Notability, another excellent note taker for the iPad -
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Notability, another excellent note taker for the iPad

Photo courtesy of Dvortygirl on FlickrIt has been a long, long time since my last Note taking app review here. Well, I did write an article about using Apple Note and Evernote here, but that hardly classifies as a review. I was finally motivated to get back into the note taking app review game after reading a great review of Remarks from a trusted iPad expert out on iPadCTO and another on thornhillfinancialipad. Well, this isn’t a review of Remarks  (which is coming) but rather a review of Notability (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with Notably). I was first intrigued by Notability by its $1 price tag (a short lived promotion I believe), second by some nice comments out on the iPad Productivity LinkedIN group and third because the reviews in the app store where just glowing. So, without further delay; here is the review.


  1. Clean interface that is extremely easy to understand and learn
  2. Excellent Dropbox support that is simply seamless
  3. Nice note organization features including support for folders and easy note movement between folders
  4. Wonderfully seamless transition between typed notes and hand-written notes
  5. Efficient PDF notation features vastly easier and cleaner than Good Reader
  6. Multiple themes to change the look of the app, varies from “Clean” to “Colorful”
  7. Useful image editing feature including cropping and annotations


  1. Slow on the iPad1 (mitigated by killing background apps)
After using this app for about a week at work and at home I can honestly say that I am dropping it on my launchpad. In fact, I may even stop using Apple Notes and Good Reader altogether. Notability works great for me and even with a touch of sluggishness I am more productive with Notability than I am with my old setup, again described here.

I think the best way to show how the app works is to show what the app looks like while being taken through the paces of note taking. Below is a sample note I created that shows some of the different modules and functions within the app. As you can see, Notability is easily able to integrate lots of media types all in one note. The “theme” used below is “Colorful”.


Like other hand-writing apps Notability has a writing “region” or “zone” that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy writing entry. Here is a picture of what this zone looks like (app setup using the “Clean” Theme).

Notice the adjustable auto-advance feature that is standard on most well-designed note apps. The window that appears on the sheet above is adjustable in size and position with a select and drag as well. NotetakerHD does have the ability to switch the auto-advance region from the right to the left, but Notability limits you to just the right.

One of the coolest features of Notability is its image editing functionality. The app lets you crop, resize and even annotate pictures that have been imported into a note. Check out the picture below it its original form.

Now, here is the picture after a bit of painless cropping.

In the year and a half I have worked with the iPad I have yet to find an app that seamlessly combines so many functions in one… a feature-packed text editor, a complete stylus-note-taker, an annotator, a dropbox accesser, a productivity organizer and even a simple image editor all wrapped in one for the low, low price of $.99! Given these features why would you wait to try Notability! For $.99 just give Notability a try and see for yourself!

For a few more photos check out my slideshow out on Google+.

A special thanks to Dvortygirl on Flickr for the great notebook picture at the top of the post. Check her out here for some excellent photos across many genres…most are “Creative Commons-licensed content for commercial use”.

Another thanks to Bikeranger out on Flickr. Click here for more of his creative commons-licensed content!


About the author

    Chris Lee

    I am a healthcare administrator interested in being productive. I believe that the combination of a tablet (iPad Air 32GB) and a smartphone (iPhone 5 in my case) can drastically improve how we do work without adding too much complexity. The “how” of accomplishing this productivity is the focus of this blog. Here are just a few of the topics I hope to cover. Even though I use iOS devices currently I am in no way totally tied to Apple. I have used a Surface 2 for an extended time and am currently considering replacing my HP laptop with a Surface at some point, so keep reading to find out when this happens. Heck, I may even write a post some day on getting efficient with a Kindle Fire HD given that my daughter just got one for her birthday awhile back.


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