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TopXNotes brings top-notch note taking to your Mac

Marco Tabini | June 6, 2013
Computers are a great way to keep all your data in one place--and none more so than the myriad notes you may take throughout your life. Things like your family's health history, your interactions with clients and contractors, or even just details about that upcoming family trip are--in principle--easy to jot down into a text file using nothing more than the free tools that come with most modern operating systems.

A room with a view
One of the app's most interesting features is something its authors call MultiView, which allows you to open multiple notes (or multiple copies of the same note) side-by-side with each other and edit them at the same time.

When dealing with large documents, or with multiple documents that need to be compared and consolidated, this functionality is a godsend--particularly when you create multiple views of the same note, as the edits you make in one view are immediately reflected in all the others.

Interestingly, the main window's formatting toolbar moves automatically to the view you are currently editing, so that the ability to change text attributes is always handy, even when you have many different notes open at the same time. It's a small thing, but it goes to show that good user-interface design doesn't necessarily mean fancy animations and flashy graphics.

One thing I did not like about the MultiView feature is the fact that opening a new view causes the app's window to first grow until occupies the whole screen, and then be split equally among all views without growing, while closing a view causes it to shrink to fit the remaining panels. Thus, if you, say, open four views and then close three, you end up with a tiny window that, almost inevitably, requires a resize.

Safely at your fingertips
TopXNotes works hard to keep your notes readily available wherever you go. It includes a Quick Notes panel that remains visible at all times while the app is running and can be used to rapidly access specific notes when you need them. Since you can also encrypt and password-protect your notes, this could be an easy way to keep important data like credit card numbers, ID numbers, and so on.

In addition, a $1 companion iOS app can be used to take notes while you're on the go, and can sync back to its desktop counterpart over Wi-Fi. This has the advantage of keeping your data private and in sync without having to depend on a third-party service in the cloud, but it also means having to remember to keep your data synchronized manually.

Bottom line
At $40, TopXNotes's price is pretty steep as apps go these days, but it's clear that its features were designed for those who take the task of keeping notes seriously.

If you fall within its intended audience, the app does its job capably and efficiently, with an impressive array of features and a user interface that, while perhaps not artistically impressive, is well thought out and provides an excellent user experience.


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