TopXNotes: Where simple can be better (almost)

Deep into the information age, Mac users have gathered an array of complex tools to help us deal with keeping track of everything. From Stickies to Yojimbo, we have access to everything we can think of and much we can’t remember—all just a click away. The only problem is the complexity of the tools to help us. Rather, the lack of simplicity. TopXNotes is simple. And it works.


Keeping it sweet and simple is more difficult than it sounds. A couple of years ago I raved to my friends about how much I thought Yojimbo was the be all, end all of personal organizers.

Yojimbo, like Circus Ponies’ Notebook, is very pretty. Very clever. Very good at storing any kind of information. And very, very complex, relative to what most of us need from a personal information organizer.

Tropical Software takes a different approach. True KISS.


TopXNotes is a throwback application for Mac users, those of us who can remember Desk Accessories. Like Dashboard Widgets of today, the old Mac Classic Desk Accessories usually did one thing and did it well.

Think of the information you need to save as notes. You need a note pad. But not just any note pad. It has to be organized, let you format text, let you create categories of notes.

That’s TopXNotes. It’s a note pad with a lot of different ways to take, retrieve, view your notes.


Nothing complex here, right. Create a note, put something in the note, save the note with other notes. Easy, huh?

There’s More?

If all you wanted was notes then Apple’s TextEdit would be fine. Except for all those notes scattered all over the place. TopXNotes keeps things organized with a NotesOrganizer. Duh.

Display one note, or view all your notes on a single page. It’s just a click away to get either one.


Text can be formated just like a word processor; different size fonts and colors, different colored backgrounds for different categories of notes. There’s even Quick Notes which is alway floating nearby.


TopXNotes won’t be difficult to set up and use. The whole world revolves around notes; snippets of information you pick up from here or there. Notes you make to yourself about whatever, or create for others.

It’s all about notes. Not movies. Not photos. Not music. After all, iLife gives us iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes for those, right?

There’s QuickNotes, MultiView Notes. Categories of notes. Folders of notes. All organized simply in a single window which clicks and expands to reveal more notes in different views.


TopXNotes won’t bore you to death with detailed Preferences, either. Set defaults for Text fonts, size, color, and justification. That’s the most complicated tab in Preferences.


As I said, it’s a throwback to simpler days, and that’s the problem.

All That Glitters

I’ll be the first person to tell you that many Mac applications and utilities are more glitter than useful. TopXNotes is useful, but doesn’t glitter. It doesn’t glitter anywhere. It looks exactly like a Mac utility from 1998.

Icons are decidedly Desk Accessorish from Mac Classics of the last century. For awhile I thought my Mac’s screen had become a very large 128k Mac screen. In black and white. TopXNotes looks that old, save for the Aqua scroll bars.

You can do plenty with TopXNotes but the application will look worse than spartan among the glitter and glamour of other Mac software on your screen.

Functionally, TopXNotes works. Create notes, store notes, categorize and organize notes. It’s not style over substance. Still, for the same $40 you can get the multi-talented Mori which is easier to organize and easier on the eyes.