Arpeet Kale / 10.30.2023Home / Encrypted notes

Six Notion alternatives worth checking out

Read this guide to discover the best Notion alternatives for different uses—from simple note-taking to comprehensive project management and organization.
Notion is a capable note-taking and project management platform with various useful features and a rich free plan. Still, it might not be for everyone due to a few limitations. It lacks essential features, such as:
  • Comprehensive dashboard
  • Automated recurring tasks and reminders
  • Time tracking
  • Optical character recognition (OCR)
It’s also not the most beginner-friendly platform on the market, so it might take some time to master.In this guide, you’ll find Notion alternatives that fix the above issues. As the platform is suitable for note-taking and project management, you’ll discover solutions better suited for each task alongside an all-in-one platform that checks all the necessary boxes.
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What to look for in a Notion alternative

While exploring different note-taking and project management apps, you should focus on the following aspects:
  1. Design
  2. Features
  3. Note and task organization
  4. Cross-platform support and integrations
  5. Security and privacy


A platform’s design serves two important roles—esthetic and functional. While the former is largely subjective, your chosen app must enable maximum productivity by ensuring an intuitive, clutter-free user interface (UI).As you’ll see later in this guide, some note-taking tools make it much easier to create dynamic documents than Notion. You should look for an option that lays out the main commands clearly to shorten the onboarding process. Clean design is particularly important for mobile versions of the platform, as structuring numerous features within a small footprint can be challenging.


The features you should expect from your chosen platform depend on how you intend to use it. If you’re mainly looking for a note-taking app, focus on the following features:
  • Rich text editing and formatting tools
  • Supported media embeds (images, videos, PDFs, etc.)
  • Web clipping
  • Optical character recognition
As for project management, the main components of an advanced platform include the following:
  • Sharing and collaboration features
  • Goal setting and tracking
  • Reminders and alerts
  • Progress overviews and dashboards
These are only some of the basics you’ll need, with the rest depending on your workflow.

Note and task organization

While keeping your notes organized is important if you’re an individual user, it’s paramount in shared workspaces. Notion does a decent job at note organization through parent pages and subpages, but a lack of a clear dashboard is certainly a major drawback.When exploring different alternatives, look for an app that retains Notion’s organization features while eliminating its shortcomings. There are many approaches to note-structuring that range from a traditional hierarchy to an interactive network structure, and the best way to figure out what works for you is to test them first-hand.

Cross-platform support and integrations

Remote work is rapidly becoming the new norm, so having a platform that doesn’t sync between desktop and mobile devices can be frustrating and limiting.Notion’s native third-party integrations could be better—you can’t integrate Google Calendar with Notion unless you use an intermediary app like Zapier. For now, Notion supports:Much like features, an app’s preferred integrations depend on your existing workflow. Consider all the platforms you might need to connect to your chosen option, and if they’re not available natively, make sure it at least integrates with Zapier or a similar tool.

Security and privacy

In most cases, every document you create using a note-taking app will be stored in the cloud, so it requires comprehensive data security. Besides server protection and similar physical measures, the most important security layer is the app’s data encryption.Like most note-taking apps (particularly Big Tech solutions like OneNote and Google Keep), Notion uses two encryption methods:
  1. Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol
  2. AES-256 algorithm
TLS is used for encrypting data in transit and any communication within an app, while AES encrypts data resting on servers. A major flaw of both encryption types is that the provider creates and stores encryption keys, which lets them decrypt your notes and read their contents.A far more secure encryption type is end-to-end encryption (E2EE). Unlike the above methods that use server-side encryption, E2EE encrypts data before it reaches the server using the keys created and stored on your device.Even if someone penetrates a platform’s server, they can’t get a hold of your decryption keys, so your data stays safe. It also prevents the provider from deciphering your files, ensuring complete security.
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Six alternatives to Notion reviewed

In order to avoid comparing apples to oranges, this guide focuses on six platforms that serve a similar general purpose as Notion. Before we dive into detailed reviews, here is a table overview of each platform’s notable features:
PlatformFeature highlights
ClickUpTime tracking, real-time dashboards, various integrations
EvernoteWidget-style home screen, optical character recognition, comprehensive to-do’s
ProofHubRobust text formatting, project workflows, minimalistic interface
ObsidianLocal note storage, notes displayed as graphs, markdown-based interface
CodaInteractive documents, workflow automation, AI assistant
Skiff PagesEnd-to-end encryption, support for content of all types, robust cross-platform support
These options offer a range of features and functionalities, ensuring there's an alternative to suit various project management and organizational needs. Whether you prioritize seamless collaboration, streamlined task management, or specialized tools, you'll find an alternative that aligns with your specific preferences.Here’s how they compare.


