The Plain Text Project

This is an ever-expanding list of tools that can help you work and live more efficiently in plain text. In case you’re wondering, I’ve worked with or tried all of these tools.

This page isn’t meant to be a comprehensive resource. If your favourite or favoured tool isn’t here, there’s a reason for that — don’t be disappointed or read anything into an omission… More here.

Plain text is something I use often and I now find myself using it in GoodTasks, Drafts and many more apps, but the selection at the link above shows what is possible. There is something so obvious and natural about plain text.

Categories: Apps

4 replies

  1. ??? it seems like many many of these tools – including the one screenshotted here- are going well beyond “plain text”? I’m looking at bullets and strikethru there

    Simplenote is my bread and butter (and google docs when i need to collaborate, great for shopping lists with my partner)… even then there are some annoyances, because they try to be clever and start guessing when I’m using * or – as a bullet list and then “conveniently” fill that in for me, where the real convenience would be “WYTIWYG” (what you type is what you get)

    It took me a while to learn the best way to organize Simplenote- since it deliberately doesn’t have folders, and really leans into the “just a pile of notes” paradigm. You can use tags, or pin items, but I find the best strategy is: A. add a unique word to the notes you know you’re going to regularly return to (mind is “FINDME”) B. don’t worry about anything else. Don’t try to keep the box clean, just deal with the mix of barely started halfass notes vs longer text entries, use the search tool as needed, to find the FINDME notes or anything. It needs so little maintenance yet works so well!

    • I agree with that. Some do go too far. What would you rate as the best plain text todo option?

      • I suppose Simplenote if you’re syncing, otherwise the Stickies app on your Desktop?

        Despite my love of 2Do, sometimes for a pile of related tasks I do switch to temporary ad hoc lists, and then it’s just a matter of organization – but part of the power of “plain text” is that simple cut and paste becomes so powerful! the interface is right there for priority ordering. And sometimes I like the ego-soothing reminder of what I have accomplished so I end up with like :

        GROUP ONE
        -task one
        -task three

        GROUP TWO
        -task four
        -task five

        -task two

        But once things get recurring or need to track dead lines, I wouldn’t suggest a plain text todo.

        (Heh, I remember the time before Apple had its own Reminders app for iPhone… probably before the AppStore too? a big in-store wall poster that showed the “Notes” app being used just for this exact todo purpose. Like it was the exemplar for how to use Notes.

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