NotetakerHD, why you still need this app!

NotetakerHD v6 Review

PROS
1. Still amazingly powerful tool focused on hardcore note taking
2. Documents can now organized in folders…much easier easier to organize lots of notes
3. Still easy to insert pictures into a note page, the pictures are appropriately sized to the page and very easy to manipulate
4. A lot easier to name documents, in the older version you had to click on settings and then navigate between two screens, now the user just has to click on the file name
5. Much quicker and more intuitive access to manipulate the file, I.e. export options, stapling, deleting, etc.; whereas before the user had to press and hold on the filename to be presented with the options
6. Easier to staple documents together right from the navigation screen

CONS
1. Complicated to learn for the casual user, even for the experienced user moving to the new version; read the release notes and the documentation!
2. V6 update takes some getting used to with a slightly different look and feel
3. Lots and lots of buttons! See con #1!

THE DETAIL

I am sure many of you have seen all of the other reviews about this app out in the internet. In fact I struggled with whether to even write yet another post about this very popular app. But, I was convinced for several reasons:

1. All of the reviews are fairly outdated, very brief and not totally focused on workflow
2. I wanted to write a small series comparing NotetakerHD to WritePad and one other note taking app
3. Given item 2, I wanted to have a detailed review of the three apps first and then conclude with the three-way head to head comparison

Are you interested in this sort of series? If you are, what should the third app be?

The reason I chose 3 apps is that I am currently at a three day conference in Dallas. My plan is to utilize each of the three apps on each day and then write about my experiences. I am going to start with NotetakerHD as this is the app I am most familiar with. I will do WritePad tomorrow and then the third app on Wednesday. Let’s start with the first review for NotetakerHD.

Big changes from the old version to the new version. Not being a person to read instructions, I jumped right in with this update. Let me just say that I was a bit lost. All of the menus, buttons and overall look and feel were different. To be honest I did not find the changes intuitive, I almost felt like I was going from a windows machine to a Mac; the familiarity is there with the similar GUI, but the buttons are different as is the way the user does things.

For example, I have always been most enamored with the Edit2/auto-advance feature where the user can continue writing in a solid sentence without having to press buttons’ such that as the text gets to the edge of the writing window the user just starts writing in a grey area to the left of the initial text. 20110815-063907.jpg This does take some time to get used to, but once you have it writing becomes fluid and fast. I struggled to find this option in the new update. I kind of feel that major functionality should be obvious from version to version without having to interrogate the release notes. I guess a good way of thinking about this is that version 5 to version 6 is like moving from the 2003 version of MS office to the 2007 version; you can tell the products are the same but you have to work to figure out how to be efficient again. Of course I could have just read the release notes which clearly defined the the key differences in the versions, specifically the following; “The old term Edit 2 is now called zoomed on or zoomed editing and Edit 1 is now called zoom off or unzoomed editing.” It sometimes pays to read the release notes!

Once I figured out how to utilize my favorite functionality I discovered some functionality I never knew existed in prior versions. This is yet another reason why this app is so powerful and truly focused on those serious about taking productive notes in a professional setting; the app is full of very powerful tools and functionality. One of the main reasons I switched from writing with NotetakerHD to typing in Evernote was because I lost a bunch of note pages when my original iPad died a cruel death via drop. I was maybe 2 weeks behind in sync’ing and I had not kept up with archiving to Evernote (my process at the time was to email the page to my Evernote address and then open Evernote to file the note accordingly). I also had a PIN enabled which kept me from syncing after the drop because of the need to enter the pin on the iPad screen when syncing to iTunes; kind of hard to do when the screen is trashed! Needless to say I was convinced at that moment that I need to keep my notes completely in the Cloud. What I did not realize at the time was that NotetakerHD had the ability to export directly to another app like Evernote or Dropbox, had it since version 4 actually! 20110815-065653.jpg In version 6 it seems that this output functionality is a bit easier to find…at least it was for me. All a user has to do is exit out of a file and select the Export button at the bottom of the screen and then choose Open PDF. This presents you with several options depending on the apps you have installed; I.e. if you have Evernote and Dropbox installed you are presented with these options! This is much easier and virtually allows you to archive as you go without wasting time.

Version 6 adds several new ways to organize pages that did not exist in prior versions. As I implied, I used to have a whole lot of pages to manage in NotetakerHD. I definitely would have appreciated having the flagging and filtering functionality in v5. In v6 a user can utilize three different methods to identify the file in addition to the name. I believe that version 5 allowed you to tag a file, but v6 not only allows tags it now adds color flags as well as defining a file as a favorite. And, in addition to a simple favorite the app allows for defining the file to appear as a favorite at some defined period in the future. 20110815-065851.jpg The help file describes this functionality as like having a pile of notes and the setting one of the pages at the bottom to automatically float to the top of the pile at a later time as a reminder. Cool if you are the kind of person who works well with piles and piles of notes. Personally I would try to rely more on my GTD training by transferring action items and such to my task lists. But, that is just me. The point really is that v6 has created a neat new tool to remind yourself about key notes.

Overall I feel this update is a good one. More excellent functionality has been added making the app even more powerful. The proof will come after using the app all day at my conference. Stay tuned for my review of WritePad tomorrow morning and my head to head comparison of the three apps by the end of the conference!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I included links to some of the other reviews out on the Internet as well as a link to the instructional video. Enjoy!

Official training video:

http://www.youtube.com/NoteTakerHD

Other reviews:

1. http://appadvice.com/appnn/2010/06/dan-bricklins-note-taker-hd

2. http://www.theipadfan.com/review-note-taker-hd-ipad/

3. http://appcomments.com/appdetails/id366572045/Note_Taker_HD_reviews

4. Current comments from the App Store…

http://appcomments.com/app/id366572045/Note_Taker_HD_reviews?country=143441&show=show_all_comments&sort=sort_recent&sortorder=sort_ascend&page=2

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera