Type: Notes, PDf Viewer and Annotation
Price: Free (limit 2 notebooks of 10 pages), $5.99 -full version no limits
Good notes is the best note taking app on the app store. It’s very hard to find a decent note taking app on the app store but search no further, download Good Notes!It is as close to perfect as you can get from a note taking app. Not only can you take notes but also view and annotate PDF’s. I use it everyday to annotate over my own Let’s Practice Geometry worksheets and answer keys, take notes from meetings, write down ideas, take phone messages and just about everything else. Good Notes has every possible feature you could want in a note-taking app and then some. I would recommend Good notes to any Teacher, or Student, as the number one note taking and PDF annotation app!
There are two versions of Good Notes, the free version and the paid version. The free version has all of the functionality of the paid version except you can only create 2 notebooks that are up to 10 pages long. It is good for checking out all of the features of this awesome note taker but you will definitely want to upgrade. (I really respect the developers for taking this approach because it is very nice to be able to try out all the features of an app before you pay more than a couple dollars for it. The Paid version of the app does all of the same things as the free version except you can create unlimited notebooks with unlimited pages.
Taking notes in Good Notes is a pleasure. The app allows you to take handwritten notes, add text and text boxes as well as images, pictures and highlighting. You can change the background, to one of 8 useful backgrounds or upload your own. t also has a shape tool that works very well!
Handwriting is easy with good notes. You can chose from a fountain pen or a roller ball pen and cusomize the width and color of each. A lot of note taking apps only have a couple of colors to choose from but good notes has very robust color palate and you can even enter your own favorite hex code! You can also create your own presets, so if you love a certain color you can add to to the quick selector. Anyway after you choose a nice color you can start writing. You can write directly on the page or you can tap the little box icon and something interesting happens, I little window opens at the bottom of the screen and a blue box appears on your paper. If you write in the window it appears in the box so you can just write at the bottom of the screen and have it appear anywhere you want. Also the window is at least twice as big as it appears on the screen so it solves the problem of not being able to write small enough! The window has all kinds of features like margin return and auto advance. You can also have it skip lines if you still write a little on the larger size.
If you don’t like writing in the window you can just write on the “paper”. Good notes makes it easy because it has a palm rejection feature that whence set up works like a charm. You can actully rest your palm and write like you would on an actual piece of paper. This is so cool! You have to make sure you set up palm rejection before it works correctly. It allows you to choose right or left handed and position the rejection how you normally rest your hand. It really works! I was blown away!
The other cool thing about good notes is they added a text box feature. If you don’t like writing your notes by hand, no problem! just tap the + and tap text box and you are ready to type. you can choose the color, font, border, padding, background, alignment, make the text bold or italics, and change the font size of the text box. All these features are easily accessible in an extended box above the normal IPad keyboard. I love it! The default font is Helvetica Neue which just looks so clean!
Good notes allows you to draw shapes! Lines (well line segments, no arrows), triangles circles, whatever you want! just tap the little shapes icon and draw away! It works remarkably well. It’s not perfect, you have to be a little bit careful, but it works better even than some apps that are supposed to be for drawing! This of course makes writing in Good Notes perfect for the Geometry teacher as well as the geometry student. Probably even more so for the student. It can do circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, right triangles, trapezoids, and even weirdo shapes like irregular concave polygons and even open shapes. Design a maze if you want to, it can do it. It has a some trouble with regular polygons, and you have to be pretty careful to get it to make a perfect square or rectangle but with a little practice it can be done.
Selecting and Formatting
You can also highlight, select, move, re-size, and change the color of your notes! The highlighter, Just like the pen tool, has presets that you can now customize any way you like. The lasso (select) tool works better than any selection tool I have every used. Unlike most selection tool you only need to select a tiny bit of the object and it selects the whole object! this is great if you wrote on top of something but want to move it later. After you select you actually move, change the size, and change the color of whatever you wrote. That includes typed text handwritten text and the shapes! Unbelievable!!! I wouldn’t have wanted to write the programming code for that one!
Unlike a lot of decent note taking apps, Good notes handles landscape and portrait modes with ease and can easily transition from one to the other. It also allows you to add landscape and portrait notebooks, Want a notebook that is in landscape but want to write on in in portrait? No Problem. Amazingly you can also add a landscape page to a portrait notebook, or vice-versa. It’s very flexible.
