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Notability Review: An Excellent Note-Taking, PDF Annotation Tool

Let’s be honest, taking notes probably wasn’t one of the possible uses that got 
you most excited about getting that new iPad. It’s easy for productivity apps like
 Notability to become overshadowed by all the great gaming, photography, music,
 and entertainment apps that litter the App Store… But some of us are interested
 in taking things to the next level when it comes to getting the most out of our
 tablets, and that’s when something like Notability can’t be ignored. It might be
 drab on the outside, but spend a few minutes learning the power of this note-
taking tool, and I think you’ll quickly deem it worth the asking price.

I first realized my need for a tool like Notability after taking a new job. My first 
few weeks were spent studying for certification exams, with all the necessary 
information being provided to me in the form of long PDF documents. Staring at
 a computer screen for hours on end looked daunting, especially when I knew I
 was going to be needing to re-read and do some extensive noting and
 highlighting… Enter Notability: the app is perfectly suited for creating new notes
 and annotating PDFs, which made it the ideal candidate for making my studies just
 a bit more pleasurable.

Though the note creation of Notability is incredibly useful (and blows the built-in 
Notes app out of the water), let’s start by talking about the annotation features.
 Once you get a document imported into the app–which can be easily 
accomplished using Dropbox or the “open in” feature–you’re all set to start making colorful 
notes and highlights, or even adding sections of typed text. All the icons are
 located in a toolbar at the top of the screen (which can be hidden to maximize 
document visibility), and changing the width or color of your writing implements 
is accomplished with a double tap. When a writing tool is selected, navigating the
PDF document is done by scrolling with two fingers or opening up the page view 
represented by the stack of papers on the right side of the screen… For the most 
part, the process is intuitive and easy to navigate, though you’ll probably find that
 your efficiency won’t meet it’s potential till the navigation becomes second nature 
and you stop accidentally marking up the document.

With the ability to annotate tucked in your back pocket, it’s time to turn to the
 creation of new notes. At the risk of getting preachy, I’ll share another firsthand 
example of how Notability can be used… I’m writing this review from inside the 
app, and let’s say I want to insert a hand drawn figure (such as a graph or a funny 
illustration). All it takes is a few taps before I’m taken to a blank slate. After the 
drawing is done, I’m taken back here to the text where I can tap to insert (Side note: stylus or not, making marks is fluid and accurate).
 Notability offers great options for resizing such hand-drawn objects, and the text wrap works 

wonderfully… Similarly easy processes are used for inserting things like web clips 
or photos. With the basics under your belt, you can blow the roof off your
 productivity by getting familiar with more advanced features like audio recordings
 and the zoom feature… While the potential for creativity and variation in your notes is endless, the app doesn’t position itself as a pure text creation tool–meaning it’s more useful for dynamic note-taking that can change direction at any moment (with the end result being packaged as a PDF).

Now that you’re aware of what Notability can do, it’s time to offer a word of 
warning: Don’t be turned away by the app’s lack of flair…Yes, it’s pretty plain and
 doesn’t boast any of the appeal or style of an Apple app, but that has no bearing 
on how it can expand your productivity once you get through the slight learning
 curve. Notability is one of those App Store gems that is worth your investment of 
time and money even though it doesn’t get much time in the spotlight. Pick it up 
now and discover a great example of what you COULD be doing with your iPad in the classroom or 
workplace.

Our Score: 4 Out of 5

 
 
 
 
 
Game Name: Notability
Plaforms: Universal
Publishers: Ginger Labs
Version Reviewed: 4.20
Genres: productivity
Release Date: March 7, 2012 (updated)
Price: $2.99

Let’s be honest, taking notes probably wasn’t one of the possible uses that got 
you most excited about getting that new iPad. It’s easy for productivity apps like
 Notability to become overshadowed by all the great gaming, photography, music,
 and entertainment apps that litter the App Store… But some of us are interested
 in taking…(Read the full article)

Let’s be honest, taking notes probably wasn’t one of the possible uses that got 
you most excited about getting that new iPad. It’s easy for productivity apps like
 Notability to become overshadowed by all the great gaming, photography, music,
 and entertainment apps that litter the App Store… But some of us are interested
 in taking things to the next level when it comes to getting the most out of our
 tablets, and that’s when something like Notability can’t be ignored. It might be
 drab on the outside, but spend a few minutes learning the power of this note-
taking tool, and I think you’ll quickly deem it worth the asking price.

