Best organizational note taking app

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by JenniferLaurie, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2011
    I'm considering getting an ipad for school in the fall but I am very picky about organization so I'm wondering if there's an app that allows you to take notes and organize them in different categories and adding links to other notes and such. So far the only app I have found that looks promising is notetaker by aquaminds but it's not avaliable for the ipad yet. Any ideas?
  2. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    voodoopad and evernote.

    voodoopad is one of the best notetaking apps i have ever used. in fact, i switched from windows and bought my macbook pro partly with the intention of using it. basically, it is a personal wiki.

    what makes it stand out from others is its relatively bare bones approach (no harsh learning curve) and the linking feature. when you name a note (for example, "george washington") then every time that word appears in any other note it automatically links back to it. this works for notes going forward, and it automatically applies to any note in the past. it is a simple feature that i really haven't seen implemented well anywhere else. organization of everything is totally open and up to you.

    voodoopad isn't as powerful with syncing, though, so i use evernote on a daily basis. this is the foundation of all my work, and everything goes into it. in fact, i was just in the library looking for some journal articles, and i forgot one of them, so i turned on my ipod, synced, and got the information. with the tagging feature it is incredibly powerful at organizing, but most people don't make very good use of this system. unfortunately, my one complaint is that it doesn't allow you to link to other notes like voodoopad.

    if you are interested, go to my profile page and take a look at the threads i have started for some ideas about how to use it in school.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2011
    Evernote, or it's competitor: Springpad.

    I use Springpad personally. They're both amazing but Evernote has a deficiency, it doesn't let you view notes offline. So you'd better hope you always have 3G signal on your iPad.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2010
    Evernote does let you view offline notes if you buy the premium version - not too costly.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2011
    Oh seriously? ALL notes and notebooks will be saved offline, on both
    the iOS, and OS X apps? Right now all I've seen is a feature where you
    can "star" items to be saved offline. I'd be willing to pay good money
    for the full offline access though

    EDIT: On the website they show the benefits of Premium... And I see "offline notebooks"

    So does the free app save notes offline, but with no organization? They seem to be wording it weirdly. I haven't played around with my Evernote account for awhile so I don't know much
  6. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I don't know if this is a premium/free difference or not, but offline notebooks are able to be viewed offline. I use it all the time, because I am often away from a wifi connection.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011

    Have a look at Awesome Note or Thinkbook. Both these may meet your needs with categorizing notes. Note sure about linking notes within these applications though. I've seen discussions on the Thinkbook forums proposing this as a feature but as far as I know it isn't there yet.

    I hope that this is of help... good luck with your search. :)
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2010
    Because I'm a premium user, both my iPad and iPhone store notebooks offline, and organised neatly into the stacks I set up in my Mac.
  9. macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2011
    I've been testing out nearly EVERY note taking app available on ipad for handwritten notes. The best combination I have found is NOTESHELF + EVERNOTE. In evernote, I can type/organize/tag my notes etc. and since I am a premium user, I can store the notebooks for offline use. I take my handwritten notes in Noteshelf (have also tried Notes Plus, Note Taker HD and many others) and export my handwritten pages to Evernote as images. Then, all of my handwritten notes are searchable as Evernote has handwriting recognition that works quite well.

    What I would really like to see is evernote incorporate ink notes in the ipad app, then I wouldn't have to sync between apps all of the time.
  10. macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012

    I use evernote premium for collecting and organizing. I cant live without it, as it syncs to all my i-devises. I use it for researc and collecting before I buy a new washing machine, sofa or computer, collect articles, tips etc before going to a vacation (or rather, I collect stuff for places I would like to go to some day as I see them), I email reciets to my evernote account with @reciets in the subject field, and it goes into the correct evernote-folder - a folder that is shared with my wife (she handles our finances :)), I import pdfs, take snapshots with my iPhone and sends it directly to evernote, collects user guides/manuals for stuff (and throw away the paper one) etc, etc.

    And theres a lot of other apps that talks to evernote.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    I recently purchased an iPad 3rd gen. I am looking for a notetaking app that I can use on/offline, transfer to Dropbox, email to my PC (non-mac) and also create folders for each type of subject. My mind is swimming with info overload. I basically would like an MS Word version that I can save and organize into folders on and offline. Emailing to my PC is not a deal breaker.

    Any suggestions??

  12. macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2011
    There are tons of note taking apps that will allow you to organise your notes in different ways, and view them offline. Some of my favourites are Notability, Circus Ponies notebook, and Evernote.
  13. macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    The usual suspects, all mentioned above. My personal preference is for Evernote.

    If I restate your search as: syncing across multiple devices regardless of OS, email support (send/receive), organizational tools (notebooks, tags, search filter, search sort), and offline access, then Evernote is a perfect fit. I cannot say enough good things about it, and the Windows desktop app is one of the best I have ever used.
  14. macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2011
    Have you looked at MS OneNote? They have an iPad app that syncs (through skydrive) with the OneNote on your PC. I've been using it for about 6 months and really like it.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    Thanks palpatine and seeharrison! Will check out your suggestions. :)
  16. macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
  17. Travmakar, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    Thanks to everyone for their input it helped ALOT!

