Tag Archives: Note-taking

Penultimate & Evernote

Recently, Evernote announced its purchase of Penultimate [$0.99 - iPad], the amazing iPad notes app. With Penultimate, I’m able to bring my fascination with paper to the iPad. I can use draft paper, lined paper or any number of other options from their Paper Store as the background for my notes and sketches. And, they’re using a feature they call “wrist protection” which makes it easy to rest your wrist on the iPad while you write without leaving unwanted marks. I am loving that!

Penultimate Sketch

As you can see, there’s both Dropbox and Evernote integration built into the app. I can send PDF versions of my notes to anyone via email, Dropbox or Evernote. If I’m collaborating with someone who is also using Penultimate, I can share actual notes or even notebooks and both of us can mark them up.

Notes aren’t the only thing you can add to your notebooks. You can include images from your photo library or your iPad’s camera. So, you can capture a photo of a document or page while in the research library and then add notes on the same page.

Penultimate is an impressive tool as it is. Now that it’s become a part of the Evernote family, I’m expecting to see even more goodness. Don’t forget that Evernote does a pretty good job of “reading” handwriting. Does the acquisition of Penultimate mean even more improvements in the handwriting recognition arena?

Taking Notes in Goodreader

I confess, I’m constantly defacing my books with stickies, highlights and notes in the margins. And, you’d be amazed at some of the things I’ve used as bookmarks. So, when I discovered GoodReader for the iPad, I was in heaven.

GoodReader [iOS - $4.99] is an impressive PDF reader for the iPad. It easily handles large PDFs like manuals and can be used to read a multitude of other formats. It has an amazing file management system that can grab documents from any number of sources, including a direct download from the Web.

It also has some significant features for highlighting text and adding notes on the page or as stickies.

GoodReader Notes

This example shows how lines, boxes, typed text and sticky notes appear on the text. Tap the sticky icon to display both the note and the name of the person who posted it. Note: the blue boxes/lined text show hyperlinks and are not part of the marginalia.

To add a note to a document, long tap at the point where you want the note to appear.

Notes bar

The notes toolbar will appear. This one lets you create a bookmark at this point in the document, select text, add a sticky note, type some text or draw with any of the tools you see here.

Text notes tools

A long tap on text will select that text and present a text toolbar. In addition to the drawing tools, you now have tools for highlighting text, underlining, strike-thru and adding callouts related to the selected text. The two tools you see with the symbol that looks like an inverted “t” will create the callout. These can be quite useful when reviewing a document.

Format options

Once an note item has been added to the document, a long tap on the item will display a format bar for that note. Notice the Delete button. It’s just as easy to remove notes as it is to create them.

It doesn’t take long to get comfortable with GoodReader’s annotation tools. Most PDF readers support annotations and will be able to display and manipulate the notes you create here. For those few exceptions (Apple’s Mail app is one of them.), you can flatten the file before distributing it. A flattened file will display your annotations, but they cannot be modified or removed.

GoodReader’s annotation tools are just one of the many things that make this such an impressive app. I’ll be talking about this handy app a lot.

G-Notes: Take Note

This week we’ll take a look at note-taking applications. Digital note-taking has become an art form with apps that can capture any thought, idea, phrase, image or web clip with ease. But that’s just the beginning. It’s also necessary to organize and find that information again when needed. Today’s apps are amazing research and organizational tools. The trick now is to find just the one to suit your style. Here’s a look at some of your options.


  • Circus Ponies Notebook uses a familiar notebook interface to capture and store your information. You can type, sketch, dictate and “clip” information into your notebook and it will all be indexed and searchable so it’s all within easy reach. Oh, and yes, they support tags (keywords) for organizing notes. A standard license is $50 and academic license is $30.
  • DEVONnote uses an interface similar to Apple’s Mail app to organize notes and clippings. It only handles text and rich text formats, but the DEVONthink document management product does includes note management. DEVONnote sells for $25 and DEVONthink starts at $50.
  • Selenium is an all-in-one research management tool with a browser, outliner, word processor and bibliography manager all in one nice package. It also includes Google Docs support and iSight barcode scanning to simplify adding sources to your project. Selenium is a $15 download.


  • Microsoft OneNote 2010 is part of their Office suite. Like Notebook, OneNote can capture information in just about any format and also has a web-clipper that sits in the background until you need it. It’s also uses an notebook-style interface with tabs and pages to quickly move from one topic to the next. OneNote includes collaborative capabilities either by locating a notebook file on a shared drive or by using the OneNote Web app. There’s a mobile app (Windows phones only) too. OneNote is included in all the Office suites or can be purchased separately.


  • Evernote is top dog in the online category. Whether you’re jotting down notes and ideas or capturing online content, Evernote can handle it. All your information is stored in your online account and is accessible from both desktop computers and mobile devices. There’s even an offline capability to take your info to inaccessible locations. Evernote offers both free and premium [$45/year] accounts.
  • Zoho Notebook fits right into Zoho’s online applications suite. It integrates with other Zoho apps and browser plugins (Chrome and Firefox) make it easy to capture content. Zoho Notebook content can be shared with others and Skype integration makes it easy to work together online. Zoho Notebook is a free service.


  • Notebooks (available for both iPhone and iPad) can capture and organize notes, tasks, sketches, documents and web clippings (using a Mobile Safari bookmarklet) in a notebook interface. Your information can then be shared with others or sent to your Mac desktop via wifi and online sync services like Dropbox. It is not a universal app – there is an iPhone version and iPad version. Each costs $8.99.