Color me an inveterate notes taker. That means multiple notes apps. Everywhere. Mac, iPhone, iPad. Thankfully, these days nots apps are everywhere, including one that gets us almost into the 21st century.
Most note taking apps require you to type notes, but Notability for Mac, iPhone, and iPad changed the game by overlaying typed notes with handwriting, and then overlaying that with audio recording to create a perfect combination that records notes and audio from meetings or lectures with drawing and sketching. This is a real note takers notes app for 21st century note takers.
Write. Type. Record.
The problem I’ve always had with note taking is probably the same as many other people. I can write down a note, but lose focus on what the speaker is saying while I’m doing the writing. Solving that problem is exactly what makes Notability such a valuable note taking resource. It records audio, too, so you’re not likely to miss anything.
In some ways, the Mac version of Notability is even better than iPhone or iPad, though notes can be synchronized between all three devices. The Mac version gives you access to a Mac keyboard, but it’s also easier to drag and drop documents, photos, PDFs, snippets of text onto a note, and save them for later.
This set of images tells the tale. Same notes on each device. Type a note here, it shows up over there. Edit there, it shows up over here.
Use Notability to sketch freehand (works well on mouse or trackpad), write freehand, and whatever you write or sketch can be scaled, transformed, resized, rotated– and still looks the same when synced to iPhone and iPad.
Usage is simple and straightforward. Manage various notes in the lefthand sidebar and view each note in the righthand column.
While Notability is not difficult to setup and use, it does come with some power functions, including smart keyboard shortcuts, options to adjust font, size, color and styles for fonts, and text automatically reflows around images.
Even the handwriting is smooth and easy, even though the trackpad or mouse makes it a bit cumbersome at first. Mac, iPhone, and iPad versions record audio from meetings and lectures, but you can import audio from other sources, and apply notes as you listen to the meeting.
What’s really cool is the option to play back the audio with the notes so you can match audio with notes taken at the same time. Even notes added to Notability during a playback can be linked to the audio.
Notability files can be synchronized between Mac, iPhone, and iPad version via iCloud, but files can also be backed up to Google Drive and Dropbox. The only real negative is the Mac version’s price tag, which is substantially more than the iOS version for iPhone and iPad.
Otherwise, this is how to take notes. What I would like to see is a tie-in with the camera for iPhone and iPad (until the Mac gets a camera on the cover side; but having support for an external camera would be good) so a video could be taken along with audio and notes capture.