Standard Notes: free, open, cross-platform, encrypted, eternal note-taking app

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I’ve used Standard Notes, and I really like it. However at this time, I’m all in for Bear, as I’m always either on, or have, an Apple device. I export my notes as Markdown every so often, and stick them in a git repository. But I’m curious what other people are doing?

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Do I have to host this on my own server, or what? What will stop the company from potentially going belly up at some point, besides the quality of their apps?

No, they host, although I (miss?)remember there being a self-hosted endpoint. They have a pro tier that provides some income.

So it’s only “eternal” in that, as open source, someone else could decide to continue hosting it if the company goes belly up? And hopefully not charge more…

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They can’t fail. They’re eternal! That’s even more solid than a lifetime subscription!


Huh, this one looks like it’s doing a lot of the things I require in an EN replacement. Except for collaboration, which is kind of important as one of my major uses for EN right now is working with my writing partner on the scripts for my current comics project. It doesn’t look like that’s on the roadmap any time soon.

Also while poking around I just stumbled on the docs for hosting your own server.

I may have to actually download this one and play with it.

I think they’re “eternal” thing is more around data portability. As egypturnash pointed out, you can host your own instance, and they don’t use proprietary data formats. Although how that squares with encryption I don’t know.

The things I would like in a notes app for my phone seem, to me, fairly basic

  • white or light text on black background
  • sync files to google account
  • not randomly ‘sync’ back to an older version, so I always see this week’s grocery list this week
  • allow my data to be plain text files

Seems this is a very tall order, as I haven’t yet found anything. The one app I have that comes close is an abandoned open source project, and apparently uses deprecated Google APIs, as it no longer syncs anything.

I personally favor applications that simply and plainly store their things as local files on whatever devices I’m using them. I’m then free to use whatever files synchronization solution I want (I use Syncthing for most things). Bonus, I don’t even have to use the same application on all devices as long as they all agree on their file formats.
For notes, I’m using Markor.

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Do I have to host this on my own server, or what?

No, the files are locally stored and you don’t need their services…
… unless you want to synchronise between devices.Then they are the gateway between your endpoints. And the claim is that your files never leave your device unencrypted.

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Please tell me why this company is more future-proofed than Evernote? I know Evernote is having some challenges - as all companies do - but i think it’s a lot further from the rocks than this article implies.

I don’t wish anyone ill and I hope they both succeed, but I’ll bet right now that Evernote is still in business after this company has shut down its last server.


Standard Notes also doesn’t have features equivalent to EN’s notebooks and stacks, which I use heavily for organization. (I don’t really tag.)

I have no reason to believe that the company is; but that’s substantially the point: if the lifespan of your data is connected with the survival of a specific company you’ve already lost. If your data are sufficiently abstracted from someone’s business model that you can just swap out the dead it at least has a shot.

For reasons that make solid business sense for vendors who like recurring revenue, contemporary software had not been heading in a healthy direction on that score.

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Evernote’s killer feature for me is the automatic OCR and search. I scan all my paper mail and upload it to Evernote so I can 1) shred the atoms and 2) search the (OCR’d) text. I don’t see this feature on Standard Notes, but maybe I missed it? Anyone?

Well. The premise of this article seems very much to be, ‘Evernote is dying, so here’s an alternative’. But I don’t see the alternative as being meaningfully better or more resilient.

Also, as I’ve said elsewhere, Evernote has one of the most reasonable bulk export functions - far better than Apple notes (bad), or onenote (terrible). If I ever need to migrate from Evernote, it’s a fairly simple job. So I don’t consider that I’ve ‘lost’; if that were the case, I’d have to stop using dropbox;iCloud photos; google drive; things; and a while bunch of other cloud-synced services.

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Yeah, notebooks are pretty important to me too. :slight_smile:

Looks interesting, though would want to sync to my own linux servers, not theirs. I wonder if that is possible. While I just use TextEdit for a lot I found it often crashes when you paste from the web. Perhaps this could replace it. For work I used to use Circus Ponies Notebook which I replaced at work with MS Office Notes, which has helped a great deal on a big project, and GrowlyNotes on my Mac which is similar. I’d like to download Standard Notes from the App Store instead though.

I think a modern note-taking app needs have more features than is offered by a collection of text files.

Even without considering that apps like EN offer multimedia, web clipping, etc., the main thing I want is powerful organizing and/or search tools.

I looked at the forums, and it appears the answer is tagging plus REGEX searching. I can write a regular expression, but fussing over syntax is hardly my dream of the future.


Glad I’m not the only one. While Standard Notes it great, it’s not an Evernote replacement. Has anyone found anything that:

  • Keeps written notes
  • OCRs PDFs
  • Clips webpages
  • Has almost every integration ever point to it?

Here’s the real question:
What do the guys at Evernote need to make sure it gets the same resilience that Standard Notes claims?