The prime usage of note-taking apps differs from person to person. Some use it to take casual notes, others dump every idea in the note-taking app. Power users treat their preferred note-taking app as the second brain. It’s a challenge for companies to develop a solution that works for each kind of user. As for Apple users, people prefer to stick with the default Apple Notes app. The Notes app on Mac might seem basic at first glance, but the Notes app is full of tips and tricks on a closer look.
Apple adds new features to the default Notes app with ever major macOS update. With macOS 11 Big Sur, it gets a nice UI redesign and new features. Finally, it's ready to take on its third-party alternatives in the Mac App Store.
Let’s talk about Apple Notes tips and tricks so that you can get a clear picture of how good Apple’s note-taking app is on the Mac platform.
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1. Organize Notes
You need to keep the Apple Notes app organized. You might waste a lot of time searching the note if your notes aren’t organized carefully. Apple Notes offers folders to organize notes. The better news is, you can even create subfolders within folders. It’s similar to how pages and notebook work in OneNote and Evernote, respectively.
Apple offers a couple of ways to customize the notes view in the app. You can either use the default list view or opt for the Gallery view to display notes.
Go to any folder and tap on the three-dot menu at the top. Select view as Gallery/List from the bottom menu. I prefer a List view.
I hope Apple gets around adding the tag support for even better organization.
2. Pin Notes at Top
Do you want to keep track of your most-important notes at the top? Apple Notes on Mac offers a handy Pin note feature to tuck notes at the top. Right-click on any note, and use the Pin note function and Apple Notes will keep the note at the top.
You will see a separate Pinned section at the top for easy access. At any time, you can unpin a note using the same trick.
3. Lock Notes
Apple Notes allows you to protect sensitive information from others. You can password-protect any note using the Lock option inside the note.
Simply open the note with confidential information and tap on the lock icon at the top. Apple will ask to set a password for the note. You can use Touch ID (on newer Macs) or password text to open the note the next time you try to view it.
4. Clip Web Articles
There can be times when you come across an interesting read from the web. Most note-taking apps, such as Evernote and Notion, offer a dedicated Chrome extension to clip web content.
Apple Notes lack such functionality. You get a simple share menu integration in the Safari browser on Mac. You can tap on the share button during web browsing and add the article to Apple Notes app.
5. Move Items Up and Down
Let me be clear here. Apple Notes isn’t a modular productivity app. But it does allow you to move things up and down quickly. For example, you can use the keyboard shortcut Control + Command + Up/Down arrow to more items up or down in the note.
I was surprised to find this trick. It can be a real time-saver during long notes.
6. Enable Dark Mode
Are you taking frequent notes at night? You might need to use the macOS dark theme to go easy on the eyes. Open the System Preferences menu and go to General > Appearance and select the Dark theme.
Enable dark mode and start taking notes to avoid the brightness after sunset.
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7. Change Font Color
As simple as it may sound, there is no easy way to change the font color on Apple Notes.
You can select the paragraph text and use right-click (If you are using a mouse) or double-click on the trackpad and open the floating menu. Go to Fonts > Show Colors, and it will open the color wheel to select the preferable color.
8. Store Notes on Mac
By default, every note in the Apple Notes gets synced to the iCloud platform. The problem is, iCloud only offers 5GB of space to start with. It’s quite easy to fill up space with photos, videos, iPhone backup, and more. In such cases, you can always store notes on the device.
Tap on the Notes name in the menu bar and open Preferences. Enable ‘On My Mac’ option to store notes on Mac.
Just keep in mind, when you use this option, you won’t be able to see your notes on other Apple devices as your notes aren’t syncing with the iCloud platform.
9. Use Notes Widget
Taking a page from iOS 14 notebook, the macOS Big Sur also offers redesigned widgets in various sizes. Open the widget menu and tap on the Edit Widgets at the bottom.
It will open the widget menu. Select the Note widget size, look at the preview and drag it to the main menu. From now on, you can access the recently-added notes from the widget.
10. Share Notes
The sharing options are limited compared to Apple Notes rivals on Mac. However, if the receiving person is already a Mac or iPhone user, you can use their Apple ID to share notes seamlessly.
Open the note that you want to share and tap on the profile icon in the toolbar. Add the receiving person’s Apple ID and set permission for edit or view.
11. Use Apple Notes Keyboard Shortcuts
If you are a power user of Apple Notes, I would highly recommend you master Notes keyboard shortcut. There is a keyboard shortcut for practically every option/tweak/function in the app. The good news is, Apple has done a good job suggesting keyboard shortcuts for every option in the toolbar.
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Master Apple Notes
It’s sufficient to say that Apple Notes is more than a basic first-party app from Apple. Using the tricks above, you can leave established rivals and switch to Apple Notes comfortably. Go ahead, give Apple Notes a try and see if it fits your usage. While you are at it, do let us know about your favorite function of Apple Notes on Mac.
Getting confused between Apple Notes and Evernote? Read the comparison post below to pick a better note-taking app for you.
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