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App of the Week: Noteshelf Handwriting App for iPad

Bobby Travis

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

App of the Week: Noteshelf Handwriting App for iPad | 40Tech

When I got my iPad back in December, I mostly used it as a means to surf the web, watch Netflix, read, and play the occasional game. Oh, I blogged on it a bit, too, and I figured it would be great for taking notes and the like, but I quickly found that extended typing on the glass surface led to aching fingertips. Besides, when trying to work things out and get creative, there is something very powerful about the old fashioned pen and paper approach. Determined to see if I could get the same power out of my iPad, I started researching handwriting apps.

After going through several, I was largely disappointed by what was out there — until I discovered Noteshelf.

Now, to be fair, I originally went with Penultimate, which has an excellent natural feel when you write — and gets extra awesome points for it’s freeness. However, I still felt like I was missing something. So, when my friend and colleague Daniel Gold recommended Noteshelf to me, I grudgingly gave it a shot, despite it’s $4.99 price tag. I’m cheap when it comes to app purchases, but I figured I could hold him responsible if it sucked.

It didn’t.

In fact, it rocked so much that I use it all the time, even though my handwriting is absolutely atrocious. Noteshelf has all of the features I could want or need:

  • Excellent natural feel when writing
  • Different pen sizes and colours
  • Wrist protection that works
  • Zoom writing
  • Just as functional in landscape mode as portrait mode
  • Unlimited undo and redo (until you leave the page, anyway)
  • Notebook templates for writing, drawing, task and day planning, meeting notes, shopping lists, journal writing, graphing, and music
  • A bookshelf view to easily organize notebooks
  • Dynamic line-sizing for easy and clean jumps to the next line on a page
  • Photo embedding and annotation
  • Backup and restore functionality

The kicker, though, is Noteshelf’s sharing capabilities. You can print and export notes as .jpegs and .pdfs, configuring by page or as an entire notebook — by email, iTunes, your iPad photo album, and (Yay!!) Dropbox and Evernote! That’s all kinds of awesome, right there! Nothing quite like being able to quickly scrawl down several pages worth of ideas, and then send them to your out-of-brain-brain for easy searching with Evernote’s OCR. Even writing as bad as mine gets picked up. Mostly…

Noteshelf Natural Handwriting App for iPadNoteshelf Notebook Templates Noteshelf Export to Dropbox, Evernote

I can’t say enough that’s good about Noteshelf. If you have an iPad, and have a want or need to use it as a notebook that will get you on the path to being well and truly paperless, you need to go and get it. Right now.

What’s your favourite handwriting app for tablets?