Noterize from developer Robert Stretch turns your iPad into a legal pad, word processor, and recording device. On their own, each function leaves something to be desired, but together, they combine to make a decent, but not great, note-taking tool.
When you first launch the app, you see a yellow lined piece of paper. Tool buttons occupy the top left of the screen. Tap the pencil button, and you can use your finger as either a pencil or pen. If you tap the eraser button, your finger switches from a writing utensil to an eraser. There is also a highlighter button in the mix of drawing tools. You can change ink colors and font sizes for both the pen and the highlighter, and you can modify the eraser’s scope as well. I found each tool a little awkward to use, as the finger isn’t always a perfect stand-in for a writing implement.
But you’re not limited to just writing with a finger. When you tap the “T” button, the iPad’s standard keyboard will appear. You can type within your page’s lines or you can create a text box by pushing your finger down on any part of your page to make such a box appear. You can move a text box to any part of your paper. Unfortunately, no matter where you choose to type, you won’t be able to change text style or size.
If you don’t care for yellow paper—and I don’t—you can tap the menu button on the top right of the screen. The menu provides you with an insert button, where you can add blank white paper, white-lined paper, or graphing paper to your document. That insert button lets you add entire PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and Web snapshots to your notes. The menu also provides links to Box.net, Dropbox and Safari for you to retrieve the documents; there’s also a link to your iPad’s Docs Folder.
You can insert Web snapshots on any page, adjusting them in multiple ways. Inserting PDFs and PowerPoint files are a different story. If you download a three-page PDF or Powerpoint, you will have three pages of extra notes.
Working with PDFs in Noterize is a pleasure that really puts the app’s annotation functions in their best light. You can highlight, make notes, and draw on PDF pages. You can also add text boxes and pictures to PDF slides. You can’t edit the original PDF file, but that’s not really the intended purpose here—this app is aimed squarely at PDF viewing and annotation.
When you’re done making your notations, a share button in the menu allows you to e-mail your notes in PDF form. You can also upload your documents to Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, Box.net, Dropbox or your Docs Folder. These notes can’t be modified by whoever receives them.
Noterize includes an audio recording function that’s useful if you get tired of typing or if you want to ensure you’ve captured someone’s exact words. That said, the iPad’s built-in microphone didn’t do a terribly good job of recording messages during my tests.
Noterize is not a perfect notepad nor is it a perfect recorder or word processor. Combine these functions together, though, and it’s not a bad option, particularly if you’re interested in avoiding a bunch of unitasker apps cluttering up your iPad. And if the ability to view and mark up PDFs is on your wish list, Noterize really delivers on that score.
[Sam Felsing is an editorial intern at Macworld.]