Note taking app question

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by maflynn, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Moderator


    Staff Member

    One reason for the iPad, for me is the ability to take notes. It seems that the majority of people who also use the iPad for this, use a stylus over typing.

    Is this a true assessment and is it because typing on the iPad is slower then using a stylus and jotting stuff down?

    I'm also looking for advise on what to look for when searching for a note taking app.

  2. macrumors 6502a

    For me, I want to be able to concentrate on the meeting I'm attending rather that the app I'm trying to use for notes. Therefore, it's important that the interface be as minimal as possible and in my case, typing - whether on a laptop of an iPad - is more intrusive than simply handwriting my notes. The iPad keyboard itself doesn't make a difference for me - it's the natural mechanism of writing vs. typing. Additionally, research has shown that writing by hand yield a greater level of comprehension of the material being written vs. typing due to the cognitive process involved in forming the letters and words.

    In terms of a note-taking app, I've used many of them including Penultimate, Note Taker HD, Notes Plus, and Note Shelf. I've switched completely to Note Shelf for the combo of a very fluid pen stroke plus the zoomed writing feature. Note Plus is a close second, but for me Note Shelf is the winner.
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Thanks for the post. I just assumed since I'll be note taking on an iPad, I'll be typing. Perhaps using a stylus would be more intuitive for note taking
  4. macrumors 6502a

    I have not found a handwriting app that I really like. I think part of it is that there is this disconnect between the tip of the stylus and the gauge of the lines on the apps. Another aspect, to be perfectly honest is that I have terrible handwriting to begin with.

    I type faster on the iPad than I can ever write legibly using a stylus for whatever it's worth.

    I personally like Simplenote. It syncs nicely. I like that it plays relatively nicely with Scriveners. I also think that other applications simply do too much.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Notes Plus is a nice app.

    I have used Notes Plus and Note Taker HD, if you like to write "pen + paper", I prefer Notes Plus. It has a very nice zoom feature to write normally. My only negative on Notes Plus is that it does not yet have PDF annotation ability. This is said to be coming but I use Note Taker HD for those. I do not type notes because I can't go fast enough to get everything down and I find it distracts me from my meetings. Get a good stylus (I use stylus-r-us) and off you go!!
  6. macrumors 6502a

    I am transitioning between using conventional paper notebooks and my iPad for writing things down when I work. The iPad keyboard is far too slow to be productive especially when you need to keep accessing currency & other symbols., plus I need to jot down diagrams, etc. quickly. Thus I found myself experimenting with the freehand note-taking apps (not handwriting recognition). I have tried about half a dozen - Notes Plus is by far the best. The interface is so streamlined that I can use it now almost as fast as regular pen & paper. Don't think I have tried Note Shelf yet though, so I will check it out soon.

    As already mentioned, the Notes Plus author is working on annotation functions. He is also going to include dropbox/evernote integration, handwriting recognition, tagging & a few other features over time. For me this will make it basically the perfect note taking app.
  7. macrumors member

    This is one of the main reasons I use a stylus instead of using the keyboard for notetaking. The other main reason is that I like to draw out diagrams and arrows to refer back to a previous note/idea.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Notes plus is $1.99 today.
  9. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Thanks for the suggestions. So far note shelf, penultimate and note taker HD are on my short list. I'm like what I see on note shelf but I need to continue my research
  10. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Here's my take on both penultimate and notes+ I've not spent a lot of time with them just last night and this morning.

    Penultimate: There's a simplicity of penultimate that I like, and how you easily setup "notebooks" easily. It lacks a number of features that notes+ has, such as font selection, a wide select of pen (brush?) thickness, and color. The notebook metaphor works well with penultimate, you create notebooks on subjects or categories depending on your needs and you can call them anything you want.

    Notesplus: This app is being recommend a lot so I opted for this as well. Its more feature rich then penultimate, but that isn't always a great thing if that feature doesn't seem to work well. For instance, you can draw a shape and notes+ translates it into a vector drawing that can be manipulated. I tried drawing basic triangles and squares and they don't do anything. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong. The lack of an eraser tool can be frustrating. Instead you need to draw a circle around what you want to delete. I think you can also strike through the text and they may work. With penultimate, all I do is select the eraser and erase what I don't want. The weakest point I'm finding with notes plus is its organization.

    Simplicity is not a bad thing, apple employs this in their design all the time. What ever tasks you do, do well, and penultimate does this. I'm finding that notesplus while it has more features (I like the idea of different colors and what not) it does not do them as well as I hoped.

    I'll probably take a closer look at noteshelf later. For me I want something that I can just use with out fudging with and organize my notes by category or subject. The number of templates that noteshelf offers and export to dropbox is a plus.
  11. macrumors member

    I have purchased only one notes app, but I am really impressed by it. I have watched a lot of reviews on different notes apps on Youtube and this one seemed to best fit my needs: Notes Plus. Where Notes Plus really shines, in my opinion, is its close-up write option where you can select an area and write in a zoomed in view, after which it will show up smaller in the selected area. This works great with my recently bought stylus.

    In other areas, such as UI and deleting (why is there no erase pencil?) Notes Plus needs some improvement. If anyone has a suggestion to a notes app that features the same great close-up/zoomed writing option that Notes Plus offers, please tell me. I know there are some other apps around with this feature, but I don't think any of them works as intuitively as Notes Plus'.

    Only just noticed you have already purchased it and don't really care for it. My tip: if you don't have one, buy a good stylus (boxwave/griffin/targus)
  12. macrumors 6502

    Note Shelf

    Another vote for Note Shelf. Also it will sync with Evernote.
  13. macrumors 65816

    Is Note Shelf the only one that syncs w/ Evernote? This is really important for me. From reviews & screen shots, it looks nice. Notes Plus seems more feature rich though. I like the added typing feature.

    Is there a note app that allows you to write, type and sync with Evernote? I'd take Google Doc sync too if the other 2 features are available.
  14. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I've been leaning more too note shelf myself, primarily for the ibook type interface for organizing my "note books" and its very rich ability to sync with Evernote, Dropbox, and even iTunes.

    I wish the dropbox was more of an export mechanism, that is, I can read/write my notebooks from dropbox. They only export out to dropbox.
  15. macrumors 6502a


    iWriter, it syncs over dropbox. Plain minimal text with good typography optimized for ipad.

    no stylus, for that I have pen and paper (great for pressure, angle, precision)
  16. E3BK, Jan 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    macrumors 65816

    I bought Notes Plus and Notes Shelf. I really like the typing feature in Plus but find Shelf much better for actual writing with my stylus. The Evernote Sync is perfect. If I can improve my handwriting, the ever notes text recognition will be great, haha.

    The only problem I'm having with Notes Self is the return key in the zoom feature. I keep hitting it with my palm when reaching the far right of the wiring box and it moves it out of position. Anyone else having this problem or know how to avoid?

    Also a nice surprise in Self are the baseball score cards. I haven't kept score in a game in a while so maybe I'll start again this coming season. Lol.

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