If you want to store your notes in the cloud, but haven’t clicked with Simplenote and are looking for a better solution than a TextEdit file in your Dropbox folder, CloudJot may be the note syncing app you’ve been waiting for. It keeps your notes close at hand, both on your desktop and in your menubar, while always staying synced to Dropbox.
Is CloudJot as robust as the Simplenote apps we’ve reviewed? Or is it a gimmick playing to Dropbox’s popularity? We’ll see how well CloudJot shapes up as a quick note-taking app while testing it’s syncing chops.
When you open CloudJot for the first time, there’s no prompt to connect your Dropbox account or otherwise sign in, and I almost forgot to do this on my own. While you can certainly start typing up notes without linking to Dropbox, CloudJot isn’t really going to be very useful. Open the application preferences via the menubar icon or by clicking the gear in the upper right of the CloudJot window, then click the button to link your computer to Dropbox. Dropbox will open in your default browser, and you’ll need to confirm you want to allow CloudJot access.
Once you’re linked up, you can start writing your notes. Everything is saved as rich text or .rtf files, so you can change your fonts, colors, and text alignment easily. Unfortunately, the default font is a little too like Comic Sans for me, and while that can be easily changed inside the note, the title font can’t be edited.
To create a blank note with a default title, click the plus sign at the top of the window. Be aware that every time you create a new note in CloudJot, it also creates a new file in your Dropbox folder, so if you get a little punch happy clicking that plus sign, you could end up with more files in your Dropbox than you need.
The Finer Points of CloudJot
To access or edit an older note, click the Notes button in the upper left. This will give you a dropdown of all of your notes; just select the one you want and CloudJot will display it in the main window. You can also move through your notes by using some handy keyboard shortcuts available in the gear dropdown menu.
Click the anchor in the bottom right to keep the CloudJot window open or closed. With the anchor highlighted, that window isn’t going anywhere and will sit on top of all your other windows. Deselect the anchor, and the window will slide closed when you mouse off of it.
To bring the window back, either select “Slide In” from the CloudJot menubar icon or hover your cursor at the edge of your screen. Option+Space will also pop it out, but you’ll want to make sure that shortcut’s not assigned to another application. The anchor seems to select itself, too, if you try to change the font for instance, so your notes may stay visible of their own accord.
How’s the Syncing?
I’ve tried out a couple of other apps that sync with Dropbox but they either didn’t give their files meaningful filenames, so I couldn’t find the file outside of the app, or they bury the files in subdirectories that don’t seem to correspond to anything. Using CloudJot for the first time, I was worried I would again clutter my Dropbox folder with useless directories or with files I wouldn’t recognize in a couple of days.
When I took a look on the Dropbox website and then checked out my local Dropbox folder, just to make sure everything was in fact syncing, I really couldn’t have been happier with what I found. Dropbox creates a folder for each of your connected applications, so all of my CloudJot files were easily located in /Dropbox/Apps/CloudJot/. As mentioned above, I also discovered they were saved as rich text files, not some random CloudJot file format, and could all be opened with a compatible text editor. Even better, they all had really obvious filenames that correlated to my note titles, like “Grocery List.rtf” or “Things to Do.rtf.”
What if I Don’t Want Rich Text?
Unfortunately, there’s no support for Markdown. I say that because Markdown isn’t going to render in a rich text document. However, there’s nothing stopping you from using CloudJot as a way to quickly type up something in Markdown, save it for later, and eventually copy it into an application that will more readily support Markdown.
At that point, though, I feel like you’ve added so many steps to the process, you’re probably better off going with a Simplenote client that supports Markdown, even if you can’t sync to Dropbox. So if Markdown is important to you, CloudJot probably isn’t the way to go.
I’m really pleased with CloudJot. It doesn’t have Markdown, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a requirement for a good notes editor. It does have rich text formatting, and if you just want to take your notes beyond plain text, that’s really all you need. The Dropbox syncing was quick as a whip, and all of the CloudJot files were saved in such a way that I could easily find and open any note I wanted without the CloudJot app.
All of that’s already available with a TextEdit file saved in your Dropbox folder, though. What makes CloudJot really special is the ease of access to your notes. It pops up whenever you need it but hides when you don’t. You don’t have to worry about remembering to save your latest edits, because CloudJot autosaves all of that for you, and you can create new notes in a flash.
Choosing a notes editor really comes down to what you need it to do. If you’re looking for something that will easily and seamlessly sync with Dropbox, you like rich text editing, and you aren’t concerned with whether your notes editor supports Markdown, CloudJot is definitely one to try.