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  • Writer's picturePrem Sundaram

5 Index Card Apps for iPad - that also work on Mac, Windows & Android

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

Top 5 Cross Platform Index Card Apps

We review the top five index card apps that work on all devices (not just iphone/mac) - NoteDex, Evernote, Scrivener, Zotero and OneNote - and give you the reasons why you might want to use one of them to make and organize your digital note cards.

A NoteDex Index Card
A NoteDex Index Card

Index Cards are really amazing and make it easy when you have dense data to organize in bite-sized pieces. Its use stretches back decades in many ways - as long as everyone studying to write for exams and writing the screenplay. Index cards have been the go-to tools for taking notes during exams. This could be useful to you too!

You can use your computer to hold all your note cards, without having to carry an index card for real ever again. It's possible to download a mobile app on iOS devices and Android phones. How can I use index cards on iOS with my iPad? It is an important question, and we will show you in this article the best index card apps for iPad that are also cross platform - able to be used on all platforms, including the web.

Index Cards have the ability to be portable, inspire, and be displayed on a wall. They enable you to capture thoughts, create unique concepts, sketch diagrams and even write notes. Digital Note Card apps replace paper note cards as an effective way to organize your files.

Using an app allows you to get full use of the idea of paper index cards but with less effort and wastepaper (avoid that forest pulping guilt!), allowing flexibility when needed. Digital Index Cards can be used to create flashcards for studying and so much more. That's why we love index cards (and paper ones!).

Digital Index Note Cards

These apps come in a variety of forms, some try to simulate a corkboard writing app, some help you manage entire projects, and others some help you to take detailed notes. In addition, many allow you to insert photos, tag cards and arrange on a wide canvas like a large board. They are great for capturing ideas, for brainstorming, for writers to outline a story, for students to learn, and for projects to organize information.

Not all Index Card apps however are created equal, some only are iPad apps and not all are free. Some have more features than others, and not all work on all computer platforms - important if you want to share digital index cards with your friends and colleagues, or end up switching from an iPad to say a Microsoft Surface tablet device. Here's a quick summary of 5 apps that we found which are truly cross-platform.

Our definition of cross-platform means you can sync and share data on any device on any of the major platforms seamlessly - Mac, iOS, Windows, Android and on the Web (e.g. for Chrome or other users) and which are available on their respective app store.

5 Index Card App Contenders

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote allows researchers to share their work processes with colleagues. All of those applications are easily installed and integrated with Microsoft's Office software, and operate with an Apple stylus. The app also allows you to develop your own NoteCards for note taking and To-Do Lists. In order for OneNote to work best you need a subscription to Outlook365. The program supports collaboration with Microsoft OneDrive. There is an iPhone app, and iPad app and desktop apps and web.

Being part of the Microsoft suite it will naturally be one of the tools you use when managing entire projects and to type detailed notes and change font style or font size. There is a $99 /yr fee for the Office365 subscription. Unfortunately, while you can create a note on OneNote, it does not offer the ability to 'flip' the page to see the back, like other Index Card apps in this article, so it's not a perfect digital note cards app.

Index Card App rating: 7/10


Zotero is a freely-available software that has no cost to the user of its resources. You can create a digital note board where one can search or collect resources. During study you can save notes for later searches if you want information quickly. This is an iOS app with Syncability feature that gives the users a seamless integration across smartphones, tablets and computers.

Zotero had been selected due to its unique intuitive nature and its usefulness as a writing app support tool and its popularity with academic researcher community for creating research paper biliographies. Like OneNote, it is a nice tool to capture information but is only one-sided and not a true Index Card app.

Index Card App rating: 5/10


Scrivener organizes digital note cards on one screen simulating a corkboard writing app. It enjoys many users such as the famous authors in the film industry as well as many university professors. The software is offered to both Macs and PCs with an iPhone app also. This app's price ranges from $40 to $99.99 for an iPad device. Unfortunately, it is not available on Android or Web.

Index Card App rating: 6/10


Evernote is a powerful app that helps you get things done. It's the place for notes, ideas, to-do lists and project planning across all of your devices. Evernote syncs everything automatically across all devices, such as their iPhone app. It’s an app that can always be with you when inspiration strikes or when you need something on the go. Evernote is a great tool for note taking and can also be used for planning projects.

Evernote also offers premium features like offline notebooks for mobile users and PDF annotation tools that help make sure important details can be captured plus web clipping services. However, it's not really a digital note cards app in the true sense and people that use it often export data to other apps or use plug-ins to make use as flash cards. Price varies from Free to $9.99/m and more.

Index Card App rating 5/10

NoteDex is a relatively new Index Card app, less than a year old, but comes from the makers of the #1 Index Cards for Windows software and is a surprisingly powerful tool. NoteDex as a digital note cards app is truly cross-platform - available to be used on all devices. It features a true 'Index Card' look and feel - and you can flip both from front to back, as well as organize your digital index cards into virtual card stacks - ideal for flash cards.

There are many organizing and productivity features, including the ability to share a card or a whole stack of cards on the web. You can also see high quality digital previews of each card like a virtual corkboard writing app.

NoteDex is priced at $19.99/yr or $49.99 for lifetime access. Plus, if you buy within the 7 Day Free Trial you can get the app at 50% off - only $9.99/$24.99.

NoteDex is a great project management tool to help in planning entire projects - by using one card for describing each task or stage in a phase of a project for instance. You can also type detailed notes and is great for note taking, as well as for brainstorming. It's also useful for an academic researcher to capture and organize notes.

The digital note cards app supports text, ink, images and tables making it a very comprehensive Index Cards app, with the ability to change font style or font size for instance (e.g. Bold, Italic etc). As a result of its full cross platform support and true-to-life Index Card interface we rate NoteDex the highest. We only drop a point since we know the developers are working on some even further improvements including an amazing new index card feature to be able to import data from other platforms.

Index Card App rating: 9/10

A final word

There can be a huge quantity of internet research in your possession and a note cards system for keeping them organized easily will be helpful and a surprisingly powerful tool. Apps and digital tools help simplify this with easy-to-capture, organize and retrieve notes in a single place.

When looking at purchasing index card apps from an app store think of their use and the benefits - for example how critical to use as flash cards. Think about what you need in the app and select the app based on your needs. Many offer iPad apps, and some of which allow you to use the pen stylus. Some offer similar Android apps with support for tablet stylus.


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