February 13, 2011

Handwriting on the iPad: Note Taker HD

Dan Bricklin's $5 Note Taker HD v4.5 app should be considered by anyone who wishes to use their iPad for handwritten notetaking [see also choosing a stylus]. Note Taker HD's stand out feature is its Edit 2 input mode. This gives you a magnified handwriting input
area that you can map to any size, as well as easily re-position, either automatically as you write or manually. This innovative UI lets you enter a lot of information onto a page, as shown in this sample Note Taker HD screen capture, and its corresponding PDF output page:

iPad screen capture, showing 
Edit 2 magnified input entry 
area, centred over first line.
[Click to zoom]
Image of same page, as 
printed-to-PDF and emailed 
by Note Taker HD

For sketching there are Undo and Erase modes, multiple colours and pen widths. For notetaking, there are features like page re-ordering, duplication, and extraction, as well as PDF email output: per page, per selected pages, or per document. Apps like Evernote, Dropbox, GoodReader and ReaddleDocs can be used to add additional import/export options. For group notetaking Note Taker HD supports video output.

Note Taker HD's killer feature for me is its ability to import PDFs. My workflow routinely consists of detaching emailed agendas, reports, and powerpoint files, print-to-PDFing them into my DropBox account, and then opening them in Note Taker HD during meetings.  Note Taker HD lets me annotate them, insert additional pages for notes as required, and then email the annotated PDFs. 

Wish List
Features I'd like to see: ability to import text and graphics; ability to select regions of text and re-position them on the page. And finally an iPad icon worthy of this wonderful app! Hey Dan, give Jon Hicks a call!