Another great feature of the app is that you can zoom in. Way in! Not to like 1000% or anything but just far enough to write really really small and still have it be readable. I actually appreciate that you can’t zoom in too far. Just enough to write very small without getting hopelessly lost in zoom land. This is also very handy for presenting on through mirroring or apple TV. I can zoom in on a single problem in Let Practice Geometry and blow it up nice and big so students can see it super clear. That brings me to my next section…
Viewing Mode and Mirroring
Viewing mode is simply a button you can tap at the top of your notes. It allows you to zoom, swipe to the next page, scroll, and navigate easily in your notes without having to worry about accidentally writing a big slash across your beautiful notes or that PDF file. This is a big problem with other apps but not Good Notes.
Another thing that works extremely well with good notes is airplay. They way the developers made application handle airplay is very simple but effective. For example if you are mirroring your app to display your notes to your students, either through an airplay program on your PC, your mac, or apple TV, good notes displays your notes to your audience but not your menu. This is really cool because lets say you want to select a different page in the page selector, or you are messing around with your pen color. The viewer doesn’t see any of it. All they see is what you are writing or the PDF.
The Greatest thing about good notes is that it handles PDF’s amazingly well. You can export a PDF into good notes, you can import a PDF from within good notes from Dropbox, box, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Itunes, your camera (wow!) or of course your photos. You can upload huge PDF files, say for instance Let’s Practice Geometry! (hint hint :-)). I mean the whole darn thing, all 557 pages! Good Notes Doesn’t freak out at all. You can then fully annotate over your pdf, underline things, solve problems highlight, add a picture, write a letter to your mother over the top if you want to non problem. You can then export your annotations as a PDF!
Go Paperless with Good Notes
Unfortunately I am not in a 1-1 IPad environment, at least not yet, but if I was I would have all of my students have good notes and do their math problems right on the PDF pages of Let’s Practice Geometry. They could then upload them to Edmodo or Shobie or email them to me or whatever and be completely paperless. You could also do this with your student with any kind of PDF. They could even take a picture of their textbook and do those problems right in the app. No Paper. Wow!!!! In fact in a 1-1 IPad Environment I would strongly recommend Good Notes as a great solution for a note taking app for students.
You can Use Good notes to fill out forms, just take a picture of the form(s), (or scan them in another app if you want) fill them out the form sign them and email it. Amazing! Good notes also lets you rotate PDF pages in case they are out of rotation.
Exporting and File Management
Good Notes has robust file management features that allow you to export not only notebooks but any selection of pages to all of the major places including, Dropbox, iTunes, Email, Box, Google Drive, and Sky Drive, You can also open any selection of pages or a whole notebook in an external App. I Don’t know all the apps it works with but there are a lot including Edmodo, Explain Anything, and Showbie, Instashare, and File Browswer. If an app isn’t in the “open in” feature you can always export it to something they both use like Dropbox, or the photo library and open it from the app you choose.
Within the notebooks themselves you can select multiple pages, add pages, Delete pages, go to your bookmarks or use a Table of Contents.
Good notes also has “a bookshelf” to organize your notebooks, you can create a new notebook, open an exisiting one, rename, add a cover, dupicate, and export a whole notebook.
Good Notes has a very active Developer. They are constantly adding useful features to the app. In fact a lot of the key features I just mentioned were added after I initially started using Good Notes. Their website has a section where you can suggest and vote on ideas and the developers seem to listen and implement, not just the most popular ideas but also ones that may be as popular but that make good sense. If there is something the app lacks you can go on and make a suggestion or vote for a suggestion that is already submitted. Very nice.
Good Notes has a ton of great features that make it the best note taking app on the app store. There are a ton of good note taking apps on the app store, but Good Notes is the absolute best. Many good apps are missing a key feature or two that make them frustrating, like they won’t go to landscape, or they have a limited color palate, or you can’t type text, or can’t zoom. Good notes does it all, It has everything you would expect a note taking app would have and allow you to do and it does it cleanly and intuitively. I would recommend this app to anyone looking for a no fuss note taker or PDF annotation app.