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Notability alternatives: Most Comparable (Free and Paid)

Notability alternatives: Most Comparable (Free and Paid)

Discovering the best Notability alternatives can open up a world of productivity for users in search of powerful note-taking solutions.

Notability has long been a favorite note-taking app for iOS users, but its subscription price and lack of availability on other platforms have led many to search for alternatives.

GoodNotes is one of the most popular Notability alternatives, because of this, we’ve compared Notability vs GoodNotes so you can view the differences.

We’ll provide you with a detailed analysis of the top options for those seeking apps like Notability for Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac.

This post will explore top options for those seeking apps similar to Notability, helping you find the perfect match for your note-taking requirements on various platforms.

Also see: : 11 Best Digital NotePads

Key Takeaways: Things you should know

  • What is the most closest, most comparable option to Notability: GoodNotes, OneNote and Bear are the best choices since they have creative, advanced features that can compete with notability’s note-taking and note organization.
    • However, very few apps are able to provide the same intuitive audio recording/note synergy Notability provides.
  • Top Notability alternatives for Android: Goodnotes, Nebo, Squid, and NoteLedge are all ideal apps for Android. These compete with Notability in regards to advanced note taking, note organization, and some note sharing features.
  • Top Notability alternatives for Windows: Notion, Standard notes, Google Keep, and GoodNotes all work with window.
  • Apps like Notability for creatives: Noteledge provides the most creative features that allow you to capturing their ideas, create mood boards, and streamline your creative process. Runner ups are Goodnotes and aApple notes, and bear.

Related: 6 Best Apps to Convert Handwriting to Text on iPad and iPhone

15 Best Notability Alternatives: Free and Paid Options for All Devices

Notability Alternatives 1

Notability is an app where you can take notes and draw pictures on your phone or tablet. But sometimes, users want to try a different app that perform similar tasks.

Related: reMarkable 2 Vs iPad Pro & Air – Which is better? (Key differences)

This list has 15 similar apps to Notability that compares quite well. These are options that you can try for free or buy, and they work on different devices like iPhones, Android phones, and computers.

1. GoodNotes


GoodNotes is a popular Notability alternative, especially among iOS users. It supports a wide range of paper types, including squared paper, lined paper, and plain paper, making it perfect for students and professionals alike.

View: Notability vs GoodNotes – Differences compared

What we liked: GoodNotes is compatible with the Apple Pencil, allowing for seamless handwritten notes, and it also includes features for typing notes, importing PDF files, and organizing notes into folders and notebooks.

Here’s what goodNotes looks like on an iPad:

Example of GoodNotes app

Related: 15 Best GoodNotes alternatives for Note-Taking

The app offers a variety of pen types, a lasso tool for moving objects, and a feature that makes drawings look more polished. GoodNotes is available on iOS and Mac, but it does not have a Windows or Android version.

Also see: 15 Best e-ink Tablets for Reading, Note Taking, and Annotation

2. Bear


Bear is another excellent alternative for note-taking, particularly for iOS and Mac users. The app features a clean, minimalistic design and supports Markdown for easy text formatting.

Related: 7 Best Stylus for iPad Air (Drawing, Writing, Notes)

What we liked: It’s simple, straight forward… and during my test I found bear to be perfect for organizing notes with tags, and it supports inline images, making it a well rounded option for creative projects.

Heres what Bear looks like:

example of Bear note taking app

The Bear app is available for both iOS and Mac devices, but it doesn’t have a Windows or Android version. The app offers a free version with basic features, but you can upgrade to Bear Pro for more advanced features like syncing across devices.

3. Google Keep

Google Keep

Google Keep is a free, cross-platform note-taking app that’s ideal for quick notes, to-do lists, and reminders. It’s available on Android, iOS, and the web, making it accessible to a wide range of users. With Google Keep, you can create color-coded notes, add images, and even record audio notes.

The app’s simplicity makes it easy to use, but it may not have all the advanced features you’ll find in Notability. However, Google Keep integrates with other Google services like Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets, allowing for seamless collaboration and organization.

Related: Best Stylus for Android

4. Apple Notes

Apple Notes

Apple Notes is the built-in note-taking app for iOS and Mac devices. It supports handwritten notes using the Apple Pencil, as well as typed notes, checklists, and attachments.

Related: Zagg Pro vs Apple Pencil vs Adonit Note+ vs Adonit Pixel | Comparison

Apple Notes offers a clean, easy-to-use interface, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a straightforward note-taking app.

While Apple Notes doesn’t have all the advanced features of Notability, it’s a solid option for iOS and Mac users who want a simple, free alternative. However, Apple Notes is not available for Windows or Android devices.

5. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a powerful, feature-rich note-taking app that’s available on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac. OneNote offers a digital notebook experience, complete with sections, pages, and the ability to organize notes hierarchically.

Related: Kindle Scribe Review: How does it measure up for Note taking & Sketching?

OneNote supports handwritten notes, audio recording, and PDF annotation, making it a strong contender for those seeking a Notability alternative. The app is free and can sync your notes across devices, but you’ll need a Microsoft account to use it.

