Notational Velocity

Today I did some more reading on nvAlt2, which is a forked version of arguably my favorite application for Macs: Notational Velocity. Notational Velocity has been my go to application for quick note taking and, starting a few months ago, these blog posts. The power of NV is in its simplicity. It’s a straight up, no nonsense application which goes way beyond simple note taking. I could go on and on about all the “features” of what is essentially a featureless application, but I suggest you head over to the web site and do some reading on your own.

NV has not replaced the heavy lifting needed for hard core documents; the king for word processing, at least for me, is still Microsoft Word. Love it or hate it, Word is insanely powerful, and is an indispensable part of my scientific writing workflow. That being said, NV was not ever designed to be a full-fledged word processor replacement. One of the reasons I started writing my blog posts in NV, though, was because I disliked the bloat of other word processors, even minimalist ones like WriteRoom. NV (now nvAlt2) gives me what I need: a simple, distraction free, yet competent means to write my posts. I don’t have to worry about saving them either; one of NV’s primary benefits is that everything is always stored, on the fly, and finding a note, post, or whatever you’ve put in is simply a matter of typing in the search bar. Again, enough has been written about NV, and I won’t belabor all its benefits here.

I’ve included some screen shots for full screen and normal mode below. These shots illustrate the simplicity of the application.

This is the full screen view of nvAlt2 (not available with the original NV)

This is nvAlt2 as I typically use it, set to vertical mode

The real reason I downloaded nvAlt2 was because of its added ability to write markdown, and even save whatever I’m working on as html. This was a selling point for me because it meant that I could now write a fully formatted blog post, and cut and paste the source into my WordPress blog (which you’re reading right now). No more messing around with formatting html in my browser. Also, it’s important to point out that I know next to nothing about html. I’ve been told time and again how easy it is, etc., and I’ve fooled around with it some, but really I have no idea what I’m doing. I learned everything I know so far about writing markdown in nvAlt2 from this screencast. I should clarify that – I learned everything I know from watching the first three minutes of the aforementioned screencast. For those of you who hate the tedium of learning something like coding, you now officially have no excuse.

So, all this nice goodness is courtesy of an application that is simple and crazy powerful. Oh, yeah, and by the way, it’s FREE.

Gorgeous. I mean, seriously gorgeous. Go get it now!


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