Lifeograph is an encrypted journal application for Windows, Linux and Android

Sep 17, 2019
Software, Windows software

Keeping a journal is a nice way to reflect upon oneself. It can help you become a better person, nurture good habits, can be used for research, making budgets, make health related notes, or jot down anything else that you may want to keep a record of.

When it comes to a diary application on computers, there aren't a lot of options. RedNotebook is probably the best one I have used. I wanted something better and that's how I stumbled across Lifeograph.

Tip: note taking applications may work as well for the purpose of keeping a journal. Check out the recently reviewed Joplin, Tomboy-ng, or Laverna.


Lifeograph is an encrypted journal application for Windows, Linux and Android

Lifeograph has a simple interface. It features a toolbar at the top that displays a handful of options, tags that you have added to entries in a sidebar on the left, the editor interface for the current note, and a sidebar on the right that displays notes sorted by date and a calendar at the bottom.

Clicking on the book icon displays the synchronize/merge, export and encrypt options.

You can export the journal in Lifeograph's diary format or as a plain text file. The encrypt option is where the program excels because it secures your diary using AES 256 bit encryption. Make sure you set a strong password for your diary just to be safe. Encryption is optional.

Lifeograph Editor

The editor supports rich text formatting including bold and italic, various list types (bullet and to-do). To-Do support visual indicators that highlight the state of the task, e.g. done, canceled, or in progress.

Lifeograph lets you add clickable-URLs to your entries which is helpful for research and reference purposes. Right-click anywhere in the editor to add an emoji, toggle spellcheck and for basic editing options.

Lifeograph list

The back button on Lifeograph's toolbar takes you to the previous page you were viewing. The Today button opens the editor and lets you create an entry with the current date. You can manually choose a different date from the calendar (with a double-click) to write a new entry for the chosen date. The + button can be used to create chapters which improves visibility.

Click on the pencil icon at the top of an entry to view when it was created and edited, to hide entries and print a selected entry. The filter icon lets you narrow down entries based on the type (regular, lists, in trash, favorites, etc. You can also choose a range of dates to view entries that were made in the selected time frame. The heart option lets you favorite entries for quick access.

The search bar can be used to find entries that contain the phrase that you have entered. The menu button provides sorting options, e.g. by date or size, and a link to the program settings.

Lifeograph will save your diary and log you out if it does not recognize interaction for 90 seconds by default. You can log out of any diary as well with a click on the logout button; you are asked to enter a password if you set one to open any of the available diaries.

The preferences list several options including setting the date format used in your region and a dark theme that you may enable.

Tags may be added to any entry to improve categorization and provide quick access from the tags bar. Double-click a tag to view all entries under the tag; there is also an "untagged" tag that lists all entries without any tag.

Lifeograph GUI

Lifeograph is written using C++ and is an open-source, portable application. It is available for Windows, Linux and Android.

Closing Words

I'm not exactly a "Dear Diary" person, but I do keep a record of certain things from time to time, mostly in calendar apps. But they aren't good if you want to write down a more detailed version or want better categorization options.

A journal can be perfect for this. I have only been using the program for a couple of weeks. That's the reason why the graph shows insufficient data, maybe it needs at least a month worth of data to show something.

The only thing I dislike about the Lifeograph Android app is that it has ads, but you can optionally buy the ad-free version. Or you could block the ads for free if you're on Android 9 Pie or above using a custom DNS.

My advice regarding diary/journal programs

Whatever journal application you want to use, I'd suggest that you make sure that it's a completely offline one. After all, content is often very personal and you don't want that falling into someone else's hands. Speaking of privacy, it's also a good idea to use some sort of encryption to protect anyone from accessing the journal entries directly.

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  1. trends said on September 17, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Can you insert images, graphs
    in a Lifeograph note or only text?.

    Apparently, rednotebook
    also allows text and images in a journal note.

  2. trends said on September 17, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    “Good decisions come from Experience,
    and Experience comes from bad decisions”.

    So…worthwhile to keep your bad decisions
    in a diary / journal .
    it may benefit you in the future.
    And it’s a searchable reference…

    Thanks Ashwin
    for your excellent articles in Ghacks!.

  3. VioletMoon said on September 17, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.”
    – Jim Rohn, business philosopher and author

    I figure the best journal is the pen/pencil and paper route. It’s something I like to do during staff meetings.

    @ Clairvoyance–Online/offline? It doesn’t matter; I like online as well as offline. The great thing about journaling is there aren’t any “rules.” Write down thoughts, dates, etc. My father kept a diary, and each night he would write something. After his death, I read through the entries–simplistic notes about weather, lunch, a walk. Nothing but the “process” of keeping a journal. Photo journals are really nice. It’s like vacationing. Take one picture a day and make a note, a caption.

    The question of privacy is a preference. If Max Brod followed Kafka’s instructions to burn all of K’s work, a lot of literary treasure would have been lost. Fortunately, Brod refused and had Kafka’s works published instead.

    “Red Notebook” is a preferred tool, for me. And a simple WordPress blog that I keep private. I guess if someone wants to read about cranberry pie and salmon fishing in Alaska . . . [and find the treasure map that I keep hidden in the digital pages], then he/she can most likely find the blog somehow.

    Quick Search before sign off: Noted that Ghacks wrote about Red Notebook back in 2010.

  4. Clairvoyance said on September 17, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Another great find, Ashwin. Keep up the good work!

    As for people saying it is for little girls, that’s not quite true. There are a lot of things in our lives that would benefit of having a journal and known history. It helps to create mental heuristics to predict the future, which can help greatly in many areas. (Or to simply remember someone’s birthday) Unfortunately, it requires certain way to write what’s important and reviewing and the fact that people prefer social media over offline diaries is another factor why these programs are more like niche nowadays.

