Best note taking / "whiteboard" app?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Jolek, May 5, 2010.

  1. Jolek
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    Jolek iPF Noob

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    My boss just purchased an iPad, and he is looking for an app he will be able to use to record handwritten notes and to draw diagrams (he will be using a stylus). Essentially he would like to have a virtual whiteboard that he can use to take notes in meetings and then email the finished product back to himself. Can someone please recommend the best app for these purposes that would be very simple to both use and to export the data?
  2. adoland
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    adoland iPF Noob

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    Adobe Ideas probably wasn't designed as a note taker, but it works better than a lot of the competition.
  3. Greg G
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    Greg G iPad Fan

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    I've been using the stock notepad app and it has worked fine for me. I would LOVE if they had a solution that integrated with one note though.

    -Greg
  4. mk1151
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    mk1151 iPF Novice

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    I've been using Sundry Notes - the interface is a little juvenile on the main screen, but it is well featured:
    - selection of backgrounds
    - you can create binders of notes by day and/or topic
    - accepts keyboard, BT keyboard, and screen inputs
    - you can organize links, Wiki data, pictures, and notes on the same screen
    - save to PDF and e-mail

    And it's free.
  5. 4phun
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    4phun iPad Junkie

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    I have looked at several apps that do this.

    One that I found useful was Paper Desk.
    There is a lite version you may try but it is limited.

    Last night during a meeting there was an rapid fire announcement section lasting about five minutes. I had Paper Desk open and was going to take notes but I hit on the idea of recording into my notes the speaker himself.

    It worked like a charm, although at first I had no idea where the recording went. All I had was a record tab at the bottom which changed to a Stop tab so I could close out the recording.

    It appears when you select the record tab and an existing recording is present a little bookmark tab appears at the bottom which when selected pops up your recordings.

    While playing them back I was able to either hand write notes or typewrite my notes. I could play the audio back again and again to make sure I wrote down all the dates and details.

    I was able to send these to others as PDF documents of one document per page.

    The audio files did not transfer off the iPad.

    Since the mic is on the top pointed at the speaker this went fairly well and I could highly recommend this for note taking. I only need to experiment to see how many minutes or hours I can record.

    Also I noticed I had a couple of recordings and when I went to play them back I launched multiple audio streams as I sampled them. That was weird, but interesting.

    You can stop them individually so it isn't a show stopper. It was just user error on my part.
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  6. Reverend Beavis
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    Reverend Beavis iPF Noob

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    I found a .jpg of lined notebook paper on Google Images and saved it to the iPad photo directory. I use Adobe Ideas, open the lined paper image, and use the Pogo Stylus for handwritten notes. When complete, I email the page (as a .pdf) to Evernote for storage.
  7. MileHiPad
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    MileHiPad iPF Noob

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    A note taking app was one of the primary reasons I bought an iPad so I have tried at least 6 of them, plus two different styli with a third on the way. Here are my thoughts.

    Penultimate -- currently this one is my favorite in terms of a pure handwriting app. There is zero lag when you are writing and no jagged digitizing effects on the lines you write. Thus, it seems the most like actual writing. However, the app is very simply in its feature set. One color and size of pen and one eraser. That's it. You can keep multiple notebooks of multiple pages so that's good for organizing by case, project, class, etc. You can email notes and notebooks. Currently probably my favorite for just taking notes although I sure wish it did some of the things the other apps do.

    Ghostwriter -- I just disovered this app this week. Hadn't read about it anywhere else. This one also has fairly natural feeling writing although with some lag. It has a variety of pens and pencils and highliters too. But what sets this app apart from any other I have tried thus far is that it has a mode where you can write in an enlarged box that then perfectly shrinks your writing down to size on the lined paper. So you can fit much more on the page than with Penultimate for example. Writing in the box is actually quite easy and it works very well. You can also email notes and notebooks, although I haven't discovered a way to do so in pdf format yet. Overall a very solid contender especially if you want to get as much writing on the page as you normally would with a real pad of paper.

