Agenda is a smart alternative to Apple Notes with more features

If you need more features than Apple Notes provides, Agenda for macOS is a great alternative

There is no shortage of note taking apps and the Apple Mac comes with a great one built in. However, there are some fantastic alternatives and Agenda is one you should definitely consider.

Agenda is an alternative to the Apple Notes app and while there is a lot of common ground where the apps do almost identical tasks, Agenda has extra features and a different way of working. It looks superb and the design is excellent.

It is better at organising your notes, it links to Calendar events and the way that it handles dates makes it almost like a simple project manager.

Agenda notes app for the Apple Mac

Categories and projects

In the sidebar you create categories for notes and these are like the folders that Apple Notes lets you make. These could be Work, Personal, Holiday Plans, House Renovation, ebooks or whatever you want. Projects are then created within a category and notes can be created within a project.

Creating categories for notes in Agenda for the Apple Mac

So you could have an Ebooks category and within this could be a project for each book. Within each book could be a collection of notes and research. It may sound complicated, but it is done is a very simple and logical manner.

Create notes

A note is created by clicking the plus button and there is a title and body. The usual text formatting features are available, such as heading styles, body text, subheadings, bold, italic and so on.

Bullet lists, numbered lists and checklists are available, and notes can be made to look good. They appear in a list in full in the centre of the window when a project is selected.

One of the few limitations of Agenda is that it does not handle images. It is only for text.

Agenda notes app for the Apple Mac formatting options

Notes can be linked, which inserts a blue hyperlink to another project, which is a collection of notes. Clicking the link takes you to the note and there is a keyboard shortcut and menu to take you back to the original note. That is useful if notes contain information that is useful in other projects.

Agenda automatically tries to find related notes and these are displayed in the right sidebar.

Tags and people

Tags can be added to notes and it is up to you what tags you use. A keyword of some sort can be attached to notes that identifies the content in some way.

People can be assigned to notes and they are a type of tag. It does not link to the Contacts app and you simply type any name you want. It appears as a blue tag.

Tags and people are useful in the search facility and when searching your notes you can choose to limit the search for tags or for people. If you are working with other people on projects you could add them to notes and then list all the notes someone is assigned to.

Organise by date

Unlike Apple Notes, Agenda focuses on dates and in the top right corner of a note is a calendar icon. Clicking it shows a calendar and a date can be set for the note.

When a project is selected, the notes are displayed in date order, so the notes can be used as tasks which have to be completed by certain dates. Combine this with the ability to assign people and you have the basics of a simple project manager tool.

The date is displayed on notes in a conversational manner and it may say it is due ‘Coming Monday’ or ‘Today’ or ‘Now, ends in 24 minutes’.

Notes can be linked to events in the Apple Calendar app and, if you upgrade to the paid version of Agenda, you can create Calendar events too.

Agenda notes app for the Apple Mac showing the calendar

Notes can be assigned to the Agenda and this could be used like a task list. When tasks are done they could be taken off the agenda. There are Agenda and Today views of your notes.

Sync your notes

A notes app that was tied to the Mac would not be useful for people that work on more than one Mac or who need access to notes from their phone or iPad.

Agenda stores its data on iCloud so any Mac logged into your iCloud account can be used to access your notes.

iOS apps are coming early in 2018 and then you will be able to access your notes on the go.

Final notes

Don’t worry if you have a bunch of notes in the Apple Notes app because Agenda can import them all. It creates a project for each Notes folder.

Agenda is a good app already and it will no doubt become even more useful when the iOS apps become available. The one feature I would like to see is support for images or maybe links to files.

Nearly all features in Agenda are free, with only a small number held back for the paid version. In fact, paying only gets you four extra features at the moment, although I suspect more premium features will be added in the future.

App: Agenda (Mac App Store)
Price: Free
By: Momenta BV
Size: 25.4 MB
macOS: 10.12 or later
Verdict: A very nice notes app, but competes with OneNote, Evernote



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