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Make Attention Seeking Designs with Canva!

Canva is a great tool for designing things from infographics, e-book covers and posters to social media headers (my Twitter, Google+ and this blog headers are made in Canva).
The Canva logo

Canva is simple and easy to use, and its free.

You can pay for some elements, such as more backgrounds, images, icons and more. Each of these elements cost $1 dollar each. If I made a infographic, and I used three premium elements, I would have to pay $3 to get the image (or PDF) without a watermark. You can also upload your own images.

Canva User Interface

The Canva user interface is simple and easy to use, and it gives you a quick tutorial when you sign up. Its easy to navigate, and after a few minutes you will probably have got the hang of it.

Canva is a great tool for making many things, and its also great that its free. Check out all the most recent public designs here (account required).

Do you use Canva? Feel free to say what you use it for, and if you want to, post a link to your favorite design!

Easily Make Great Looking Infographics with Piktochart

Ever wanted to quickly make beautiful diagrams or infographics? I suggest you try out Piktochart. Its easy to use, and gives great results. There are many free templates, and its easy to put together your own.
The User Interface of Piktochart

 After you’ve signed up, you will appear on the templates page. Simply select a template and then get going.

You can add pictures, themes, text, and then spruce the up with great tools such as picture frames and text frames. Its also easy to add interactive charts and maps, and also embed videos.

Piktochart also gives you the option to export your Piktochart to popular services such as Evernote and Slideshare (this is only available with a Pro account), and also to email them or share them with popular social media.

One of my Piktocharts

Piktochart is a great tool to quickly make enticing infographics that can grab attention and can transform boring information or numbers into great looking pieces of ‘art’.

Feel free to share the links to your infographics in the comments section below!

A Quick Note on the Evernote Changes

Just a quick update on the new changes to Evernote, which took place yesterday.
A new account type, Plus has been introduced, and this costs £20 a year. It gives you 1gb of upload space, and allows you to access your notes offline on mobile devices. You can also forward emails, and add a passcode to the app on your phone.
Evernote has also made a few changes to the Premium account, and this is boosting the upload allowance to be unlimited.
The maximum note size is now 200mb, which means that you can add more content to a note.
To see the comparison table, click here.
For the official Evernote blog post outlining all the details, look here.

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.