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View Full Version : Best Note-Taking App to use with a stylus




LadyX
Apr 8, 2012, 11:48 AM
I recently purchased a stylus for taking notes on my iPad. I need some recommendations for a good note-taking app where I can use the stylus as well as the keyboard when I don't want to take handwritten notes. The app should have a palm rest feature, the ability to zoom-in, smooth pen strokes, ability to insert graphs.

Penultimate
NoteShelf
Notability
Note Taker HD

I like Penultimate and Noteshelf's UI but do they have the features I want? What do they lack?



MacDawg
Apr 8, 2012, 11:54 AM
Try Notes Plus (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/notes-plus/id374211477?mt=8)

LadyX
Apr 8, 2012, 12:59 PM
Try Notes Plus (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/notes-plus/id374211477?mt=8)

I've read that it's very slow on all iPads especially the iPad 3 which I'll be using it on. And when using a stylus, there's a lag. Any other recommendations? What about the ones I've mentioned?

xraydoc
Apr 8, 2012, 01:23 PM
I use Noteshelf. All around winner.

Penultimate has super-smooth ink action but is missing features the others have.

Apfpilot
Apr 8, 2012, 06:16 PM
I've used them all I rEcommend good notes. Try the free version to make sure you like it.

LadyX
Apr 8, 2012, 10:46 PM
I use Noteshelf. All around winner.

Penultimate has super-smooth ink action but is missing features the others have.

What features are missing?

Does Noteshelf and Penultimate have a palm rest feature?

xnickitynickx
Apr 8, 2012, 10:53 PM
Penultimate does have a palm rest feature. I've used it for a couple years now, and I love it. Great with my stylus in my lecture halls.

LadyX
Apr 8, 2012, 11:11 PM
Penultimate does have a palm rest feature. I've used it for a couple years now, and I love it. Great with my stylus in my lecture halls.

What stylus do you use? I have an Adonit Jot Pro. Will it work fine with it?

LadyX
Apr 8, 2012, 11:54 PM
I use Noteshelf. All around winner.

Noteshelf looks great and I'm thinking of downloading it. I'm assuming it has a palm rest feature, right?

One of the in app purchases in Noteshelf is Writing Papers for $0.99. Does that mean that I have to spend 0.99 every time I want to take notes?

mikee336
Apr 9, 2012, 12:12 AM
No one else liking noteability? Wish these apps all had free trials as noteability is the only I've downloaded and liked. Any particular reason others are choosing the other apps over this one?

hchavarria
Apr 9, 2012, 01:15 AM
I've been between one of three apps, GoodNotes, Ghostwriter Notes, and Noteshelf. I need to come up with a decision because I have meeting and school notes in all three as I have been testing them out. I have a feeling I will end up with GoodNotes at this time. All three have very similar offerings with Ghostwriter Notes being the only one of the three that offers fully automatic backups to dropbox which I love but much prefer the interface of GoodNotes.

BubbaJones
Apr 9, 2012, 07:43 AM
Noteshelf looks great and I'm thinking of downloading it. I'm assuming it has a palm rest feature, right?

One of the in app purchases in Noteshelf is Writing Papers for $0.99. Does that mean that I have to spend 0.99 every time I want to take notes?

No. Noteshelf has a bunch of different "paper" sytles. You can buy additional styles, but it isn't necessary.

I've been using Noteshelf for months now. I have several "notebooks" with dozens of hand written pages in each. The app is really a great buy. (I use the Amazon basics stylus, btw)

It has everything you asked for as well.

The only things that I would like added are:

The ability to write protect individual pages.
The ability to export an entire notebook to dropbox.

Currently you can write protect the entire notebook and export individual pages.

xnickitynickx
Apr 9, 2012, 08:04 AM
What stylus do you use? I have an Adonit Jot Pro. Will it work fine with it?

I use a Targus stylus. It's pretty good; doesn't get stuck up on the screen like some others. I've never used the Adonit, but I assume it would work. If it works like your finger in any other app, I'm sure it'll be just fine.

Apfpilot
Apr 9, 2012, 11:39 AM
No one else liking noteability? Wish these apps all had free trials as noteability is the only I've downloaded and liked. Any particular reason others are choosing the other apps over this one?

