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Notability: One of the Best Note-Taking App for Students

Notability is amazing software for taking notes; you can write plain text, annotate PDFs, and even write whole notes in handwriting. It is available for the iPad, iPhone and Mac. Throughout this post, I am talking about the iPad version, which may be slightly different to the Mac version. The iPad and iPhone version cost £2.29, and the Mac version cost £4.99.
Notability on the iPad home screen

Notability is one of my favorite apps because of its seamless palm-detection, great-looking design and its sticky-note, web-page annotation feature and also the ability to add images.

Making a subject is easy; firstly, tap the plus button at the top of the page, and then tap ‘Divider’ to make a divider; ‘School’, for example. Then, tap the plus button and tap ‘Subject’ to make a new notebook. If you use Evernote, dividers are like notebook stacks, and subjects are notebooks. Then, at the top right, tap the button button with a pencil to make a new note.

Notability home view

Quickly writing a quick note with Notability is quick and easy. You have the option to add text, handwriting, highlight, and use the snipping tool to move, rotate and resize objects. The rubbing tool is extremely easy to use; just a tap will erase connected ink. If I have joined handwriting, and I write ‘Notability’, if I used the rubber and tapped on the end of the word, ‘otability’ would be the result. If I did not have joined handwriting, it would delete the letter.

Rubbing out writing on a PDF

Notability also gives you the ability to add ‘Media’ to the notes; this includes images, web pages and sticky notes. Sticky notes can be placed anywhere on the page, and can be typed on or written on. There are four stick note types you can choose from: blank, typing, lined or squared.

Viewing a PDF in Notability

Notability also gives you the option to back up your notes to popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. I am still hoping that Notability will introduce OneDrive backup eventually. If you are a fan of Evernote, and are reluctant to purchase another notetaking app, you would be glad to know that you can easily export your notes to Evernote via Gmail and Dropbox through this IFTTT recipe.

The notes view whilst viewing a PDF

Notability also lets you annotate PDFs, which is great for proofreading and also for giving feedback. If you’re a teacher, you can export PDFs sent from students into it, and write you feedback on it and then export it to a cloud service, and then email the annotated PDF back to the student. All you need is a stylus (if you want the writing to be neat) and an internet connection. When you tap on the top right, where the pages view is, you will see a section next to the pages view called ‘Notes’. This shows all the pages which have annotations on them.

Viewing a note on Notability

All in all, Notability is a great tool for students and teachers (and even for people in other professions). I love its flexibility, and the ability to type and write all in the same note. I would recommend you try this brilliant app out.

Do you have Notability? Feel free to comment on how you use it, and why you like it.

Use Prezi to Make Engaging Presentations

Prezi is a easy to use piece of software that is available on the web and for tablets.

The Prezi logo

Prezi is great for making engaging presentations quickly and easily.

In Prezi, you don’t have slides. Instead, you have one ‘board’ where you link together information which zooms in and out. Its simple and easy to use, and there are lots of help guides.

An example of the user interface

I prefer Prezi to PowerPoint as I find PowerPoints boring, and a bit old fashioned, and it takes longer to make the animations look professional. whilst I find Prezi quite impressive, as it can look very well done, but only take you a few minutes to put together.

Prezi is a great application and I recommend you take a look at it. It also offers software for PC and Mac, but you need to have a Pro account to be able to make Prezis on them.

Get Things Done Quicker by Using These Wunderlist Extensions

Want to quickly add a todo to Wunderlist without switching screens? Try out the Wunderlist New Tab Extension. Simply download it for Chrome here, and then sign in and start using.

The Wunderlist New Tab

You can add todos via webpages using the Add to Wunderlist Chrome extension; this can be found here. It enables you to add todos linked to webpages.

The Add to Wunderlist extension

I hope you find these extensions useful, and check out my full post on Wunderlist here.

Make Great Publications Using Lucidpress

Lucidpress is a great tool that I use. I use it to make magazines, brochures, postcards, and it includes many other templates.
The Lucidpress logo

I choose using Lucidpress over Microsoft Publisher 2013 as I found the templates on publisher did not look very good, it had no collaboration feature, and it was clunky to use. Lucidpress is easy to use, has great templates for both free and Pro users and also has real time collaboration.

