I’ve had the honor to publish a few articles in Linux Format, also known as LXF, the UK’s surviving print Linux magazine. I’ve subscribed to it for a few years now, but the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc for overseas delivery (among other things). My issues have been appearing in my mailbox in seemingly random order.
This week I received the October 2020 issue #268 with BUILD A SMART HOME OFFICE on the cover. Inside was a small, but pleasant surprise. (Note: I may disappoint you with the link; you’ll see a list of the stories, but can’t read them if you’re not a subscriber.)
On the first page of every LXF issue, the five guys (yes, I’m afraid they’re all men) who write most of the magazine’s content answer that month’s “Who We Are” question. This issue’s question was about top tips or tools to help readers to work smarter.
I smiled at Nick Peers’ recommendation:
If, like me, your thoughts and inspirations vanish as quickly as they appear, you need some way of getting them down on (virtual) paper. And what better tool than Joplin (https://joplinapp.org). which ended my years-long quest for a note-taking tool that does it all? Don’t believe me? Check out our tutorial in LXF260…
Nick doesn’t have anywhere near the space to include every critical detail, but I smiled because I wrote the bloody tutorial!
Now a close reading of this little blurb doesn’t say explicitly that my tutorial persuaded him to try Joplin, thus ending “my years-long quest for a note-taking tool that does it all.” But I’m still going to believe that it did.
What is Joplin?
So what is Joplin? Well, it’s a few things:
- An open-source replacement for the commercial note-taker Evernote
- A place to write down all those brilliant ideas you have in your head, but can never seem to act on
- A Markdown editor
- A place to store interesting things you find online, and access with any device you have
Joplin imports your Evernote notebooks after you export them. If your favorite browser supports extensions, Joplin will let you save web pages and articles.
Here’s the default screen:
You can organize your notes into Notebooks any way you like. Everything is searchable in the search bar at the top of the second column where your note titles live. The editor shows text with Markdown markings showing formatting. If you don’t know Markdown, use the standard text-editor toolbar at the top. Joplin then renders your notes in HTML on the right.
If you don’t need to see both views, press Ctrl+L to toggle that view. If you love to configure software so it’s just right, there’s Tools > Options (or Ctrl+,).
Joplin runs on Linux, Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, so you should be able to take notes and read them everywhere. To do that, however, you need to store them in the cloud. Joplin currently supports NextCloud, Dropbox and OneDrive. Set up your cloud account in Joplin, and click Synchronize to send your notes there.
That’s the quick tour. If you can’t get a copy of Linux Format #260, the Joplin website can help you get started. The Support forum is really good too.
If you have a favorite note-taking app, tell me about it in the Comments.