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MilaNote – The Organisational Tool for Creative Minds

Website: Milanote | iPhone app | Android app | Desktop app | Web Clipper
Free [100 notes, images or links, 10 file uploads, Unlimited shared boards]
$9.99 / month [Unlimited notes, images or links, Unlimited file uploads, Unlimited shared boards]

My principle interests are in photography and film-making, but many of the tools that I use in pursuit of those interests were made for businesses. Project management suites, task and to-do apps, spreadsheets, databases and the like might be fine for an office, but they’re not the best fit for creatives.

For some time now I’ve been using a combination of Notes apps and mind-mapping apps to get myself organised. Previously I used Evernote, but then I realised that Apple Notes did pretty much everything Evernote did, plus more beside, came free with the operating system and sync’d across all of my devices, so I cancelled Evernote and moved to Notes. To get my various projects (such as my YouTube channels and this site) organised I use mind-mapping tools – my favourite of which is MindNode. It’s a cool solution, but the main problem is getting stuff from one system or app to another system or app. So I was intrigued when I learned about MilaNote, which does pretty much everything Notes and MindNode do, but is fully integrated.

Flexible Friend

The first thing that strikes you about MilaNote is how slick the design is – it’s an impressive web app utilising a paired-down and functional interface that gets out of the way when you need it to. You can theme it dark or light depending on your preference and then begin adding stuff using a simple drag-and-click methodology built around a block system. On the left of the screen is the main toolbar and on the right is your home screen onto which you build out your notes.

The core building block of your MilaNote library is the Board. Boards are freeform containers for any information you’d like to cluster together. For instance you could have a photo-shoot board, a holiday ideas board or an ideas board. The information you decide to add to the board is entirely up to you, but the developers have helpfully created a large variety of templates to cover many of the basic set-ups you might like to use. These include everything from mood boards and design briefs through to product launch plans and funding trackers. 

Input and Output

Getting stuff into and out of your MilaNote library is extremely easy. In most instances you can just drag your stuff into the workspace and it will upload and render in a visually meaningful way. For instance if you drag a bunch of photos into the workspace it will arrange them instantly into a grid format that you can annotate and tweak to your heart’s content. If you drag a PDF in it renders a thumbnail and can be easily viewed or downloaded. You can add images directly from Unsplash or upload your own. 
Getting stuff out of MilaNote is easy and flexible too. From the Publish & Share menu, you can publish via a secret link to a password protect page complete with a welcome message. Alternatively click on the Export menu to export to PDF, PNG, Word, Markdown or Plain text. You can also use the iPhone, Android, Mac or Windows apps to manage your notes and to transfer between app and cloud knowing that everything will be fully synchronised whatever platform you choose to view it on.
I find organisational systems to be a huge benefit to me in my photography. I use them for planning road-trips, for piecing together content that I’ll later use for blogs or videos, for making lists and ticking everything off and for generally organising myself. I found the clever design of MilaNote to be the perfect mixture of features and design – all the stuff I went looking for, I found. The whole board metaphor that anchors the interface is a terrific visual alternative to sheets or other business-focused options. If you fancy trying it for yourself, they have a free suite that gives you plenty of space to try everything out and if you like it then it’s about ten bucks a month if you pay annually. And if you enjoyed reading this article and want to pay it forward, then here’s my MilaNote referral link which gets me more space on the service.

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