Take notes with your iPad

I’ve got one of those 12” iPad Pros. I bought it for work so I could take notes and keep all my shit in one place. It has been about a year, and it is working as I hoped.

I use GoodNotes for all my note taking. I like GoodNotes for a few reasons:

  1. All my notes are in one place.
  2. Handwriting recognition is magical. I have really lousy handwriting and GoodNotes doesn’t care. I can search for a word or phrase and >95% of the time I can find what I’m looking for within a couple of seconds. Try that with your Moleskine.
  3. Though it’s a digital medium, the Bullet Journal method works great.
  4. Good options for organization. I can make folders and sub folders, I can make subject-specific “notebooks”, or individual pages. I can import photos and PDFs and annotate them as needed.
  5. Backups. I’ve left hardcopy notebooks on the roof of my car more than once, never to recover them. GoodNotes allows me to backup all my stuff, and if I ever lose the iPad, I’ll be able to grab a new one, download my data, and I’ll be back in business.

Some people dislike the feeling of “writing” on glass with a plastic pencil thing. I am one of those people, so I got a textured screen protector to make the feeling more paper-like. It’s not perfect, but I’ve adapted and it doesn’t bother me.

If you decide to give this a try, here’s one more little trick that probably works best if you have an iPhone. If you’re in a conference session or any meeting where there are paper handouts, just use your phone to snap a photo of the handout, or even the presentation on screen. Then use Airdrop to discreetly send the image to your iPad and into GoodNotes for annotation. It’s a super quick process and saves you the dorkiness of holding a huge iPad in front of your face to take a photo.

Ok, one more quick trick. You can write really tiny notes in narrow margins or between lines of text by zooming way in and selecting a very thin pen tip. This comes in helpful all the time, and of course the tiny notes are searchable.

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