Digital Notes

Top Digital Notes Taking Tools

Digital Notes

Notetaking is necessary for work, school, and creativity. Many. Your written ideas. Handwritten equations. Whiteboard pictures. MP3s. Sketches.

With the correct peripherals and programmes, you can take beautiful notes on your computer, iPad, or other device. We’ve compiled our best suggestions and recommendations to help you.

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What are digital notes?

Various types of notes require different tools. How can you take notes? Let’s look at some common note types and what you may require.

Typing

If you can touch-type, a laptop or tablet with a tablet keyboard is excellent for typed notes. The Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Bluetooth Keyboard is a lightweight, portable keyboard for taking notes on a tablet.

See our selection of the best laptops for students if you’re on a budget. Most of the top cheap tablets cost less than $200.

Notations

You can handwrite notes with a pen or pencil. You can write by hand on a tablet, Chromebook, or smartphone with a touch screen if it’s big enough and rests comfortably. Note-taking apps can type handwriting. You can upload images of handwritten pages to a digital notes taking software if you prefer to read your handwriting. Next section: note-taking apps
Digital notebooks, called smart folios or hybrid ebook reader–tablets, are also available. They’re niche devices that, when written on with a stylus, appear and feel more like paper than a screen. reMarkable and Onyx both make these notebooks. A few years ago, Moleskine and Adobe made one, and Wacom released numerous Bamboo models. These things appear and feel weird, so test them out before buying. Annotating means marking up or making comments on a PDF or JPG. Sometimes you need to scribble on a file, mark changes, or highlight crucial information. There are a few ways to alter a PDF, however it makes sense to have annotation features in a single note-taking app so you don’t have numerous notes.

Illustrations

Life sciences, arithmetic, mind-mapping, prototyping, and other classes use notes with drawings and sketches. As with handwritten notes, you can doodle on paper, snap photos, or use a touchscreen tablet or digital notepad. The latter requires a stylus. The Apple Pencil (2nd generation) is a favourite among iPad owners and fared well in our tests. MEKO has cheap iPads. The $65 Logitech Pen works with USI-certified Chromebooks. Consider the Microsoft Surface Pen if you have a Surface (Opens in a new window). Always make sure your tablet or laptop’s stylus is compatible.

Dictation and audionotes

Some people record audio memos, lectures, or meetings. You can replay the recording, which is helpful. Playing back an audio file can help explain confusing notes.

Laptops, phones, and tablets all capture audio with free apps. If your note-taking app has a voice recorder, use it. So you don’t have to hunt for one or the other, put your notes and audio recording in the same file.
Dictated notes are like audio-recorded. Dictated notes are similar to audio memos, except your smartphone types your words as you speak. There are dozens of speech-to-text apps and utilities that do this, frequently for free.

Images

Photo notes? After a meeting or lecture, take a picture of the whiteboard to capture its contents. You can photograph handwritten notes to digitise and back them up. In physical sciences, investigative work, journalism, and creative fields, it’s helpful to have images of anything you want to remember later. Photo notes can be added to a note-taking app alongside typed or handwritten notes, like audio notes.

Best note-taking apps?

Cross-platform note-taking apps

The ideal note-taking app for you depends on your note-taking habits. You want the software to work on Macs, Windows computers, Android, and Apple devices. I like apps that work in any web browser.

Microsoft OneNote is the best note-taking tool. It’s free and works on any device. If you have a premium Microsoft 365 membership, whether for work or school, you receive Ink replay, Researcher, Math Assistant, and stickers.
There are more versatile note-taking apps besides OneNote. Evernote used to be one of my faves, but it’s now pricey to buy all the capabilities you want (about $70 per year) and unstable since so many errors slow down speed or make it hard to use. Evernote includes all the features you need to take notes on any platform. If you’re looking for an Evernote alternative, my thorough dive explains how to switch.
Notion is another app I dislike. Many people love it, but I find it too confusing. Notion supports a variety of note kinds and offers some intriguing features for linking notes.

iPad note apps

Here are several iPad-specific note-taking apps to test.
Notability is free with limitations or $2.99 per month ($11.99 per year) for handwriting recognition, math conversion, iCloud syncing, and other premium capabilities. Notability is for Mac and iPhone.
Notes Plus X ($9.99) and Notes Plus ($9.99) are similar note-taking apps for iPad and iPhone, although Notes Plus supports previous iPadOS and iOS versions. This software reduces distractions so you can work.

enultimate is a great iPad note-taking software if you use Evernote. You can search your notes and store them to all your devices with a premium Evernote account, which is pricey.

Read about using OneNote for school, 13 Apple Notes secrets, and managing digital notes for extra guidance.

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