Standard Notes Review 2020


Standard Notes is note taking app for just about anything. From personal journals to bullet lists, all of your note contents are encrypted using client-side AES 256 and remain completely private so only you can see your notes. If you care about privacy and security of your life's thoughts, Standard Notes is a great option for you. Unlike Evernote where employees are able to read contents of your notes, the team at Standard Notes cannot because of client-side encryption. And believe me, they don't want to either!

For years, I've been waiting for a note taking application like Standard Notes. I wanted a place where I am able to write what I want and not have to worry about a people snooping in on what I am doing. As an ex Evernote user, I barely took notes and kept a personal journal. The thought of someone being able to read any of my notes restricted me using my full potential. And because of this, I used Evernote as a web clipper for storing digital content over actual note taking. I am personally a very private person so Standard Notes was the perfect match for me.

What I like personally about Standard Notes is the fact that it is fully open sourced. Anyone (including you) can look at the code meaning there's full transparency unlike a closed source application, like Evernote. Since using Standard Notes, I've actually become a lot more productive in the things I do. I find myself actually taking more bullet lists, jotting down thoughts and making plans. Something only a half a year ago (at the time of writing this) I would of never of done.

Standard Notes also syncs notes very well. It doesn't matter what device I use, all my notes come along with me securely. I personally like to swap between my laptop and phone for note taking. WIth Standard Notes, I can start making a note on my laptop and then open up my phone when I am outside and continue where I left off. The sync capability is the best part of Standard Notes in my opinion.

Pros Cons
Fully open source 2FA is only included in Extended
Client side encryption Extended can be pricey for shorter term commitments
Simple interface Limited functionality in free version
Fast sync of notes
Completely free to use
Available on F-Droid
Powerful extensions
Standard Notes reason for 2FA being a paid feature

Getting started

Standard Notes is available to download on Windows, Mac and Linux for desktop. There is also a mobile application which you can download on iOS and Android and as of recently, Standard Notes is available through F-Droid, if you don't want to install via the Google Play Store.

It's free to use

When you sign up for an account with Standard Notes, you are able to use note application free of charge with limited features. Even with the lack of features for free accounts, Standard Notes are very generous as they still allow you to make unlimited amounts of notes with offline access. You won't be able to add images or structure your notes in markdown but you are still covered by strong encrpytion.

When I was using the free version of Standard Notes, I found it perfect to make quick to-do lists and storing links in a secured environment. Of course, you are able to do a lot more on the free version but with the lack of functionality with how you can change the looks of your notes or structure them, I had personally had to upgrade because I found the default editor ugly for more complex notes and journal entries.


If you want the most out of your Standard Notes experience, becoming an extended member is the way to go. Extended is a paid subscription to Standard Notes with added perks. With Exteneded, you can get many diffferent extensions to make your notes feel even more personal.

Some of the Extended editors include:

Markdown Pro

Markdown Pro is by far my favourite editor in the Extended subscription.

Editor Plus

Editor Plus adds more functionality to the standard note editor in the free version. This extension allows you to add images to your notes, customise fonts and add tables. This is my second most used extension as I always use it for my personal journal.

Another great feature of Extended that I personally love, is the version history of notes. Every change you make to your notes is saved so if you wanted to go back to a previous version, you can. Just go into the "Session History" tab and then select a version. A pop up box with a preview of the note will appear with the option to restore or restore as a copy.

The pricing of Extended currently:

1 month plan of Extended = $9.99

1 year plan of Extended = $49.99

5 year plan of Extended = $149 (billed every 5 years)

Students can get 30% off a 1 year or 5 year subscription using Standard Notes student education discount.

I personally feel that the pricing of Standard Notes is a bit steep for what is being offered, if you go by a month by month basis. I understand that maintaining a serivce can be expensive, especially if Standard Notes doesn't run any advertisements on their website or in their own application but I feel that you are penalised for choosing a shorter term subscription. Either the 1 year or 5 year plan in my opinion, is the only way to get the bang for you buck.

During research of making this review, I had discovered that the team over at Standard Notes can give you a discount if you are experiencing personal financial issues, if you email them. This is a nice gesture from the team at Standard Notes and I don't think I've personally seen another company do this sort of thing with their premium subscription.

There are many more extensions in Extended that give you a whole lot more functionality, as well as having daily encrypted backups of your notes sent though email! Because this review would be too long if I outlined all to offer, you can find the full list here: Standard Notes Extended

Closing thoughts

Standard Notes is a fantastic application that allows you to use your full potential when making all different types of notes. With strong AES 256 client side encryption, you don't have to worry about anyone snooping in to see what you write. If you have ever wanted to start journaling or just wanting to become more productive with simple note taking, Standard Notes is the perfect solution for you. The team over at Standard Notes have built this application to last a very long time and truely believe in the right to privacy. Although I feel the monthly plan pricing could be a bit better, I am still glad to be supporting this application with an Extended subscription. Standard Notes has become an important part of my daily routine for productivity and I feel there's no other note taking application as superior as this one.

Standard Notes is a must have note taking application

You'll only receive email when they publish something new.

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