and round tables to Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts, which ultimately means that the way we collaborate and interact is going to be different. Enter remote collaboration tools, and more specifically, note taking apps.
Benefits Of Taking Notes In A Remote World
“Taking notes” is something that has long been important for successful communication and teamwork, but it’s taken on a whole new meaning in our remote world. First of all, setting an agenda before the meeting via note taking apps helps everyone get on the same page. Without those moments before meetings to chat over the agenda in-person, you need to create some sort of format for your meeting. Using note taking apps to prep the team for the meeting, and sharing the note with everyone beforehand, is essential.
During your virtual meetings, things are also much more likely to get lost in the shuffle. Did you know that over 70% of communication is non-verbal? This means that something you say over Zoom may be taken a totally different way than it would in-person. That’s why taking accurate notes, or designating a team member to record all items discussed, is important. Without notes that reflect the meeting’s contents, it makes things much more difficult in the long run, as you won’t have a log of items discussed to reference in the future, or for anyone who couldn’t make the meeting.
As remote teams look to optimize their time in meetings, utilizing meeting tools to create an agenda, take notes, and send around follow-ups is critical. Because we can’t communicate face-to-face and in an office, we’re going to need to pass along our thoughts, feedback, and next steps virtually.
The Best Note Taking Apps On The Market
When it comes to taking notes digitally, finding yourself an excellent note taking app is critical for logging next steps and planning overall strategy. When you are able to record your next steps with one of many great note taking apps on the market, and ideally assign them out to meeting attendees, you are actually able to start getting work done in the meeting. This prevents you from having follow-up meetings where everyone is confused and no one knows what they were responsible for – it’s one of the most impactful ways improve meeting productivity.
With the right note taking app, you’ll leave every meeting with next steps and remain confident in your game plan. And to help you navigate all of the options on the market, here are our favorite picks for the best note-taking apps that your team can start using today.
1. Hive Notes
If you’re a Hive user, Hive Notes is a great way to integrate your meetings with your to-do list, bringing your traditional meeting notes to a whole new level. In Hive Notes, you can actually connect a note to a meeting on your Google or Outlook calendar, assign meeting attendees next steps, and easily share the meeting note with everyone – whether they attended the meeting or not – after the event is over. It’s one of the best note-taking apps on the market.
Since Hive Notes syncs up with your calendar, it’ll also send you a reminder in Hive five minutes before your meeting starts prompting you to take notes. If the meeting is recurring, Hive also offers a “notebook” style set-up where you can add multiple entries to the same note. During the meeting, use Hive Notes to collaborate in real-time, Google-doc style, so multiple people can add comments at once.
One of the most unique aspects of Hive Notes is its Zoom integration, which lets you access the power of Hive Notes inside your Zoom meetings. With Hive Notes for Zoom, you can take notes collaboratively in Zoom without opening another screen. You can share the note with all meeting participants, type in real time, and assign action items within the Zoom meeting itself – it’s a brand new virtual meeting experience. To start using Hive Notes in Zoom today (free for everyone, forever) simply download the Hive Notes app in the Zoom marketplace.
👉 Did you know that Hive just made Capterra’s list of top 9 project management platforms in the world? Get started for free today to see why Hive scored 100 out of 100 in popularity among its customers – the highest score of all tools on the market. Level up your note-taking tool with Hive.
One of the most popular and very traditional note taking apps, Evernote is used by teams around the world who want one central location for all meeting notes and documents. Within Evernote, you can store all of your notes in one place, and sync notes between devices. You can also capture photos to save in your notes, and add checklists for next steps.
Additionally, audio from your meetings can also be recorded and attached to the meeting note, which is an excellent way to ensure people who couldn’t attend the meeting will stay in the loop.
Microsoft’s OneNote is a solid note-taking tool if you’re looking to stay in the Microsoft universe. With OneNote, you’ve got a massive note-pad at your fingertips, which you can write in, add images to, and divide into pages and sections. This is a great tool if you use other Microsoft products, as you can plug in other documents into the note itself, like Spreadsheets or Word docs.
Create lists with a few clicks and revise notes with type, highlight and ink annotations, which are fun to add if you’re using a touch-screen device. You can also share ideas and collaborate with other users in OneNote.
Notion is one of our favorite project management and note taking apps used by teams for a few primary things, including notes, tasks, and team-wide wikis. With Notion you can store notes and docs in List view, which helps you see quickly the most important aspects of a note and its contents. Users can then assign tasks directly from notes with a few clicks. This is one of the top note taking apps that has recently become very popular.
Team wikis help you store information like company policies, contact info, and engineering practices. You can even use emojis here, which makes wikis a bit more fun!
Hugo is a centralized place for all notes, meetings, and tasks. This is a relatively newer product on the market, and is basically a central place to gather everything related to any upcoming meetings. In Hugo, you can see a general overview of the meetings on your calendar, as well as any tasks that are related to them. You can also set reminders to alert you to any upcoming meetings so you never forget to set an agenda or prepare.
Hugo also helps you prep agendas with one-click templates and you can take in-meeting notes with both internal and external participants. Hugo is one of our favorite note taking apps for its futuristic and advanced capabilities. Try it if you’re tired of your basic notepad.
Simplenote is one of our favorite note taking apps for those who want something straightforward and simple, as the name suggests. Simplenote allows you to sync all notes across devices, and you can view past changes in markdown mode. Additionally, you can easily share lists/notes and meeting items with other people, as well as publish your notes online.
Bonus: Simplenote is free!
Fellow is on our list of best note taking apps because of its integration into each individual’s workflow. Within Fellow you can build collaborative meeting agendas, record action items, and plot out actionable next steps. In Fellow, you can start by applying a template to your meeting note, then build your agenda. From there, you can assign next steps to meeting attendees and exchange feedback.
Bear bills itself as an app that you can use for everything from basic notes to full-on essays. The app has an advanced markdown mode which lets you edit and revise thoroughly. Got notes that you don’t want others to see? You can use FaceID to password protect those notes. Additionally, you can convert your notes into PDFs or Word Docs.
9. Google Keep
Google Keep is Google’s note-taking solution that lets you take, store, and share notes from any of your devices. While Google Keep doesn’t offer as many features as some of the other apps we’ve mentioned, it’s a convenient platform for anyone who already uses and is familiar with Google’s productivity tools. With Google Keep, notes can be organized with labels or colors, and can be pinned to the top for easy access. You can also collaborate on a note in real-time once they are shared with others. And like most of Google’s other products, it’s totally free to use.
Notes can be given labels, pinned to the top, given a color, paired with reminders and collaborated on in real time. Additionally it also offers speech-to-text functionality so you can dictate notes on the go rather than have to write. There’s also the ability to set up check boxes for lists to work through.
10. Apple Notes
If you are in the Apple ecosystem, Apple notes (or simply Notes or iCloud Notes) is an easy-to-use and convenient free tool for note-taking. From a quick thought or idea, to checklists, images, web links, scanned documents, handwritten notes, or sketches Apple notes makes it easy to document and access your notes. Sync notes to access them from anywhere. If you go to icloud.com/notes you are even able to get an online version of the app with all your notes – even if you are on PC or Chromebook. You can also attach and scan documents, and even integrate with Siri. Apple notes allows users to share notes with other Apple users, and also use @mention them. It’s perfect for managing a grocery list in-real time and sharing with your family. Another great feature is their search: you can look for images, text, drawing, text scanned in documents and even something inside the image you are looking for, for example: “a book”.
There you have it. We’ve shred our our favorite note taking apps to help you and your team collaborate effectively and efficiently while working remotely. If you’ve got any other tools that you think we should add to this list, let us know in the comments below!