The Simplest, Best Writing Tool Ever

Notational Velocity is an amazing, amazingly simple tool for word processing. Sure, Word is always an option, but it’s relatively intensive to run when other lightweight programs like TextEdit (for Mac) or Notepad (on PC) do the same thing just as well without the frills. I tend to write things in TextEdit before copying them over to wherever they need to end up, but manually organizing and saving all of my text files can naturally get pretty annoying.

That’s the beauty of Notational Velocity. It’s a desktop text editing client that’s got the basic features you absolutely need (or didn’t know you needed) and no extra junk to speak of. It’s beautifully simple, really. Notational Velocity auto-saves all of your documents constantly as you write them (and can sync with an online account for extra security if you so desire), so no more “file, save as” business. You can organize your text files with very simple tags and view them all at once in a simple, clean interface.

My only complaint? It’s not called Notational Velociraptor. (A minor quibble, but still.)

Notational Velocity is super lightweight, so you can keep it open in the background without your computer getting all fussy about it. I keep mine open constantly, and while I use it for longer format writing, it’s also perfect for jotting little notes or to-do lists.

And if you’re not convinced yet, the official description describes Notational Velocity as “an attempt to loosen the mental blockages to recording information and to scrape away the tartar of convention that handicaps its retrieval. The solution is by nature nonconformist.” Tartar of convention! Can you believe it?

Check out Notational Velocity (Mac) and its Windows counterpart, ResophNotes. Take a deep breath- shit’s about to get majorly zen.


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Taylor has written 136 articles for us.


  1. I cannot imagine there is anything better than notepad. And I have a very healthy imagination, filled with images of spaceships, dragons and naked people among other things. All using notepad.

    I will try it, if only because it would be refreshing to be able to see my corporate desktop again beneath the layer of .txt dust motes.

  2. Oh my gosh that sounds amazing. I write everything in Notepad, but auto-save with backup to the web is, like, manna from heaven. There’s a bit of a difference between lyrics and other, longer things of writing, but it hurts just as much to have them disappear into the ether without saving.

  3. taylor, i just got seriously choked up. words cannot describe my feelings about this/you. please tell me what i can do to make your life as good as this has made mine.

  4. My computer probably requires this. I like Notational Velociraptor better as a title, as well. But I guess you can’t win them all.

  5. auto-save

    That’s what happens when one discovers autostraddle, right? As in, “I once was lost with no direction, but then I got auto-saved.”

    • “amazing site, how sweet the place
      that saved a queer like me
      i once was lost, but now am (auto)saved,
      was blind, but now i see…”

      everybody sing it now! :P

      • Autostraddle taught
        my heart to fear
        And it, my fears relieved.
        How precious did that site appear
        Better than could be believed

        • When we have read
          ten thousand megs —
          great writing, every one —
          we’ve no less ways
          to sing ‘Straddle’s praise
          than when we first begun.

  6. This seems amazing so far and I think I am really going to like it, but right now my left hand is awkwardly twitching with a compulsion to press ctrl S. Like I can’t not press it. It’s a problem. This is something I am going to need to get over.

  7. I love Notational Velocity!

    One of the other great things you forgot to mention is that it’s so keyboard friendly. If you take the time to learn the keyboard shortcuts, you can the manoeuvre UI so easily, and it’s so much faster than using the mouse/trackpad.

    Also, down with Word.

  8. Does it have spellcheck?! Because AbiWord’s spellcheck DOES NOT WORK and I am bad a spelling really simple things.

  9. Gotta cop to being an Open Office/Word writer. Then again, being able to download Office 2010 for work for $15 is a bit of a no-brainer…

    • Openoffice user here too – I love me some free software, and it does the trick for most things.

  10. s’nice. i’m grabbing a copy! i can also highly suggest both metapad (win) and keepnote (win, linux, macosx). i have keepnote running on my linux handheld also. and i write in it constantly.

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