6. Evernote


Evernote is a popular note-taking application that’s available on Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac devices. With Evernote, you can create notes, to-do lists, and even scan documents with your device’s camera. The app also supports handwritten notes and audio recordings, making it a versatile alternative to Notability.

Related: Supernote A5X A6X Review: How good is it for Note-taking & Drawing?

Evernote offers a free basic plan, but you can upgrade to a paid plan for more advanced features like offline access and increased storage. While Evernote is a powerful option, some users may find its interface less intuitive than Notability’s.

7. Nebo


Nebo is a very well known note-taking app designed specifically for handwritten notes & annotation on devices with a stylus, like the Apple Pencil.

It’s available on Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome OS, making it a versatile Notability alternative for users across various platforms. Nebo offers an impressive handwriting recognition feature that converts your handwritten notes into typed text, allowing for easy searching and organization.

The app also supports diagrams, sketches, and mathematical equations, making it an excellent choice for students, teachers, and professionals.

Nebo offers a free trial, but you’ll need to purchase the full version to unlock all features.

Related: Apple Pencil 2 vs Surface Pen: Which is Better for Drawing & Note Taking?

8. Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook is a visually appealing note-taking app that’s available on Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac.

The app’s card-based interface allows users to create and organize individual notes, checklists, and audio recordings. Zoho Notebook also supports handwritten notes, making it a solid Notability alternative for those who prefer to write by hand.

The app offers real-time collaboration and syncing across devices, making it perfect for team projects or group assignments. Best of all, Zoho Notebook is completely free, with no subscription costs or hidden fees.

9. Squid


Squid is a powerful Notability alternative for Android and Chrome OS users, offering a unique and intuitive handwriting experience.

What we liked: With Squid, you can take handwritten notes, draw, and annotate PDFs on your Android tablet, phone, or Chromebook.

Squid’s focus on natural handwriting with an active pen, passive stylus, or your finger sets it apart from other note-taking applications.

Squid offers a wide range of features, including infinite scrolling for seamless note-taking, the ability to import and mark up PDF files, and a selection tool for easy organization of your notes.

You can also create custom paper templates and organize your notes into notebooks. Squid supports palm rejection for a comfortable writing experience, and the app’s pressure sensitivity feature ensures a smooth writing feel.

Also see: 9 Best Templates for Notability (Digital Planners & More)

Although Squid is not available for iOS, Mac, or Windows users, it’s an excellent option for those who use Android and Chrome OS devices. The app offers both free and premium versions, with the premium version providing additional features such as cloud sync, PDF export, and advanced tools.

10. NoteLedge


NoteLedge is a Notability alternative that works well for creatives and is compatible with various platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

The app is designed to capture inspiration from different sources, such as web pages, YouTube videos, and Pinterest boards. NoteLedge allows you to create multimedia notes, mood boards, and quick sketches to visualize and present your ideas.

With NoteLedge, you can clip content from the web, take handwritten notes, and add multimedia elements to your notes. The app supports cloud sync, ensuring your notes are always accessible and up-to-date across your devices. NoteLedge also offers advanced note organization features, including tagging, folders, and a hierarchical structure.

NoteLedge is available on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows, making it a perfect alternative for those who use multiple devices. The app offers a freemium model, with premium features available for a one-time fee or a subscription.

11. WorkFlowy


WorkFlowy is a unique Notability alternative that focuses on simplifying the note-taking process. This app works on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows, and its primary feature is its powerful outlining and organizing capability.

Users who want to create lists, plan projects, or take meeting notes in a structured and organized manner can use this app with minimal friction.

I found that it’s main feature is its infinite nested list structure, allowing you to create and manage notes, tasks, and projects in a hierarchical manner.

You can add tags, notes, and due dates to your items, making it easy to keep track of your tasks and projects. The app also supports collaboration, allowing you to share your lists and notes with others in real-time.

WorkFlowy is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. The app offers a freemium model, with premium features available for a monthly or annual subscription.

12. Standard Notes

Standard Notes

Standard Notes is a privacy-focused Notability alternative that works on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux. This app’s primary focus is on providing a secure and private space for your notes, ensuring that your data remains protected from prying eyes. Standard Notes is perfect for users who value privacy and security above all else.

Standard Notes offers a clean, minimalist interface for note-taking and supports Markdown formatting.

The app’s end-to-end encryption ensures your notes are secure, and the automatic cloud sync feature keeps your notes up-to-date across devices. Standard Notes also offers a rich library of extensions, including themes and editors, to customize your note-taking experience.

Standard Notes is compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux devices. The app offers a free, open-source version with basic features, and a premium subscription called “Extended” that unlocks additional features, including extensions, automated backups, and priority support.

13. Notion

Notion is a versatile and powerful Notability alternative that works on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. This all-in-one workspace allows you to create notes, manage tasks, and organize projects in a single, unified platform. Notion is perfect for users looking for a feature-rich and customizable note-taking app that can handle complex workflows.

Notion offers a wide range of features, including rich text editing, customizable page templates, and a flexible database system. You can create pages with different content blocks, such as text, images, videos, and more. Notion also supports collaboration, allowing you to share pages and work together with others in real-time.

