This best-selling productivity app could change the way you take notes

Mara Leighton

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notability main

iTunes

If your life ever calls for note-taking, either in the office or the classroom, Notability is going to come as really great news to you.

It was voted the best note-taking app for the iPad, and though that might seem like the kind of category that’s underwhelming to win, that accomplishment is pretty noteworthy of and in itself, since the creators managed to innovate something that hasn’t much changed since its inception.

Notability is like Google Docs, but on steroids. You can create your own sketches, use your own handwriting, and also import PDFs, photos, and website screengrabs. Once you've imported them, you can write and draw directly on them, adding your annotations or creating flowcharts that cross platforms and more accurately represent the way your mind works. Information doesn’t stay boxed into the sources it was originally parsed from, but interacts in the context of how you understand a given subject. Your notes should reflect that.

In line with that, instead of forcing you to identify as an auditory, visual, or tactile learner and making you choose one mode and forsake all others, the app allows you to mix it up and utilize two or three sensory tools at once. If you’re learning about photosynthesis, you can take an audio recording of your professor (or yourself) explaining the process and link it to a specific section of your notes. So when you're reviewing and reach that point you can press play and listen while looking at a helpful infographic or reading along.

If you’ve always been the kid who needed to deface their planner with geometric designs while listening in class, you can more meaningfully engage in your experience by creating illustrations of the information and dropping them in, scaling them to size in the midst of your other notes.

If you’ve ever lost a sheet of paper you really shouldn’t have, this might come as a welcome tool. By utilizing iCloud, Notability allows you to have access to uniform, comprehensive notes anywhere you are. And if you’re looking to collaborate, it's compatible with Dropbox, email, Google Drive, and really any other prevalent mode of sharing.

Notability app

Ginger Labs

Taking notes is an ubiquitous learning aid. We’ve all been copying down information from the blackboard since the third grade, but at that point everyone was too tunnel-visioned trying to remember what the "S" looked like in cursive. When we learned how to archive information, we never really stopped to critique the process under the premise of it actually replicating how we digest information. 

Not only will you save a few trees, but you’ll save time by streamlining your notes to maximize your initial participation and then later your review. 

If the tactile participation of writing or sketching information works best for you, or listening in tandem with visuals is more your thing, you’re able to utilize all modes of learning with Notability — all in one place.

Notability for iPad and iPhone, $9.99

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