Best Program for Taking Notes in Class?

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
Adelaide, Australia
Umm... MS Word? Pages? Textedit? Appleworks? Openoffice? Are you after a simple word processor or something that you can easily draw diagrams with? Any other requirements?


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 31, 2005
Well, I know there are many word processors, but I'm asking which people have found is the best for taking notes. I don't really draw diagrams too often, but I guess it might be a useful feature in case I needed it.



macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2004
I am a fan of recording lectures while also taking notes. That way you can still write the notes from the board but also pay more attention to the lecture part. If you miss something, just listen back after class. Maybe even "license" the recordings to your lazy classmates for some $$ ;P


macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2004
Denver, CO
I take LOADS of bulleted notes in class. So far word hasnt worked out that well, and pages seems like a good prospect, allthough I havent had the chance to actually take notes with it.

I have toyed with the idea of using inspiration to take notes, but have never gotten around to doing it. what I'm really looking for is something that handles bullets REALLY well. thats all I need.


macrumors regular
May 3, 2003
San Antonio,TX
Circus Ponies Notebook, a great organizing program for just about anything including for college. Simply it resembles a basic spiral notebook, that I use to not only take notes but also to store a class syllabus, schedule of assignments, even the files I created for assignments like reports and such. It simply can be a simple program or a vast one serving all your needs. The price isn't bad either, $49.95 or since your a student you can pick up the academic version for only $29.95, and its worth every penny. Just head to their website and they have a 30 day fully-fuctional free trial that you can see for yourself if it will suit your needs. But overall it was out before Microsoft inlcuded Notebook functionality into Word, and still does it better than Microsoft Office 04.


macrumors member
Apr 29, 2004
University Place
I ablosutely love the word notebook view, but what i would really like is if microsoft would release OneNote for mac. That really is a powerful program


macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2004
mac-er said:
Yeah, it is called a pen and piece of paper.

That has been what gone to exacpt I use a mechical pencil and paper. I used to take notes on my laptop but I quite using after I finished with my lower lv classes. It kind of hard to type note for math and engineering classes. I have to draw to many diagram and to many formals. Mind you only another engineer can really even follow my notes since they are full of short hand.

Back when I did use my computer MS word work out to be just fine and really made some great notes when you use bullets and what not to keep them orgizned. Plus it help out other in the class of those who wanted my a copy of my notes. much easier to just give them a word file.


macrumors member
Dec 30, 2004
Seattle-area, WA
I also use MS Word's Notebook view to take notes and record lectures in some classes (although I agree in classes like math, nothing beats a pencil and paper) I record the lecture (most of prof can go off on tangents sometimes :rolleyes: while simultaneously typing notes. I go back afterwards and fill in the rest while listening to the recorded lecture. This also helps me review what I learned for the day and it seems to be a working strategy so far!


macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
You could hook this
to your PB and record away. It would be better than trying to record from the PB microphone. I've always found note-taking to be useless when trying to decipher it later on. Sometimes you really miss key points in notetaking.


macrumors 68000
Jun 9, 2004
Rochester, NY
For right now, I'm gonna have to add another vote for Office 2004's note view. I like how the layout actually looks like a page of note paper... Nice touch :) Has anyone heard about that new MS product though, called like... "One Note"? I'm not sure of the exact name, but I've seen some flash ads floating around about it... I guess there's a 30-day free trial for it too. If anyone has tried it and has a few impressions, please let us know.


macrumors 6502
Jan 29, 2005
Sydney, Australia
I use the iTalk and my 3G 20Gb iPod. Works great for me. I just whack that sucker on my lectuer's lectern and record it. Thats the best way. It wont pick up from far away.


macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2004
I only just started taking notes using my iBook last semester at uni (previously it was just pen and paper). I used VoodooPad Lite, which I was very happy with and suited my needs exactly. Also, its free. For any sketches/diagrams I used Appleworks drawing functionality and saved as/converted to .pdf then put it in my notes in VPL.

Whatever you decide on, all you really need is basic word processing functionality for taking notes. Its up to you whether you want sketching/drawing support, and whether you want one program to handle everything (notes + sketch/draw) or have a few programs work together as I did.


macrumors member
Jun 30, 2004
what subject? if you need maths use LaTeX (TeX). It's free and prints the best.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2004
i have been using Circus Ponies Notebook for about a week now and i am really having fun with it. my only issue is that my teachers jump around so much it's kind of a pain but its easy enough to flip back and forth. i just create a temp notebook, type everything in it then go back and start copying and pasting.. works like a charm. i can't wait to get 2.0 because it seems to have more polish than this one and a bunch of new features i could use.