Standard Notes screenshot 2
Free version.
Cross-platform sync and end-to-end privacy
Extensions and Themes
A note with Extended features enabled.
Standard Notes web clipper.
A note showing the encrpyted Files menu within Standard Notes.
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 Suggest and vote on features

Standard Notes Features

  1.  End-to-End Encryption
  2.  Privacy focused
  3.  Cloud Sync
  4.  Support for MarkDown
  5.  Extensible by Plugins/Extensions
  6.  Works Offline
  7.  Encrypted Backup
  8.  Ad-free
  9.  Distraction-free
  10.  Two-factor Authentication
  11.  Automatic Backup
  12.  File Versioning
  13.  WYSIWYG Support
  14.  Support for Themes
  15.  File Tagging
  16.  Web Clipper
  17.  No Tracking
  18.  No registration required
  19.  Dark Mode
  20.  Decentralized
  21.  Full-Text Search
All features

Standard Notes information

Supported Languages

  • English
  • ...

Apple AppStore

  •   Updated Mar 22, 2024
  •   4.68 avg rating
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Our users have written 190 comments and reviews about Standard Notes, and it has gotten 602 likes

Standard Notes was added to AlternativeTo by Mo Xyz on Jan 1, 2017 and this page was last updated Jan 21, 2024.

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madmonk
  
Top positive commentJan 11, 2018

I tried Standard Notes because I am concerned with privacy and security matters. I am an Evernote user as well and I was looking for a more secure replacement.

I'm really satisfied with the end to end encryption and the general security model of Standard Notes.

I also really appreciate the simplicity and minimalism of the program even though it is becoming more and more clear during the regular use that is not a design choice made for usability but more to keep the software easy to maintain for the devs. The most annoying outcome of this choice is the very different user experience between the desktop and the mobile versions. For example using the advanced editor on the desktop app means that in the android app you will have a note with visible html tags. In the end the software experience feels more broken than simple.

In fact I ended up paying for a subscription basically to get rid of the painful red and white UI of the android app and only in second place for the extra features (which I will talk more about later on).

The episode that gave me more concerns:

I was trying the advanced editor on a existing note with some sensitive information (my bad, I know). I converted some text to bold and then to get it back to plain text quickly I pressed ctrl + z several times. Not only the mark up tags didn't completely get removed but the note information somehow disappeared without any chance to get it back (I still had to activate the note history extension).

After this episode my sense of reliability for Standard Notes dropped quite considerably. I think the note history extension should be installed by default or at least there is the need of some kind of reliability system to avoid accidentally losing data in the notes (an edit button might be useful as well even though it wouldn't have helped in my case).

Regarding some of the extensions and themes:

While using the folders extension the UI is broken so it is impossible to edit the tag because the interaction menu is not clickable. Even though I think that there is no real need of nested tags (especially when the system can't be clearly mirrored on the android app) the actual extension should work correctly.

While using a dark theme the notes background flashes with white when switching between notes. It is annoying.

The default color scheme of the app is a punch in the eyes and it feels like it has been done this way so you end up subscribing just to get rid of the offending red color (which is what I did at least).

A better UI color scheme for the android app should be done or at least one extra theme should be available for the free app.

Overall I have the perception of a really (passive) aggressive business model in many ways and as far as I have the will to help the devs of Standard Notes as a paying user I couldn't help but feeling a bit manipulated in my decision to get a paid subscription in a quite unfair way a few times during my first hours of using the software.

In this light I can't help but seeing also the way the software description is written on their website as dodgy: don't try to buy me with promises of "eternal life" and strong coding ethic when in the actual experience it is so easy to lose all the information on a note.

I'm not saying that the devs are greedy or have bad intentions, I understand their position as in the app business they have to compete with giant companies and this might be really unfair to them. But still my suggestion is to try and be more clear with their customers because the software it IS good and there is no need of marketing tricks to get people to subscribe in my opinion. Especially for a software oriented towards security and privacy a clearer and straightforward marketing strategy would be much more appreciated.

To the company:

I understand (and to some extent also appreciate) the bold effort to stand out (and the software probably deserve it as well) but please try to stay more conscious of the customers point of view, in the process.

