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What and Why:

There are many iPad apps for writing and note taking. Some allow you to write in your own hand writing, some require you to enter text with a keyboard. Some require you to be connected to the Internet or "cloud" when you use them. Some apps allow the addition of images or drawings. Others allow you to record audio along with your text. Notability has become the #1 selling app because it does all this and provides the added benefit that it allows saving to Dropbox. Notability is not a free app, but is well worth the price.


Enter text and drawing

  1. Using the built-in keyboard, click to "Create a New Note" and type a sentence about why you love using the iPad. Click on the pencil tool and add your signature. See if you can change the line width or color.
  2. Click the pencil in the magnifying glass in the bottom right corner and begin to write free hand. Note: it helps to reduce the line width and if available, use a stylus. As you write, each time you get to the green section of the writing area, pause and watch what happens.
  3. Delete hand written text with the eraser tool. Note how you can click one time on an items to be erases and poof, it's deleted.

Add images

  1. Tap the icon in the lower left corner of the screen to add a web clip, figure, photo, take a photo or add a handwriting area. Try adding a photo or taking a photo. Double tap on the item to resize, move, or delete the item. When inserting a web clip, an special browser will open with it's own bookmarks to Wikipedia, Google and reference.com - or go to a site of your choice. When you are on the page desired, click the "Done" button in the upper right corner of the screen and it returns to the Notability screen. Tap to place the image.
  2. Tap with two fingers to edit the image, resize the image, and even browse for an alternative web clip for the same image rectangle. There is also an option to edit the image which takes you to a window with a cropping and mark up tools.

Add audio

  1. Tap the microphone icon - wait a second and a time will show up. Audio is now being recorded with the note. After recording a few thoughts, click the microphone again to stop recording. Click the triangle to play back the audio. Click the X to delete the recorded audio.


  1. Change the paper type and turn on/off the lines and grids by clicking on the notebook paper icon when in a note.
  2. Share a note using email or once configured, using Dropbox. Notice that you have multiple formats which the note may be saved, e.g. .pdf, RTF (Rich Text Format) or as a Note format. RTF formatted files may be edited in word processing applications.
  3. From the Notability dashboard, click on the black + symbol to create a new Category or Subject. Drag notes into these categories or subjects to move them.
  4. Click on the Export or Import icons to bring in documents from Dropbox or send a document to Dropbox, email...multiple documents may be moved at one time.
  5. Click on the gear to set defaults such as paper grid, pen width, fonts and Auto Sync to Dropbox.

Other Apps to Consider

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Many users like Penultimate (free) It offers drawing, text, and different paper styles.

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SoundNote is unique in that it not only records what you type but also records the audio along with your typing and syncs the recording to your typing. If you missed a few key ideas in your notes, you can return to your notes and listen to what you missed. In a large meeting or lecture, the audio may be less than ideal, but it will normally be of a high enough quality to deuce what you wanted to hear. Cost is $4.99. I've used it and like it.

Links to information about other note taking apps