In need of a simple, but smart note-taking app? FromScratch should find itself at the top of your list, underlined twice for effect. 

FromScratch is a simple note taking tool developed by Kilian Valkhof (TrimageF.lux indicator applet).

It is open source and cross-platform. Builds are available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The app is available for, and developed on, Ubuntu.

Kilian told me via e-mail that he built the app as “the solution for my personal problem of effective note-taking and organising my task list.”

Strength Is In What It Doesn’t Do

FromScratch isn’t an Evernote rival — but then it is not trying to be.

If a fully-featured note-taking GUI masterpiece with a desk tidy full of options is what you’re after, this won’t suit.

FromScratch is, essentially, a digital post it note; a jotter or blank piece of paper. You open the app and write what you want.

There are no folders, categories, tags or lists; no schedules, due dates or syncing service working in the background.

It’s a simple, resizeable space for notes that saves what you write as you write.

A true scratchpad. 

It features:

  • Simple UI
  • Automatic Saving
  • Automatic Indenting
  • Common syntax replaced with symbols, e.g., arrows.

That does mean it lacks some more common basic text editor features, like markdown support (though you can write your notes in markdown, you just won’t be able to see them that way) and no formatting options (e.g., bold, underline, strikethrough, etc)

But the app does includes the (awesome) Fira Code font.

FiraCode is a monospace font that lets you type common programmatic ligatures and symbols using regular characters. For example -> becomes →, => becomes ⇒, and != becomes≠, and so on.

For a full list of ligatures supported by the font refer to this excellent cheat sheet:

FiraCode Cheat Sheet


FromScratch is cross-platform and open source. Downloads are available for Linux, OS X and Windows.

It is built upon well-known open source projects, including Electron & React.  Source code is available on Github.

Check out the official app website for more details, or to download a copy for yourself.

Apps electron FromScratch note taking apps notebook notes