How to use Notational Velocity with Simplenote


My search for a good notetaking app has been a little on the obsessive side, but to me, the one thing a computer should be able to do well is take notes. I have spent 2 years on this one. I’m talking about an application where I can make a short note to myself and come back later and find it easily.

The combination of Notational Velocity on the mac, synced with Simplenote on the iphone, is for me the winner.
Step 1. Install Simplenote on your iphone.

Step 2. Sign up for a Simplenote account.

Step 3. Download Notational Velocity

Step 4. Enter your simplenote account details into the preferences of Notational Velocity.

Step5. change Notational velocity preferences to store the notes as rtf files in a folder instead of a single database file so that spotlight can find them.

That’s it! Now  all the notes in simple text on your iPhone will be synced with notational velocity on your  desktop computer.

Why I like these apps.
Simplenote is very SIMPLE, and Notational Velocity is soooo FAST. They are both elegant, and the best thing of all – they don’t get in the way.

Notational Velocity is a bit of a head spin the first time you use it. It’s so simple and it only has one box to type in – whether you’re writing a new note or searching for an old note you type in the same box!

And it is so FAST to search – the results appear INSTANTLY. It’s almost as if it’s reading your mind!

I use notational velocity for all kinds of things…

– writing down how I did something so that next time I need to do it I can remember.
– storing trivial information like the ranking of poker hands, or a list of things to take on holidays.
– lists of birthday present ideas for people
– poems and song lyrics
– lists where things are stored
– menus, letters, vision-setting, bits of computer code and so on.

I currently have 355 notes in it, and I don’t need to remember note titles, keywords or anything, I just type a word and it finds the note. It’s great.

For a long time SOHO notes was my favourite, but the worst problem is that you have to manually sync the iphone with the desktop app – I never remember to and get caught out looking for a note that is not yet synced to!

Likewise, Shovebox is a nice app  to capture notes into, but harder to search and browse them once they are in.


16 responses to “How to use Notational Velocity with Simplenote”

  1. victor

    You should take a look at Evenote, one great feature is you can use it on other systems like windows and Linux… makes it easy to take notes on your phone, clip web pages, organise with notebooks and tags. Currently I have over 600 notes, some with full acrobat documents.


    1. Yep, I’ve been using Evernote for about a year – but for a different purpose. What it does, it does well, but I don’t like the fact that the notes are not stored on your iPhone, so if you are out of phone range, you cannot access them. Also, the interface on the mac is nowhere near as quick and easy to use as Notational Velocity. It does have its positives though – notational velocity only stores text files, Evernote stores images and PDF files etc. I use Evernote to store Acrobat documents that I might want to access on the fly, but I prefer NV for note taking.

  2. Paul

    Thanks for this.
    I’ve used Simple note for a while now and love its simplicity!
    I love just opening it up on my ipod and taking a note without having to think of anything else.
    But the lack of search functionality / tags was difficult in retrieving info.
    This seems a GREAT solution!

  3. Wayne

    Hey Paul – good to see you are still reading!

  4. Paul

    Easily in my TOP 10 web sites! Even on holidays!

  5. […] Notes: Use Notational velocity and Simple Note. Read how to here. […]

  6. Joan

    Thank you for this. I had been deliberating about the best way to have notes on both my iPad and my MAC, and you helped me make that decision. Using Notational V. and Simplenote together really is seamless, works like a charm.

    1. yes it’s very neat.

  7. karien

    I am still looking for a notes app which will store notes in order without changing the order after you have looked at one… know of any such app? The one reason I don’t like the one that comes with the iphone is that it puts the latest looked at one at the top, it drives me mad!

  8. David

    I just came across the Simplenote app in Apples’ App Store; is Notational Velocity app a preference? BTW, I’ve had NV for a while, Just forgot if I downloaded it because there might have been no Simplenote app at the time. S. N. on all my Android devices. NV as well.

    1. I prefer nv to sn on the desktop but I use simplenote on the iphone.

  9. Esteban

    I use Notational Velocity on my mac and SimpleNote on my iPhoe and iPad, it is a great combination!

    1. It is a stunning combination!

  10. Mark

    Changed notes could not be saved because a parameter was invalid.
    This is the error message I keep getting in Notational Velocity and it stopping me syncing with Simplenote

    Please help.. I have set it up exactly as you have detailed above

    1. Yes sorry I need to upgrade this article. You need to use the newer nvalt application.

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