The Best Apps for Taking Notes

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Whether you’re taking notes on a computer or on a mobile device, there are tons of applications out there to help you find a process that works for you. Taking notes should be smooth, simple, and should work well with your learning style. Applications are a great way to take notes, and here are a few I think that you need to be aware of!


This app is one of the most basic handwriting apps out there. Now, when I say basic though, I do not mean “unimportant” or “not the best.” For taking those every day notes–Penultimate is by far one of the most superior…and, its free!

Penultimate is (in my opinion) one of the easiest to use when it comes to handwriting apps for iPad. You can achieve the natural experience of writing on pen and paper that you are used to without the actual paper. This app is run by Evernote; therefore, by setting up an account you can sync your notes over all devices to be easily accessed, printed, or shared.


Notability is a power-house! This app is available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and you can sync all of your notes between devices through iCloud. Taking your notes with you where ever you go is a little tricky with this application because you have to have the actual app to view them (unlike Penultimate which sync via Evernote which can be viewed with any web browser). However, this is still one of the best note taking apps out there.

Notability is the one spot shop for typing, writing, annotating, capturing images and even recording your meeting and lectures. A lot of people use this app to annotate on their lecture slides and record their professors voice while s/he is talking. This app is powerful yet still simple to use.


Microsoft OneNote is definitely the way to go. Hands down, this is the one app I will swear by. It is clean yet hardworking. You can draw, type, and link different items. But what gets me about this app is that it is organized. OneNote allows you to create color coded tabs, with separate notebooks. And then each tab has any number of pages within it.

If you’re an organized learned like me, then you’ll love the ease of OneNote. It is available for the PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad. It syncs via OneDrive so you can have your notes wherever you go. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use OneNote for your note taking needs, check out one of IT Training’s upcoming workshops!


There are tons of note taking applications out there, but the above three are by far my favorite. Play around with them and see what works best for you! Do you crave that pen and paper feel that Penultimate can give you, or what if you’re an audio learner, or how about the organization of OneNote? Whatever type of learner you are, there’s bound to be an application for you!

This blog post was written by Danyell Bailey on WeAreIU, a blog written by Indiana University students in order to inform prospective and current students of tips, tricks, and everything to know about IU campus and more.


  1. John A

    I’m just using the standard Samsung note app for quick notitions in my phone. It has still some neat functions like adding photo’s and text spoken messages.

  2. Jennifer G.

    Thanks for the info! I use OneNote, but I was wondering what else is out there. I think I will try Penultimate based on the info you provided.

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