Taking notes is a big deal these days, even more so in the private school where I work as an administrator to many hundreds of Macs and PC, iPads and Chromebooks, and students, faculty, and staff. Everyone wants a good way to take notes and keep them synced up between devices.
That’s easier said than done and might explain the popularity of cross-platform apps such as Evernote, which is more like a mini-word processor which lets you create and store notes almost everywhere and on almost any device, but doesn’t seem to have a business model that will keep it around much longer. What if you’re just Mac centric?
Enter TaskPaper, a plain text to-do list manager app for the Mac, a utility that basically handles notes in a simple and elegant way with a nearly non-existent learning curve, and just the basic features you need for notes, tasks, and to-do list items. If you love your Mac and nothing else, TaskPaper is a pleasure to use.
First, it’s plain text and every line can be formatted as a task, note, or project (and remember, a project is just a bunch of tasks, and a task is little more than a to-do item). Second, there’s an outliner built-in so TaskPaper becomes a good way to find details or view an entire project of ideas.
Third, because it’s plain text files you’re not locked into a proprietary file format and everything can be opened and edited in any word processor and even text editors. Finally, while TaskPaper is basic it has and extensibility that can make it sort of a customizable mini-word processor with only the features you want to add.
TaskPaper’s developer has been around a few years and seems to specialize in Mac notes apps. I tried the first one back in 2006 or so when it was Notebook, then Mori, but now is TaskPaper; mostly similar across the board. The feature list of the newest incarnation is extensive.
- Plain text files; edit anywhere
- Type and your lists are auto formatted
- Organize projects:, – tasks, notes, and @tags
- Filter your lists by @tag, type, or content
- Fold, focus, and filter to make big lists small
- Fast keyboard navigation & commands
Yet, TaskPaper is not a challenge to learn to use because it’s instantly familiar; and not totally unlike Apple’s built-in TextEdit app.
What is especially endearing and useful in TaskPaper is just how much you can get done using a Mac app that is not overloaded with a stack of features and functions that must be learned first.
- Drag and drop to organize your lists
- One-click to focus projects and saved searches
- See your lists from multiple perspectives
- Active support community ready to help
- LESS/CSS powered stylesheets for theming
For the geek in you the last two items on the list can be particularly useful, as TaskPaper can be customized for specific functions that go beyond the original. Otherwise, it’s drop dead easy to setup and use, and whatever learning curve is there remains soft and simple and then ends. TaskPaper can be mastered.
Caveats? Only two. The price. Not many Mac-only notebooks come with that price tag. And, it’s, well, Mac only, and we live in an age when we want our information available on multiple devices.