The Perfect Information Organizer for Mac – Part 1

I have recently had the need to keep up with documents, notes, links, webpages, and other seemingly random bits of information on my Mac. Thankfully, I am not the first person to have such a need and so there are plenty of solutions that exist in the Mac universe. The problem is finding the perfect solution for my needs. Probably the three most popular applications in this arena are Evernote, Together (by Reinvented Software) and Yojimbo (by Bare Bones Software). However, there are a lot of other solutions with similar features that must also be considered like Journler, SOHO Notes, ShoveBox, and Sidenote. With all of these options the search for the perfect information organizer for Mac is sure to be a journey.

Read the whole story after the break.

My needs

Let me start off by going over my needs. These will be the things that my perfect application must do well.

Quick notes. I use my computer a lot. I also get a lot of phone calls. In a perfect world each phone call would happen at the exact moment I am working on the project that the caller wants to talk about. It’s too bad I don’t live in such a world.

My current method for this type of quick note-taking is to open up a TextEdit window with Quicksilver and then save it on my desktop until I get the chance to process the information. The primary downside of this method is desktop clutter. I can easily fill 2/3 of my desktop with these arbitrarily named TextEdit icons. The more icons that live on my desktop, the less likely I will ever find the one I need when I need it.

I need a quick, easy way to hit a keyboard shortcut and enter a text note that gets automatically stored in my information organizer.

Not-so-quick notes. When I am figuring out the scope of a project I often need to take some serious notes. Right now I keep these notes organized in Scrivener because I love its “cork-board” view. However, dock real-estate is precious and I would always rather use fewer apps on a daily basis.

I need a way to organize text notes — generally lists — by project.

Websites. I look at a lot of websites. I often run across great articles or tutorials that I want to read at a later time. I used to use Delicious or Ma.gnolia for this sort of thing but I would really prefer to store some of these pages as “web archives” so I can view them offline (like on an airplane). These web-based services just don’t allow for that sort of thing.

I need a way to quickly add links and web-archives from my feed reader and/or web browser.

PDF documents. Suddenly I am finding more PDF documents that I want to keep around than ever before. One such use for this is maps. When I travel I like to have some Google Maps stored on my machine just in case my handy phone or GPS gets confused. Thanks to OSX I can easily “print to PDF” from Google Maps. However, I don’t want to store all of these files on my desktop or in some random maps folder. Other things I would probably store if it were easier would be airline itineraries and online purchase receipts.

I need to be able to get documents — primarily PDFs — into the application and organize them efficiently and effectively.

Organization. The job doesn’t end once all of these different types of media exist inside the application. There also has to be great methods of keeping these links, archives, notes, and documents organized. Search is somewhat important, but as long as there is a good folder/group system I should be able to find everything without searching for it.

Conclusion

So those are the criteria I will use to judge the perfect information organizer for Mac. Stay tuned for part 2 where I will jump into the good and the bad of my journey through the sea of Mac apps.

Do you think you already have the perfect Mac information organizer? If so, leave a comment below about why you think it solves my problems.