All right all you note taking app aficionados, there’s a new plain text note taker on the block: Just Type. You may be familiar with its iOS counterpart, which has been out for a while, but this popular iOS note taker just recently hit the Mac App Store.
This app is definitely worth a look, but is it worth switching to? Can it replace Simplenote? Read on to find out.
Interface and Feel
If you have ever used the iOS version of Just Type, the Mac interface will make you feel right at home. The UI is almost identical. In terms of how the interface works, the app is similar to many other note taking apps like the native Notes app and Justnotes in that it provides a pane on the left that displays all your notes and the editor on the right.
Rather than organizing the notes in folders or applying tags to notes, in Just Type, you can assign your notes a color and then use colors to filter certain notes. There are seven colors to choose from, which means you are limited to seven filters. I like the idea of assigning colors to notes, and the colors are eye catching, but it seems like a better implementation would be to allow users to create filters, name them, and assign a color to them. Limiting and predetermining the number of filters just seems, well, limiting.
Important notes can also be starred for quick access.
Notes can also be opened in separate windows. This works just like the native Notes app, you can open as many notes in separate windows as you want. Full screen mode is also supported, but notes in there own, separate window cannot be viewed / edited in full screen. All in all, the interface is similar to the Native Notes app, but won’t slap you in the face with skeuomorphism.
Note taking apps need to have sync capability these days in order to be competitive. Most people want to be able to view their notes on the go. Just Type syncs with the iOS version using iCloud, and I never had any trouble syncing. Thankfully, Just Type supports import and export of plain text files, so if you currently use plain text for your notes, getting them into Just Type is a cinch.
If you find yourself often sharing notes, Just Type probably has the sharing option to fit your needs: email, message, Twitter, Facebook, and email as attachment.
Just Type also comes with other useful features including:
- In app searching of notes.
- Sorting of note lists by alphabetical order and date modified.
- Creating back ups of notes.
- Automatic list creation.
- Separate fonts for each note (unlike some plain text note takers where changing the font in one note changes the font for all notes).
What it Lacks
Simplenote is currently the plain text note taking leader and sports several clients for the Mac including Justnotes, Nvalt, and Metanota. Existing Simplenote users might find a couple of features missing from Just Type. First there is no markdown support, this will be a deal breaker for many. Second there is no web interface, so reaching your notes online is not an option. Third, Simplenote users who like tagging their notes might not be impressed with Just Type’s color filtering system. And finally, Just Type does not offer any services to quickly add text as a note (NValt offers this and there are also Chrome extensions for Simplenote that allow for quickly adding notes to Simplenote).
Just Type is a very solid note taking app for a 1.0 release. I never experienced a crash and sync was solid. Plus the aesthetics of the app are very pleasing. The only problem with Just Type is that it enters a crowded category — there are plenty of note apps that do similar things. Still, Just Type does offer some unique features and a unique interface that will definitely sway some users.