Simplenote is a multi-platform application from the makers of WordPress (the blogging software people – It is free but corporate and enhanced plans are available at a price. The data is cloud based (presumably in the same place as your blogs – although it does not actually say so). However being an established company, you should be reasonably confident that they will not just shut-up shop overnight and cut off access to your cloud based data!

It is primarily a simple note taking application, but if used in a specific way can be an effective to do list in the style of todo.txt .


Simplenote welcome screen

The layout of the application is pretty standard.

  • On the left there is a list of notes – the first line of the note acts as the title.
  • On the right is the currently selected note.

It can be turned into a todo.txt format to-do list by:

  1. Following the todo.txt Rules for the title.
  2. Selecting View > Sort Type > Alphabetical to ensure the notes sort automatically in the todo.txt style

The advantage over the todo.txt applications is you have a note in which to keep more details of the task. This makes it impossible to import/export to other todo.txt applications, but since the data is cloud based and applications are available on many platforms this should not be a problem. You can however share a note with another Simplenote user.

Markdown can be enabled for notes to allow richer formating.

Notes can also be tagged and searched. You can also insert checklists in individual notes – which could be useful for sub-tasks.

Example note


Simplenote is available free of charge for Windows, Linux, Android, MacOs, and iOS from Automattic. It also has a web interface – although in the web interface it does not appears to sort the notes in the required order.

Last update: 01 Apr 2021