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.

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)
  • Atom — While aimed at coders, Atom is a great and flexible editor for anyone working in plain text (Linux, MacOS, Windows)
  • Leafpad — A simple but useful editor (Linux)
  • VSCodium — A version of the popular VS Code editor but without the Microsoft branding and additional creepiness (Linux, MacOS, Windows)

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 (Adroid)

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
  • 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
  • Writebox — A very basic, distraction-free text editor that supports Markdown
  • TakeNote — A web-based note taking application that supports Markdown. Also requites a GitHub account

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)