Best note-taking software for college?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MBehr, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. MBehr macrumors newbie

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    Apr 1, 2011
    #1
    I'm going to be a college student in the fall, and I was wondering what you all think is the best software for taking notes? It can be a windows or mac since I will be running both operating systems on my macbook. Thanks!
     
  2. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #2
    Pages works just fine for most classes

    In classes that require formulas or more "drawing"... you'll still be using a notebook. There is no way in hell I would have ever taken calculus or physics notes on my MacBook.

    The only feasible ways of taking formula-based notes on a laptop is by using a Livescribe and importing your notes, or using a tablet/pen combo (think Wacom) in class. Yeah, not really easy.
     
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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  4. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a

    Psilocybin

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    #4
    Let's get with the 21st century here


    Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  5. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #5
    Show my a way to write out calculus equations, balance diagrams, and organic chemistry structures that is faster on a computer, and I'll take it back.
     
  6. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #6
    You've obviously never taken notes in Advanced Calculus, University Physics, or Logic ;)

    Show me me where the Integral symbol is on a keyboard. While you're at it, how about the Greek letters too. Go ahead, we'll wait. ;)
     
  7. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a

    Psilocybin

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    #7
    I used one note. And I was not referring to every class obviously you cant use it for certain subjects


    Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  8. bkap16 macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2009
    #8
    OneNote is really nice. Wish there was a Mac version though (you can use the Web App but it's not exactly feature-complete compared to the desktop version). I sometimes get annoyed at its formatting (whether to make text in a new location or add on to an existing text area) but overall it's easy to use and keep stuff organized.

    One really nice thing about it is that the Equation editor in newer versions of Office (2007 and 2010 on Windows, 2011 on Mac) allows you to input the equation using a subset of LaTeX (which you should learn by the way- makes it really easy to do professional-looking research papers). So rather than digging through the menu to find Pi, you can just type \pi <space> and it will automatically change it to the symbol. Need an integral, just type \int. I wouldn't use it in an actual math class, but it's great for something like an econ class where there's going to be math mixed in with all the other notes.
     
  9. intwo macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2011
    #9
    If you're taking notes in a class that doesn't require math or symbols, then Microsoft Word or Pages will work fine. You could even use TextEdit if you don't need the aesthetics.

    If you're taking notes in a class that requires math or symbols, you'll be best suited with a pencil and paper. After class, you can type up your notes in LaTeX. It'd be difficult to type equations in LaTeX in real time (I've never seen anyone try it), but you can try if you'd like.
     
  10. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #10
    Like others have said, any common text editor will work.

    But +10000 for pencil and paper; more so however, after taking your notes, scan them into a PDF file, and organize your hand-written notes digitally. You get the effectiveness on memory retention of hand-written notes + the benefit of always having your notes with you without having to carry 6 binders/notebooks around. This is what I've begun to do, at least ;)

    *3rd year electrical engineer
     
  11. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #11
    pencil and paper in class (i learn better this way). ipad for reading in between classes (i digitize all of my books). scan notes and handouts at home with scansnap (throw away/recycle). write papers, write up notes, etc. with mbp 13".

    paperless without textbooks is the way to go. i am overseas doing research atm and i have everything (important papers, books, etc.) accessible anytime through ipad.

    apps i use include voodoopad, evernote, bookends, sugarsync, and dropbox.

    voodoopad is pretty powerful if you want to make your own wiki. evernote is super flexible, especially if you go premium and upload all of those scanned notes. bookends is expensive, but worth it. sugarsync is rich in features, gives you peaceof mind, and makes sure at everyhting is accessible. dropbox is just handy to have.
     
  12. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #12
    lol. you and i have the same system :)
     
  13. KylePowers macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

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    #13
    lol weirdly, I put all my PDFs/lectures/etc on my iPad also. I use UPAD however... I've tried a few different note-taking apps and pdf viewers, but UPAD has just surpassed my expectations so far. You should check it out if you haven't done so yet :)
     
  14. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #14
    thanks! i don't see a trial version of upad. i am pretty pleased with goodreader for my pdf reading/annotating right now, though. as far as note taking apps, i keep coming back to evernote. syncing between devices (mac, pc, android, etc) is so easy with it, and it has really robust features from top to bottom.
     
  15. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

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    #15
    Since everyone is raving about pen and paper what about getting something like a LiveScribe. Then you can have a hard copy and a digital copy of your notes instantly!

    I think it actually records the audio from your lectures as well!

    I was thinking about getting one but in the end decided I didn't need to as I don't have to take many notes at University although it would have been really helpful in school!
     
  16. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #16
    I am tempted. I might give it a try. I prefer pencil (lots of erasing), but if it works well, I could go with the pen. My only concern at this point is that I write in three languages, and it looks like I may need special software to interpret what I have written. In addition, you have to have the special paper, which seems like a pain, but apparently you can print it out yourself. It is certainly something to think about!
     
  17. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #17
    Same strategy here.
     
  18. iPhysicist macrumors 6502a

    iPhysicist

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    #18
    Should be preferred every time, everywhere and whatever class you'll take.

    ...LaTeX
     
  19. Alaerian Guest

    Alaerian

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    #19
    LaTeX is perfect for formal papers and assignments. It is NOT feasible for note-taking.
     
  20. mankar4 macrumors 6502a

    mankar4

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    #20
    In engineering/science classes, I was always pen and paper. In med school I used Text edit since it was basically text notes, or I took notes on the powerpoint slides themselves. I often used the screen capture keyboard shortcuts to add the relevant illustrations from the internet/class materials to my text edit documents.
     
  21. Big D 51 macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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  22. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #23
    Pen(cil) and paper.


    As an experiment, I took notes in LaTeX for a day in a stochastic processes class. I do NOT recommend trying it.


    Seriously, pen(cil) and paper...
     
  23. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #24
    8 years of undergrad and post grad here..

    I did the pencil and paper thing..I think it just depends on the class. I will say one thing though. Electronic accessibility of my notes has become paramount with studying for boards and going on rotations (health profession student here). I have all my notes directly in ppts through word and they are all organized and accessible on all my computers, mac or pc, as well as my ipad, and ipod touch. I have been able to find topics on the fly by just navigating and using a search function to find things down to the word. That has been such a win.

    Don't make my early mistake and just do one note or some program that is limited to one platform.
     
  24. baysmith, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011

    baysmith macrumors newbie

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    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    West Coast BC
    #25
    Evernote.

    Cross-platform, multiple smartphone and iPad capability, great org structure. All devices sync automatically, photo capture and much more.

    Storage in the cloud with local backup for safety and security allows you to work anywhere you can find a computer with internet access.

    Check it out.

    http://www.evernote.com

    Not related to them, just a very satisfied user.

    MathType

    If you are doing math or chem and require sophisticated math equations get MathType for Mac or Windows.

    http://www.dessci.com/en/products/MathType_Mac/

    You get a hobbled version in MS Word, but the pro version is well worth the investment. With a few modifications of settings you can use MathType for complex chem equations and with the pro version can save all your pre-formatted formulas for quick recall when writing up all those labs.

    Used MS Word for decades (really) have now switched to Pages exclusively. Well worth the work to switch.
     

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