I am looking better a way of cataloguing the ideas (text, photo, drawings) efficiently so I can have access to them later.

I am a creative professional looking to create an efficient documenting system for storing creating ideas. I'm using Notes for Mac at the moment but difficulty is in ordering the ideas.

Anyone have any notetaking systems?

Obviously creativity by its definition defies convention and order, but I finding myself increasingly wasting time on looking for my ideas in my tab of notes.

  • 2
    Are you looking for digital or physical solutions? Are your notes typically text, or do they include photos or other media?
    – whrrgarbl
    Feb 1 '17 at 17:34
  • 5
    If you're looking for a digital solution, this probably is a better fit for Software Recommendations, though you'll need to be a bit more definite about what you're looking for. I'm not sure if this is directly related enough to crafts or if it's too tangential, as it's not really about doing a craft.
    – Catija
    Feb 1 '17 at 17:59
  • @whrrgarbi - digital. They are a mix of text, photos, videos - bascially everything. I am using Notes for Mac at the moment and it's great. The difficulty I am having is in ordering the ideas. I am not looking for software per se, more a way of cataloguing the ideas efficiently so I can have access to them.
    – user23475
    Feb 2 '17 at 12:52
  • 1
    You might find interesting mind-mapping sw for such purpose: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/mind-mapping or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Feb 4 '17 at 6:05

I use Scrivener. Scrivener is supposed to be for writing in general, but it allows you to store pictures in addition to text and create tags in documents so you can search for cross reference topics. I have several scrivener projects. One for lathering, one for legos and many for stories. It's pretty versatile. There is an iOS version of Scrivener, so you can use your phone for when you see something that gets you thinking, you can capture it, and then you can sync to a laptop using Drop Box or iTunes. I believe there is a Windows version too, but I have only used the Mac version.


I have used several note-taking systems, and for crafts, I believe Evernote is the best so far.

You can categorize into "notebooks" per project, material, type, and so on.

You can draw, take photos, write notes and drawings, clip from the web, take photos of handwritten notes and plans (and they'll be automatically made searchable), write to-dos and reminders, and so on.

You can also collaborate with others on projects, and share notes and content.

All of it syncs up to your devices and is backed up in the cloud.



If You need better search / order try some systems with apropriate functionality, i.e. categories (means hierarchy), tags, especially clustered Faceted search, also called faceted navigation or faceted browsing, is a technique for accessing information organized according to a faceted classification system, allowing users to explore a collection of information by applying multiple filters - for example:

  • Wordpress (could be local MAMP/LAMP/WAMP or online) with Solr (or other plugin)
  • TiddlyWiki.com — a non-linear personal web notebook or some http://alternativeto.net/software/tiddlywiki/
  • tiddlymap.org - Map drawing and topic visualization for your wiki!
  • Microsoft OneNote - is free and available for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Symbian.
  • opensemanticsearch.org/doc/desktop_search

Please keep in mind all alternatives, that means You can use desktop search if your drawing / sketches are appropriate tagged (at the moment I don't know if it's possible to make visual iamge search on the desktop as reverse Google image search, but who nows what future will brings us).


Have you looked into MindMapping? I highly recommend FreeMind, which lets you structure your data, and show associations.

It is very widely used, has good support and hardly any learning curve.

It is, as the name suggets, free, and runs on Windows, Linux, and IoS, and there is an Android app which works with Freemind files.

Obligatory graphic:

enter image description here


In case you would like to follow the Mindmap way as @Mawg suggested and use Linux (there's no Windows or Mac versions yet), I also would like to recommed VYM. In my opinion it's better and faster than Freemind and it's also free software.


You can see some screenshots here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/vym/#screenshots

It's capable of doing things like these:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3



OmniOutliner by the OmniGroup has editions for macOS and iOS. Great for organizing your thoughts and ideas. Handles media as well as text.


See also Tinderbox - The Tool For Notes and TheBrain - Intelligent note-taking.

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