While it is true that note-taking apps are a common sight these days, there are only a handful that are specifically made to stay on the menu bar such as Soho Notes, Rapid Note, and Scribblet 2. These menu bar note-taking apps are normally built with minimal features, an easy-to-navigate interface, and run silently in the background.
For today’s review, I’ll be taking a look at a relatively new menu bar notes app called NotesTab by FLIPLAB Ltd., the makers of popular menu bar apps MailTab and MenuTab for Facebook. With the latest update to version 1.2, let’s see if this new member of the family stands and delivers just as well.
The Menu Bar Notepad
NotesTab’s basic function is to save and organize your information as soon as it comes to you. Whether they are phone numbers, names, lecture notes, quick to-dos, or usernames and passwords, you can easily type, copy and paste them all into NotesTab.
With that said, you can easily take down notes without opening a new app on your Mac as it rests silently on the menu bar. By clicking on its menu bar icon, NotesTab opens up the notepad where you can access the entire notes list and open, edit, and/or delete individual notes.
The NotesTab Dashboard
The notepad is pretty easy to navigate through. You have the notes list organized according to favorites, date of creation, or when it was last edited. On the top portion, you have buttons for the app’s settings, the anchor icon to pin NotesTab on top, in-app upgrades, and the “plus” sign to create a new note. The search bar brings up results quickly, but the blinking cursor is black and isn’t visible immediately. Fortunately once you start typing, the words are white, clear, and visible.
At the bottom, you have a single-line text ad to compensate for the app being free to download. For some this is fine, but I find it distracting and that it throws off the app’s elegant design. If you’d like to remove the ads, you can click on the in-app upgrades button and pay $0.99 to remove it. The good news is that this is a one-time upgrade, so it will remain ad-free regardless of the number of Macs you plan to install NotesTab on.
The settings panel on NotesTab
Press the gear icon and it will take you to where you can change NotesTab’s default settings. As a menu bar notes app, you’d want it to be as accessible as possible in case an idea or a reminder comes to mind, so ticking off the Start NotesTab at Login box is highly recommended.
Other settings include hotkeys, window visibility, and auto-correction. Here, you can create unique hotkeys to quickly activate NotesTab and enable auto-correct mode when typing and editing your notes. These features are great, especially for those who multitask, who need to quickly open and create a note, and who want their notes free of spelling errors.
Lastly, you can provide feedback, rate the app on the Mac App Store, sign up for the FLIPLAB newsletter, and quit the app. To go back to the main dashboard, click on the light orange right-arrow button at the top right.
The Individual Note
Taking down notes on NotesTab is simple and straightforward. You have the title of the note, the back button at the top left that takes you back to the mother list, the blank page to type information down, and a star to favorite the note.
An individual note on NotesTab
As you can see, the note is stripped of formatting options to keep note-taking focused and straight to the point. While I agree with this, I’m not always comfortable with how light the font color is, considering that the background is already light to begin with. So maybe the developers could either make the font color darker or provide a basic option to change the font and the font colors with a minimal selection to choose from.
What I do love about NotesTab is that it removes all existing formatting when you paste text taken from say, a website. Once you copy and paste from NotesTab, the outcome is clean plain text. I’d normally open TextEdit to do this, but now I can do the exact same thing using NotesTab and won’t have to open another app anymore. That’s convenience right there.
At the bottom are two buttons: Share Note and Trash. Clicking on the Share Note button will launch your default mail client and create a new email that contains the contents of the note you wish to share. This is pretty neat and could expand even more to sharing notes on social networks like Twitter or Facebook.
Once you choose to delete notes, it's gone permanently.
To trash a note, simply click on the trash bin icon. A pop-up window will drop down and confirm your decision to trash the note permanently. This function could be improved by integrating the window to the overall interface of the app and making it possible to retrieve deleted notes in case you need to grab deleted information back.
Overall, NotesTab proves to be a handy menu bar notes app thanks to the simplicity and elegance of its current functionality and design. Yet while it claims that with NotesTab, notes on the Mac are finally “done right,” it still has a long way to go if we’re to pit it against other note-taking applications. In other words, there is still room for more improvement and better features.
But despite this, I have high hopes for NotesTab as a convenient, free, and accessible note-taking app for the Mac. I look forward to an active development cycle, more interesting updates, and great results in terms of productivity. I’m particularly interested in iCloud integration to safely back up my notes in case I’m away or if anything happens to my Mac.
What do you think? Would you download and use NotesTab or stick to your current note-taking app for your Mac? Share your thoughts in the comments below.