    Take Notes -- I really wanted to love this one the most, but it just isn't great at handwriting. You can import in various backgrounds, be it different paper types or even a pdf document you can then write or highlight on. There are lots of different pens, highliters, etc. and they can all be customized. There is no real note file system -- each note or document just sits on its own line in a list, although I suppose you could just continue to add pages to a note and consider it a notebook. I'm still not writing this one off (no pun intended) as it has so much potential. It does have multiple ways to import background documents, as they're called, into the app.

    Sundry Notes -- another one I wanted to like but really don't care for too much because of the handwriting aspect. Lots of features, including audio recording which could be handy. However, the handwriting is jagged and digitized in my opinion -- nothing at all like Penultimate. This one also has a built in browser and other extras that none of the other note apps have. But at the end of the day for me, if it doesn't handle handwriting well its not a contender and this one currently doesn't.

    Paper Desk -- Also another feature rich contender. But again, in my opinion does not write smoothly and thus can't compete with Penultimate or Ghostwriter.

    Almost forgot Adobe Ideas -- to me this is just not designed for note taking. The way it smooths out your writing is wierd although it does make it less jagged and digitized than some of the others above. There is no way to export as pdf which I think is key for my purposes. No real "notebook" organization either. Good for other functions but currently not for serious note taking in my opinion.

    There my two cents on note taking apps. One thing to consider, we are still so early in the lifecycle of these apps that I'm sure most of them will continue to develop and add features and perhaps smooth out some of the issues they currently have. That's why I leave all of these on my iPad for the moment so I'll be alerted when they update!

    Also, if you're curious about the styli, the best one I've currently got is the Pogo Sketch. Tried another one called a "universal stylus" for iPhone, iPad, etc. Absolutely horrible. Unusable. I've got the Dagi Stylus on order and am hoping that will prove to be the best of the current crop.
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  8. adoland
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    adoland iPF Noob

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    Rev, you're a genius!
  9. Reverend Beavis
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    Reverend Beavis iPF Noob

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    Adobe Ideas will export as a .PDF via the email function.
  10. 4phun
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    4phun iPad Junkie

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    SmartNote - grab it!

    I found what may become the perfect note taking app. It is SmartNote and it is way under priced at 99 cents. Written by two college students this is well on it's way to becoming the killer app on the iPad. It has a way to go but so far IMHO it is head and shoulders above the rest.

    Grab it before they realize it is way under priced compared to the similar apps on the iPad.

    More later after I have had more time with this.
  11. 4phun
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    4phun iPad Junkie

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    mysmartnote.net

    Now available in the App Store
    smartNote for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
    smartNote allows you to take notes on your iPad, both handwritten and typed. Create documents from over 10 different included paper types, or import your own PDF or image. Organize your documents in notebooks with an unlimited number of pages. Record audio while your taking notes in class, insert a widget from over 100 available, including web pages and other interactive features in your notes. Export your document as PDF's or images, email them to friends, or sync them back to a computer or another iPad wirelessly!
    Over 15 high-quality notebook cover graphics, with more to come!
    -Import and Export PDFs
    -Import and Export Audio Recordings
    -Email documents
    -Handwriting and text on the same page!
    -Unlimited number of pages per notebook
    -Over 150 Widgets (with more to come!)
    -Wireless Syncing
    -Includes over 15 common paper types, from legal pads to basketball court diagrams
    mysmartnote.net


    What's new in version 1.02


    -Added sync files via iTunes
    -Added resize, move, edit, and change properties of existing textfields
    -Added full page text field for word processor-like typing
    -Added annotations feature in landscape
    -Added hand ignore area feature
    -Added Widget and textfield recovery
    -Added smartSync without internet access
    -Added password protected notebooks
    -Added Quick-resume from drawing from eraser
    -Added prompt before delete notebook
    -Added undo last drawing
    -Fixed Web Browser crash

    -Improved hand ignoring Algorithm
    -Reduction in memory use
    -Fixed crash on widget delete
    -Fixed crash on content search
    -15% discount on pogo sketch stylus




    We apologize in advance for the video quality, we recorded it using a webcam.
    *

