5 Best Visual Note-Taking Apps for 2024

Best Visual Note Taking Apps

Note-taking apps have long been about the notes you take in text format, but in 2024 and beyond, notes apps are getting more visual allowing you to better visualise and collaborate on top of a canvas which makes notes much more free flowing for better ideas.

There have been whiteboard apps for sometime, largely reserved for teams that use them in a collaborative environment, well that same concept is now coming to note-taking applications for you to enhance your notes, collaborate better with ideas & more.

Let's look at some of the typical features you'd find in visual notes apps:

Common Features You'd Expect

Here's some of the most typical features to find in a visual notes app:

  • Canvas: A whiteboard-like space to bring all your notes into one space. Perfect for visual thinkers, this surface helps to drag notes around and place them in the position you want as you add images, notes and files in one location.
  • Linking Notes: Connecting notes has become a popular activity of PKM apps (in which many of the visual notes apps are) and linking notes extends to the canvas in visual notes apps allowing you to bring ideas together & link them in your space visually.
  • Existing Notes: Pool from your existing notes typically means you can bring ideas you've had, notes you've made on research or any note you've taken and pool them into the canvas making it much more of an opportunity to source past notes.

5 Best Visual Note-Taking Apps for 2024

Here's the best visual note-taking apps for this coming year ahead:

  • 1. Obsidian - A popular PKM just got better with Obsidian Canvas for visual notes
  • 2. Heptabase - A new application with a mind for connecting notes in one space
  • 3. Napkin - Newly introduced thinking on your ideas & how they blossom
  • 4. Logseq - Another well-known PKM with the power of whiteboards now
  • 5. Scrintal - New to the market, Scrintal wants to bring note to connect them up

Let's dig into the best visual notes apps on the market:

1. Obsidian

Traditional PKM with Canvas Powers

Obsidian Canvas for all kinds of Obsidian Notes.
  • Pricing: Free
  • Link Notes: Yes
  • Availability: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS & Android

What makes Obsidian a great visual notes app?

A few months ago, Obsidian was just your amazing neighbourhood notes app. Since they added Obsidian Canvas, a visual whiteboard-like feature that allows you to add notes, bring them together and connect them up in one place, it has transformed what we think Obsidian is capable of. Canvas by Obsidian helps to bring images, links, files and notes from your ever-growing Obsidian library into a place to connect and visualise them.

One of the better all-round visual notes apps on the market with great local, offline storage for those who are more conscious around their note security too. Here's our extensive Obsidian review to help you pick whether it's the visual notes app for you.

2. Heptabase

Popular for Research & Note Linking

Heptabase as an Obsidian alternative to note taking and project management.
  • Pricing: Free
  • Link Notes: Yes
  • Availability: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS & Android

What makes Heptabase a great visual notes app?

Maybe it is the movie The Arrival that constantly makes us think about a giant squid when we look at this visual notes app, but Heptabase is a new to the scene as a place to bring your notes and ideas into one location. Heptabase has been gaining lots of attention for those who want to research notes and connect them up with lots of users coming from apps like Milanote that want to connect notes, organize topics in boards (folders) and collate them visually.

So lots of learning and research users, but also project planning types coming to use Heptabase as it does have a way to express notes in a Kanban-like view with boards.

3. Napkin

Growing Idea Capture & Process Concept

Napkin Notes, Expressing Ideas on Web, Napkin App for Web
  • Pricing: $10 per month or $60 per year
  • Link Notes: Yes
  • Availability: Chrome, iOS & Web

What makes Napkin a great visual notes app?

A really interesting concept Napkin wants to bring your ideas, connect them up, clip good ideas from Chrome or iOS and Napkin will curate a list of ideas for you. A new process and system that many people are really enjoying for the way it allows you to better bring perspective to older ideas or even ideas at the forefront of your mind.

Napkin is probably the most systems led tool on this list and has a growing community of people who want to distill ideas, expand them and continue to capture them. Something we haven't seen in the visual notes app market yet.

4. Logseq

Traditional PKM with Logseq Whiteboards

Logseq Whiteboards
  • Pricing: Free
  • Link Notes: Yes
  • Availability: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS & Android

What makes Logseq a great visual notes app?

Logseq whiteboards adds to Logseq's traditional PKM experience with notes, flashcards, calendar and graph view - this expands the range of optionality. Whiteboards wants to be your visual canvas for managing notes and bringing them into one location.

You can sketch, add PDFs, YouTube videos and more - which makes Logseq's whiteboard great for managing anything visual with not many limitations when it comes to media.

5. Scrintal

Powering Notes & Whiteboards

Scrintal for visual note taking, connected thoughts and ideas inside a notes app like Milanote.
  • Pricing: Free
  • Link Notes: Yes
  • Availability: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS & Android

What makes Scrintal a great visual notes app?

Scrintal wants to be a hybrid notes app that combines canvas with the note-connections. They constantly say that Scrintal is if Miro and Obsidian had a baby, but they did recently and that was Obsidian Canvas - so Scrintal continues to evolve as a notes app, but with a lot of people interested with over 65,000 people on the waitlist for the tool.

With Scrintal, you'll be forced into the pricing plans, which is currently (at the time of review) a early access plan that costs just over $4 but this is naturally early days for pricing. In comparison, Scrintal is most like Heptabase in feature-set.

6. MyMind

The Pinterest of Notes Apps

MyMind Notes App, Visual Notes
  • Pricing: Free (limits)
  • Link Notes: No
  • Availability: macOS, Windows, iOS & Android

What makes MyMind a great visual notes app?

Not really on our original list, MyMind has visual capture for notes and a way to see them all inside of their MyMind apps, but not the same canvas feel. It still is determined as a visual notes app because, it has the hallmarks, but not the visual thinking and connection concept. MyMind is 100% still worth the consideration. If you want a unique, opinionated way to take notes by capturing them, finding them using AI & a stunning experience, MyMind has all that. MyMind is the much more structured version of the apps above.

Benefits of visual notes apps

Here are some of the benefits to using visual notes apps to think about:

  • Perfect for Visual Thinkers: For those who have always been creative and work with seeing rather than reading or recalling, this system based notes app are a great lifestyle suitor. Visual thinkers and designed based individuals will love these and it'll help them feel at home with their notes apps increasing idea to success.
  • Signs of Progress: Whenever you look back at old notes, you tend to see yourself progressing, maybe it is the work you're doing, or the approach to work, with visual notes app you can see how your thought-process has upgraded each time.

Find more note-taking applications here and discover more tools on Tool Finder.

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