Friday, March 1, 2013

App Review: Penultimate

Another great release from Evernote, although it's not a new release. There are lots of folks out there who really, really want to write notes by hand on their iPad. I am not one of those people, so it's not something that I've been stressing about. There are a lot of good apps that let you write on the screen. Skitch (by Evernote) would be a good example. But Penultimate is a good option, and a free one, I might add. 

First off, it's a good looking app. Which definitely counts. You'll want to create an Evernote account if you haven't already done so. Once you have Penultimate downloaded to your iPad, you'll be able to sign in to your Evernote account to link the apps. First, you have the ability to create multiple notebooks. When you open a notebook, the app automatically orients to portrait mode. Now you are ready to create.

Let's look at the features. There is the ability to change the background paper. You can choose from graph paper, lined, plain, or shop for other options. From there, you'll see a lot of the same functionality as you get with Skitch. You can insert an image from your camera roll or take one with the embedded camera feature. Easily resize the image by dragging the corners and move it anywhere on the page with a swipe of your finger. You can also rotate it with a twist. However, it only sticks in 90 degree increments - kind of a pain. And here's the funkier part (is funkier a word?). Once you drop the image, it's stuck there. You can't easily pick it up and move it to another location. Go figure.

The writing function is straightforward. You can choose from ten different colors and vary the thickness of the line. Then write. The eraser erases. The scissors needs work. As I'm playing around here, sometimes it cuts and sometimes it crashes. When I was on it earlier this week, I was able to cut out parts of the page and move it around. Not so much right now. I should put in a work order to Evernote to check that out.

When you have your notes completed, there are many options to choose from. Because it's an Evernote product, it syncs and sends your notebooks to your Evernote app. Then you can manage the Penultimate notebooks just like you would an Evernote notebook. You can also save pages to the camera roll, email, or open in another app.

That's about it. If you are a heavy writer, then this might not be the app for you. I hear from my handwriting-crazy colleagues that there are better ones like GoodNotes. But if you want something simple that you can use to take simple notes or annotate images, then give Penultimate a try. At the very least, it won't cost you much. 

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