Source: ClickUpClickUp is a comprehensive online workspace that directly advertises itself as a Notion alternative. While the two platforms share numerous similarities, ClickUp offers some of the features mentioned throughout this guide that you don’t get with Notion, such as:
  • Time tracking and project estimates
  • Recurring tasks that contribute to workflow automation
  • Live chats
  • In-app video recording
If you’re looking for an alternative to Notion that is focused on project management over simple note-taking, ClickUp can be an excellent option. Besides offering the above features and many more at no cost, it has a more user-friendly interface than Notion. It feels more seamless and intuitive, and you get real-time dashboards that help you stay on top of project completion, priorities, and other key information.ClickUp natively offers numerous integrations, and you can connect hundreds of additional apps via Zapier. The platform is highly customizable and easy to add to your existing workflow.Despite these benefits, ClickUp isn’t perfect. As it leans more toward project management than note-taking, it may not be the best option for individuals who only need a simple notes app. It also offers the same encryption protocols as Notion, so it doesn’t have much of an advantage over it.If you want to expand the platform’s functionality, you can upgrade to one of three paid plans:
  1. Unlimited—From $7/user per month
  2. Business—From $12/user per month
  3. Enterprise—Custom pricing
Advanced project management featuresIt may not be suitable for individual users focused on note-taking
Rich free planNo end-to-end encryption
Various native integrations.


Source: EvernoteIf you need an app tailored primarily to note-taking, Evernote can be a solid choice. The platform has amassed a large user base thanks to various features, most notably:
  • Rich text editor
  • Thorough search
  • Various integrations (Outlook, Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.)
  • Robust to-do’s
The user interface is well-designed and more suitable for beginners than Notion’s. The note-editing layout is similar to those of popular word processors, so formatting options are intuitive enough to ensure a streamlined experience.Unlike Notion, Evernote offers optical character recognition, so extracting text from images is fast and easy. You can even upload hand-written notes, and Evernote should be able to identify the text properly.Evernote’s collaboration features aren’t particularly impressive—you get some basics like task creation and assignments, but the platform surely can’t compare to Notion. The app’s free plan is also quite limited, as most collaboration features are behind a paywall. If you find them worth the investment, you can choose from three options:
  1. Personal—From $10.83 per month
  2. Professional—From $14.17 per month
  3. Teams—From $20.83/user per month
Like most note-taking apps, Evernote uses TLS and AES-256 for encryption, so you don’t get E2EE regardless of your chosen plan.
User-friendly interfaceNot suitable for advanced collaboration
Optical character recognitionLimited free plan
Rich text editorNo E2EE


Source: ProofHubProofHub is a collaboration and project management platform with numerous useful features, note-taking being among the most robust ones. Whether you need to create elaborate internal wikis or only summarize meeting highlights, it will do a solid job.The note-taking interface is minimalistic and user-friendly, as all formatting options are clear and intuitive. You get some options that aren’t available with Notion, such as various text sizes.You can tag people in your notes, create threads, attach files of various types, and do virtually everything you need to ensure streamlined collaboration.As for project management features, some of the key ones include:
  • Gantt charts with dependencies, roadblocks, and other elements for project roadmaps
  • Various viewing options (tables, boards, calendar, etc.)
  • A dedicated space for updates and announcements
The main drawback of ProofHub is a lack of a free plan combined with expensive paid tiers. You can choose from two options:
  1. Essential—$50/month ($45/month billed annually)
  2. Ultimate Control—$99/month ($89/month billed annually)
The platform also uses SSL encryption, which is even less secure than TLS, so you shouldn’t expect advanced security.
Easy to useNo free plan
Robust note-taking featuresExpensive paid tiers
Comprehensive project workflowsWeak SSL encryption


