Who would have thought that you can have so many note taking applications on the iPad, or on any system come to that. But there is more to a note taking application than just the input of text. There are audio notes, video notes, photos, book marks, diagrams and illustrations. Then on top of that, you have the look and feel of how the application works, organisation and tagging. A simple note taking application like Simple Note, Notes or Plain Text gives you the basics where you input some text, giving it a title and that is more or less that. Then you have apps like Noterize which will let you take audio notes and add bookmarks.
Evernote could be all that you would ever need. You have synchronisation to have all your notes everywhere and you can include audio and pictures, Even throw in PDF documents in there. The format is straightforward and some folks like it that way. I like the fact that the note shows the audio clip as an icon at the top of the note, same as it does with the photos. PlainText is another application that is minimalist, but it does allow use of TextExpander. The free app does have adverts at the bottom and you can pay to have them removed.
Simple note has a nice trick where you can click on a clock icon and have access to back up versions of your notes. You can also publish the note to a web page and email the link to where ever. Or you can use tags to share notes with others, by adding tags at the top of the note editor. Hit the ‘i’ button to get information about your notes including the number of words and characters. That can be very handy when you are working to a target minimum for an article, or target maximum for twitter.
Nebulous Notes has been my favourite note taking application for a while. It ticks all the boxes for what I want to do with taking notes. Until I heard of ThinkBook anyway. It is easy to use and I can access my files out of DropBox and use TextExpander, it also has an extra layer of keys on the keyboard and the possibility to create your own keystroke macros. The extra layer of keys on the keyboard can be turned off if you don't want it there. Good to keep there because it means Nebulous Notes can be used to easily write Markdown formatted text. Nebulous has a four different themes that change the look of the app while you are using it
Noterize is a little different as a note taking app, because you can use handwriting, highlighting, use an eraser, as well as take audio notes. It will do normal plain text for you that you can type in direct, or you can type in a box that you can move around and resize, or turn into a sticky note if it takes your fancy. In fact the boxes can contain photos or web snaps as well as text. You can share out whole documents, or just a page or two. The sharing is done with PDF format, which you can password protect. Audio can be exported out through the ‘Document Folder’ and then via iTunes. They have a 15% off deal with PogoSketch which is the recommended stylus to work with Noterize with hand written notes. You can download PDF’s and Powerpoint into the application also. New notes have the yellow, lined legal pad look about them and it seems you can do graph paper and blank page also. It is a good trick to be able to download a web snap from the web browser part of the application, that is there just so you can grab stuff.
Edito is an editor that is optimised for writing markdown. Doesn’t do all the other things found in the fancy note taking apps but is a useful one trick pony. I like that there is an extra set of keys that gives me the one click to a hash symbol, a star or asterisk, square and round brackets and so on. Markdown is a good way to write simple web pages. There are CSS files in the application that give you a way to format your content. It is possible to download these CSS files to use with your HTML output from Edito. Get the html or the text sent out from the application in an email.
A new notes application with a twist, is ThinkBook. It has a weird interface and combines a todo list and other things into a note taking app. For sure when you start using it you will be completely baffled. I suggest that it is worth taking the time to learn the interface and find out how to get the most out of it. Like many of the other note taking apps, it will link up with your DropBox account. You can use ThinkBook as a GTD application with making lists with checkboxes and questions, there are projects, dashboards, pages and notes. You can easily use ThinkBook as an outliner, a lot cheaper than the product from the Omnigroup. Seems like ThinkBooks could be a way to be completely organised with your life.
MindNodePro - Although this is a mind mapping application what you are doing really is to create notes. Totally non linear, but when you export it out as a OPML file what you have is a text file, that is an outline of your thoughts. Just because when you are working on it, it is more in the realm of a visual extravaganza and seeming to be all over the place, it is still an outline of your thoughts, a note. You can use MindNode by itself or in combination with other note taking applications. There is a free version and a paid version both of which produces files that you can open in the desktop MindNode Pro application.
Finally The List of Eight Top Note taking iPad Applications
- Nebulous Notes