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What's the Best Tech for Taking Client Notes?

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on May 20, 2015 10:52 AM

When it comes to taking and organizing client notes, the physical notebook went out of style long ago. There's just too many benefits to having electronic notes, which you can sync across devices or search for specific information.

If you're just looking for basic word processing, using Word or even Google Drive for your notes is fine. But you'll have to go through a few extra hoops if you want to really take advantage of electronic notes. Fortunately, there's plenty of note-taking software that's already done the work for you. So, which one is best?

Simplenote

Simplenote is aptly named. A simple, minimal app, it allows you to do many of the same things as other programs, with less clutter. If you're a minimalist, Simplenote could be for you. Aside from its smooth design, Simplenote gets points for its collaboration features, ability to track changes, and encryption. Cons include lack of formatting options and inability to sync files to third-party cloud services.

OneNote

Microsoft's entry into the note-taking market. It's main, much loved feature is that there's no data sync cap. Plus, OneNote allows you to email yourself notes that are directly added to your virtual pad, which is helpful if you're away from a device with the software.

OneNote falls behind others when it comes to clipping content from the web, but if you're taking client notes, you probably shouldn't be browsing FindLaw blogs at the same time anyway (any other time, please do). Its best feature is simply its familiarity -- it's a Microsoft product and it shows. If you're comfortable with the Office suite, you'll be right at home with OneNote.

EverNote

EverNote is the other big name in the note-taking world. It's a bit better looking than OneNote, especially on Mac products. It's great at taking information from websites and, like OneNote, it allows you to include audio and video in your notes -- in case you want to record a client interview, perhaps. But it doesn't have as many robust formatting options as OneNote. And it's not free. If you want to make your notes searchable or have unlimited space and syncing, you'll have to pony up a nominal $5 a month.

So who takes the cake when it comes to taking client notes? OneNote wins in our view. Simplenote is a bit too simple, EverNote a bit too web-focused, while OneNote best merges the feeling of using a real notebook with the added benefits of having computerized notes.

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