Source: ObsidianObsidian is a privacy-focused note-taking app best suited for advanced users. While the interface is quite aesthetically pleasing, it’s far from simple. The app relies on Markdown, a markup language that might be a bit too technical for beginners. You must use it to complete most tasks, and it can take a while to understand.Still, if you’re willing to face the learning curve, Obsidian can be worth the effort for various reasons, the first one being note organization, which the app approaches uniquely. All your notes are structured into so-called Graphs—interlinked networks you can use to navigate your documents seamlessly.Unlike most apps, Obsidian stores your files locally, which means it’s more secure than most platforms. The only downside here is that you don’t get any cloud storage and can’t sync your files between devices.The only way to overcome this limitation is to get the Sync plugin, which starts at $8 per month. Once enabled, you can sync your files between devices, and they will be end-to-end encrypted to ensure security. Another plugin you can get for the same price is Publish, which lets you upload files to the web and collaborate on them.Outside of these plugins, Obsidian is entirely free to use, so you can test it to see if the app suits your needs out of the box.
Free to useMight be complex for beginners
Unique note organizationSyncing and publishing require paid plugins
Local note storage.


Source: CodaCoda is among the main Notion competitors, as the two platforms share many similarities, particularly when it comes to the user interface.The layout is practically indistinguishable from Notion’s, with your pages and subpages placed on the left and the note editor taking up the rest of the interface. At the top, you get many options available with Notion, such as sharing and tracking of note viewers.What sets Coda apart is powerful document creation. You can create comprehensive, interactive databases by adding forms and clickable buttons that perform various actions. These databases can help you automate mundane tasks and make notes that almost feel like simple apps.The app also features a capable AI assistant that can help you in many ways, most notably:
  • Creating tables instantly
  • Summarizing notes
  • Brainstorming ideas
These advanced features come at a price which is higher than Notion’s. Coda offers a free plan and three paid tiers that vary not only in features but also the number of Doc Makers—people who can create docs instead of only editing and collaborating in them. The prices are as follows:
  1. Pro—$12/month per Doc Maker ($10/month with annual billing)
  2. Team—$36/month per Doc Maker ($30/month with annual billing)
  3. Enterprise—Custom pricing
While the free plan comes with the most basic features, it doesn’t get you the necessary integrations, like Gmail and Slack, so you’ll need to pay to connect Coda to these apps.
Free planMore expensive than Notion
Interactive docs and databasesThe free plan doesn’t support essential integrations
AI assistant.

Skiff Pages

Source: SkiffSkiff Pages is a fully end-to-end encrypted platform designed for both individual note-taking and streamlined collaboration. To provide the most robust security and privacy standard, your notes (contents and key metadata) are encrypted using a symmetric key. You and all your collaborators get an asymmetric key pair consisting of the following:
  • A public key, which encrypts the symmetric key
  • A private key, which decrypts your notes
These keys are safely stored on your device, so nobody—including Skiff—can see your notes. For added security, Skiff Pages supports real-time collaboration through secure Web Sockets, so all document changes are end-to-end encrypted and communicated privately.Besides ensuring privacy, Skiff Pages offers a seamless workflow thanks to a user-friendly interface. You get a rich text editor and can embed content of any type and create comprehensive documents effortlessly.The platform’s other notable features include the following:
  • Imports from word processors like Word and Google Docs
  • Exports in .docx, .pdf, and .md formats
  • 10 GB of end-to-end encrypted storage
  • Note sharing, unsharing, and expiring access for complete access control
  • Simple note hierarchy (parent pages and subpages)
  • Version history
All of the above is available with Skiff’s rich free plan. The platform is open on iOS, macOS, and Android, and you can access it on Windows through a browser.You can learn more about these features in Skiff’s whitepaper and find the codebase on GitHub, as Skiff Pages is open source.
End-to-end encryptedNo dedicated Windows app
Supports all types of content embeds.
Easy to use.
Open source.

Create a secure workflow with Skiff Pages

You can get started with Skiff Pages in three quick steps:
  1. Go to the signup page
  2. Choose your username and password
  3. Explore Skiff Pages
Once you create an account, you’ll get access to three additional end-to-end encrypted platforms:
  1. Skiff Mail for sending secure emails and attachments
  2. Skiff Drive for storing files of any type in a secure cloud environment
  3. Skiff Calendar for staying organized and holding video conferences
The entire suite is free to use, but you can expand its functionality by upgrading to one of Skiff’s paid tiers, starting at only $3 per month.

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