I usually advocate free (and preferably open-source) software only, but I have come across a Windows application that merits an exception to this rule.

Over the years, I have used many different software solutions for note-taking, and to keep track of my tasks in various projects. Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, plain text files – and countless others.

While software like OneNote and Evernote have many great features, I often find them far to cumbersome and bloated for my purposes. For that reason, I have always reverted back to my old ways and used plain text files. These are small in size, and can be opened everywhere – at the sacrifice of any real functionality and formatting.

So, I went another way and used Markdown. This allowed me to take my notes in plain text files, and to have them rendered beautifully on the screen. But, there’s a drawback to this as well: Although Markdown is plain text, it is not pretty to look at “raw” when opening on a device or in an editor without Markdown formatting. And there’s usually no functionality to handle tasks and the like.

Some time ago I stumbled across the perfect software for my needs – JNote.JNote is extremely light-weight, but still manages to cram in countless features for note taking and task management. You can insert headings of various sizes, lists, tables, and more – all in plain text, looking terrific in any editor. But the real magic happens when these files are displayed in JNote itself – because then, everything is formatted and highlighted beautifully on the screen. JNote will even build a tree-view menu – a table of contents, if you will – linking to any heading in the document.

Take a look at the screenshot below, and see how the same file looks great in Notepad, but really comes to life in JNote:

Screenshot of JNote
Comparison of a plain-text file in JNote and Windows Notepad

On top of this, JNote has an extensive task-management functionality baked in. You can insert tasks, and mark them with progress, responsible person, comments, and status – all in plain text. You can then get a graphical list view of all tasks in a document. You can also set reminders on tasks, or anywhere in a document really, and JNote will show a notification when that time comes. It’s also possible to link to other text files, and then use an ingenious nested crawl-search to get a list of any occurrence of a search term, in any linked file.

Screenshot of JNote
Example of task management in JNote

Be it project management, simple to-do lists, documentation or note-taking – JNote has become an integral part of everything I work on. Simple, light-weight and full of useful features. Highly recommended!

JNote logo

More information about JNote can be found at the website of its developer, Jackson Software.