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Take note

Save, manage, and securely store your notes and other files with this notekeeper.

There's no shortage of notekeeping software, which is a good thing because there's no shortage of things to note. Jocsoft's TopNotes has the usual notekeeping functions, saving and managing your electronic jottings in Rich Text format. What sets it apart is its hefty encryption capabilities: it collects all your notes, lists, documents, and even pictures, music, and videos and stores them as one big, secure file. A system tray icon and a fully customizable tree view give you quick access to your information, and there's also a hot key combination you can change for security and personal preference.

TopNotes has an efficient pop-up-style interface that incorporates a lot of features in a small space, though you can customize the toolbars, font, and other aspects to suit. Optional tool tips do a fine job explaining TopNotes' features. A Format Bar controls fonts and colors as well as text effects like boldface and italics. It uses bookmarks to organize important information and files, an unusual but familiar and surprisingly effective method, and a tree view for navigation. The default tree directories are Pictures, which includes Sounds; Links, with entries like Technical, Utilities, and Reference that can link to Web pages, documents, or other items; and Remember, which calls up a new note. The Tree menu lets you easily add, delete, edit, and relocate entries. We tried the Subnote feature; it annotates your entries with important information that needs to be associated with entries but that might otherwise get lost in the crowd. One feature we think is neat is the ability to save any online image via TopNotes by simply right-clicking the image and selecting Copy Image (Firefox) or Copy (Internet Explorer) and pasting it into TopNotes' text area. Encrypting files is simply a matter of selecting "Encript" on the File menu and entering a password twice; a button removes the encryption when you choose.

We've tried lots of notekeeping software, and TopNotes definitely stands apart, thanks in part to its ability to protect your personal information and files through its unique file structure and sturdy encryption.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of TopNotes 1.3.5.0. The trial version is limited to 14 days or 50 uses.

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