Lucidpress user interface

One of the best things about Lucidpress, like Lucidchart, is that it offers free accounts for students and teachers. This enables you to get more templates, history, analytics, better support, custom font embedding and much more. You can find the comparison of plans here.

Lucidpress is a great application. You can only use it on the web,

which means that you cannot use it offline, and Lucidpress does not have a mobile application. Even though it has these cons, it is a great app and I recommend you try it out.

Lucidpress and Lucidchart are made both by the same company, so I would recommend checking out Lucidchart. You can make graphs, mock ups, mind maps, and many more.

Get Productive with This Desktop Wallpaper!

I just made a background to help you keep track of your ongoing assignments, ones you need to print, and ones you have recently completed!

I would recommend that you organize your apps, then right click on the desktop and then click on view, and then on align icons to grid. THis allows you to have all your app shortcuts organised, but then have your docs aligned too.

Download it here!

My desktop with the wallpaper

Image from here.

Save Articles, Videos and Pictures for Reading Anywhere with Pocket

Pocket is a great application for saving articles, videos and pictures you want to read online and offline.
The Pocket logo

Adding content to Pocket is easy. In the web version, click the plus button in the top left corner and paste in a URL to save it. This is the same with the Chrome app. On the iPad, select the share button, then more, and switch on Pocket. Then, tap share, then Pocket.

Pocket also provides a useful add-in for Chrome. You can find the link here. This enables to to save content to Pocket in one click.

The Pocket Chrome app

Pocket is also great to use with Evernote. When reading an article, tap the share button and the select Evernote. Sadly, this is not available in the web and Chrome version.

In conclusion, Pocket is a great app for saving things for later or offline reading, and also for keeping great articles.

Do you use Pocket already? Feel free to comment below on how and why you use it.

Is Evernote Premium worth It?

Evernote is a tool I love; I use it for email archiving, as a task manager, for school notes and as a place to put important files if I need them quickly.
Where to find your account type

If you are an Evernote Power User, you may have wanted to become Premium before, but the high price put you off, or you were not sure you would need the features. Below is a comparison chart showing the differences between account types.

The features I use the most are PDF annotation, boosted monthly upload limit and the Context feature.

I would upgrade to Premium if you find yourself hitting your monthly balance, wanting to annotate PDFs or wanting more collaborative features, and if it is your ‘digital’ brain.

Lucidchart: A Great Tool for Students

Lucidchart is a amazing app. It allows you to make mockups, diagrams, mindmaps, and many more other things.
The Lucidchart logo

The UI (user interface) is also very simple and easy to use, and you can quickly make graphs, mockups, venn diagrams and more easily in Lucidchart. If you are PRO user, you get 1 gigabyte of space, which is plenty of space even if you are a power-user. It is also very easy to add your own images, and find images on Google, Flickr and Facebook.
An example map open in the Lucidchart desktop software
One of the best thing Lucidchart offers for students is the option to have PRO accounts for free. This gives you more space, email and web support, wireframing and mockups, revision history and many more features; all for free (if you are a student or professor)!

All of my BCS school notes in Evernote have mindmaps which were made in Lucidchart

Lucidchart is also great because it is available offline. This is very helpful if you are a student and want to do brainstorming or a mockup on the bus, train, or in areas with no wifi connection. To get the offline software, you need to download the Chrome app here (Google account required). You can also use Lucidchart on your browser, but internet connection is required.

The Lucidchart shortcut on my desktop

Lucidchart also offers a publication suite, Lucidpress. It also offers free accounts for students.

Lucidchart is a great piece of software for students and non-students alike. Its great for making your notes look better, for mindmapping and for mockups. I would defiantly recommend this piece of software.