TL;DR:

Standard Notes is a valuable note taking app alternative for individuals concerned with privacy and security matters with a strip down user experience that feels overall more lacking than simple, though, and both design choices and a business model/marketing strategy that generate some concerns from a customer point of view. Nonetheless there is really good potential in the software and I encourage getting a paid subscription to support its development.

1 reply
Mo Xyz

I forgot to update this thread, but a full response was posted on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/StandardNotes/comments/7po3ah/my_review_of_standard_notes/ Full text below:

Hey, thanks for the review :) Glad you give it a thorough go. It seems like your main concerns are with the "paid" version of the app, centering around the experience itself and the business model. This makes sense as there is not a lot to upset anyone with the core free version, which was kind of the goal ;)

As for the experience:

Yes, absolutely, all of this is done to make development easier. But that's not from laziness. It's actually much harder to do everything this way. Everything requires careful thought and runs in sandboxed environments. The reason we torture ourselves to do it this way is because it's better for the long run. Think about it like this: if we just bundled all of the functionality that we currently have in extensions into the core app, we would be no different from Evernote. In fact, we might even quickly become more bloated than Evernote. The core mission of SN has always been anti-bloat. And the great news is that while I've been experimenting and releasing new extensions regularly, the core app has hardly changed from the way it was one year ago. And that's a really good thing. As a developer, I would just love to not have to worry about this limiting extension architecture, and just bundle everything directly in the app. That would make both my life and your life much easier for the time being. But two years from now, the app would inevitably begin suffering and bloating, and eventually implode. What's the typical life expectancy of an indie software product today? Not that long. And there are reasons for that. I've been there before. And I'm now taking the 100 year outlook. And that requires a different sort of thinking and development architecture.

I appreciate how reasonable you are, so I realize you already understand this, but are understandably flustered by this weird model. The good news is that the extensions experience is always undergoing improvement. The next version I'm working on will make the experience a lot more fluid, comfortable, and even fun.

As for the business model:

Believe it or not, I was sort of happy to hear that you thought our business model was "aggressive", because the one thing I've heard from every business-savvy person before was that it's not aggressive enough. I think some history helps: the paid version of Standard Notes came several months after the core version was released. The core version had similar colors on mobile, similar interface on web, and similar website language. And all of that language was meant not to convince you to purchase, but to get you into our world of what we care about and what we're trying to do. After work on the paid product was released, the "marketing" copy was actually dumbed down, and not made more hyperbolic.

But, the disconnect seems to be that you believed our mission, but were set aback by some technical mishaps. This doesn't mean my goal was to deceive you—my mission and passion is still building a notes app that lasts. But this mission is always a work in progress. Even on year 99, it's a work in progress. 2018 is the beginning of year two :)

I'm the sole developer on this and it's a lot of work, but everything is coming together nicely. There are really exciting improvements slated for release this year. Software is a living breathing thing, and feedback like yours helps shape the future and helps improve the product. So I thank you once again for your thoughts. I hope that while you may be taken aback by some of your experiences, that you don't give up on our mission, and understand that, as difficult as it may be, and as hard as I may stumble, I'm always trying to do the right thing, both for the business and for the users.

Reply written Mar 24, 2018

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15
Johxz
  
Top positive commentAug 2, 2020

Standard Notes (SN) have good security/privacy compare to other alternatives apps for the concerned people out there. That you should care by the way, even in your job using the laptop your employee provide, any IT guy can just look into your notes, email, installed app, etc for whatever the reason. Yes it happen.

SN have free extensions too beside the pay extension. The basic SN or "core", is very limited (is intended that way and expand through extensions). I recommend to use it with some free extensions from the links below. If you like the direction the project is taking you should consider to pay for the extensions to contribute to the project, or help coding. Here you can buy the subscription. https://dashboard.standardnotes.org/?p=60

If maybe you are unhappy with SN right now, you should try again in the upcoming version 4. Should be way better. (from what I read on some posts)

Editors:

Black/Amoled Theme

Web Clipper: https://github.com/johnjones4/Standard-Notes-Clipper

Send/share files securely: https://filesend.standardnotes.org/

Blog: https://listed.to/

More extensions:

Community - Unofficial Extension Repository. Add the repository as extension code.