    I cannot stress enough how it is important whatever you choose to keep your personal information in, it MUST be offline. It has to be yours and only yours. This is rule number one. Number two is to not lose it, so to have encrypted backup of it stored somewhere safe.

    Best wishes everyone in all our personal journaling!

    1. Klaas Vaak said on September 17, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      @Clairvoyance: good comment. As for those “for little girls” remarks, they are clearly made by an ignorant bunch who are at a loss about some important things in life.

      1. Clairvaux said on September 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

        Sure, sure. Methinks you’re the one lacking wisdom, humour and wit.

        It’s fun to watch the politically-correct crowd gang up whenever their hot buttons are triggered.

    2. Tom Hawack said on September 17, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      That’s maybe why most if not all fortune-tellers are females : they must have been keen with diaries.
      I know nothing of a relationship between mental heuristics and prediction, to be serious.

      When I was at school (in the sixties) it wasn’t even required to precise a girl’s diary given a diary could only be a girl’s.
      Lol #2.

      Anyway my first thought when reading the title and the article was not that of a diary application. Many authors, known and less, have had their journal sometimes ever since they started thinking. I agree it’s incentive of introspection, makes thoughts clear or at least prunes them. Not to mention that it’s a great reference when searching back in time, especially for those who include facts, details in their writings and not only deep thoughts built on abstraction (I’ve got my finger pointed and i can see it’s nail (Lol #3).

      Ashwin, I appreciate as always your comment. Side-note : “[A journal] can help you become a better person”. I like this wording especially nowadays where speed and competition often distract us from the good.

      I could have wrote this in a (my?) journal. Lol#4, final.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on September 17, 2019 at 5:50 pm

        @Tom Hawack: +1.

  5. Anonymous said on September 17, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Upon starting the program, Avast antivirus says: ‘libgio-2.0-0.dl’l infected with ‘IDP.Generic’. Program crashes after that.

    1. Clairvoyance said on September 17, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      Note that there are two versions. No idea why, but sourceforge gives the latest one as 1.5.1, while there is a higher one 1.6.0.

      Either way, I took the liberty to check the problematic file “libgio-2.0-0.dll” in virus total.

      Both of them appear clean. Hashes of these files are:
      MD5 hash dll version 1.5.1 : 56a0c8748d5e8b83c10b198e1fee7c41
      MD5 hash dll version 1.6.0 : 4498192a36d025d67554aac4b39d087d

      I hope this helps someone! It appears to be clean. You may need to update the virus definitions or something.

      1. Cigologic said on September 18, 2019 at 12:56 am

        > Clairvoyance: “Note that there are two versions. No idea why, sourceforge gives the latest one as 1.5.1, while there is a higher one 1.6.0.”

        I can see only v1.6.0 (08 Sep 2019) at:

        with libgio-2.0-0.dll (v2.60.4, 16 Jun 2019, MD5: 4498192a36d025d67554aac4b39d087d) passed as clean by Malwarebytes.

  6. Clairvaux said on September 17, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    As anon said, this is a program for little girls.

    However, there might be a serious application for it : keeping track of all the changes and adjustements you make on your computer, day after day. I use Word for that. Could that program be used instead ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 17, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Yes you can use it for that.

  7. Anonymous said on September 17, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    In my school days that was called girl’s diary.
    This program interface should be pink.

    1. Cigologic said on September 18, 2019 at 12:35 am

      Addendum: Lifeograph apparently has a dark theme as based on screenshots. I assume the green background can be changed:

      • Lifeograph v1.6.0 (08 Sep 2019): 37.31 MB zip, no-install
      • RedNotebook v2.11.1 (07 Apr 2019): 77.46 MB exe, installer

      Hopefully, Lifeograph doesn’t go down same heavyweight roite as RedNoteBook, whose v2.7.1 installer (13 Nov 2018) is 33.8 MB, with subsequent versions weighing in at over 75 MB for the installer, & over 275 MB for the extracted contents.

    2. Cigologic said on September 17, 2019 at 11:57 pm

      > Anonymous: “girl’s diary. This program interface should be pink.”

      The diary keepers as shown in the below shortlist (out of a very very very long one) are apparently not girls. Furthermore, historically it has always been men (& boys) who have the time & energy to keep diaries. (Want to guess why ?)

      John Adams
      Ludwig van Beethoven
      John Cheever
      Winston Churchill
      Captain James Cook
      Charles Darwin
      Thomas Edison
      Ralph Waldo Emerson
      Benjamin Franklin
      Ernest Hemingway
      Thomas Jefferson
      Peter Jennings
      Bruce Lee
      George Lucas
      James Madison
      George C. Marshall
      Isaac Newton
      George S. Patton
      Samuel Pepys
      Pablo Picasso
      Ronald Reagan
      John D. Rockefeller
      Theodore Roosevelt
      Mark Twain
      Leonardo da Vinci

      As for pink, this only became marketed as a “girl’s colour” during the 1940s. Before that, pink was socially regarded as a “stronger” colour suitable for boys — as opposed to the (delicate & dainty) blue recommended for girls:

      Personally, I would have preferred a dark theme for the GUI of a program (diary or not), because I find white (or pale pastels like pink) too blinding on a screen. Perhaps the developer can consider offering the choice of dark themes.

      > From post: “You can export the journal in Lifeograph’s diary format or as a plain text file.”

      Plain TXT export is good, but since the program itself supports rich text formatting, an additional RTF export format would be desirable.

    3. Klaas Vaak said on September 17, 2019 at 5:45 pm

      @Anonymous: complete nonsense.

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