    I chose notability since it addressed all my wants. As long as you have Dropbox you can go back and forth between the iPad and my PC.

    Some features with this app.

    - Numerous fonts, colors, bold/italic/underline options.

    - Ability to email via PDF, RTF or note.

    - Ability to work offline but unable to send or upload your notes unless you have wifi access. Which is what I expected. :)

    - Compatible with Dropbox, Box, iDisk, WebDAV and iTunes.

    - Ability to print or "open in" options.

    - Within the same note you can - add photos, recordings, type text, handwritten notes and highlight.

    I am sure I missed many more features BUT this is what I learned in 20 minutes from using the new app. Worth the .99 cents to see if you like it.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2012
    Love this app, always need to take some notes.
  19. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    I've got Thinkbook and haven't used it but it looks pretty solid.

    Projectbook is another app that may work.

    Kind of wishing Hog Bay Software would make an iOS version of their new Folding Text application. It's a great outliner

    I'd agree that Evernote is a pretty solid note taker. I'm not that thrilled about the new UI for iOS though. I think they laid an egg on it despite making some nice changes in the Mac version.

    I think the dark horse may be Outline+. I'm checking it out now and it's pretty solid on iOS and there's a Mac version coming.
  20. macrumors 603


    Oct 13, 2008
    Everywhere And Nowhere
    The Mac version will be great!!!

    Attached Files:

  21. richimages, Nov 23, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2008
    If you're talking about handwriting and typing app ... the the best Organizational App would be Noteshelf


    Why do I say this:

    (1) Several of them have the ability to create/open a different Notebooks, but Noteshelf has one of the most organized and simple interfaces to do that. Hit the NEW button, and you can add a notebook with it's own custom look, and types of default paper styles inside (of course you can mix paper styles as well )


    (2) Likewise, several apps have the ability to browse through pages, but Noteshelf is the only one I've seen so far to present the most pages in one view - the whole screen is dedicated to browsing the pages of a particular notebook.


    (3) The paper styles for the pages is the most varied in this app (There are several styles in each category: Music pages, Sports, Simple, Personal, Writing, Holiday, Photo Album, Recipe etc ... again, each of these catagories have multiple styles to choose from) ... and you can mix them in a single notebook if you wish. Also, you can create your own background page styles from images ... to be used as a standard paper.


    (4) Sharing couldn't be easier: PDF/email/print ... Evernote/Dropbox/iOS Photo Album/ ... HD/Standard ... include book title or not, page style, or not ... etc ... Very nice.


    Also, you may want to peruse this thread as well for information about other handwriting apps :

    Good Luck with what you decide.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    All 4 points above (richimages) are also covered in Remarks.
    If you're like me - not fond about skeuomorphism, give Remarks a look. It's cleaner, kind of minimalistic (dull?).

    Noteshelf and Remarks differences as I can tell:

    - Remarks can import resp. annotate pdf files, Noteshelf doesn't.
    - Noteshelf has a lot of writing tools and unlimited colours, Remarks is limited but perhaps enough...
    - Everything you write or draw in Remarks, if exported, is of extremily high quality. Lines remain crisp at any zoom level. Noteshelf is already fuzzy in it's own zoom window, let alone the export - OK at normal view, but pixelated when zooming in.
    - Writing in Noteshelf is the best I've seen, the responsiveness is very very fast and good. Even without using the zoom box, my writing looks good (and my handwriting is crummy). BTW, I use a Bamboo stylus.
    - I love Remarks' autosync with Dropbox, and use it a lot. Noteshelf has export as well, but not as auto as Remarks.

    @ richimages: good idea to post screenies. Mine are full of names and data, kind of delicate to post them. I may set up a demo notebook and join the fun ;-)


    This being the "Finder" view of a notebook, the glyphs below every page are in a bottom toolbar in my version, like in your point 3). How did you get the glyphs?
  23. macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2008
    Hi GerritV,

    I like your comparison remarks ... thanks for sharing. :)

    In response to your question, How did you get the glyphs to appear below each page?, well ...

    things have changed ... and my screenshot was from a previous version of Noteshelf. The developer decided that it would be better to have one row of operations at the bottom as opposed to those icons below each page.

    I personally like the previous version ... now you have to tap the "Edit" button just to see those options (whereas you didn't before) ...
    There's still no less "finger taps" that you have to perform since you have to highlight each page you wish to assign to the operation before selecting the operation ... before you just tapped the operation under each page.

    Hope that makes sense.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    Yes it does. I understand both the developer's concern for a cleaner interface and you as the user having to tap one extra time.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    I also choose Notability after trying several other apps. It is very rich featured for a good price. However, note taking is a very personal thing so I think there is no one-size-fits-all app.

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