I first realized my need for a tool like Notability after taking a new job. My first 
few weeks were spent studying for certification exams, with all the necessary 
information being provided to me in the form of long PDF documents. Staring at
 a computer screen for hours on end looked daunting, especially when I knew I
 was going to be needing to re-read and do some extensive noting and
 highlighting… Enter Notability: the app is perfectly suited for creating new notes
 and annotating PDFs, which made it the ideal candidate for making my studies just
 a bit more pleasurable.

Though the note creation of Notability is incredibly useful (and blows the built-in 
Notes app out of the water), let’s start by talking about the annotation features.
 Once you get a document imported into the app–which can be easily 
accomplished using Dropbox or the “open in” feature–you’re all set to start making colorful 
notes and highlights, or even adding sections of typed text. All the icons are
 located in a toolbar at the top of the screen (which can be hidden to maximize 
document visibility), and changing the width or color of your writing implements 
is accomplished with a double tap. When a writing tool is selected, navigating the
PDF document is done by scrolling with two fingers or opening up the page view 
represented by the stack of papers on the right side of the screen… For the most 
part, the process is intuitive and easy to navigate, though you’ll probably find that
 your efficiency won’t meet it’s potential till the navigation becomes second nature 
and you stop accidentally marking up the document.

With the ability to annotate tucked in your back pocket, it’s time to turn to the
 creation of new notes. At the risk of getting preachy, I’ll share another firsthand 
example of how Notability can be used… I’m writing this review from inside the 
app, and let’s say I want to insert a hand drawn figure (such as a graph or a funny 
illustration). All it takes is a few taps before I’m taken to a blank slate. After the 
drawing is done, I’m taken back here to the text where I can tap to insert (Side note: stylus or not, making marks is fluid and accurate).
 Notability offers great options for resizing such hand-drawn objects, and the text wrap works 

wonderfully… Similarly easy processes are used for inserting things like web clips 
or photos. With the basics under your belt, you can blow the roof off your
 productivity by getting familiar with more advanced features like audio recordings
 and the zoom feature… While the potential for creativity and variation in your notes is endless, the app doesn’t position itself as a pure text creation tool–meaning it’s more useful for dynamic note-taking that can change direction at any moment (with the end result being packaged as a PDF).

Now that you’re aware of what Notability can do, it’s time to offer a word of 
warning: Don’t be turned away by the app’s lack of flair…Yes, it’s pretty plain and
 doesn’t boast any of the appeal or style of an Apple app, but that has no bearing 
on how it can expand your productivity once you get through the slight learning
 curve. Notability is one of those App Store gems that is worth your investment of 
time and money even though it doesn’t get much time in the spotlight. Pick it up 
now and discover a great example of what you COULD be doing with your iPad in the classroom or 
workplace.

Our Score: 4 Out of 5

Date published: 04/15/2012
4 / 5 stars

Leave a Comment

  • David Atahualpa

    What on Earth are you on about? Of COURSE taking notes was my primary reason for buying an ipad. Gaming, photography, music and entertainment can all be done, for better or worse, on a mobile and/or a laptop, but taking handwritten notes and annotating docs is something you can only really do on a tablet. Notability is a pretty good app, although my default is still Note Taker HD. Notes plus and Goodnotes are fine too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/claire.marie.39948 Claire Marie

    personally the writepdf app is good on my ipad, its good for making notes and editing pdfs as well. if i do have to print, i can also do it remotely from the app.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568624726 David Yana

    iTakeNotes has been released on the appstore recently: the principle is to formalize notes during the meeting and get a meeting report as soon as the meeting is over in pdf and in .txt if you want to review the format. They provide audio recording and camera so as not to lose any data during the meeting. The app exists in english and french and a spanish version is on its way, it is a very productive tool for those who spent desperate time formalizing their meeting notes.

  • Saw

    Notability is a really good tool and more for annotate PDF. I used this app before but was not totally satisfy on this app, for PDF, take-note it’s great but I’m looking for an more multi needs. I discovered on Evernote Trunk an app called Beesy and is a tool which manage all professional activity in a single one. I can use actions templates, drag & drop to organized notes, generate meeting minutes, import PDF/docs, make annotation and sync all datas with DropBox and Evernote.

    It’s really an interesting app for productivity at work.

Best Free Apps of the Day on Apr 24.  Moves, Sonic & SEGA All Star Racing Transformed, Sneak a Snack HD, & More!

Apps Gone Free! Sonic Racing & More!

 
Monument Valley Review: Balances Beauty and Engaging Gameplay

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Hot, New iOS Game Releases This Week! (Apr 18)  HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Hitman Go, & More!

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