Onenote vs. Notability for handwriting

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by ahostmadsen, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. ahostmadsen macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    I like OneNote for the way it organizes the notes, and general good feature set. However, to me it seems that in Notability my handwriting turns out better. It also seems OneNote has a slight lag when using the Pencil. Does anyone else have that experience?

    Also, it seems OneNote does not have a consistent page width. It seems the page become wider and wider, so that it does not have consistent magnification. Which again could lead to handwritten notes having different size. How do you manage that?
  2. sixxmum macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2010
    Notability has handwriting smoothing. :) I have a tremor and atrocious handwriting, and it actually looks pretty good with Notability!
  3. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I still prefer ZoomNotes over both OneNote and Notability.
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Nope, OneNote's inking isn't at the level it should be yet. Both Notability and Goodnotes are markedly better.

    OneNote uses an infinite page by design. I happen to like it because it's impossible to run out of space when taking notes. I also often use it as a large canvas where I put all sorts of notes and documentation related to the same topic or project on one page (this works even better on my Windows computer with a 27" 4K display where I can zoom way out to see everything at once). There are times when a fixed page width is nice though, so I bounce between Goodnotes and OneNote as needed.
  5. ahostmadsen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    OK, so it's not only me. I like OneNote conceptually, but with inferior inking it's not going to work for me. The most beautiful inking is definitely in NotesPlus, but while it has just been updated it still doesn't work very well with Apple Pencil.
  6. Jasmynp macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2011
    East Coast, USA
    NotesPlus is my preferred app. The fountain pen option makes my handwriting look great.
  7. ahostmadsen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Exactly. I have been using that extensively pre-Apple Pencil. But it just doesn't take advantage of the Apple Pencil.
  8. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    I had Notability on my old iPad Mini for the highlight features, etc. I also have O365, and Notability wins hands down. Sync's with iCloud out of the box, and its cheap for what it does. I have one for the Macbook and one for the iPP. I've been using it more/more, and slowly moving my notes from the Notes app to Notability.

    Haven't used Goodnotes, so can't comment. Same with ZoomNotes.
  9. IvanLasston macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2008
    OneNote has the ability to OCR your text and search your handwritten notes. Seems to work well as long as your handwriting is OK. I believe Penultimate has something similar through Evernote.

    Another thing I like about OneNote is that it has the ability to convert handwritten text to type. Unfortunately this seems to be a feature only available on a the full Windows version of OneNote. This also seems to work quite well for me but it is probably very handwriting dependent also.

    I also use Phatware's Writepad. It adds a custom keyboard - that is handwriting recognition. This allows me to "type" notes using the pencil in OneNote (or any app really). Thus allowing me to do handwriting recognition directly on the iPad.

    But I agree - as far as pure inking - Notability, Notes Plus and Upad are the ones I like.
  10. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Goodnotes searches handwriting and can convert handwriting to type.
  11. ahostmadsen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Unfortunately, the Mac version of OneNote is so feature limited. The iPad version is more advanced! You can search handwritten notes in the iPad version, but not the Mac version. You can insert equations in the iPad version, but not the Mac version.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 26, 2016 ---
    I'm now leaning towards OneNote. I have experimented with how to hold the pencil, and how much pressure to apply, and it seems I found some way where my handwriting turns out OK in OneNote. Considering its organizing capability, I think I can accept the slightly inferior inking.
  12. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    OneNote is my preferred program as well, but there are times I want the better inking of an app like Goodnotes, or the fixed page width. Fortunately it's pretty trivial to take notes in another program and export them directly into your OneNote notebook. This also has the benefit of 'freezing' the notes in time as a pdf which is sometimes beneficial. The one problem I have with OneNote after using it extensively for years, including as a knowledge-sharing platform at our engineering firm, is that the notes remain editable forever. It's easy to accidentally change something you did not intend to long after the fact (or move or delete an element of the page). It's the one down-side to an overall excellent program.
  13. ahostmadsen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Have to correct. This was based on a very old version of OneNote. My computer just updated it, and now the Mac version is quite full featured, including equations and search of handwriting.

    More reason to settle on OneNote.
  14. Andy847 macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2016
    Chicago Suburb
    I didn't like One Note. The Fact that I had to use a microsoft email, instead of my own gmail, bothered me. I've dowloaded a bunch of note apps. My favorite right now is Notes Plus, because has more templates to use for the paper. I also have and like Good Notes and Notability. I also use the native Notes app on the IPP, because it gives you the ability to lock notes, which I use for sensitive stuff on my IPP. Just like with Drawing apps, they each have their own strengths.
  15. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    No need to use Microsoft email. My account uses my gmail address.
  16. PanAm-L1011 macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2010
    Republic of California
    Huh? Notes Plus has been updated for the pencil. I've tried all three and think Notes Plus is the best, hands down.
  17. ahostmadsen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    OK. So, NotesPlus has two writing modes. One is a hand mode, with palm rest etc. Completely unsuitable for the Apple Pencil. You don't need a palm rest! The second is a pen mode, which would be suitable, except in that mode you cannot scroll, zoom in, nothing. What do you do? Switch back and forth between the two modes. Compare that with OneNote: fingers are used to scroll and zoom, pen for drawing. It seems to me it was just a quick and dirty fix that does not at all take advantage of the Apple Pencil.

    Anyway, not sure why this thread has been moved. It's about the Apple Pencil, where specific to the iPad Pro.
  18. rmm123 macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2014
    Actually, Neither OneNote for Mac nor the iPad version allows you to search or do Copy Text from image. This feature only works if the image is opened and a copy text function is carried out on the Windows desktop version (not even the windows app version).

    I had a long chat with Microsoft techs today about this - even they dont realise the limitation and were surprised that this is a bug or a much needed feature by Apple users.

    Just try it. insert an image into Mac Onenote and just try and do a copy text WITHOUT opening that Notebook on Windows.
  19. Xenden macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2013
    Rio Rancho, NM
    I would agree with this statement. My handwriting is terrible, but reading back my notes isn't too bad.

    Plus you can record audio, and the notes show what was being said as you were writing.
  20. FuzzyGillette macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2017
    With recording and hand writing notes with apps on a iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, is there a way to not get the tapping of the pen against the screen in the recording? Or even lower the sound of tapping? (of course with the exception of not having a heavy hand).
  21. GerritV macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Have you tried spreading a towel or a soft cloth underneath your iPad?
    Either way, I know I will never ever use the Apple Pencil or any other hard tip stylus - I can't stand the tapping and I sure won't disturb people around me.
  22. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2013
    I find writing in cursive when I can helps.
  23. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    I don't understand this. I use oneNote with Mozilla. What do you mean?
  24. Cashmonee macrumors 6502a


    May 27, 2006
    I am unsure why OneNote is so popular. I find it way behind other notes apps, namely Notability, GoodNotes, and one I am just discovering, Nebo. OneNote might be nice for typed notes, but it is not on the same level for handwritten.
  25. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    Cross-platform, handwriting recognition, etc are a few reasons.

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