UpNote Review

I have been using Evernote for nearly 10 years – I have been a member since October 24th, 2014. The first ever post on this website was originally written in Evernote, and the second post was about Evernote. However, it hasn’t been a smooth ride since that date. Evernote has been getting worse and worse over the years, especially in the monetisation aspect. I used to be a heavy user of Evernote Premium, but as prices were hiked further and further – originally with fairly minor price hikes – I started using it less and less and looking for alternatives.

Throughout university I used Evernote extensively for managing essays and general notation – I rarely used features such as tasks anymore, and all I wanted was an affordable note-taking app that stopped trying to shove paying plans into my face. I understand the need for monetisation, but the various new plans and increased pricing for an app that offered no new features, and that was slow and clunky, were not appetising to me.

Looking around, I eventually found an appealing app – UpNote. The pricing structure was great, with a very affordable lifetime option, as well as an incredibly cheap monthly plan. It was simple and structured fairly similar to Evernote – with tags, notebooks and various options in the left-hand bar. It also has a lovely dark mode, which I vastly prefer to light modes.

UpNote on Windows with the dark UI.
UpNote on Windows with the dark UI.

Organization and Layout

UpNote, like Evernote, allows you to create notebook stacks, which is a crucial feature. One lovely touch is the ability to add custom covers to notebooks, which makes it easy to see what your notebook is about at a glance. The title, as well as the number of notes, is also displayed in the sidebar. In addition to this, you get the option to show all notes at the top, as well as various views. I use the Today view, which shows notes I have created today, as well as Todo, which shows notes with unchecked todo boxes. Uncategorized is for quick notes that you want to sort later, or an idea you throw into there – like an Inbox. Then you have notes you’ve added to quick access, a list of your notebooks, tags, and then templates – I will expand on this later.

UpNote sidebar
UpNote sidebar.

Inside these notebooks, notes are shown with the title and a snippet – you can enable a compact mode that will only show the title if you want to fit more notes on the screen. If a note has an image inside it, the first image is also shown in a little preview. You can change how your notes are sorted, as well as various options regarding how the notes are displayed. A nice feature of UpNote is the ability to easily pin notes to the top of the notebook – useful for reference notes such as colour palette information. In addition to this, you can favourite notes to show up in a Quick Access menu in the left sidebar for even quicker access.

Hashtags, much like Evernote, are also supported by UpNote. You can put a hashtag anywhere in your note and will come up in the sidebar under tags. It is important to note, that unlike Evernote, you cannot nest tags underneath each other. The options regarding tags are rather limited – you can sort their order in the left-hand bar, or hide/rename them. One nice feature of tags however is the ability to change the sort order for specific tags. This lets you get fairly customised views for every tag, and you can also manually order notes if you so wish.

Sorting based per tag in UpNote
Sorting based per tag.

Sadly, dragging is not supported by UpNote. You have to move notes through a series of menus, rather than just dragging them into the corresponding notebook that you want. Hopefully, this will change soon as development seems very active (written in late August 2023). In addition to this, hitting Delete with a note selected doesn’t move it to the trash unfortunately.

Note editor

Creating a note is quick and easy – hit the big blue button, on both desktop and mobile. UpNote uses a form of Markdown when you take notes – you can use markdown notation to bold text, italic text, add headers and more. To be clear, it doesn’t support all markdown features, such as links with markdown. You can see the features that it does support here. However, it supports the ones you use most often, which is great. UpNote converts this markdown to display rich text. For example, if you denote a title to be a header, UpNote will hide the # you use, and show it as if it was converted. You don’t see any asterisks to bold, hashtags to denote headers and other markdown notation in the app – instead, it shows you the HTML output of the result. This means if you are looking for a raw markdown editor, UpNote is not it. It uses markdown to format your notes. I like this – it lets me type my notes up quickly but doesn’t leave a mess of markdown that I want if I use a markdown editor, not a note-taking app.

