There are a number of different tools and apps that will allow you to take notes digitally. With so many options, it can often be very overwhelming when you are just starting out. In this post, I’m going to address some of the most common questions I receive so you can choose an app that best fits your needs!EVERNOTE AND ONE NOTE ARE NOT PDF MARKUP APPS
Note-taking apps like Evernote and One Note are designed to enable you to take notes and build notebooks directly within their interface. They do not currently allow you to import a PDF with hyperlinks and take notes directly on the pages of the PDF, so these apps are not compatible with my planners or notebooks.
Overall, I recommend these tools for general (primarily typed) note-taking. They work particularly well in professional settings when the sync with your work calendar and other tools is critical (i.e. OneNote syncs with Outlook). They also work well for tasks like drafting blog posts, cataloging information, etc. However, if you are looking for a more flexible note-taking solution that more closely mimics the experience of pen and paper, these tools are not the best option.
My top app recommendations for digital planning and notetaking
GoodNotes 5 is my top app of choice for digital planning. This is the only app that allows us to create sticker books, so that is an added benefit of using GoodNotes. You can see an overview of the GoodNotes 5 app in this video.
GoodNotes is available on all Apple devices running iOS 12 or higher (iPhones and iPads) They also have an app for Mac computers available for an additional charge. Your planners and notebooks will sync across all iOS devices through your iCloud account.
If you use any app other than GoodNotes, you will have to insert sticker images individually into your planner or notebook since the sticker books I create only function in GoodNotes 5.
Notability is a great app for handwritten note-taking. My planners and notebooks do work well in this app. However, since Notability does not have separate “reading” and “editing” modes (as GoodNotes does), you may sometimes accidentally trigger a hyperlink when adding notes. This does not pose a large issue, but it is worth mentioning from a compatibility perspective.
Zoom Notes is another popular PDF markup app for iOS. I do not have extensive personal experience with this app, but I have heard from others that they enjoy using the planner in this app.
Xodo has been the top app of choice for Android users for a while. One of the perks of Xodo is that you can also access through an internet browser, so you can view your planner and notebooks on a desktop/laptop computer.
- Noteshelf also recently came out with an Android version of its app, and so far I've heard great feedback on the experience on Android!
Windows Surface Tablets
The Drawboard Pro app is the top choice for Windows Surface devices. Currently, the “Pro” version of Drawboard is required to duplicate pages, so it’s necessary to upgrade to that version to be able to duplicate the template pages in my planners and notebooks.