Use a flexible notes app that works the way you want: Milanote

Milanote is an alternative to Microsoft OneNote, Evernote and similar note-taking apps and it works on the web and on your phone. It offers more flexible views of your notes than rivals.

There are some great notes apps and I looked at Joplin here: Free open source alternative to Microsoft OneNote, Google Keep. On the surface, Milanote sounds similar to other notes apps and it enables you to store text, images, links and files, and organize them in various ways. However, it is very flexible in the way that it works and items can be stored in many different ways.

Milanote can be accessed in a browser on a Windows PC, Apple Mac, Linux PC, or with an app on iPhone or Android phone. Here I look at the web app.

Board templates

You can start with a completely blank canvas by creating one or more boards, which are places to put items on like notes, images, to-do checklists and so on. However, a wide range of templates is provided that help you to organize the content within a board.

Milanote website, an alternative to Microsoft OneNote
Notes, images, links in columns

Template categories include agencies, game design, interior design, marketing, productivity, software development, students, writing and more. These contain between three and eight templates and there must be close to 100 in total. They are a great source of ideas and inspiration.

Milanote web app, an alternative to Microsoft OneNote
Milanote offers more than simple notes

Board templates can be browsed, viewed and activated with or without example content. They are a great way to get you started quickly and they enable you to use Milanote in ways you probably never thought of.

Milanote, an alternative web-based notes app
Create diagrams, workflows and more

Templates are good for demonstrating the many ways in which Milanote can be used and it is worth spending some time exploring them because you may be surprised by some of the examples. It may seem to be a notes app, but it is much more.

Add content to boards

Milanote is unusual in that it does not force you to work in a particular way and you are free to put items wherever you want. You can start with a blank canvas and add text, to-do lists, photos, comments, lines and files wherever you want. It can be a jumble of ideas or strictly organized.

Milanote, a web based notes app
Tools in the sidebar change with the note type

To help you organize items, a column can be added. Notes, photos and other items can be added to a column or moved within a column by dragging and dropping. This makes it easy to create Kanban/Trello style boards with To-Do, Doing and Done columns, or any other columns you need. Items can be added to columns and dragged from one to another to show progress or completion.

It is possible to mix things up and have a couple of columns, but also other items placed outside of the columns. Items can be linked with arrows, so you could show how processes are linked, how something is structured, the steps that need to be taken, and so on.

For example, organisational charts can be created showing procedures, linked actions, flow diagrams, flowcharts, mind maps, and so on. These features are not as powerful as dedicated software, but Milanote may be all you need.

Boards are very flexible and can be used in many different ways. Milanote is more than a note-taking app.

Collaboration features

Milanote enables you to work with others or to let others see your boards. People can be invited to become editors of a board and one could be set up for a team.

If you want others to see the contents of a board, but not be able to change anything, they can be provided with a web link that enables them to view it in a browser. You can choose whether to allow comments and reactions from viewers and whether a password is required to access it.

Milanote pricing

A free Milanote account is available, but it is limited to 100 items, such as notes, images, links and to-do lists. It sounds a lot, but it is easy to exceed this limit if you use the service to the full. It is useful for checking out Milanote and seeing if it fits your needs, but if you want to use it seriously, it costs $9.99 a month, with special prices for teams of 10 and 50 people.

I like Milanote a lot and you can do some great things with it. It is more than just a note-taking app, but it costs more than I would like to pay. When you think how much you get for a Microsoft 365 subscription, which includes OneNote, Office apps, Teams, OneDrive and more, Milanote seems expensive.

Great app, if you don’t mind the price.

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