Note taking software for college?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by insignificantMB, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. insignificantMB macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2008
    I'm going to college in about 4 months and I am looking for a note taking software. Something like Microsoft Office OneNote, unfortunately that is only on windows.
    I read on a website some good ones are:

    Just looking for one to keep things organized and full featured
    like tabs, highlighting, sorting, etc..
    Is anyone familiar with a good note taking software?
  2. pixiedusted macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2008
  3. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Believe it or not I use Text Edit and keep it simple, that way I could type the basics and still listen to lectures. Either I did that or just wrote down notes.

    You will learn to get a system down and learn not to write down every single thing. It's better to write down main points, and if possible (this sounds unpopular) read your notes either right after class or well before bed. Don't wait until too late when your mind starts getting ready for sleep.

    For the first two years of college, there's a lot of rote memorization and in the final two years, your have to do more essay writing and some original research. Every year builds on the next, so actually the notes can become more concise as times goes on in college.
  4. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
  5. Parallax124 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2009
    I use OmniOutliner and I love it for lecture notes during class because nothing's easier and quicker for organizing things on the fly and making changes as the discussion progresses. But for making my final outline for a class I use regular print view in Word since I'm way more familiar with the formatting nuances to make it look exactly how I like it.

    That said, I don't think OO is worth the price I paid for it. Even Notebook View in Word isn't THAT different, it's just annoyingly slow. If I could go back I think I'd try Circus Ponies Notebook since it looks a little more intuitive...
  6. Blake the Great macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2009
    Have you tried Microsoft Word 2004 or 2008? It has notebook view, for taking notes.
  7. sn00pie macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    United States
    Microsoft Office has a pretty decent note taking view. I personally use Pages for all of my notes that I take while in lectures and such.

    I've found that its easiest if I type the notes in the lecture, print them off when I get home, and read over them. Then write them out when studying...which is what I'm doing right now. :)
  8. anth macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005
    Just a word of advice...

    As cool as it is to take notes on your Macbook (and occasionally useful), don't overlook the utility of a paper notebook.

    Shock-resistant, deals better with a spilled beer than a Macbook, and all for the bargain price of $2.99.

    As a graduate student who has been in more classes than I care to admit, sometimes typing down the notes just doesn't cut it. In many of my most important courses (organic chem, biochem, various molecular and cell biology courses), the most important ideas in class are often diagrammed on the board. I've been at a few pretty decent institutions, and if you really look around the room during upper-level lecture classes,

    a)You'll notice that there are relatively few laptops out

    b)If you look closely, the majority of those on their laptops probably aren't busy notetaking.

    I'm not saying you don't need a notebook - my MBP gets carted everywhere with me - it's just not regularly used IN lecture.
  9. waffles123 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2009
    I use Circus Ponies Notebook, which offer a discounted price if you are a student. The main reason I got it was because you can take notes using the Cornell Note Taking Method, which really helps me take notes in class. I also use Genius, (which is like flash cards) to help me memorize important words.


    1. You can download a free trial of Circus Ponies Notebook.

    2. Circus Ponies Notebook has tabs, which I believe you said you were looking for.

    3. Circus Ponies cost $30 bucks if you are a student, while Genius is free ;)
  10. insignificantMB thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Wow, I never knew there was a notebook view on word haha...
    Seems pretty good, although I'd like all my notes to be on the application instead of on different files? I guess it would be workable, and cheaper since I already have it...

    Yea, I heard not many people use them. But I guess when we do use it, it'd be more convenient, copy n paste notes to hw and stuff. And faster note taking.
  11. Davy.Shalom macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    Best programs and utilities:

    -Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008
    -both have recording software built in
    -both have a notebook view and tabs
    -A good old paper notebook. Its cheap and portable.
  12. gerabbi macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2009
    Before making a decision you have to at least look at the Notebook from Circus Ponies. It's a pretty incredible software.
  13. PeterQC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2008
    I wonder how it would go if you'd use Photoshop (with an legal page open) + a tablet (Wacom Bamboo). A lot less portable, but at least you can take more complicated thing with it, like math formula (thing that I don't, but would look interesting) and not having to bent yourself to write, just having the tablet on your leg and writing with it, relaxing on your chair.
  14. ArtursBoy macrumors member

    May 7, 2008
    Thanks for the links, helpful info.
  15. ruinfx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2008
  16. dn325ci macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    I don't own one of these myself, but the reviews have been widely positive. Wish they were available when I was in college.
  17. darkcurse macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2005
    Wow students these days are so pampered. Makes me wonder how our parents used to study LOL.
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I'd just write down the notes with pen and paper. Definitely would not pay for a program to take notes with- how frivolous. If you want them in electronic form you can copy your notes as a way of studying.
  19. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    The cesspit of civilization
    I have to keep recommending iOrganize because of it's great organizing capabilities.

    Most of the note-taking-organizing apps out there have a trial period, you should check them out before deciding.
  20. Molnies macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2006
    I use Circus Ponies Notebook as my note taking app. Personally I find it to be ten times better than a pen and paper, simply because I write faster on the computer and it's way more organised. The tabs are useful, but what I like the most is probably the sticky notes that can actually stick out of the side of the notebook, so it's both a tab and a sticky note (just like you would with a book or so).

    The multidex keeps everything important easy to find, like all the highlighted words and due dates (even though I use The Hit List for GTD). I'm still on my trial of Notebook, but I will buy it in a few days when the trial ends, and with the great academic rebate it's well worth every cent.
  21. anth macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005
    Wacom tablet for graphic design = incredibly useful.

    Wacom tablet for taking notes = no sex for 4 years.
  22. bufo macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2009
    I graduated from college only 5 years ago... I don't see how I would be able to take notes on a laptop. I had to write down all these weird diagrams and formulas all the time.
  23. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    since our lecturers publish lecture notes/slides prior the actual lecture,

    I use Acrobat for pdf publishes,
    Outliner, if there were absolutely nothing published
    Word, if the lecture materials were published on .doc

    it's all the comment&mark-up tools that I use the most

    A keyboard is pretty much how I would like to take notes with since I (touch-)type a lot faster than I write,
    and I find it is really important to help me learn the course materials by having all the things down and properly covered.
    It doesn't matter if I missed bits since recordings are also available (in most situation)
  24. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    I just use the notebook view in MS Word, not all courses/majors have complex diagrams or equations(even in upper division) as a few other people have pointed out, it really all depends on what you're taking or your major.
  25. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    I really like Journler . Unfortunately, the developer is going back to school and won't be updating the app. :( It is in pretty good condition now though and is definitely usable for note taking. I tried out Journler and DevonThink and came down on the side of Journler for the simple reason that they do very similar things but Journler is cheaper and does more or less the same thing.

    Edit: it appears the developer is working on it again!

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