If you wanna self-host here is a guide:

There is more that you should know:

  • Support Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/iOS/Web
  • Not only encrypt your notes, but the metadata too. The only plain text is your email.
  • Don't save unencrypted text in your disk, except your email.
  • It can be self hosted server and the extensions (Some are offline other online)
  • Can be use SN offline with some limitations. In case you need to sync, use the backup feature and then use Syncthing app.
  • You can use cli tools
  • Use passcode, autolock, privileges, or sign out to protect your notes.
  • Use the "Batch manager" from the extension menu, to "manage" your notes. Like "Find duplicates" or "Delete all"
  • Offline autobackup.
  • Customizable through extensions. (Super easy to create your own theme.)
  • "Session history" or Undo. If you did any unwanted change.

Tips/Recommendations:

  • Don't do the mistake to install every and each extensions. Just what you need. Remember you can always deactivate or activate as needed it, or uninstall and install again, as needed it. Is pretty quick.
  • In case you are working at the same time with desktop and mobile app. Avoid modifying in the second device.
  • In case you are working at the same time with desktop and mobile app. The sync process is almost instant, yet you need to "wait" the sync process (I don't know 1sec??). Either way, in case you add a lot of text in short time is your desktop app just hit the "refresh" button after editing, before you edit in your mobile app.
  • If you assign an Editor to one of your note, don't change it. Dependent of the editor, you may screw you note if you change the format.
  • You have "session history" or Undo, use it if you add unwanted change. For some reason people forget this feature.
  • "How to create a duplicate", go to Session history note, then select the last revision, then "Restore as copy"

[Edited by Johxz, October 19]

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5
Vitaliy K.
  
Top negative commentDec 12, 2018

After using the app for a little while I do have a mixed feelings about it. Originally I am looking for an alternative to Microsoft OneNote which I could use on Linux and mobile Apple/Android devices. Ideally something simple to store text + pictures with an easy way to manipulate the elements around the page like in OneNote does. While I do care about security, this is not an absolutely "must have" feature, rather its a good bonus.

Pros Linux support, multiplatform, simple interface, sync features

Cons Non-subscription version would not let insert pictures, nor you'd have any text/picture manipulation capabilities. There is only 1 subscription option which includes all features while in reality I might use only 1 or 2 of these extras.

Summary Paying 50$ subscription for a year of use feels like a very aggressive marketing, it rather diverts me from the S. Notes. On the other hand, I would be glad to pay a few dollars as a one-time purchase to enable one of the extra editors and may be a folders feature.

I rated the app with 1 star for its aggressive positioning of paid subscription. Otherwise it looks nice and works well.

5 replies
inthebackofya

+1 It's sad they're still at this business model almost a year later.

Reply written Jun 9, 2019

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Kom Rad

+1 from me as well

Reply written Mar 14, 2021

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3SDDd8g3

I know a lot of people who use just the basic functionality of SN (i.e. plain editor, no pictures but encrypted sync across devices) and are perfectly happy. Not sure whether thats an aggressive positioning

If they included even more features, they would be bankrupt. It’s a good sign for a project to have a long-term vision and funding

NB: Inserting pictures is one of the only downsides of the SN, it’s really a pain. Until this is improved, I would’t recommend a subscription if pictures are your primary use case. Other than that, I have to 5-year-plan ($2.5 per month, vs $4.2 on the yearly and $10 on the monthly payment schedule) and can’t recommend it enough!

Reply written May 31, 2021

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EleGr

Honestly you stay in the easy thing of comparing functions without realizing that it is not the essential thing when writing your thoughts. I think you should analyze if privacy is a "bonus", because when you write something that the government of your country doesn't like (or if you think your democracy is infallible, think that you travel to a country where this situation exists) you will be cornered by your functions that expose what you think. Freedom of speech starts from freedom of thought, if your tools can know what you write (and therefore what you think) you will have lost everything.

Regarding the subscription, it is expensive, although there are now plans to choose from starting at USD 29/year (USD. 2.41/month). Perhaps if you just analyze that this company is funded 100% by the users, with no company that wants to control the privacy parameters for the business purposes they want, you will realize that reaching that consistency to make such a determination is the result of an arduous analysis and a defense of their own principles. A server or a development team does not work "for the love of art" because perhaps no one gives food or a roof "for the love of that art"; therefore, it is required to be economically sustainable knowing that one of its fundamental pillars is longevity (what would be the point of paying only once and that for lack of capital you end up abandoning the project/development/services?).

