App of the Week: Notability

Notability for iOS adds handwriting search & conversion, side-by-side view, & more!


By Chance Miller of 9to5Mac

Popular note-taking and annotation app Notability has been updated this week with a handful of new features. The update brings the app to version 8.0 and includes handwriting recognition and conversion, a new Multi-Note feature, and much more.

For iPad users, Notability now supports Handwriting Search. This means the app is capable of searching your handwritten notes, making it much easier to go back and find the information you need. Furthermore, that handwriting can also be converted to text. Notability says that the first time you open the app after updating, it will automatically index your existing library of notes:

• Handwriting is now searchable from the Library and within a specific note.
• Handwriting can also be converted to text.
• The first time you launch Notability, your library will be indexed.

After that, your handwriting will be searchable! If you have a lot of handwriting, creating the initial index may take a while.

Also for iPad users, Notability now supports a side-by-side view of notes with a new Multi-Note feature. This allows you to view two sets of notes next to each other, allowing you to seamlessly switch between them.

• Multi-Note lets you work with two notes side-by-side.
• The new Note Switcher allows you to quickly switch between notes.
• Supports audio recording and playback.

Finally, the update brings a new Recent Notes section, allowing you to view your 10 most recently accessed notes directly on the homepage of the application.

Now that the $329 iPad supports Apple Pencil, there’s a much bigger market for advanced note taking applications like Notability. The app allows you to easily create notes from scratch, as well as to annotate existing documents such as PDFs and slide shows.

Notability is a $9.99 download on the App Store and is available for iPhone and iPad.

Do you have a favorite Notetaking App? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: Pro Tip: Convert an iMessage to an Apple Notes checklist


By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

Does your husband/wife/boss/presumptuous, spoiled teenage kid send you lists via iMessage or SMS? Do you then spend the whole day flipping to the Messages app and scanning it to see which tasks you’ve done (or groceries you’ve dropped in your cart), and trying to work out what’s still left to do? Then you need to get that list out of the Messages app, and into the Notes app, turning it onto a checklist along the way. And don’t worry. This is so quick and easy, you can do it in a few seconds.

Convert an iMessage to a Notes checklist

If you use a todo app, then it’s possible you can just share a paragraph from iMessage, and the text will be turned into a nice checkable to-do list for you. If not, the quickest, and easiest, way is to use the built-in Notes app. Here’s how to do it.

1 Copy the text of the iMessage by long-pressing and tapping “Copy.”
2 Launch Notes app and create a new note.
3 Paste the copied text.
4 Select all the pasted text, and tap the Checklist button.

And that’s it. You now have a checklist in the Notes app, ready to be used. If you find yourself doing this more often than you like, then you should take the time to train whoever keeps sending you lists via iMessage to use Shared Reminders instead.


Do you have a cool trick like this that saves you time? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

How to: To Scan A Document Using Notes on iOS



By Chris Chepek of

Apple Notes received an overhaul in iOS 11 adding great features for users like enhanced text formatting, pinned notes and tables.

One awesome capability Notes has gained is the ability to scan documents; something 3rd party apps have been using your iPhone’s camera to do for years. This feature is great for everything from organizing important work items, business cards, warranty agreements, personal documents or receipts for your taxes.

How To Scan A Document Using Notes on iOS


Scanning a document for notes is very easy, let’s get started.

1.) First open up a new or existing note, then tap the “+” icon and select “Scan Documents.”

2.) For the best results place your document on a flat surface and align what you are scanning into the box as best you can. If you have “Auto” enabled in the top right, Notes will automatically snap a picture when everything is in alignment. If you’d prefer to take the picture yourself toggle modes by tapping on them in the top right. If you choose “Manual” mode, line up your document and snap a picture of it by tapping the large white button.

3.) If your scan didn’t come out as even as you would like, adjust the corners of your scan by dragging for better alignment. When you are happy with the alignment tap “Keep Scan.”


4.) Tap “Save” to finish scanning or you have the option to add another page. After you are done you can still edit your documents by tapping on one to bring up the edit toolbar, from there you can rotate, crop, change filters or add more pages.


How do you scan a document to your phone? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: Custom thumbnails make your Apple Notes Easier to Find




By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

Apple’s Notes app gets better and better, with the iOS 11/macOS Sierra version bringing all kinds of amazing features. But however good any notes app is, you still have to find your notes, and for most of us that means scanning a list until we find the one we’re looking for. Today we’ll see how to add a custom image thumbnail to any note, so you can quickly identify it in the list. Even if you use search to narrow down the results, an image will still make notes easier to spot.

Adding image thumbnails to Apple Notes


Apple Notes automatically generates thumbnails from any images that are in a note, so the easiest way to add a thumbnail is to add an image. You can do this in many different ways. On the iPad or the Mac, you can drag an image from a Safari page, or from the Photos app, or any other source. On the iPhone, you can add an image from your Photos library by tapping the little plus ⊕ icon, and browsing from there.
Once you’ve added an image, a thumbnail of that image will show up automatically next to the note’s title in the source list. This makes it dead easy to find a note quickly.

Not just photos

But adding photos isn’t the only way to add a thumbnail to a note. The Notes app will pull pictures from some other sources. One way is to add a sketch to your note. On the iPad this is as easy as taking your Apple Pencil and drawing, but you can also tap the plus ⊕ icon and pick Add Sketch from the menu that pops up.

Notes will also grab an image from a URL. If you add a link to a note, you’ll already be familiar with the rich display that results — the link turns into a nice little box with an image, a title, and the URL itself. If no other images are available, then the Notes app will use that image as a thumbnail for the note.

Some rich objects in your Notes do not generate a thumbnail, even though they do create an image in the note body itself. Map bookmarks, for instance, show a preview of the location inside the note, but that map picture isn’t used for the note thumbnail.

Image order

What if you have multiple images in a note? Then Notes will pick the first one. If you have a URL before an image, then, the thumbnail will be taken from the URL. If you’d prefer to use the photo instead, just move it higher up in the note.

And Notes app will grab its images from anywhere inside the note. They don’t have to be at the very top of the note. The app just grabs the first one it finds. So, order matters, but absolute positioning doesn’t.

Thumbnails are a great way to help find notes when you’re searching through a long sidebar list, and there best part is that often they are generated without you having to do anything. But if you want thumbnails in a note that doesn’t already have one, then now you know how to fix it.

What’s your favorite Note taking app or favorite feature? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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