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  • Writer's pictureArvind Kesh

Milanote Alternatives: 4 Tools for safer, affordable Visual Note-Taking

Updated: May 19

Creative professionals are unhappy with Milanote because:

  • Less control: Milanote is cloud based and doesn’t give the user local storage options. This might be okay for the average Joe. But for creative professionals who are extra-protective of their work, self-hosting is ideal.

  • Lack of execution features: An organization tool without a kanban board is like a camera without an important lens. Yes, Milanote has boards to collect related ideas in one place. Yes, it gives you the ability to organize things visually. But, there is nothing to streamline workflows or boost productivity.   

  • Too expensive: The cheapest plan locks you up for $120 per year. As more and more of your ideas and projects find home in Milanote, the harder it is to leave the platform. In case they decide to bump up the price, you’re stuck.

While evaluating alternatives, I’d recommend asking these questions:

  1. Is the tool self-hosted?

  2. How safe is the tool from privacy breaches and data loss?

  3. Is the tool budget friendly?

  4. Can the tool take notes when it’s not connected to the internet?


1. Thinker: The self-hosted Milanote alternative that comes at a one-time price

Thinker whiteboard image
Thinker Whiteboard

Thinker was created by Arjun Acharya because the above problems made Milanote unreliable. 

Being a filmmaker, he was always on the move and unstable internet made cloud-based apps a bad choice. He created Thinker to be self-hosted, meaning it’s designed to live in your computer. This also gives the user complete control over privacy and security.

  • No More Mental Blocks

As creatives, many have a mental block in putting their wildest, uncensored ideas on an app that’s hosted elsewhere. Here’s a thought that destroys creativity in its early stages -  “would I be okay if this somehow became public?”

Some even end up censoring themselves a little bit every time they write. This adds a subconscious level of friction to writing.

With Thinker, as everything is stored locally in your device, creativity can flow unhinged.

  • Brain-Dump friendly

Thinker comes with a minimalistic Markdown editor. It is ideal for brain dumps, note- taking and everything in between.

You can also add images in the editor:

Thinker Scratchpad Image
Thinker Scratchpad

Everything is saved locally!

  • Track and Organize

Creative professionals often find it hard to organize and track progress of their projects. Thinker’s simplistic Kanban helps in visualizing tasks and streamlining workflow. Think of Trello minus the bloat. It has zero learning curve and does the most important things - fast!

Thinker Kanban board Image
Thinker Kanban Board
  • One-time Payment

Thinker costs $9.99 for life. For students, it’s absolutely free! 

It was created to set the creative professional free. We’ll never burden you with a monthly subscription. Period. 

2. Nuclino

Nuclino is a powerful Milanote alternative with a lot of features. For example, Kanban boards help with tracking and Mind maps help users figure out how different documents relate to each other. It unlocks a whole new way of looking at projects. 

Users can add collaborators and track every change using version history. Though it’s cheaper than Milanote, the unlimited version still costs $60 per year. Also there is no self-hosting option as it runs on the cloud.

If you’re looking for a cheaper version of Milanote with mind maps and don’t mind hosting everything in the cloud, Nuclino is a great choice.

3. Affine

Affine is a Milanote alternative with an AI co-pilot. The AI can help in writing your content, summarising it, turning them into images and presentations and a lot more. It even offers self-hosting as an option.

It has a free tier with limitations like a “10MB of maximum file size”. The pro plan costs $81 per year but is still limited to a “100MB of maximum file size” . The AI features come at an extra cost of $107 per year.

If you’re looking for an AI co-pilot to help you with your content, Affine is a great choice. Otherwise, it’s an expensive option.

4. Miro

Miro is a Milanote alternative focused on larger teams. They have hundreds of templates and integrations that’s designed to replace your entire project management app.

Creative professionals working solo or in small teams will find Miro’s whiteboard underwhelming. The UX is not as pleasing and the extra features can be overwhelming. Moreover, it’s a cloud based app that doesn’t support self-hosting.

For unlimited boards, users have to shell out $96 per month. If you’re handling a big team and in search of a project management tool that’s similar to Milanote, Miro is the real deal.

Choosing the right Milanote alternative

Milanote may not be the ideal visual note taking app available for everybody. 

As explained above, if you’re a creative professional seeking more control over your ideas and don't want to be tied to an expensive subscription, Thinker was made just for you.

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