How to use Micropad as a synchronized note-taking tool

Find out how to install and sync a mobile note-taking tool that offers a couple of unique features that might appeal to open source users who want a bit more control over what is synched.

How to use Micropad as a synchronized note-taking tool Find out how to install and sync a mobile note-taking tool, which offers a couple of unique features that might appeal to open source users who want a bit more control over what is synched.

We are always on the go. Because of this, we need our notes to go along with us. For the most part, tools like Google Keep and Evernote work great. But when you want something more desktop-centric, which also happens to be open source, can handle markdown like a champ, and lets you control what is in sync across your account, you might want something else. Said something else is μPad (aka MicroPad).

Micropad is cross-platform (with apps for Linux, macOS, and Windows), can be used via a web browser (which does require the use of persistent storage, so be aware), works with an infinite canvas (so notes can be as lengthy as you need), supports Evernote import, includes unlimited organization and tagging, includes due date support, has a built-in markdown editor, and can sync across your account with μSync.

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I want to walk you through the installation of Micropad and how to sync it with μSync. I'll demonstrate the installation on Ubuntu Desktop 18.04, as the installation for both macOS and Windows is straightforward.

What you need

You need a working instance of Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 and a Micropad account. You can use μSync for free, but are limited to "mostly" text notes. If you want to add other elements to your notes or work with up to 24 advanced notepads, the price is $2.99 NZ per month (or approximately $2.06 USD). To sign up for an account, head over to the Manage µSync page.

Installation

The installation of Micropad on Ubuntu Linux is quite simple. Just follow these instructions to complete the process.

  1. Download the necessary .deb installation file and save it to your ~/Downloads directory.
  2. Open a terminal window.
  3. Issue the command sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/micropad*.deb.
  4. When prompted, type your user password.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

You should now see an entry for Micropad in your desktop menu. Click it to run the app.

Connecting to μSync

From the Micropad main window (Figure A), you can start creating new Notepads and adding entries.

Figure A

Figure A: The Micropad main window.

To connect Micropad to the μSync service, click the Notebooks drop-down and select Connect to μSync (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B: The Notebooks drop-down menu.

When prompted (Figure C), enter your μSync credentials and click LOGIN. This will connect Micropad to the sync service, but doesn't automatically sync your Notepads. One of the nice features about Micropad is that you get to determine what Notepads are synched with the service and which remain local-only. This feature is an outstanding addition, especially if you want to keep certain information limited to local storage only.

Figure C

Figure C: The μSync sign-in window.

Once you created a Notepad, you'll find a link named Start syncing this notepad (Figure D). Until you click that link, the Notepad in question remains as local-only information.

Figure D

Figure D: Syncing a Notepad is but a click away.

If, at any time, you wish to stop syncing a Notepad, you'll find the Start syncing this notepad link has changed to Stop syncing this notepad. Click that link, and the note will no longer sync to your account.

That's the gist of getting Micropad installed and connected to the sync service. Once you're up and running, you'll find creating Notepads and entries as simple as any other app of its kind. Plus, having individual control of Notepad sync makes this tool something that appeals to many users.

Give Micropad a go and see if it doesn't wind up the notepad for your mobile life.

Also see

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Image: Jack Wallen

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.