UpNote also allows you to use keyboard shortcuts for all options in the note-taking interface and also has some very impressive features such as TeX formula support, letting you use TeX to format and then implement formulas into your notes. You can also embed videos directly into your note, as well as indent, quotes, sub and superscript, and many more. Fairly similar to Evernote in the formatting ability, however lacking a bit when you look at adding a calendar event, audio recording, and other more advanced Evernote features.

You can also add content to your note by using the / key. This opens up a menu of various options, such as adding a table or the time, which can be sorted by typing after the forward-slash. You can also link between notes using [[ , which will add a little note icon after the hyperlink to show you it is an internal link. Linking to headers in other notes also works, which is a very nice touch for longer notes.

Forward slash options in UpNote
Forward slash options. You can continue typing to filter the list.

UpNote also features a Focus Mode, which only shows the note panel. It feels fairly restricted however as it still shows the formatting bar on the bottom and the top bar. However, it is good if you want to get rid of the sidebars quickly and easily.

There is a very extensive guide from UpNote on using their app, which covers writing and editing very thoroughly, so if you want to see more detail about various aspects of the app you can view it here. There are various features such as document scanning, collapsible sections and a few more I didn’t cover as I didn’t have too much experience in using them.

Regarding attachments, UpNote does limit your document size to 20 MB. Whilst this isn’t too much of an issue when adding Word documents and more, it can become an issue when adding MP4 or PDF files to the notes. It is also very important to note that UpNote heavily compresses images when you add them to a note – you cannot redownload that image at full resolution again. I wish it stated this a little more clearly as some may save images to UpNote believing they can download them as they were, only to find them heavily compressed. If you attach a PDF to a note, UpNote will let you have a preview of that PDF – sadly the preview window is really small. It would be nice if it was the same length as a document page, as it would make viewing a lot easier.

You can open an information menu on each note, which shows various information. The time that the note was created, updated, and last synced is shown at the top, as well as word count information. A very nice part of this info screen is that notes that link to your current note are shown, so you can easily see what links to what you are working on. A table of contents is also shown, which is very nice in longer notes.

The mobile experience is very similar to the desktop one. The bar with the various formatting options work, as well as the forward slash. There is a + button on the left of the app that allows you to draw, scan documents, and a few more things such as tables.

All in all, I like the editor in UpNote. It is simple, works well, and has all the features I want. I like that it isn’t a pure markdown editor, and instead uses the markdown to show the text in rich HTML. I found the editor great on both mobile and desktop, and really like using the various shortcuts to quickly highlight, change text colour and add various other things to my notes.


UpNote search is fairly basic. You can adjust it to search in content or just in the title, and change it to check for containing or matching the word you search for. You can also select whether you want UpNote to search in all your notes, or just in your current notebooks. Searches can be saved to be quickly rerun.

Searching for tags can also be done, by inserting the tag, with the # , into the search bar. The way this works is quite rudimentary – as in UpNote you tag by typing your tag out in your note, UpNote simply highlights notes where you have typed that tag out. This being said it works fine. Attached documents, such as PDFs, text or Word files are not searched at the time of writing.

Individual notes can be searched by simply hitting Ctrl+F or by using the upper menu button to search.

UpNote allows you to lock individual notebooks. Notebooks that are locked do not have notes show up in search results.


A nice feature of UpNote is that it supports built-in templates. When you start a note, you can select from any templates that automatically show up. Templates can also be inserted midway into a note by right-clicking on desktop. Making your own templates is also easy. Just go to the templates section, and make whatever you want to have as a template. You can use {{ to insert variables such as time, date, and other variables that you want UpNote to automatically fill in when you create a new note.

UpNote variable support
Basic variable support in UpNote – useful for templates.

Using {{ in either a note or a template will let you automatically fill in whatever variable you want, instantly in a note and on creation in a template.

Other Features and Performance

UpNote shines with its performance. Evernote is clunky, slow, and crashes often. UpNote is incredibly fast, both launching and actions in the app. Creating a note is swift and easy, on both mobile and desktop. The app doesn’t stutter during regular use like Evernote and is a pleasure to use. It is smooth and I have no complaints whatsoever regarding performance. Sync is quick and easy, and the sharing menu on iOS works great to add PDFs into the app quickly.

