This is an ever-expanding list of tools that can help you work and live more efficiently in plain text. In case you’re wondering, I’ve worked with or tried all of these tools.

This page isn’t meant to be a comprehensive resource. If your favourite or favoured tool isn’t here, there’s a reason for that — don’t be disappointed or read anything into an omission.

Click the arrow beside any heading below to expand what’s under it.

Text Editors

  • Notepad++ — A popular text editor that's good for both programmers and ordinary mortals (Windows)
  • NoteTab — An old favourite from when I used Windows, which you can easily extend using clipbook libraries (Windows)
  • Notepadqq — While billed as an editor for developers, Notepadqq is also great for general-purpose text editing (Linux)
  • Leafpad — A simple but useful editor (Linux)
  • xed — A flexible text editor for all of your needs (Linux)

Note Taking Tools

  • Turtl — A secure note taking tool (Linux, MacOS, Android, Windows)
  • Standard Notes — A simple and secure app for taking and managing notes (Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS, Web, Windows)
  • nvALT — A plain text, Markdown-friendly desktop app (MacOS)
  • Notational Velocity — The tool that inspired nvALT (MacOS)
  • The Archive — A simple but effective looking note taking tool (MacOS)
  • ResophNotes — Take notes on your desktop and sync them with Simplenote on the web (Windows)
  • Tomboy-ng — The next generation of the venerable Tomboy note taking tool (Linux, MacOS, Windows)
  • Joplin — An open source note taking and to-do list application that supports Markdown (Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS)

Todo List Managers

  • Todo.txt — A simple, effective command line task manager(Linux, MacOS)
  • DayTasks — A plain text task manager for the Linux desktop (Linux)
  • TaskPaper — A plain text to-do list that’s surprisingly adept (MacOS)


  • Calculist — An open source outliner that's billed as the thinking tool for problem solvers (Web)
  • WorkFlowy — An outliner that lets you focus on not just your ideas, but specific parts of those ideas (Web)
  • TreeLine — An open source outliner. TreeLine's not the prettiest app, but it works (Linux, Windows)

Mobile Apps

  • Simpletask — A task manager that uses Todo.txt's format (Android)
  • iA Writer — An app for taking notes, writing, and more (Android, iOS)
  • Writer+ — A simple app for jotting down notes or doing some serious writing (Android)
  • Orgzly — An outliner and note taking tool that lets you take your Emacs org-mode files mobile (Android)
  • beOrg — A plain text task management and outliner app that works with Emacs org-mode files (iOS)
  • neutriNote — A Markdown-enabled note taking app (Android)

Web Apps

  • Simplenote — A simple, effective app for storing your thoughts and ideas
  • Plain Text Table — Use it to create tables in a graphical interface, then save them as plain text
  • Draft — A flexible tool for writers
  • Writer — A distraction-free writing tool with a focus on plain text and Markdown
  • Pandoc Online — An online version of Pandoc that can convert between a handful of markup languages
  • Plain Text Tables Generator — An online tool that can help you quickly create tables in plain text and a few markup languages, too
  • Tables Generator — The easiest way to create HTML, LaTeX, Markdown, MediaWiki, and plain text tables
  • markup.rocksPandoc based document editor and converter in your browser
  • TakeNote — A note taking application that supports Markdown. Also requires a GitHub account
  • Diagram.Codes — A text-based tool for generating diagram using a simple plain text language
  • Pomoday — A combination task management tool and Pomodoro app that's built around plain text
  • Crush Entropy — An application that can quickly help you create a daily schedule using plain text
  • Word to Markdown Converter — A service that converts Word files or Google docs to Markdown
  • Text Fixer — A set of online tools and tutorials for manipulating text in some useful and interesting ways

Desktop Wikis

  • TiddlyWiki — a single-page HTML file that you can edit and use to organize your information (any graphical web browser)
  • Zim — A simple, flexible desktop wiki that stores your information in a set of text files (Linux, Windows)
  • WikidPad — An older, but serviceable and powerful, desktop wiki (Linux, MacOS, Windows)

Other Tools

  • Journal.TXT — A single-file, plain text weekly journal
  • If you do this and only this, today will be a good day — An introduction to today.txt, a simple text file that can keep you on track
  • Plain Text Life — A template, based on today.txt, that keeps your life structured in an easy-to-manage system
  • FromScratch — A simple desktop tool for taking down a quick note or thought or task list
  • SnipAssistant — A utility for saving and reusing snippets of text (Windows)
  • EverOrg — A command line tool for converting notes from Evernote into the format used by Emacs org-mode (Linux, MacOS, Windows)
  • journal-cli — A command line tool, which supports Markdown and encryption, for keeping a personal journal (Linux, MacOS, Windows)