I think the term aggressive should be used for all current companies that use privacy as a slogan or simply do not give it technological importance beyond the law because their purposes are always the same, to sell your data.

Reply written Apr 4, 2022

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ezxpro

Their marketing practices alone makes me want away from them.

Dark mode, for example, is a premium feature. I can get Notion's premium for $5 dollars and their costs 10x more.

Fuck that, along with everyone making this software, these people are out of their minds.

Reply written Jun 26, 2022

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16
props3424
  
Negative commentNov 28, 2023

The free version contains only plain text notes.

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1
abetterway
  
Negative commentJun 1, 2023
• Edited Jun 1, 2023

Standard Notes provides free, secure cloud sync for text notes. It does this well. However, the free version is very barebones... and the cheapest subscription is $90 a year! Basic features like being able to make a Markdown checklist are paywalled. I'm willing to pay for services but the price is much too high, and were I to stop paying, I would go back to a incapable program.

1 reply
TBayAreaPat

Yes, RichText is not free. I like CherryTree.

Reply written Aug 20, 2023

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M Anon
  
Positive commentApr 21, 2023

I was a passionate Microsoft OneNote user for about five years, until I discovered Standard Notes. To get all the features I wanted, I did choose the $120 Professional subscription. It is not fun to pay it, but I feel the money is well worth it because I put my ENTIRE life centralized inside my chosen note app.

My primary reasons for switching were as follows: I wanted encryption, security, and privacy, especially found by not having my files stored in Microsoft's cloud. SN has a firm commitment to privacy, open-source, encryption, and "you own your data."

Things I like: -Local file encryption/backups in combination with cloud backup -Listed Blog is really nice if you have a passion for writing/blogging -Can use on all my devices -Support is always pushing out updates and has always given me no later than a next-day response (and even fixed a bug I spotted that same month!) -You can passcode lock the ENTIRE application, not just "Sections" in OneNote for some extra peace of mind. -Crypto 2FA note type (For privacy heads, you know to use a 2FA tool that is not linked to your phone number. I quit using Authy.) -Various pages are a little too niche for me, but cool (Spreadsheet page, Tasks, Super Note) -Automatic local backups and file backups are of extreme importance to me because I am OCD and always want an extra copy of my data locally! They work really well.

Things I don't like: -Cost (I still pay it though) -Be warned = Pictures don't load as efficiently as they do in OneNote. I found myself "lazy" at times just slapping photos in various OneNote sections. Now I name the photos with better filenames and I feel more "organized" by manually attaching the large majority of them to a note. A tradeoff that I'm happier about now.

After all my research, this was the only software I was comfortable switching to after leaving OneNote. Grab a subscription if you are as passionate about some of these topics as I am.

1 reply
M Anon

Update: I have switched to Obsidian for the primary reason that it is much more efficient at managing local files. I've accepted a decrease in security/encryption for better file management.

Reply written Jan 29, 2024

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Tony Escobar
  
Positive commentMar 10, 2023

The way this ragtag team of devoted and passionate programmers adjust to changing conditions and successfully pulling off features at a rapid clip is truly remarkable. Priority number one though is security- rest assured, it’s Fort Knox in there. But why need privacy in a world of Google analytics and Meta? You have nothing to hide and don’t mind others profiting from your clicks and searches? Well I’d rather go off SN’s Manifesto- that privacy is a right. I want this app to be here in some iteration in a decade- protecting journalists and sensitive writing. There’s a sense of satisfaction in knowing how SN is adamant enough to the point they don’t have access to your notes and files. Granted I’m still slow on the uptake on the latest features, and sometimes locked myself out (my bad), but certainly not by some hacker. Labs features are still working out the kinks, but for the most part it’s fleshed out. What will they announce for Spring? Idk, but before I go, the free account is great on its own merits, but moving to subscription is where the party’s at 🎉. Thanks team Standard Notes for years of reliability.

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Security & Privacy • Backup & Sync • Office & Productivity • File Management • Education & Reference

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How to live without Google •  Interesting and open-source Android apps •  Information Management •  GOOD NOTE TAKING APPS

Standard Notes platform details

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While the app and server are open source, some of the extensions included in the subscription are source-available (closed source): https://blog.standardnotes.com/why-tokenvault-is-going-public-source

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