That's My Jam - My Top 3 Note Taking Apps

One of the many perks of my new job is that I got an iPad and I have spent the last week organizing it  I thought  I would share my three favorite note taking apps because I love sharing and exchanging any information about how technology can make our lives easier.



It is hard for me to remember how I used to organize research articles before Evernote. I discovered Evernote when looking for an app to help me organize my dissertation research. This app allows you to create virtual notebooks and inside the notebooks you can add notes by recording your voice, taking a picture,  typing a note, or uploading any type of document. You can also tag each note into different categories that make them easily searchable. I love using Evernote when I go to presentations because I can take a photo of the screen or PowerPoint slide presented then add notes about what the speaker said under the photo.

The two things I love the most about Evernote are the syncing ability and the web clipping tool. I have the desktop version of Evernote downloaded on every computer I use and the app downloaded on my phone and iPad. When I add a note to one device, it will sync with all of the others. So if I add an article at work  on my laptop and have free time while I am waiting in line somewhere later in the day, I can pull that article up and read it on my phone. The web clipping feature is similar to Pinterest except it what you clip does not have to be a photo. I have an Evernote button on my toolbar and can clip a link, article, photo, etc. from the web and add it as a note with my own comments.

You could watch online videos for hours on the different ways to use this app; there are Evernote conferences, workshops, and webinars.  The possibilities are endless on how you can tailor this app's features to a project you are working on. You can learn more about Evernote here. Currently I have the free account which has been great for organizing materials for my dissertation and work. You can update to pay per month to get features like the ability to share and edit documents with other people, get more space, and apply passcodes to your documents.

Top Notes


One of the things that I love doing is handwriting my notes and to-do lists. It is calming for me to physical write things out and  doodle.  In my job I used to write notes everywhere and then would lose them in random legal pads that cluttered my office. I then started carrying around a large notebook where I would put all my notes and lists or work to solve this problem. However, it is difficult because there was confidential student information, passwords, etc. in the notebook and I would be paranoid to always have it with me and not leave it where someone else could read it. I also would have notes from all different meetings in one notebook making it hard to go back and look at the notes I need fast. Then I discovered the app Top Notes which solves all of these problems. 

With Top Notes you create virtual notebooks. I add images with quotes to the cover of my notebooks (pictured below) for daily inspiration. I made a notebook for each regular meeting I have and other categories I take notes for so my notes are easy to find. You add pages to each notebook and can choose from a variety of papers like graph paper, checklists, or notebook paper. In each note you can add an image, PDF doc, write with a stylus or type. Then you can send that note to social media, email it, etc. Each notebook can have its own passcode as well for added security. You can also create folders with Top Notes and add documents from Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox which is awesome for work.

Evernote has made apps that allow you to hand write and write on PDFs and then sync to Evernote but I like the useability of this app. You can get the app for free but I did upgrade for $4.99 to ability to do everything the app offers. Check it out here.


My Notebooks

My Notebooks

Paper by Fifty Three


This app is beautiful. It is really a digital sketchbook but I love writing notes in it as well. I keep my to do lists and blog ideas and also use it as a sketch book.  It is free but I would recommend buying the essentials tool kit ($6.99) and color mixer ($1.99)  if you really want to draw with this. You can create multiple sketchbooks and add images to the covers like Top Note. Some of my notebooks are pictured below. In each notebook you can use pencil, watercolor, pen, calligraphy, and create beautiful work. The app will feature the art recently made using it and I love looking through what others created.  You can also browse work others created here and read more about the app here.