UPDATE 2015: I am still using Quotepad on Windows, however since creating this post in 2009, I have noticed that the application (unfortunately) is no longer available on the author's website and further development seems to have stopped. I believe that this a great desktop utility, you can grab a copy from here: Download QuotePad2
Here's an application that I've been using for a while - QuotePad. The keywords are "simplicity" and "speed". It falls into the category "note taking" applications, and honestly, I love it.
You see, I'm a bit of a keyboard person - and this suits me fine, as you can add notes quickly with Ctrl-Shift-N-N. Or select any text (in ANY other application) and do Ctrl-Shift-Q. That will create a new note including the selected text. All you need to do is add a title (if you want to). Also, Ctrl-Shift-N brings up all the notes you have. Escape takes it out of sight.
All these 3 shortcuts are default, but you can customize them and assign yours. I've left the defaults in there - nothing wrong with that for me. Now, here's the reasons I am presenting (and using) this app - and why I think it's worth mentioning:
- Very small - install package weights 900kb
- Lightweight - you'll never know it's there, until you bring it up (has a tray icon as well)
- Unlike Apple Macs, Windows platform lacks very much in system wide short-cuts - Quotepad is one of the few that integrates that feature
- Uses a database that can be anywhere on your computer, and can be re-used
- Pleasant user experience (skinning, print, time stamping, check-list, automatic backup, reminders and some other options)
- If text is grabbed form a website, automatically inserts the link at the end of the note, and a link (or a list of included links) - is made available in the main list without actually opening the note itself.
- Powerful search and filtering options for finding notes (in time list grows - and these come in handy).
- Flexible - it lets you choose the way you want to work with it.
- Search is happening as you type (sweet!)
- Set your notes Database inside your Dropbox folder, and you can have all notes in sync with other computers (Neato!).
You will probably ask "What about graphics, pictures, etc?" I guess that QuotePad is fast because it handles text only, if you also require handling of attachments - there is also Evernote.
Quotepad is free, runs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 (haven't tested on Windows 3.1...just kidding) - and you ca grab it from here.
Some alternatives to QuotePad (at leat that I know of) are: CintaNotes (Windows), Notational Velocity (MAC OS X), nvPY (cross platform).
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with QuotePad.