Taking Notes with nimblenote

(Note: This article was first published, in a slightly different form, as part of a post at Open Source Musings and appears here via a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.)

Hands up if you remember the days when the keyboard ruled the computing world. When the mouse was considered a frill, a toy. Sometimes, I wonder how we every used computers before the advent of the mouse. It's made computing so much easier for so many people. Why memorize a bunch of arcane commands when you can point and click?

But you know what? Sometimes, a mouse just gets in your way.

More than a handful of people work better with just their keyboards — which explains the popularity of text editors like Emacs and vim in some circles. I can understand the appeal of working with only a keyboard, though. Using combinations of keystrokes and navigation keys makes some people more efficient and more productive, even in a graphical environment.

One task that lends itself quite well to being keyboard driven is taking notes. To prove that, let's take at nimblenote. It's a note taking tool for the Linux, Mac, and Windows desktops that work better with just a keyboard.

Whether it actually does or not, nimblenote seems to take its cue from nvALT (an open source note taking tool for Mac OS). While nimblenote is a bit more stripped down than nvALT, it's still effective.

You install by downloading an installer for your operating system. If you're using Linux, you can also install it with something called a Snap package.

When you first fire it up, nimblenote displays some help text to orient you.

nimblenote when you first start it up

Type the name of your first note in the search box at the top of the window, and then press Enter. From there, start typing. nimblenote automatically saves your note as you type.

Taking notes in nimblenote

You can create notes, task lists, and checklists. Notes, as you've seen, you create by typing in the editor. You create task lists and checklists in the same way:

- [ ] 

You can also add links to a note using Markdown link syntax. You can create:

A list and a link in nimblenote

nimblenote highlights basic Markdown formatting that you add to a note. It also supports what that developer calls Markdown actions. When you press ALT+Enter while beside an item in a task list or a checklist, or when beside a link, nimblenote marks the checklist item as complete or opens the link, respectively.

When you're finished typing a note, press Esc to go back to the search box. As you accumulate notes, a list of them displays under that search box. If you have a lot of notes, you can type part or all of the name of the one that you want to find in the search box to filter the list.

If there's any glaring feature missing from nimblenote, it's the ability to export your notes to a text file. If that feature's in the app, I can't find it.

nimblenote is simple. It's spare. But it's also fast and efficient. If your note taking needs are simple, or if you just need a good scratchpad, then nimblenote is a good choice.