notabilityTake notes while you record, change to text, insert pictures, take pictures and play back the recording from a certain area in your notes.

When I first got my iPad, I was always on the lookout for an application that would allow me to take meeting notes, without moving me too much out of my comfort zone. In other words – allow me to work the way I did before (paper, pen and scribble).

With the above in mind, there is no question that I was in pursuit of an application like the physical smart pens, like Livescribe and the compatible others. But, of course I want to be able to use my finger like E.T..

At first I used Bamboo – a neat app, but no simultaneous recording, nice for writing with my finger.

Next I tried Notebook+ – not bad, I could record the audio, but it did not have the ability to play back from the content I was looking at, it started right from the start and you had to find what you were looking for by fast forwarding through the recording.

Now, I have discovered Notability, the application by Ginger Labs – it costs more than the others, a whole $0.99 (R8.24 today) but this seems to be closest to the clever pens.

It offers the handwriting by E.T. feature, but the added plus to me was the page format which includes lines in my notepad, so I can write between the lines like when I was in Grade 1 – believe me I need a little help with my scribble.

notability in action

Then, when you realise that you cannot read your own handwriting, you can swap to keyboard typing – when typed text is used you can record by context, in other words you can play back the audio recording which was taken at that exact time. Unfortunately, when in handwriting or drawing mode you cannot record in that exact spot of the page, it will just append the audio recording onto the previous audio – but it does give you an indication in the playback bar where each recording started and stopped.

Notability allows you to insert photos, web clips, handwriting areas, text block areas, figures and also a photo that you take at the moment via the iPad camera.

The filing system is slick, it allows you to save your notes in various folders and offers various ways of sharing the notes, via Dropbox, iDisk, printing, iTunes or email.

notability file save

Then the additional feature which allows you to scribble all over a PDF and then send it onto others is also available. You import the PDF, select which pages you want to use to comment on, and then go wild with all the features you normally have for note taking are available to you.

notability PDF annotator

So in short, for note taking on the iPad, spend the eight ronds odd and get Notability, it is worth it and at the moment looks like the leader in this space. Livescribe could be the leaders, but unfortunately I think their stationery income stops them from moving into the “finger” space.

Over and out…
E.T.

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