The Moleskine Hack for Students

Moleskines are tools which are used by many. They can be used for many things, such as normal notetaking, a planner, a calendar, a PDA and many more (to see a list of the most popular ones, click here). In the course of this post, you will (hopefully) be finding out how to make my favorite Moleskine hack. All you need is the below things:

1. A Moleskine!
2. Sticky tabs (5-6 (5 yellow and 4 blue preferably))
3. Post-it notes
4. A pen
5. A ruler

The first thing you will need to do is number all the pages in the bottom right (or top if you want). I did every odd number. Then, get your sticky tabs. You will have 5 tabs: Inbox, Someday, Projects, (if you have a blog you can have a another one titled Blog), research and book recommendations.

On page 1, write at the top ‘abbreviations’. This is a section where you put words and abbreviations you come across when reading and want to look up later.

I didn’t have any sticky tabs, so I just cut up post-it notes and wrote on them then stuck them in with glue. On page , place a tab and title it as ‘Inbox’. This is were everything will go; place website info, calendar dates, to-dos and notes here. Some will be moved to the Project tab or other tabs.

The Inbox tab

Then, place the ‘Someday’ tab on page 50. This is where everything you want to do someday goes e.g: Go on holiday to Florida.

The Someday tab

Then, I have the Projects tab on page 57. I put it here as I did not think I would put much into ‘Someday’. The projects tab is where all tasks which have more than one tasks. Projects can also have notes. If I was doing a project on the ancient city on Mycenae, I would put all my notes, to-dos, website links and other things in that project.

The Projects tab

Next comes the vital student tab: the ‘Research’ tab. I have this on page 101. This is where you write notes, research questions and make mindmaps. This is probably my second most used area of my Moleskine. I then have a blog tab (on page 153), which is basically a glorified to-do list, but if you don’t have a blog, there is basically no point to this tab.

The Research tab

The next essential tab for a student is the book recommendations (I have gone a bit further than that and have added YouTube videos, music, e.t.c). This section also grows quite quickly.

The Book Recommendations tab

One of my favorite bit of this hack is the key. My most used symbols are: @EN and @WL (EN for Evernote and WL for Wunderlist). I put these symbols and my other ones (see the image) in a context column, so I can easily scan down and see what’s important and what I need to add to what. This key can also be used as a second bookmark.

The Key

I then use sticky tabs so that I can easily find my way around; a yellow sticky tab means that there is active content on the page (to-dos that are not ticked off, notes that I am still using, dates I need to add to Calendars 5, e.t.c). A blue tab marks the current page that I am up to (the page which I can add more stuff to the sections).

I love my Moleskine, and the way I can quickly find what I want to do. I would recommend that you make one and try it out (if you want to) too.

Feel free to share pictures of how you hacked your Moleskine!

How I Manage My Todos with Wunderlist

Wunderlist is my tool for simple tasks or large tasks, and I love its simplicity and beauty.
The Wunderlist logo

I choose Wunderlist after trying out many task managers such as Things, Asana, Azendoo and Producteev. I sticked with Things for a while, but I found it irritating that I could not access my todos on my PC. I decided to try out the other apps, but I choose Wunderlist over everything else as I could easily access it offline on all my devices, and I loved the way you could organize it.

One of my lists

The list feature is a very important feature of Wunderlist. My Kill list is the list everything goes into when I need to complete it. If I get an assignment from school, I will place it into my school list and hashtag it with the appropriate hashtag, and when I am ready to use it, I place it into my Kill list. In my Inbox is all the items I cannot/can’t be bothered to categorise.

If you look at the list at the bottom, you can see a symbol of two people. That means the list is shared. This means you can assign people to a task, and the people you have shared it with can add tasks and tick tasks off.

A task
Another feature I love is hashtags. If I have many Chemistry assignments, I can hashtag them with this: #chemistry. When I click on the hashtag, it shows all todos with that hashtag regardless of which list it is on. This is very useful, as I can see related tasks regardless of which list they are on.
If some of my information is on Evernote I can simply paste the notelink into the ‘notes’ section of the task, but I am hoping that Wunderlist will release integration with Evernote.
I find that Wunderlist is a really cool tool, and it is so helpful that you can get it on all devices, and you can access tasks regardless of your internet status. I find it simple to use, easy to find content with, and I also find it looks very pretty. I would defiantly recommend that you try it out.
Do you have Wunderlist? Feel free to post in the comments how you use it to organise yourself.