Notion is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. The app offers a free version with basic features, as well as paid plans for individuals, teams, and enterprises.

14. Penultimate

Penultimate is a digital handwriting app designed specifically for iPad users who prefer a more natural note-taking experience. As an Evernote product, Penultimate seamlessly integrates with Evernote, allowing you to sync and access your handwritten notes across devices. Penultimate is a great Notability alternative for iPad users who want an app optimized for Apple Pencil.

Penultimate offers a natural handwriting experience, allowing you to take notes with your Apple Pencil or another stylus. The app provides various paper templates and writing tools, and you can also import and annotate PDF files. Additionally, Penultimate supports handwriting search, making it easy to find and organize your notes.

Penultimate is available exclusively for iPad users and is free to download. To access advanced features and Evernote integration, an Evernote subscription is required.

15. WizNote

WizNote is a powerful and feature-rich Notability alternative that works on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. The app is designed for both personal and professional use, with features that cater to students, teachers, and business users alike. WizNote focuses on providing a comprehensive note-taking experience, including multimedia support and collaboration tools.

WizNote offers a wide range of features, such as rich text editing, multimedia support, and advanced note organization. You can create notebooks, tags, and folders to keep your notes organized, and the app also supports voice recording, allowing you to capture audio notes during lectures or meetings. WizNote’s collaboration tools enable you to share notes with others and work together in real-time.

WizNote is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. The app offers a free version with basic features, as well as paid plans with additional storage, collaboration tools, and priority support.

Apps like Notability that are Open Sourced 

While there are many note-taking applications available, finding open-source alternatives to Notability isn’t as hard to find as you’d think. Wreeto, WizNotes, and Saber are all open sourced options that work well.

Another option to consider is Joplin, a free and open-source note-taking application that offers robust features like end-to-end encryption, Markdown support, and cross-platform compatibility. Joplin’s extensive customization options and strong community support make it a popular choice among users looking for an open-source alternative to Notability.

How We Tested, Ranked, and Picked the Best Alternatives

Our review process involved testing various note-taking apps on multiple platforms, assessing their features, compatibility, and ease of use.

We also evaluated each app’s ability to handle various note-taking tasks, such as handwritten notes, to-do lists, and PDF annotation.

Apps were ranked based on their overall functionality, user experience, and compatibility with devices like iPads and tablets that support the Apple Pencil.

How to Choose the Best Alternative (Which Features Are Important)

When selecting the best Notability alternative, consider the following features:

  1. Platform Compatibility: Look for apps that are compatible with your device, whether it’s Windows, Android, iOS, or Mac. Cross-platform functionality is a bonus for users who work on multiple devices.
  2. Handwritten Notes: A good alternative should support handwritten notes, especially for users who prefer writing with a stylus or Apple Pencil.
  3. To-Do Lists and Task Management: Many note-takers require task management capabilities, so consider apps that offer to-do list functionality and reminders.
  4. PDF Annotation: For those who frequently work with PDF files, an app that supports PDF annotation and editing is essential.
  5. Sync and Share: Look for apps that provide seamless syncing across devices and sharing options for collaborating with others.


Is Notability on Android?

No, Notability is not available on Android devices. However, there are numerous Notability alternatives for Android users, such as GoodNote, Microsoft OneNote, Zoho Notebook, and Evernote.

What Are Some Common Use Cases for a Note-Taking App Like Notability?

Note-taking apps like Notability are popular among students for organizing lecture notes, teachers for lesson planning and grading, and creative professionals for brainstorming ideas and project management.

These apps are also useful for professionals who need to take meeting notes, create to-do lists, and collaborate on documents

What Are Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an Alternative App to Notability for Note-Taking Purposes?

Advantages of using an alternative app to Notability include:

  1. Access to a wider range of features and customization options.
  2. Compatibility with different platforms, such as Windows and Android.
  3. Potential cost savings, as many alternatives offer free or lower-cost options.

Disadvantages of using an alternative app to Notability include:

  1. A Steep learning curve when transitioning to a new app with different features and interface.
  2. Potential compatibility issues with older (or less popular devices).
  3. In some cases… alternative apps may lack certain features found in Notability, such as audio recording or advanced PDF editing capabilities (however notability is a paid app; so keep this in mind).

Bottom Line

While Notability is an excellent note-taking app for iOS users, there are numerous alternatives available for those seeking a more affordable option or compatibility with Windows, Android, or Mac devices. 

Notability alternatives include GoodNotes, OneNote, Bear, Nebo, Squid, NoteLedge, Notion, Standard Notes, Google Keep, and Apple Notes (and many more).

When we were reviewing notability for handwriting to text recognition, we found it worked similar to many of the apps on this list.

GoodNotes is a popular, very common alternative for iOS users, while Bear is great for organizing notes with tags and supports Markdown. Google Keep is free and available on multiple platforms, but may not have all the advanced features of Notability. Apple Notes on the other hand is a built-in option for iOS and Mac devices with a simple interface and can compete for casual usage like shopping lists and to do lists.

Some apps have similar features to Notability, but few offer the same intuitive audio recording/note synergy. Users should consider their specific needs and preferences when choosing an alternative.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