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Apps for taking notes are plentiful these days, and often free. Apple Notes is one every Mac and iOS device owner owns but often overlooks, due in large part to its former reputation as a barebones, skeuomorphic scratchpad. Thanks to a slew of recent enhancements like text styling, formatting, attachments, checklists, and tables, Notes is now a pretty capable piece of software.
One thing Apple Notes still can’t do is tightly integrate with calendar events, iCloud or otherwise. Then again, neither can many others, with the exception of Agenda—and once you’ve gotten a taste for this method of organization, you’ll find it hard to return to plain, undated notes.
Agenda 6 offers a distinctive approach to note taking, featuring a clean user interface, simple project-based workflow, and the ability to link entries to events, whether created from scratch or already in your iCloud calendar. The latest version builds upon this recent calendar integration with support for reminders as well, including the ability to add “Quick Reminders” without the need to create a note at the same time.
This is a godsend for those who frequently hop between disparate apps, one to create notes, another for updating calendar events, and a third to keep tabs on reminders. Having all three tightly integrated in a single place allows notes to be linked to events, where they can then be quickly rescheduled, edited, or opened in your default calendar app (such as a personal favorite, Fantastical).
Getting started with Agenda is a snap—categories and projects appear at left with “On the Agenda” (most relevant) and Today views to stay focused, or you can quickly search by text or date. Calendar events and reminders are listed at right, with notes taking up the lion’s share of the window.
Included sample projects help new users get a sense of how the app works, or you can import existing Markdown, Evernote archives, and Apple Notes to cut down on retyping. The latter requires subsequent tweaking, however—folders are converted into projects, but entries get stripped of formatting in the process, leaving links, images, and most text styling behind. Agenda also lacks annotation tools, although text highlighting and Apple Pencil support are in the works for a future update.
Date-focused notes aren’t the only unique aspect of Agenda. The app is free to download and use, but developer Momenta offers an optional Premium Features upgrade for $25 annually which permanently unlocks any new tools added over those 12 months. That’s right, new features become yours to use forever, even when you stop paying; the only thing you’ll miss out on are future premium features.
This is (ahem) noteworthy since reminders are one of the latest premium features to be introduced, along with a setting to choose which calendars and lists are displayed. Previous features include the ability to adjust line spacing and select whether images are displayed full width or as thumbnails, both convenient additions.
Agenda also has a free iOS companion app, so notes created on macOS can be synced to mobile via iCloud or Dropbox. I initially had trouble connecting Reminders on iOS devices, but were able to get things working by toggling the switch again in Settings. The mobile app includes a few premium features of its own, like auto dark mode and the ability to pick custom UI accent color. (You can only do this on macOS by changing system-wide accent color under System Preferences > General.)
It may not be the most feature-rich note taking app on the market, but integration with calendar events and reminders make Agenda 6 a contender worth checking out.