What’s the best method to simulate “grab a scrap of paper and start writing” (such as jotting a number on a phone call, etc.) using a Mac? I have a million apps, and none seem right for this. DEVONthink has a jotter with kb shortcut, but the interface doesn’t feel right. Ideas?


  1. @canion Best is The Archive. Open and it stores it for use later. The absolute successor to Notational Velocity and actively being developed.

  2. @kaa thanks. I trialled this a while ago and used to use NValt.

  3. @canion it has been consistently updated every month since I bought it. I can’t seem to find something similar on iOS…that fits with all of my own needs tbh…

  4. @kaa That’s reassuring. I can’t believe I might have to get another note taking app!!! They’re like tribbles!

  5. @kaa Maybe when Drafts come to Mac I’ll be happy. But I don’t love Drafts on iOS even though it should be the perfect candidate.

  6. @canion I’m on the beta for Drafts for Mac. It has a hot key to quickly enter text. If you’re a Drafts in iOS fan it might make sense for you on MacOS.

  7. @cm I use Drafts on iOS but always feel like I’m fighting it, rather than it working for me. Weird, I know.

  8. @canion ah I see. The Archive, as @kaa suggested, might be a better option then. Let us know what you come up with.

  9. @canion It’s easy to forget that you have it, but what about Stickies. Unless of course sync is a must.

  10. @teisam Haha, I thought about Stickies! Unreasonable reason: it’s Stickies. Reasonable reason: no global hotkey to create a new sticky.

  11. @canion Good question! I have a file in Dropbox called scratch.txt that I can open in a text editor from anywhere with Quicksilver (Command-space s-c-r). I just dump notes in the top of that file until I can do something with them. I don’t have to worry about whether what I’m typing is a proper filename or not.

  12. @twelvety Am I drunk? I was sure I could append and prepend with LaunchBar. Maybe not, it seems. I didn’t even realise Quicksilver was still a thing.

  13. @twelvety Turns out I can append, but not prepend with Launchbar. I must be having Quicksilver flashbacks. I do miss the rotating cube.

  14. @canion Haha. Yup, limited systemwide shortcut to when you have some text selected. Tried to make a service in Automator, using Apple Script. But then of course, the new accessibility security feature in Mojave kicked in. Then I remembered I had a day job.

    Sticking to Notes on the personal devices, will continue to have 100+ untitled documents in BBEdit on the work computer.

  15. @canion Workspaces is what really made Drafts click for me. Previously, I’d only use it as a starting place to use Actions, but now it’s become my only app for text on both Mac and iOS. If you haven’t played around with Workspaces I’d recommend taking fifteen minutes to tinker with them, see if it clicks or not.

  16. @canion Apple’s Notes app. All the way. Seriously. Don’t worry too much about using it as a dumping ground. Superb search and fast app.

    When you get tired of it, use the other apps or get Drafts for Mac when it comes out.

  17. @canion Yep, I know Quicksilver has an action for prepending, but I don’t even bother to do that anymore. I just use Quicksilver to open the actual file and leave it sitting there. When I’m adding stuff like that to a file, I usually want to be able to work in it for at least a few minutes. Also, since Quicksilver is so old now, I don’t totally trust it to breeze in and prepend and then breeze back out and have everything get captured when I can’t actually see it.

  18. @kordumb I’ve not really gotten my head around Workspaces in Drafts. I should give it a try.

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