I’ve been at a workshop the last few days, so I’ve been experimenting with my iPad to find the best way to take notes. I’ve tried three main apps, Evernote, Penultimate, and Notability. For text, Evernote works fine, but it’s unable to take advantage of the touchscreen of the iPad for drawing or handwriting. Penultimate is a nice program with good integration with other services, but when using a stylus, it’s hard to fit everything on screen. Notability combines the best features of all three programs, so it’s my favorite by far. Here’s why.
Notability gives you the power to combine drawings, audio, typed text, and pictures all in one document. But the killer feature it offers is the ability to write or draw in a zoomed in window, similar to the old palm pilots or pocket pc’s. This lets you use a stylus to take detailed notes.
It also let’s you import pictures or PDF files. Yo can take notes directly on PDF files, which works great for handouts. You can also record the audio of the lecture or talk while you take notes, so this app really has a lot of power. I also use my keyboard with it to type up notes. Notability has good text tools built in, so you can format and markup your text.
When you are done, you can sync your notes to Dropbox, or email them as rtf or PDF files. I email the PDF file to my Evernote account so I can keep all my notes in one place. This is really a great example of a full featured iPad ap, and it’s only $0.99 in the app store. Watch the video below to get a better understanding of how it works.