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Submitted by JMStahl on


 I am considering using my iPad Mini coupled with the Penultimate app and Adonit Evernote stylus for note taking instead of paper. I understand and agree with all of the advice regarding typing during meetings. What are the thoughts on taking written notes on a tablet?

timbarcz's picture
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I tried this and it ultimately didn't work.  My iPad is smaller than a simple sheet of 8.5x11 paper and the iPad mini will be even smaller, so you're ultimately taking notes digitally on what amounts to a 4x7 index card. Also, you're writing on a raised surface so it often feels awkward.  All of this gets in the way of being part of the meeting.

I recommend you take notes by hand on a legal pad or similar sized paper, then use JotNot or Evernotes built in capability to take a picture of a piece of paper.  You're more attentive in the meetings, you're working with a full-size piece of paper, able to make mental connections and still get the document digitized in the end for easy recall



mdave's picture

 Thanks for the advice. I am part of a tablet pilot program as part of my orgs interest in going wireless. I have been looking at apps to see how to make it work with written notes. Super advice!! Wish I had thought of it myself. 

mdave's picture

 Thanks for the advice. I am part of a tablet pilot program as part of my orgs interest in going wireless. I have been looking at apps to see how to make it work with written notes. Super advice!! Wish I had thought of it myself. 

timrutter's picture

I'm afraid that when it comes to meeting, you think you're taking notes, I see someone doing email

Treat yourself to a Parker Jotter and a nice book


timbarcz's picture
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To echo the previous poster - I was in a meeting today with three people total and one guy was on his tablet the whole time. VERY distracting.

jclishe's picture

I have a Surface Pro that I've taken notes on during meetings. If you lay the tablet flat and write on it like you would a sheet of paper, everyone can see that you're hand writing notes and there's no question whether you're distracted with email or something else. You just need to ensure that you truly aren't doing anything else and aren't tempted to flip to other apps.

Also a device like a Surface Pro has a true digitizer and can write much finer and more accurately than with a capacitive pen like the iPad. I do also have an iPad and I wouldn't consider taking hand written notes on it during a meeting because you have to write fairly large and it's just less accurate so you end up being distracted simply because you have to concentrate on writing more than if you were writing on paper. For me, the Surface has been more natural like writing on paper and therefore less distracting.

I'm not trying to sell you a Surface Pro, my point is just that the device matters. Regardless of what you're intention is, I think *any* tablet device that uses a capacitive pen is going to be a distraction simply because you have to think about the act of writing more than you would a sheet of paper, and that distraction is much less evident in a device that uses a digitized pen. Just something to think about.


spiderwj's picture


What app or program do you use to take notes?  I have a surface and want to go to handwritten notes on it but I cannot find a note taking program I am happy with... I can take notes for a single meeting on it but I cannot come up with a decent system for linking them together in a format that is as easy to search back through as flipping through my notebook.  An app that has "pages" that can be turned to view previous handwritten notes would be awesome.  I would welcome your thoughts and comments on how you manage your notes.



pedro's picture

I want to share my experiences of taking notes electronically. I have an ultrabook and I take it with me to my O3s.

My team is a team of developers and I slowly introduced it to each one of my team members. It has also helped me to have access to some of our systems, because from time to time, my directs have questions on information available on our network.

I use OneNote which I found excellent.

I don't think electronic note taking is for everyone, but I has worked for me for the last few months. The quality of my one on ones has gone up a lot as well, as I have better information available for them.

JMStahl's picture
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Thank you for all of the responses.  I did buy the Adonit Jot Everynote Edition stylus and am going to give it a fair shot.  Jason, to your point it is not as accurate on an iPad as I would like.  And it does not help that I write fairly small.

If I find this to be too much of a distraction I will be sending it back and going back to paper and pen.

Thanks again to all!

J. Michael Stahl, P.E.

DiSC: 2275

pucciot's picture
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For Apple IOS Tablets 
I recommend 

 * Notability

It does Handwriting with a stylus and it can record audio at the same time. 
(The Audio playback syncs with the writing as you write - really cool !)

It syncs backup with various Cloud Storage - into .pdf and the audio file.

Using an APP like _ScannerPro_ you can take a photo of the paper agenda 

- quickly import it into Notability as a .pdf 

-- and then use a stylus to write right on the Agenda.

Take photos of the White Board or FlipCharts as well.

Jot Down more notes with the stylus on that --

And Take a photo of a business card and add it to the notes.


Yes - It does typing as well, but MT recommends against typing during a meeting.

Private Message me if you want to see it in action.

Good Luck


jazzlover's picture

I use an iPad with GoodNotes and an Adonit stylus. I can write as I do on paper, and can search it later without having to convert my handwriting to text. Here's my review:

Advantages: searchability, no paper, back up to the cloud, ability to make notes on pdf's, ability to insert shapes/images/links, ability to write just as you would on a paper notebook (not a 4 x 7 window of a piece of paper), ability to create separate notebooks by subject

Disadvantages: if you're called unexpectedly into a meeting, or don't take 30 sec  before a meeting it's embarassing to have to boot up the tablet, then open the app, then open the right notebook, then turn on handwriting recognition

I tend to use paper in the disadvantageous scenario above.

Steve Tiilikainen's picture

Having just listened to the note-taking podcast repeatedly to harvest areas of personal improvement prior to starting a new position, I can tell you that the MT guidance is "we said no typing -- we did not say no computers". And then they specifically talked about taking notes on tablet computers and called special attention to OneNote.

The question is whether you can restrict yourself to only taking notes during meetings. If you can condition yourself into pretending that your tablet and stylus is a legal pad and pen, you're probably okay. If you find that you are easily distracted into escaping the context of the meeting through your tablet (checking email or web browsing, for example), you should stick with physical pen and paper.

Of course, perception also matters. If you think you are getting the side-eye for the use of any electronic device, you should discontinue such use.