SEO Note is a hierarchical notes outliner program for free-form and structured information. It provides the ability to store information within hierarchical trees of topics organized across multiple tabs as well as powerful editing capabilities and a full set of features.
First off let me say: this is a notes outliner program and has nothing to do with Search Engine Optimization (which is what most people think of when they hear ’SEO’).
With that out of the way, let me say that like this program for a number of reasons, foremost of which is that it manages to pack an excellent variety of advanced features but does so without overwhelming the user interface with a million buttons/options and an “everything thrown in but the kitchen sink” feeling that is common for many notes programs.
Here’s a list of some of the more interesting features:
- Tabbed notes: I have found that tabs make it so much easier to work with and organize notes that this is the first thing I look for in a notes program, and is in my view one of the most important features that a notes program should have. While virtually all free notes outliners allow you to create hierarchical clusters of notes/nodes, a handful offer organization of notes within tabs (only Keynote and TreeDBNotes offer this that I know of) . SEO Note happily offers this.
- Multiple note format support: SEO Note allows you to work with notes 3 formats: (1) plain text, (2) rich text formatting (RTF), which allows you to incorporate multiple layers of data (pictures/tables) as well as full text and paragraph formatting, and (3) HTML format, which lets you edit HTML documents straight from within SEO Note.
- Embedded external objects: imagine inserting a video into a node, or an Excel sheet that you can actually edit and work with from within the notes program. Thats exactly what SEO Notes offers and it works extremely well (at least for videos and Excel files which I tested). Allows for a wide range of supported object types including Excel workbooks and charts, Powerpoint presentations, Word docs, PDF’s, and a handful of others.
- Advanced find: powerful search that can find text across all notes (tabs) and nodes. Curiously, there was an apparent bug in the version I tested whereupon the simple ctrl-F search did not work, which I am sure will be taken care of (in the meantime use advanced search).
- Virtual notes: you can connect a node to a file if you choose to, whereby any changes to the node will be saved directly into the external file.
- Security: Blowfish “5 to 488 bit” password encryption is available for your notes files.
- Tables: are supported in both RTF as well as HTML modes; however, the latter provides a comprehensive set of useful word-processor like table-editing tools.
- Link to file: an interesting option whereby your notes can directly reference a file on your hard drive.
- External tools: you can integrate any command line executive app into SEO Note as an ’external tool’; I haven’t tested this and am not quite sure how it works, but I can see the potential in terms of considerably expanding this program’s functionality (similar to Keynote’s plugins, perhaps?).
- Other features: import from Treepad and Keynote, insert images into nodes, the ability to sort notes, customize icons for nodes and tabs, remove formatting from clipped text, auto-numbering for notes, user defined hotkeys (called ’accels’) for any function, hotkeyed-bookmarks for notes (also allows bookmarking external files).
Features that are not available:
- Web clipping/web content integration: this is when an IE or Firefox plugin allows you to select content within a web page and save it as a note. I have found Evernote to be the best freeware program for doing this, but somehow I’ve never thought of web clippings and hierarchical notes as being the same kind of animal. I have yet to see a freeware notes program that integrates web clippings (until I do I will continue using Evernote and a SEO Note in tandem).
- Note tagging: for those of you who would like this, its not available.
- No contacts manager, alarms or reminders: if you’re interested in this then SEO Note is not for you. My take on this is that case contact managers and reminders are better integrated into your email client than a a notes program.
- No handheld support: although the authors have indicated in the support forum that they might provide this in the future.
I’ve tried and tested a wide range of free hierarchical notes programs and so far this one is my favorite (and yes I do prefer this one to Keynote). It has a simple non-intimidating user interface yet offers a wide range of features that are easy to work with and use. The developers have you need a good solid program to manage your notes and information I would definitely recommend SEO Note.
Version tested: 1.3.23
Compatibility: WinAll (no info on Vista).