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Michigan State University

Virtual Note Taking

Information about virtual note taking and annotation. Students with electronic course packs will find this information particularly useful. Last updated: 12/4/20.

iOS

  • Allows users to highlight, add comment boxes, make freehand drawings or annotations, and add their signature to PDF documents.

  • Documents can be saved to the Adobe Document Cloud for access across multiple devices. Accounts are free and include 2 GB storage space. Paid accounts with more features are available.

  • The Adobe Support Community provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this program.

  • Free Evernote accounts limit users to 25 MB maximum note size, 60 MB monthly upload, and syncing across only 2 devices.
  • Premium Evernote accounts are available for $7.99/month. Premium accounts allow for syncing across unlimited devices and increased note size and monthly uploads.
  • Evernote has a robust online support forum, including a Quick Start Guide.

  • Handwritten notes can be turned into searchable text.
  • A companion Mac app is available. Notes can be synced across devices using iCloud.
  • The GoodNotes Blog contains updates and information about the newest features. There is also a helpful online Support Forum available.  

  • Allows for annotation of multiple document types, such as Word, PowerPoint, and images. Can also attach multimedia files, such as images, to documents.
  • Notes can be synced across devices using iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox.
  • The iAnnotate Support Page has lots of information and answers to commonly asked questions about the app.
  • Supports annotating PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents, and web pages.
  • Features for gesture-based active reading.
  • Integrates with most cloud storage programs.

  • Features and controls are similar to those in other Office products.
  • Collaboration tools allow easy sharing and editing of documents with others.
  • OneNote Help and Learning portal available.
  • To annotate files on mobile devices, they must first be inserted into a note on a laptop or desktop. Documents can be inserted into OneNote one of two ways: 1) Open the Print menu in the document and select 'Send to OneNote' as the printer, or 2) Open a note in OneNote to add the document to and choose 'File Printout' in the Insert menu. These notes can then be synced to the mobile device through a Microsoft account and opened in the app.
  • Available on all iOS devices and notes are synced through iCloud.
  • Easy-to-use note taking features and powerful organization. Supports annotation of multiple file formats.
  • The Notability Support Portal provides answers to commonly asked questions about the app.

  • Handwriting note taking app that also supports PDF annotation.
  • Create audio recordings within notes.
  • Support provided through FAQs, video tutorials, and a Quick Start Guide (also available in-app).
  • Cross-platform PDF viewer and annotator that is optimized for phones and tablets.
  • Allows annotating, form filling, and collaborating with others.
  • Directly access PDFs in Dropbox and Google Drive and sync across devices.
  • The Xodo Blog contains updates and information about the newest features. There is also a helpful online Support Forum available.

Android

Links to download apps on this page point to the Google Play Store, but some of the note taking apps for Android are also available in the Amazon App Store.

  • Allows users to highlight, add comment boxes, make freehand drawings or annotations, and add their signature to PDF documents.

  • Documents can be saved to the Adobe Document Cloud for access across multiple devices. Accounts are free and include 2 GB storage space. Paid accounts with more features are available.

  • The Adobe Support Community provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this program.

  • Free Evernote accounts limit users to 25 MB maximum note size, 60 MB monthly upload, and syncing across only 2 devices.
  • Premium Evernote accounts are available for $7.99/month. Premium accounts allow for syncing across unlimited devices and increased note size and monthly uploads.
  • Evernote has a robust online support forum, including a Quick Start Guide.

  • Features and controls are similar to those in other Office products.
  • Collaboration tools allow easy sharing and editing of documents with others.
  • OneNote Help and Learning portal available.
  • To annotate files on mobile devices, they must first be inserted into a note on a laptop or desktop. Documents can be inserted into OneNote one of two ways: 1) Open the Print menu in the document and select 'Send to OneNote' as the printer, or 2) Open a note in OneNote to add the document to and choose 'File Printout' in the Insert menu. These notes can then be synced to the mobile device through a Microsoft account and opened in the app.
  • Cross-platform PDF viewer and annotator that is optimized for phones and tablets.
  • Allows annotating, form filling, and collaborating with others.
  • Directly access PDFs in Dropbox and Google Drive and sync across devices.
  • The Xodo Blog contains updates and information about the newest features. There is also a helpful online Support Forum available.

Mac and Windows

  • Users are limited to highlighting text and adding comment boxes to a document. Freehand drawings and annotations are not supported.
  • Documents can be saved to the Adobe Document Cloud for access across multiple devices. Accounts are free and include 2 GB storage space. Paid accounts with more features are available.
  • The Adobe Support Community provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this program.
  • Free Evernote accounts limit users to 25 MB maximum note size, 60 MB monthly upload, and syncing across only 2 devices.
  • Premium Evernote accounts are available for $7.99/month. Premium accounts allow for syncing across unlimited devices and increased note size and monthly uploads.
  • Evernote has a robust online support forum, including a Quick Start Guide.

  • Handwritten notes can be turned into searchable text.
  • Notes can be synced across devices using iCloud.
  • The GoodNotes Blog contains updates and information about the newest features. There is also a helpful online Support Forum available.  
  • Supports annotating PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents, and web pages.
  • Features for gesture-based active reading.
  • Integrates with most cloud storage programs.
  • Features and controls are similar to those in other Office products.
  • Collaboration tools allow easy sharing and editing of documents with others.
  • OneNote Help and Learning portal available.
  • To annotate files on mobile devices, they must first be inserted into a note on a laptop or desktop. Documents can be inserted into OneNote one of two ways: 1) Open the Print menu in the document and select 'Send to OneNote' as the printer, or 2) Open a note in OneNote to add the document to and choose 'File Printout' in the Insert menu.

  • Available on all Apple devices and notes are synced through iCloud.
  • Easy-to-use note taking features and powerful organization. Supports annotation of multiple file formats.
  • The Notability Support Portal provides answers to commonly asked questions about the app.

  • Cross-platform PDF viewer and annotator that is optimized for phones and tablets.
  • Allows annotating, form filling, and collaborating with others.
  • Directly access PDFs in Dropbox and Google Drive and sync across devices.
  • The Xodo Blog contains updates and information about the newest features. There is also a helpful online Support Forum available.

Reviews and More

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Michigan State University