Note-taking on the iPad 2

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by JPS, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. JPS macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2007
    I'm sure this has certainly been covered a million times already, but I'm finding the included notetaking app on the iPad to be inadequate for my needs. I'm looking for an app that will allow me to type as well as use a stylus (primarily for editing), that will spell-correct as I type, and that will allow me to save and email notes (as Awesome Note does on the iPhone--though it's not available for iPad in a usable size).

    That said, I'd also like a recommendation for a reliable stylus for the iPad 2.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    My favourite note taking app is Notability, followed by 7notesHD Premium. The latter is the only app (to my knowledge anyway) which converts hand writing to typed text in real time. I haven't had much luck with that feature because my hand writing is pretty awful so the conversion ends up taking more time than it's worth, but I use a stylus for hand written notes extensively.

    Both apps offer options for emailing notes, hand writing with stylus, conversion of notes to pdf, and syncing with Drop Box. Both also allow for audio recordings. I haven't tested this yet, but Notability is supposed to be able to sync the recording with your written notes (press on a word and it takes you to the corresponding place in the recording). If it's important for you to be able to export to Evernote, I think only 7NotesHD (out of these two apps) have that capacity.

    I slightly prefer the Notability UI, but then stuff like that is quite individual.

    As for type of stylus, I've had Targus warmly recommended but haven't been able to get hold of it where I live/ been able to find someone who's willing to ship it to my address. I'm using Griffin at the moment. It's doing the job for me, but I don't really have any grounds for comparison as I haven't used any others.
  3. JPS thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2007
    Thank you, jojoba. Can one also type into these apps, or are they strictly handwriting-recognition?
  4. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Oh yes, you can type in both - and they spell correct (I think through the iPad keyboard itself, not through the specific apps, if you see what I mean).

    7NotesHD has a free version you can test out first to see if you like it. I'm not sure if Notability has the same.
  5. JPS thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2007
  6. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
  7. donatello rage macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    After having regrettably bought almost every note taking app i can say with confidence that the most multi-faceted notetaking app CURRENTLY is Notability

    1) you can type using your bluetooth keyboard or the keyboard on the ipad
    2) you can have bullet points or numbering
    3) you can have a hybrid document with typing and handwriting (using the stylus)
    4) there are different paper backgrounds that are free
    5) you can record while typing/taking notes
    6) you can insert "figures"
    7) has the option for zooming in to an area so that your handwriting fits into a nice snug box
    8) has many different syncing options

    ive previously used penultimate, neu notes, Notes plus, noterize and i can say with confidence that Notability is the best notetaking app currently in the app store.

    HOWEVER, I personally have noticed that taking notes on my ipad is NOT aeons away from being similar to taking notes in a notebook.

    Just as a background im a College Graduate student whose used my ipad for notetaking as well as handwritten notes in class and for reading assignments.
    And i still feel as if the iPad still has a way to go before it makes the pen pad 1,2 punch obsolete.
  8. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    I like using PaperDesk. You can try the Lite version first which is full featured but has a maximum page restriction.
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I've tried a lot of them as well. Notability is OK, but I think NoteTaker HD is considerably better to use (for handwriting). However, dollar for dollar, Notability is undeniably the best buy in the app store. 99 cents is outrageous.
  10. hchavarria macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2008
    I too have invested in many note taking apps and notability is very good but still lacks the ability to cut/move hand written text so if you want to reposition it you will not be able to and also lacks the ability to add/delete pages so if you want to delete a page you won't be able to. So far my two favorite notetaking apps are NoteShelf and Ghostwriter notes. I used to used Noteshelf exclusively until I was able to joing the Ghostwriter notes beta testing program and the new features it will bring on the upcoming version (already submitted to apple) will be really good. So keep an eye out for the next update because in my opinion will be the most complete note taking app out there. I also used Note Taker HD and it has TONS of options and features but I personally do not line the interface at all. If you are looking for just handwriting with export and import functionallity I suggest NoteShelf, if you want hand writing with typing, exporting/importing, and automatic backups to dropbox and other cloud services I suggest Ghostwriter Notes (the pending update).
  11. JPS thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2007
    I've bought Notability, and it serves my purposes very well. So I thank everyone for their helpful and thoughtful replies, and of course it's good to know of other note taking options...just in case!
  12. GaresTaylan macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2009
    I have been using uPad for the past few months. There may be better ones out there now, but it seems to suit my needs.

    As for a stylus, I have been using the Adonit Jot Pro. I have tried several others such as the Griffin stylus, iFaraday, iWand, etc... and I have found the Adonit to be the most accurate and easy to use.
  13. Nuipaduser macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2011
    Converting to text

    Does notability also convert the handwritten notes to text? Am looking for something that can be used to take notes and then ideally be included in email or other documents as text - without having to convert to PDF and then convert to text from there.
  14. JazzyFizzle macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    I found that the best way of taking notes is with a notepad and a pen. The only reason why anyone would use an iPad for this is to look cool in front of anyone watching you.

    Using the iPad as a notepad is such a stupid idea.
  15. JPS thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2007
    I also used to do all my writing on a portable typewriter--five published novels and many screenplays, an arduous occupation, especially when you've written a 500-page book and have decided to change the name of the main character, and I'm not sorry to leave that process in the past.

    Using a computer has made my work immeasurably easier, so taking notes--when my handwriting is hardly the most legible, even to me--on an iPad is a godsend, especially as I can email them if necessary.
  16. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    As another poster indicated, 7Notes Premium HD is the only note-taking app that I know that can translate handwriting to text in real-time. PhatPad and WritePad have the translation capability, but only after the handwriting is selected and submitted to the translation engine.

    My handwriting is marginal at best and even worse on the iPad. However, 7Notes will improve its handwriting recognition (and word prediction) over time as it "learns" your handwriting.
  17. Qvothe macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2012
    What about the new version of Notes Plus?

    What about the new version of notes plus? I found a review of it online and I want to know from more people if it's as good as it sounds...
  18. franmatt80 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2010
    I think it's ok - certainly much better than it was. I don't find the split screen thing very useful though - it's too small to have a PDF or similar on one side and take notes on the other as suggested. I'm not crazy on the UI either. But it does have some useful functionality. Lack of Dropbox andEvernote integration are deal breakers for me.

    I have Notes plus and Noteshelf next to each other on my first page of apps and I always end up turning to Noteshelf - the UI and overall experience is more pleasant in my opinion. And the latest update which bring text to it means that it has everything I need now.
  19. Fedorov macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2009
    NoteShelf now it does text can do everything.
  20. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    CaptureNotes 2 is also good, and the next version includes inserting photos. Hopefully, it will also allow you to resize them. I go back and forth between that and Notability, but I think once the next version of CN2 is released I won't go back to Notability for anything.
  21. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
  22. Coasterfanryan macrumors regular

    Nov 28, 2010
    Pittsburgh Pa
  23. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    I have trouble deciding between GoodNotes, Notability and Noteshelf.
    I have tried several others, but some are too slow, others don't zoom properly, others don't support Dropbox.
    It just sucks having to spend money to test these apps, but I had no choice. I mainly rely on user reviews and comments both inside and outside iTunes App Store.
  24. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    Noteshelf - fast, no ink smoothing, great wrist protection (even without zoom)
    Notability - ink smoothing, fast, no wrist protection without zoom box, ugly UI compared to Noteshelfs'
    Notes plus - much better with latest OS. Still not as good as two above.
  25. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Not as stupid as generalizing about others who may or may not actually find what you find stupid to be useful. Never assume that your preferences are universal no matter what the topic.

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