Notability is okay. Their interfacen isn't as nice as good notes. They dont export to Evernote and they've taken forever to update for retina.

LadyX
Apr 9, 2012, 11:44 AM
Notability is okay. Their interfacen isn't as nice as good notes. They dont export to Evernote and they've taken forever to update for retina.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, none of the other mentioned note taking apps are retina-ready. Have some of the apps already got updated for the new iPad?

David Menzel
Apr 9, 2012, 12:08 PM
Just an easter egg regarding Multi-Touch with a stylus (6:35 min):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lyx_va6f10s&feature=youtube_gdata_player

tonyz3
Apr 9, 2012, 06:09 PM
Mike +1 for noteability

omni
Apr 9, 2012, 06:41 PM
upad - it's retina

There is lite version to try for free.

Best handwriting engine out of all note taking apps IMO

Apfpilot
Apr 9, 2012, 10:09 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but, none of the other mentioned note taking apps are retina-ready. Have some of the apps already got updated for the new iPad?

More than a few are. Good notes, remarks, iPad and note taker hd submitted to Apple on Friday.

i0Nic
Apr 10, 2012, 01:07 AM
A lot of people seem to like Notability, the interface is just way too ugly for my liking though.

I prefer something more simple. Try Bamboo Paper, Penultimate or Paper.

If you really need to have the zoom in feature though, then Notability probably is your best bet.

xraydoc
Apr 10, 2012, 02:20 PM
What features are missing?

Does Noteshelf and Penultimate have a palm rest feature?

They both have palm rest features.

Penultimate is much more limited in terms of "ink" colors and pen widths while Noteshelf has lots of different colors and pen width is completely customizable. Also has 3 different eraser sizes and several highlighter colors.


The only things that I would like added are:

The ability to write protect individual pages.
The ability to export an entire notebook to dropbox.

Currently you can write protect the entire notebook and export individual pages.

You can export a whole notebook from Noteshelf. Go to Page Finder (the binoculars icon), tap the top right hand Export button, tap Select All, then tap Export.

jeffkempster
Apr 10, 2012, 03:33 PM
I have to put in another vote for Noteshelf. I use it everyday in college. I have been using an iPad for the pass 2 years taking notes. I started with penultimate and then tried just doing text based notes in pages. It works for some classes. But if you need to mix text and drawings, noteshelf is the one.

I really do like penultimate, The interface is clean. They just have not solution for highlighting and more importantly it doesn't have a zoom feature. I tried penultimate, but would just end up with way to many pages at the end of the day. I do really like how penultimate does photos. It remains an object that you can move after pasting. Others should implement this feature.

I emailed note shelf yesterday about an issue and they responded that they are going to release a retina update towards the end of the month. Can't wait.

sk1wbw
Apr 10, 2012, 05:44 PM
Anyone look at Noteledge? Very very nice app, also with a moveable palm rest.

rgr555
Apr 10, 2012, 06:48 PM
Notability for sure. 99 cents is a joke.

Covers everything you will ever need except Retina support (hopefully soon)

DrMotownMac
Apr 10, 2012, 08:48 PM
Anyone look at Noteledge? Very very nice app, also with a moveable palm rest.

Just tried it. Nice, but no magnify feature for handwriting. That's a deal-killer for any iPad note taking app. It's too hard to take notes on a 9 inch screen and have it look neat without magnification.

UPAD, Notability and Notetaker HD are the only options, IMO.

tdream
Apr 11, 2012, 01:44 AM
Notability for sure. 99 cents is a joke.

Covers everything you will ever need except Retina support (hopefully soon)

I used to love it until the iPad 3. Now it's laggy and crappy looking thanks to no retina update. Come on I mean it's April 11th and the iPad 3 came out March 16th. It better be a helluva update and sort all the issues out. The interface is terrible too compared to others. It needs a book style interface with preview pages like upad.

Upad has the nicest writing I've seen, retina works but it's very slow.

Goodnotes free is not bad either.

