Do you keep a journal/diary/any sort of log? Time to go digital.

I, for one, have never been the kind of person to have a journal/diary; and the closest thing I have ever had to any sort of “log” was an year round “interactive notebook” (aka Haha-I-give-you-busy-work) we had to keep for Biology. Even for that notebook I never made entries on time: the name of the game was “see how many days of entries you can make up in one night [before notebook check]”. If my ex-bio teacher is reading this, let me assure her that I am just joking. If she is not, let me assure you I hated that notebook.

Anyway, just because I have never done it does not mean other people have not/do not. So when I came across a software that goes by the name of EfficientDiary I thought “what a simple, yet elegant and complete, software – why not inform dotTechies about it”:


EfficientDiary is simple in the sense that is has all the features you would need for a journal/diary/log – nothing more, nothing less. The text editor supports rich text – in addition to being able to type in plain text, you can type in formatted text and insert images, hyperlinks, tables etc.; to put it simply if you can do it in Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer, you can probably do it in an EfficientDiary entry. The interface is intuitive and easy to use; each journal/diary/log (known as “JDL” here on out) is password protected (you can have multiple different JDLs); each JDL entry has an automatic timestamp; you can attach files to each entry. Automatic daily saves-changes-as-you-go backups are made of your JDL (you can turn it off if you don’t want backups). If you accidentally delete your JDL entries, there is a recycle bin where you have the option of recovering it. Then there is the powerful search function: search by date (created or modified), by title, or by content. But hang on – I have yet to tell you about the best feature: there is a portable version of EfficientDiary so you can take it with you wherever you go.

The screenshot shown above is what the “main program window” looks like. As you can see, you can quickly edit your entries right then and there. However if you were to double click on a JDL entry, you also have the option of using a dedicated window:


Additionally, going back to the main program window, if you don’t like how the entries as listed, you can change the columns (“View” -> “Show Fields”):


I am sure, in fact I know, there are other features I have yet to discuss about EfficientDiary; but I am confident you get the point: EfficientDiary allows you to create, save, and manage your entries without breaking a sweat.

You can download EfficientDiary from the following links:

***EfficientDiary works on Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista

Click here to download EfficientDiary

Click here for the portable version

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  • Thanks a lot! Very actual theme for me. I try multiple services to keeping of diary. Now use the online-service Personal Diaries

  • Jon E

    Is there a website that has comparisons between this product and other diary-like products?

    The closest I could find is

    Let me know via email.

  • teejerman

    Hey, Ashraf…

    Your work here and on GAOTD is much appreciated; this diary/journal is obviously a good suggestion. For those that might be looking for an even “simpler” but effective (also free) alternative, take a look at Penzu,; those in a hurry to get something started (w/almost no learning curve) and our younger folk will appreciate its simple, intuitive approach to daily entries and categorical separation.

    Best regards…

  • TJ

    Actually, I used many different diary software and none of them is really impressive. All of them are similar to EfficientDiary: some basic editing functions, some file management functions, some even have weather recording capability, what so ever. I finally decided to use google notebook. The only reason is that it is online and you can access it anywhere you want as long as you have a network.

  • John in SF

    Dear Ashraf,

    Thanks for all your good work.

    I have an immediate application. So I started using Efficient Diary right away, even though I have never kept a diary before.

    My wife just left on a month-long trip and I’m now using Efficient Diary to keep track of what I’ve been doing while she’s away.

    So, on her return when she asks “What have you been doing?”, I’ll be able to give a good answer.

    John in SF

    PS – Your younger readers (I’m over 60) may not see the need for this. Just wait!

  • Ashraf

    Have you considered using a calendar like RainLendar for that task? Also, Stickies may be able to help you out. With stickies just create a stickie and set it to “sleep” until the date you want it up. You can also set an alarm to it.

  • I’ve downloaded it but not used it yet. I’m hoping that it will answer my problem of a diary I can use on my computer. Now the good thing would be if you could upload it on the web but perhaps that is another program. Thanks for sharing the link. I really do like “free” stuff worth having.

  • Steve

    Hi Ashraf, have dl’d EfficientDiary (2.6mg isn’t so bad), but will wait till later to try it.

    My main interest in it is, using it as a reminder for upcoming events. Right now I home-make a legal-sized sheet with OpenOfficeOrg to hang next to our whiteboard. I call it, “Steve’s Now What???”

    On it I place by month,day,date any upcoming life events that would affect me or my wife, and use the whiteboard as back-up.

    I wish I was able to use something similar to ESP to just materialize an item on the whiteboard, but alas, I fear that won’t be available until after my passing sometime around 2059 (I’ll be 107), and please don’t suggest a PDA, there are some things I just won’t go for…That happens as one grows older.

    Well I see by the ‘ol time stamp its getting late here on the right coast.

    May Serenity be with you always…Steve

  • hahaguy

    Well, thanks for that. I will try it out although I doubt will be using it often. Well, that’s just me. Unorganized and I like it that way.

  • Ashraf


    Besides a journal/diary/log? How about a notebook? Maybe you have some school or work related project to do which you need to record the progress? Or maybe just take notes with it? EfficientDiary could potentially help you organize your notes very well.

  • hahaguy

    Hmm, Ashraf, I saw this post and I thought to myself, this would be “useless” for me coz I don’t use a diary.

    But after reding this, I feel intrigued to try out this program (perhaps the portable version) but I wonder what should I use it for?

    So, I am asking for your suggestion, if any, how can such a program benefit me as a techie. Yup. I am hoping on you for that. Please do reply to me. Thnx in advance.