Research With Notes

Well yeah! Researchers need notes to document what they know and what they need to find. Everybody knows that.

There are all kinds of notes management services and apps with many that do amazing things to keep us organized, find what we need fast and capture new information easily. Services like Evernote and One Note are quite impressive. If you are a serious researcher, the time and money needed to get the most from these services is well worth it.

For Mac, iPad and iPhone users, there is the free Notes app. At first glance it looks rather simplistic but it won’t take long to realize how sophisticated it really is. In addition to the basic text note, you can also create checklists and tables. Use Siri to create a new note then dictate your content. You can even add attachments – photos, scanned documents and videos – to your notes.

Research notes tend to grow quickly. Fortunately Notes lets you create folders to help organize all that research goodness. You can easily move a note from one folder to another. There is a sort feature making it easy to sort by date edited, date created or title.

Sample research folder in Notes

As your research notes grow, you will find your device’s search feature very handy. Even better, just ask Siri to find it for you. As you can see in this example, I include hash tags (#Levy #Texas #military) in my notes to make searching even easier. Anytime I want to see all my notes on my Levy family, all I have to do is search for #Levy and Notes delivers. My standard hashtags include family name, location and type of record.

Going to the library to do some research? Take your iPhone or iPad with you and use Notes to scan the documents you find there. All you do is open a note in Notes then tap the plus sign icon at the top of the keyboard. Choose the Scan Document option then position your iPad over the document page. Your device will automatically capture the page and add it to the note.

If you are using iCloud for storage, your notes will automatically synch to each of your iOS devices – and your Mac desktop too. There is also a collaboration feature that takes advantage of iCloud so you can share a note and all your collaborators can view, and or change the content of that note. Your collaborators must be signed into iCloud before they can edit a note.

This is just the beginning. Notes has a lot more goodness to put to good use with your research. You will find detailed instructions for making the most of your Notes app in the iPad User Guide for iOS 12 (there is also an iPhone user guide). You can download either guide in the Books app on your device. These guides are free.

Have Fonts Will Travel

Have fonts will travel? They can with AnyFont!

Keynote is a fabulous scrapbooking and storytelling platform and Keynote on my iPad means I can be creative wherever I am. There’s just one tiny little problem. I love fonts and iOS only has a few fonts – or so I thought. Then I discovered the AnyFont app [iOS – $1.99]. This app makes it possible to install additional fonts on your iOS devices. AnyFont on iPhone You still have some limitations –…

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Have Fonts Will Travel

Keynote is a fabulous scrapbooking and storytelling platform and Keynote on my iPad means I can be creative wherever I am. There’s just one tiny little problem. I love fonts and iOS only has a few fonts – or so I thought. Then I discovered the AnyFont app [iOS – $1.99]. This app makes it possible to install additional fonts on your iOS devices.

AnyFont on iPhone
AnyFont on iPhone

You still have some limitations – primarily the amount of space available on your iPad – but with a little effort there are ways to deal with that too. My first step was to develop a set of presentation fonts that includes the fonts I use regularly for titles, headings, type and captions. Those fonts have been installed on my iPad using AnyFonts and are always available. I also keep a collection of useful fonts in my Dropbox account so they can be downloaded and installed from just about anywhere. Then, I’ll uninstall them when I’m finished.

I took some lessons from the digital scrapbook designers and created frequently-used words as graphics using whatever font I want. These graphics are stashed in a Photos iCloud album and can be easily grabbed from just about anywhere.

AnyFont will also work in Pages, Numbers and the Microsoft Office apps. Be aware that the iCloud versions of Keynote, Pages and Numbers still only use the basic font set.

AnyFont has an in-app purchase (99¢) for a collection of bundled fonts you can add/remove at any time. These appear to be Google’s impressive Web Fonts collection which are available for free. However, it’s probably worth the 99¢ to have them available within the app rather than doing it yourself manually.

Get Ready for iOS 10

Get Ready for iOS 10

Apple is releasing iOS 10 on Tuesday. It has a number of interesting new features. I’m looking forward to the updates in Messages including features like handwriting, stickers and animations. Siri and Messages both will now work in some of my favorite apps too. Photos can search for object in pictures – like dogs, boats or beaches. I can’t wait to see the new features for presenting photos.…

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Get Ready for iOS 10

Apple is releasing iOS 10 on Tuesday. It has a number of interesting new features. I’m looking forward to the updates in Messages including features like handwriting, stickers and animations. Siri and Messages both will now work in some of my favorite apps too. Photos can search for object in pictures – like dogs, boats or beaches. I can’t wait to see the new features for presenting photos.

Before installing the update, make sure you have a complete backup of your device – just in case . . . There are two backup methods – iCloud and iTunes. The iTunes backup stores your backed up files on your desktop computer while iCloud backup stores them in your iCloud account. iCloud backup files are always encrypted. You choose whether you want to encrypt an iTunes backup. You need to be plugged into your computer to perform a backup or restore via iTunes while iCloud backup/restore can happen anywhere you have a WiFi connection.

You may also want to check the amount of available space on your device. In the Settings app, go to General > Storage & iCloud Storage. If the available storage is low you have two options – either update via iTunes or make space by removing some apps using the Manage Storage feature. You can delete some of your apps here. They can always be reinstalled later from the Purchased section of the App Store.

Here’s how to perform an iCloud backup . . .

  1. Make sure you have a WiFi connection.
  2. Open the Settings app and tap iCloud.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Backup item and tap it.
  4. If you have iCloud Backup turned on, it will automatically perform a daily backup as long as the phone is plugged into the charger, locked and connected to WiFi.
  5. You can also peform a backup at any time by tapping Back Up Now.

Note that iCloud backup does not backup things that are already saved to iCloud. This includes things like your contacts, bookmarks and mail messages.

How to perform an iTunes backup . . .

  1. Open the iTunes app on your desktop and connect your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select your device when it appears in the iTunes app.
  3. iTunes will display a screen with a panel showing information about your device and below that a panel for backups. You can choose to set up automatic backups or click on Back Up Now to perform a manual backup. This panel also displays when the last backup was completed.
  4. With iTunes backup, you can choose whether you want to encrypt your backup. Note that encryption is required if you are saving Health and Activity data in your backup.

Once your backup is complete, you will be ready to upgrade the operating system. Once again, make sure your device is plugged into power and has a WiFi Internet connection.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap the General item and when that open, tap Software Update.
  3. It may take a few seconds for the screen to display the new iOS version, but once it does appear, you will see a Download and Install item just below it. Tap that.
  4. You will be presented with options to Install now, Later or Install Tonight. If you choose Install Tonight, make sure your devices is plugged into power and leave it. It will update automatically and be waiting for you in the morning.
  5. If you have assigned a passcode for your device, you will be asked to enter it.

You can also use iTunes to perform a backup. This is useful if you don’t have access to WiFi. Open iTunes, connect your device then open the Summary screen. You’ll see the update button on that screen.