So far the iPad 3 is not compelling for note taking unfortunately.

iPad 1 with notability was excellent.

flameproof
Apr 11, 2012, 03:01 AM
Notability.....

I used to love it until the iPad 3. Now it's laggy and crappy looking thanks to no retina update.

The lag seem to be acknowledged as a bug and they (certainly taking their time) working on it.

For the retina display, the effect is very clearly visible when you write with your nose tip. Using finger or stylus it's OK.

Notability not likes:

I can't move or erase with eraser typed text. Typed text only starts left.

BTW, I would trade the retina anytime for longer battery life or less weight.

BubbaJones
Apr 12, 2012, 07:49 AM
You can export a whole notebook from Noteshelf. Go to Page Finder (the binoculars icon), tap the top right hand Export button, tap Select All, then tap Export.

Yea... I saw that afterwards... Thanks.:o

nagual
Apr 12, 2012, 02:42 PM
I use Noteshelf and Amazon basics stylus (~ $10) = pretty decent tools

jateelover
Apr 15, 2012, 12:05 PM
From the ones I have tried, I find goodnotes to be the best for one reason...the zoomed writing mood is superior to others. Instead of writing until you reach the end of the screen and then moving forward, you can write about half of the screen and then jump forward by moving back to the beginning of the writing entry area. This eliminates having to move your hand off of the iPad to continue writing, or really a having to move your hand at all. It's hard to explain but just try the free one and you'll see what I mean. Their rendering has gotten much faster, though it is still a very small amount slower than some of the others if you are writing quickly.... Not as many features as ones like notability, but it's free, and the way the zoom box works is excellent.

jojoba
Apr 15, 2012, 08:08 PM
No one else liking noteability? Wish these apps all had free trials as noteability is the only I've downloaded and liked. Any particular reason others are choosing the other apps over this one?

I greatly prefer Notability for hand writing, and I've tried a good number of apps. It's definitely top of the list for me. 7NotesHD is a strong second.

mikee336
Apr 15, 2012, 10:58 PM
I greatly prefer Notability for hand writing, and I've tried a good number of apps. It's definitely top of the list for me. 7NotesHD is a strong second.

Since posting I decided to waste money and try quiete a few apps. I found that Goodnites/PDF Expert/PDF printer combo handles all my needs. Even thinking about downloading the Pages/Keynote/numbers combo and going iPad only. Never knew how powerful this thing could be. So glad I finally gave in and got an iPad! :)

jojoba
Apr 16, 2012, 10:23 PM
Since posting I decided to waste money and try quiete a few apps. I found that Goodnites/PDF Expert/PDF printer combo handles all my needs. Even thinking about downloading the Pages/Keynote/numbers combo and going iPad only. Never knew how powerful this thing could be. So glad I finally gave in and got an iPad! :)

Yes, it's a brilliant tool. I have used it to go paperless in my office, and generally use it extensively for my academic work. Enjoy :)

mikee336
Apr 17, 2012, 07:49 PM
Notability got an update today with revamped interface and full retina support. Pretty legit

jace88
Apr 17, 2012, 08:35 PM
Silly question but how does retina help on the iPad here given that the touch screen and stylus don't feel that accurate? Or am I missing something here.

diane143
Apr 17, 2012, 08:35 PM
Any tips on learning how to write legibly with a stylus? My writing is bad enough as it is these days! :(

jojoba
Apr 18, 2012, 12:05 AM
Any tips on learning how to write legibly with a stylus? My writing is bad enough as it is these days! :(

IME, you need an app which provides the 'zoom box magnifier' (not sure what the proper name is) with wrist support. Notability and 7Notes HD have it. It's the only way hand writing works for me, but with that box it works really well.

aCuria
Apr 18, 2012, 02:26 AM
Notability got an update today with revamped interface and full retina support. Pretty legit

It's a step forward, but does not solve the lag issues with zooming, goodnotes is much much faster.

diane143
Apr 18, 2012, 07:07 AM
IME, you need an app which provides the 'zoom box magnifier' (not sure what the proper name is) with wrist support. Notability and 7Notes HD have it. It's the only way hand writing works for me, but with that box it works really well.


