You've got an iPad in your bag, a Surface Pro on your desk, and you're still writing your notes on loose-leaf paper? Don't be an animal. It's 2018, and it's high time for you to ditch the paper and embrace the future of note-taking, a future that lets you do so much more with every jot and scribble.
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Every now and then, you have to write something longhand for someone else to read: A note, a notice, a birthday card. If you're like the many people we've gotten notes or notices or birthday cards from, it sometimes comes out illegible. We've presented many methods for improving your handwriting, but before you try them, just try slowing the hell down.
iOS: iOS 11's new built-in document scanning feature is both a time-saver and a convenient way to capture information. It makes it easy to attach real-world documents to your digital musings without leaving one app for another. It won't replace any dedicated document scanning apps, but it's a great alternative to buying a document scanning app if all you want is a signature-ready document you can export anywhere.
Windows/Mac/Linux: When it comes to notes apps, you have a seemingly endless trail of options, but it's rare to find one that's cross-platform, supports the Evernote-style of rich notes, and works without needing an account somewhere. Collate is just that.
Mac: Since the influx of fancier notes apps like Evernote, OneNote or even Simplenote, the art of the disposable scratchpad has disappeared a little. The aptly named Scratchpad brings that idea back to the Mac.
Web: Not all notes are text, and while most of the big note-taking apps, like Evernote or OneNote, can handle images, they're not really made for them. Milanote feels like it is.
Android/iOS/Mac: You have a ton of options for notes apps, including heavyweights like Evernote and OneNote. Zoho Notebook takes the same catch-all approach as Evernote and OneNote, but has a few design ideas of its own.
iOS: There is no shortage of apps for writing down your thoughts, but many writing and note-taking apps suffer from feature bloat that impedes the actual writing. Just Open & Type forgoes the unnecessary stuff and lives up to its name.
Mac: You can access your Kindle highlights from your Kindle itself, the apps or the web app, but none of those are particularly handy, especially if you use your Kindle for research. Knotes makes it easier to access those notes right from your Mac.
iOS/Mac: There's certainly no shortage of notes app out there, but Bear's an app that manages to toe the line between a few different popular styles, and might suit you if you need more features than plain text offers, but not as much as something like Evernote.
Android: OneNote is turning into a pretty killer note-taking app (especially after Evernote started limiting its free users). Today, its Android app is getting better with multi-window support, password protected sections, audio recording and more.
You spend a lot of time taking notes in university. You have several excellent options for doing so, and which works best for you depends a lot on your note taking style. It's best to pick software and stick to it so you don't to worry about moving stuff around later. Here's how to make the right choice from the outset.