Note-sharing is offered by UpNote. I wanted to briefly cover this because it’s an incredibly useful feature in a wide variety of settings. On any note in UpNote, you can click the Share via web link button at the top of a note and get a link to share it with anyone on the internet. This shows your note as you see it in your editor, in a shareable link. I find this handy for quickly sharing information with friends or sharing information with people at work.

If you double-click on a note, you can launch that note in a separate window. Very handy when you are using multiple notes for references.

UpNote individual note window
An individual note in UpNote opened into a new window.

One interesting feature is the ability to add notes to multiple notebooks – you can select multiple notebooks when moving a note.

You can import and export your notes. Importing from Evernote is supported, but it does come with various limits. In addition to this, it requires Premium (see next section). When importing from Evernote, files that are larger than 20MB won’t be imported, as well as notes longer than 300,000 characters. This is worth paying attention to if you’ve used Evernote extensively – I have hundreds of notes that UpNote would not be able to import. However, I am mainly interested in importing core notes and then referencing to Evernote every once in a while if I need a really old note.

You can also import files from markdown, HTML, rich text, Doc files and text files. Exporting notes is supported in PDF, text, HTML and markdown. This is a nice feature to have to make sure you’re not trapped in an app if you want to move. Note that importing everything but text requires premium, and exporting to markdown and PDF also requires premium. You can still export to text and HTML for free.

The settings menu where you will find these two options also allows various changes to the theme, editor and general customisations, and shortcut customisations. UpNote does support global shortcuts for opening a new note, pasting a new note in, and opening up a search. For adding a new note, this will open the new note up in a separate, small, window. However, for searching it launches the full app with the search bar targeted. It resizes the app when doing this which is quite annoying if you had it at a certain size.

Web Clipper

I want to briefly touch on the web clipper extension that is offered for Chrome, Firefox and Safari. I used this feature a lot in Evernote to save sources to quickly reference them and search through them. The clipper in Evernote was very customisable, letting you select different areas of a page, and it saved these results into Evernote in a way which preserved the formatting of the site. The UpNote clipper does not do this. Instead, it just extracts text and images and puts them in a note, like you were using article view. It doesn’t preserve any formatting on the website. The below is clipped from my Managing Deadlines with Todoist articles.

UpNote web clipper text based content
Websites that are mainly text based content look great in UpNote.

It takes the title of the webpage, and the link, and then puts them at the top. Whilst this works fine for simple plain text articles like on this site, and on some others, if there’s a complex webpage you want to clip, the results aren’t so good. For example, clipping a TripAdvisor page leads to a mess of images and text, like below.

Complex web content in UpNote
Complex web content – not so much.

This is quite a limitation – Evernote was great to store webpages offline, but in UpNote, not so much. Articles yes, but with anything a bit more complex, UpNote falls apart. I am hoping that in the future the ability to add rich HTML is possible to clip, as it was a great feature for travel.


UpNote support all the major platforms – Windows, MacOS, Linux, as well as iOS and Android on the mobile side.

UpNote iOS app
UpNote on iOS.

The iOS app is slick and fast. The UI is uncluttered, yet full featured when opening a note. You can easily create a new note, as well as view notes. Sync is very fast from desktop and I have had no issues with conflicts on any of the four devices I used it on.


UpNote is a great note-taking app for people who want something that is affordable and capable. The editor is lovely to use, the UI is easy and initiative, and the app feels familiar enough to Evernote that it doesn’t take you time to understand.

The app does what it says, and it does it well. If you are looking for an app that works similar to Evernote, whilst lacking some of the more advanced features, UpNote would be a good choice. At time of writing, you can get Premium for $0.99 a month, or $29.99 for a lifetime licence.

You can learn more on the UpNote website here.

Ease of Use
upnote-reviewUpNote is an excellent choice - at a brilliant price for a lifetime licence, as well as having ease of use features such as templates and insertable variables, UpNote is a great choice for Evernote users looking for an alternative or for those looking for a robust notetaking app.