I downloaded GoodNotes, UPAD and Notability and tried them all quickly. My writing looks best in Notabiity so there is something in the programs that definitely affects this! I don't have the best stylus either. Thanks for the tip :)

jojoba
Apr 18, 2012, 10:05 AM
I downloaded GoodNotes, UPAD and Notability and tried them all quickly. My writing looks best in Notabiity so there is something in the programs that definitely affects this! I don't have the best stylus either. Thanks for the tip :)

Glad you found something that works for you :)

resting
May 31, 2013, 10:28 AM
Its been ages since I left my Notability collecting dust in my ipad.
Have not been using it because the handwriting is really bad.

I thought it was the stylus or my handwriting, but after looking at this review, http://www.imore.com/noteshelf-remarks-notability-ipad-handwriting-app-shootout I hope to try out Noteshelf soon.

Just wanted to let you guys know app matters.

Anyone knows which has the least ink lag and best rendering? All those additional features, PDF annotations and stuff all becomes useless when whatever you write doesn't make you want to look at it again, or hardly readable.

mrdee0
May 31, 2013, 01:40 PM
I have used noteshelf for over a year or so and its been great especially after the retina update. The ink engine is fast and smooth. The organisation of notebooks with customization covers is nice.

However I recently went back to explore other notepad apps to see what had changed since I reviewed them from way back.

I can now say that Goodnotes has improved a lot. It used to feel very laggy but they have improved things there and now the engine is very similar to noteshelf.

One thing that has now swayed me to Goodnotes is the 'page'. Noteshelf feels to me now to be a small sized notebook in that I have only 24 lines to write on. Goodnotes has way more lines and looks like an A4 page. I have always written physical notes on A4 size pages so Goodnotes offers an exact replica of this. With Noteshelf it always felt like I had limited space to write notes and made it feel like an A5 paper in terms of a physical counterpart.

I like the pages overview in Goodnotes, the one in Noteshelf just doesn't feel right with my brain- and I feel some lag in my brain as it tries to get a quick overview. I think this maybe because Noteshelf displays it all in one column, from top to bottom which requires scrolling down. Goodnotes does it over three columns, left to right, very much like laying out a book. My brain gets this straightaway.

The other thing I like about Goodnotes is the pdf backup sync. I know I can now access pdf replica's of my notes on any computer. With Noteshelf I had to sync/send one page at a time. Its such a boring task I haven't bothered to do any synching/backup.

So I am now in the process in rewriting my notes from Noteshelf and I will be removing it once I am done.

Hope this helps people. At the end of the day you need to try them out if you have the funds and see what suits you and what functions you will need. I think the inking engines have come a long way since a year ago. I'm excited to see what the future will bring -especially as new ipads come out!

GRMM
Jun 1, 2013, 03:11 PM
I have 2 days using Note Taker HD and it's a great app. It's true that on Penultimate you have a better handwriting, but the amount of information you can fit on NTHD is a lot more than you can get on Penultimate. Plus, with the zoom box you can achieve a very high level of detail.

WingedWheel
Jun 13, 2013, 11:46 PM
Does anyone know if Noteshelf has PDF annotation capability yet?

As of right now I am probably going with GoodNotes for the iPad Mini. The Lite version works great, so I will most likely get the full version.

I've heard a lot of good things about Noteshelf, but not having PDF annotation would be a deal breaker.

Just thought I'd ask around prior to committing to Goodnotes.

GerritV
Jun 16, 2013, 01:47 AM
Does anyone know if Noteshelf has PDF annotation capability yet?

As of right now I am probably going with GoodNotes for the iPad Mini. The Lite version works great, so I will most likely get the full version.

I've heard a lot of good things about Noteshelf, but not having PDF annotation would be a deal breaker.

Just thought I'd ask around prior to committing to Goodnotes.

No PDF annotation in NoteShelf yet. The developer must have heard this wish numerous times, so I trust it to be in a future update (don't know when though).
Fortunately, I don't need PDF annotation too much - so I will definitely stick with NoteShelf. My workaround now is to convert PDF pages to images and import them in my notebooks.

IMHO GoodNotes is a great app as well, hope you'll enjoy.