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Apps for iPad (and a Few for Tablets, Too)

Taking notes on an iPad can happen in dozens of ways, including the program that is built into the device. Developers have created a wide range of programs with various levels of complexity, and complexity changes the learning curve. However if the features are useful to you, that curve is worth climbing. Below are summaries of several note-taking programs, plus a few others to make work more efficient.

Notability is one of several iPad apps for taking notes. Notes can be hand-written, with or without a stylus. You can import pics from the iPad library or the web. Notability also lets you open PDFs and annotate them to fill out forms or to mark. Docs can be printed or shared. The program does not import video (unlike Pear Note). The features are intuitive and the layout allows for tabbing, automated lists, and ‘paper’ and font changes. You can imbed audio while taking notes. The two bond, hyper-link style, so you can re-listen by tapping the word associated with a specific portion of the audio.

Soundnote is a scaled-down version of Notability. It also records during note-taking and begins playing the associated sound when a word is tapped. Soundnote lacks the formatting options but also allows drawing or handwriting to be integrated into a session. One reviewer reports that she never had problems with a freeze or transfer with this program (she had that occur with Notability).

NotesPlus provides the ability to handwrite, type, and draw. The program detects your drawing and will ‘smooth’ it, so that, for instance, a circle will look like a circle instead of a wobbly imitation’”unless you want the wobbly imitation. The program also records, matching the audio to the page of text. Two extra features are that you can write rather largely, and the program shrinks it to fit on a notebook page. You can also tap for a ‘rest’ for your hand that prevents the screen from detecting the rest of your hand.

Penultimate is an iPad program that that lets you make ‘notebooks’ of collected ideas with drawings and notes. You can use a finger or stylus to do your work. Work page by page or review all pages on one screen and rearrange by dragging. The whole notebook or a single page can be exported. A disadvantage is that you need to be careful to keep the rest of your hand away from the screen, since it records all contact.

TextExpander was developed for Mac but is now available for PCs, too. It is a ‘macro’ and allows you to code a combination of letters to expand into whatever you may type frequently. It works in any program but can be specified for only some programs. You can paste in directions for font, sixe and so on. An alternate program is called

TypeIt4Me (iPad, iPhone, iPpod touch. operates in the same way but also offers a menu from which you can select the macro instead of remembering all of the abbreviations.

Dropbox is a ‘cloud’ storage program where any type of file that can be saved can be stored and then pulled into the same device or another one at will. The free basic storage is 2 GB. Larger quantities and team storage are available, too.

Evernote is a storage cloud that holds everything you can listen to, watch, read, or look at. The service can search your hand-written notes as well as stored PDFs. You can use the program across devices, so a photo taken with your phone can be later searched on your computer. The site offers aids to help you gain the most from the program’s features.

FastEver XL is a program that can be added to EverNote to create a text note. Users appreciate the speed with which it opens and is ready for use. If no connectivity service is available, the program saves and sorts or sends when it can.

Skitch is another product for Mac screen capture and marking. Capture a window with one click. Annotations can be added to any saved image, from photos to a file list to a menu, with graphics options that include highlighting and other arrows or shapes or words added to the screen. Additional features include resizing, web-posting into your Skitch account, and sharing with others or into a document. iPhoto is easily accessible, as is the webcam. The program tracks the history of the images you use and can be used easily with Evernote. A vector-drawing engine is part of Skitch Plus, which means you can draw or sketch quickly and efficiently, saving the files easily.

Remember the Milk is a task manager for Android, Siri, iPad and more. It integrates with Google Apps and calendar. You can add it to your phone and to your Twitter account. It is a basic aid for getting your to-do lists on your tech tools.

Many of us need an app that will help us find the best apps, but that might demand a 300- question survey, so in the meanwhile, we will depend upon our friends and colleagues to recommend the apps that they find most useful.


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