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Journaly review: A good Mac journal app that might be great one day

Michael Simon | Sept. 1, 2016
Journaly may not be feature-packed, but it shows a lot of potential.

Back in the pen-and-paper days, journaling required loads of effort. You needed to buy a dedicated notebook, keep it shielded from prying eyes, chronicle the day and date of each entry, and carve out a chunk of time to write in it.

Things are a whole lot easier now. Aside from the numerous note-takers that can double as a journal in a pinch, there are several apps dedicated to the fine art of chronological self-tracking. Led by the majestic Day One ($30 in the Mac App Store), today’s digital journals are more than mere notepad imitators; with bold photos, location tracking, password encryption and powerful filters, they not only store your words, they actively encourage you to keep up the habit.

Journaly’s entry screens provide an at-a-glance overview of exactly how you felt when you sat down to write.

Journaly ($15 on the Mac App Store) might not yet be a contender to Day One’s throne, but it arrives with loads of potential. Lightweight and versatile, it has the soul of an iOS app, but Emberify made the curious move to make it Mac-only. But even without the convenience of an iPhone app, Journaly is a decent entry to the fray that should get better with age, as long as its price doesn’t scare potential users away.

Easy writer

To get your creative juices flowing, Journaly utilizes a series of prompts designed to get you in the proper journal-writing frame of mind. Location, weather and mood are included (the latter of which is designated by emoji), but you can also add your own. Answers are pinned to the right side of the page, which brings a sense of uniformity to your journal, but a way to hide the fields on a per-entry basis would be a nice addition.

Elsewhere, Journaly doesn’t deploy any hidden sidebars or disappearing panes of options, and in fact, there are barely any in-app preferences to speak of at all. While the content pane strikes a nice balance between minimal and crowded, customization is almost solely dedicated to expanding your content rather than changing how it looks. If you want to adjust the font or add emphasis, you’ll need to access the OS X contextual menu and utilize the standard tools.

Since Journaly doesn’t really feel like a text editor, the lack of Markdown support shouldn’t be a surprise, but still, the actual writing process is simple and straightforward. Inserting photos is a breeze, but unfortunately you aren’t able to reposition them within the text or add captions.

Pictures, tags and live search keep your journal entries neat and organized.


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