MacJournal 3.1

MacJournal 3.1 allows you to maintain multiple journals, including text or rich media, such as images, audio, and movies, inside a straightforward interface. It’s been a personal favourite since I first reviewed the free, shareware version 2.1 in 2003.

This version offers some convenient new features, such as nested journals, auto lists, and full-screen mode, but they may not be enough to justify the price. Version 2.6, although not actively developed, continues to be available for free directly from creator Dan Schimpf.

You can now nest journals inside other journals – for example, a journal devoted to client notes could have a subjournal for each client. MacJournal also offers some new formatting options, including smart quotes, automatic list numbering, and a new Highlight toolbar button that lets you quickly highlight text. You can add wiki-style links to other entries (for example, you can easily convert the word MyNote to a link to the MyNote journal entry), or links to external files or Web sites.

A new full-screen mode displays your current entry over the entire screen. The default appearance is green text on a black background, which looks like a throwback to the early DOS days, but you can customize the appearance in the program’s preferences.

You can quickly search entries, but Spotlight doesn’t index them unless you choose to save them as text backups. A Calendar view highlights days that contain entries, so you can navigate to entries by date or search for an entry in a range of dates just by selecting them on the calendar.

MacJournal 3.1 retains one of my favourite features: the inspirational Taco. Clicking on the Taco brings up an inspirational quotation from The Simpsons show, such as, “You can’t keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, and move on.” If you want something more highbrow, you can receive inspiration from Shakespeare by holding down the Option key when you click.

You can protect your journals with a password, or by encrypting them with 256-bit encryption, which is strong enough for the National Security Agency. If you want to share your thoughts, though, you can easily export journals to a .Mac account or post entries to your blog using LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress, or MovableType. MacJournal also exports to text, Rich Text, HTML, Word, or MacJournal format files.


The added features in this commercial version are welcome additions – and worth the upgrade price for devoted MacJournalists – but some users may find the freeware version has enough to meet their needs.

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