    Version 1.02 Feature Walkthrough - Part 1 *

    *

    Version 1.02 Video Walkthrough - Part 2
    100 Bug And Feature Fixes!
    Improved Hand Ignoring Algorithm
    Reduction in memory use
    Fixed crash on widget delete
    Fixed crash on content search
    Added sync Files via iTunes (may require app reinstall)
    Added resize, move, and edit textfields
    Added full page text field
    Added annotations in landscape
    Removed delete on text field on double-tap edit button
    Added hand ignoring area feature
    Page and Widget recovery
    Access smartSync without internet access or on corporate network
    Fixed webView Browser crash
    Fixed multiple popOvers could open from the same button
    Fixed crash on launch from file corruption in v1.01
    Added the ability to password protect notebooks
    Added Quick-resume from eraser
    Added prompt before delete notebook
    Added Undo last drawing
    Get a 15% discount on a Pogo Sketch stylus from inside
    the application

    Upcoming Features
    Insert Pages Into PDF
    Flowcharting + Toolbar
    Math and Greek Letters Toolbar
    OS-Wide File Support
    Delete PDFs




    [​IMG]
    smartNote app Overview Part 1/3
    9 min - Mar 29, 2010


    Edited from the iPad. This is tricky to get the text box to scroll in Safari you need to use two fingers side by side as one while holding a third finger outside the text box.
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  12. 4phun
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    4phun iPad Junkie

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  13. Jolek
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    Jolek iPF Noob

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    Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to this thread! There's a lot of good information here and this is going to make things a lot easier on my end.
  14. landcruisers
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    landcruisers iPF Noob

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    Dagi Stylus?

    MileHi, did you get the Dagi Stylus yet? If so, what is your impression? I've viewed the videos available on YouTube, but nothing beats someone with an unbiased review of the product. Thanks!
  15. MileHiPad
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    MileHiPad iPF Noob

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    I did get the Daigi - ordered a 3 pack off eBay. It's good but a little awkward. One stopped working after about a week - couldn't see anything visibly wrong with it. Since my confidence in the stylus was shaken I ordered the new Boxwave stylus. It's great. So far it's definitely my favorite. Very sturdy pen-like feel, writes smoothly. I was always a little nervous I would break the plastic head off the Daigi - not so with the Boxwave.

    Hope that helps.
  16. landcruisers
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    landcruisers iPF Noob

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    Hey MileHi,

    Thanks, that is great feedback. I will definitely abandon the Daigi and go for the Boxwave. I also got my Pogo in today. Not bad and a definite improvement over the MYBAT stylus I got previously. The Pogo definitely does a better job of gliding over the screen with the soft tip. The MYBAT was more likely made with a point-n-peck market in mind versus actually writing on the device surface. The rubber tip does not lend to writing very well at all, at least anything you want to read. I find the application also makes a big difference in the quality of the handwriting.

    I'm really in hopes the availability of good capacitive stylus products begins to grow now with the iPad.

    Thanks a TON for your input on this subject. Probably should have started a new thread for the topic but this looked like a great place to jump in with questions.
  17. mzmacky
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    mzmacky iPF Noob

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    SmartNote is my fav...


    I agree the SmartNote is by far the best note-taking app... what's more, is that they will be providing an update to allow for VGA projection. The app allows you to download pdf documents, annotate them and upload them again to share via dropbox or shared wifi connection. Lots of tools including audio recordings(which can be emailed). Most Excellent! :)
  18. viettran
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    viettran iPF Noob

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    Notes Plus

    I would recommend Notes Plus (Notes Plus) for handwriting, keyboard text, diagram drawing (shape auto detection), audio recording and more.

    Video demo: [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li3q1Lr1vxk[/ame]
  19. rmart73
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    rmart73 iPF Novice

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    sundry notes has a "whiteboard" mode on it
  20. TabulaRasaLabs
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    TabulaRasaLabs iPF Noob

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    Ok. I hope this doesn't count as spam, but we have one called Jot! that we launched in June 2010.

    Jot is definitely more of a whiteboard app than a note-taking app although some Jot users use it for that too. We tried to do our best to keep it fast, simple, and stable since the thing about a whiteboard is that you can get ideas out quickly without any fuss.

    There's a free / lite version and a paid version. The paid version of Jot currently has around 100 reviews with an avg score of 4.5 which is something we're proud of given the number of "sell and abandon" apps out there. Apple featured us in the appstore a few months ago.

    Stephen
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011

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