Standard Notes: An Open Source Encrypted Note Taking App

There are many note taking applications that you can use on Linux. Some of them are desktop applications (e.g. Simplenote) and some are web applications (e.g. Google Keep). And all of them work pretty well for general use cases. But if you are interested in something that was built with robust security measures at its core, Standard Notes has got you covered.

Standard Notes

Standard Notes is a note taking application that puts particular emphasis on privacy & security. It is cross-platform and of course, completely open-source.

Standard Notes User Interface
Standard Notes User Interface

The core application is free to use and comes with a free account that syncs your data across all the platforms without any limit on data capacity. You can also use their web application if you don’t have the desktop application installed yet.

About the security part, Standard Notes uses end-to-end AES-256 encryption. That means, no one except you can read your notes. Because, whenever your data is sent to server it’s always encrypted. So, even if someone has access to the servers and thus your data, they will see nothing but nonsensical gibberish. Only when you login to your account all your encrypted data is downloaded on your computer and then decrypted for you. So, no more worrying about someone else reading your private notes!

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Features of Standard Notes

From what I’ve observed, Standard Notes is really neat and well crafted and is definitely worth trying out. To sum up the features Standard Notes offers:

  • End-to-end AES-256 encryption
  • Cross-platform applications for Web, Android, Linux, iOS, Mac and Windows
  • Sync your notes without any limitations
  • Online and Offline access
  • Additional extended features via subscription

Extended Features of Standard Notes

Apart from the free features Standard Notes also provides some additional features for a monthly/yearly subscription. A $4/month or 36$/year subscription will give you access to:

  • Themes: Additional customizable themes for tweaking the appearance to your own taste.
  • Editors: Powerful and custom editors for working with Markdown, Code and other features like custom fonts, colors, alignment, tables etc. for crafting rich documents.
  • Actions: You will be able to attach files and share notes with others.
  • Time Travel: You will be able to browse through full version history of your notes.
  • Additional Backup: Real-time backup to Dropbox and Google Drive.

Also, you will be supporting Standard Notes to keep up their good work by subscribing to the service.

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Installing Standard Notes on Linux

Though Standard Notes is not available via Ubuntu software repositories or PPA, it is quite a smooth experience installing it on your system. All you have to do is going to the official Standard Notes website, scrolling down a bit and you will see the download button for Linux. Go ahead and download it. After the download is finished, you will find a file like this:

Standard Notes AppImage
Standard Notes AppImage

That is the whole Standard Notes application in a neat AppImage package (The thing about AppImage packages is that you can run it on any Linux distribution! Cool, isn’t it?). You can move this file wherever you want. But after the first run, you will have to keep it there.

Now, for running it we will have to change its file permission so that it can be executed. For doing that, open a terminal in the directory where you have put the AppImage package and enter the following command:

chmod u+x standard-notes-*.AppImage

Now, you can double-click on it and a window like this will appear:

Standard Notes Installation
Standard Notes Installation

Click the “Yes” button for adding Standard Notes in the application menu. And that’s it. From now on, you can start Standard Notes like any other applications.


What do you think about Standard Notes? Share your opinion with the community! :)

Comments

  1. Hi I get the error of no such file or directory found. I have changed the directory still it gives the error. Also, I tried the other way by making it executable from permissions in properties then also it doesn’t run. Can anybody help me with this?

  2. Hi Munif! Thanks for the post – I really like Standard Notes very much, your article convinced me to give it a try, esp. as I was looking for something like Simplenote but with encryption.

    I had a slightly different experience recently – I followed the instructions you gave, but I didn’t get that last dialogue window – the one that says “Would you like to integrate … .appimage with your system?

    And so, I also haven’t got the StandardNote icon in my launcher. It still opens just fine, and I tried locking the app to my launcher, which works except I don’t get the nice StandardNote icon that I got on another Ubuntu pc that I recently installed it on – I just get a gray square with a question mark. No big deal, I know, but that question mark icon isn’t so nice looking and a little annoying, if you know what I mean. :)

    I tried deleting the appimage, downloading it again and reinstalling, but no luck. Any idea how I could get that dialogue window to appear upon install or get my icon changed? :)

    • Might be some kind of bug. Well, let’s add the icon manually!

      Enter the command:

      $ nano ~/.local/share/applications/appimagekit-standard-notes.desktop

      Copy the contents of this file ( https://paste.ubuntu.com/24900819/ ) and paste it by pressing [Ctrl-Shift-V]. Edit the following lines, so that they have the correct path to where you’ve put the AppImage file:

      Exec=”/home/…/standard-notes-….AppImage” %U

      and

      TryExec=/home/…/standard-notes-….AppImage

      You must use absolute path to the AppImage file.

      Press [Ctrl O] & hit [Enter] for saving the file.

      Now, hopefully, you should have the icon in your app launcher.

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