Mac Applications forum

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Note-taking for academic

by jennywren1420 / March 3, 2009 9:38 AM PST

My daughter is coming to the Mac side (my son-in-law came over last summer). She has previously used FileMaker for the PC for her virtual index cards--that is, for taking notes and keeping other information for her books and articles and other academic purposes. FileMaker really isn't the best for the purpose, and she's hoping that there may be some fellow academics among you who have encountered this situation. She is over her head in work and has asked me to present the question to you. Any suggestions?

Many thanks,


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Check out Evernote, Circus Ponies Notebook, MindMaps
by PatHaleMIT / March 13, 2009 11:46 AM PDT

Evernote ( does a terrific job of capturing all kinds of information and can be organized to keep notes for a particular course together. Circus Ponies Notebook is a more notebook-like organizing principle, and creates an index automatically. If you think graphically, Mind Mapping is a terrific way to go, and there are several great mindmapping applications for the Mac--enjoy!

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Personal Wiki
by vmedlock / March 13, 2009 1:38 PM PDT

Another solution is ZuluPad. It's basically a desktop wiki (think Wikipedia) that works much like traditional notes. However, as you enter notes, the software creates links to other pages that you've already entered. Basically, it should make all your information on a given topic or keyword more accessible. The program probably isn't perfect, but a wiki definitely is worth considering for academic note-taking purposes.

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Tablet PC and OneNote
by waytron / March 13, 2009 7:32 PM PDT

Many academics find the ideal platform for note taking is combining a Tablet PC such a Fujitsu or Motion with Microsoft OneNote. You can use the tablet pen to write your notes, draw diagrams and pictures and even dictate verbal information. If you spend a lot of time writing and trying to organize notes, this is a great way to go. Also you will not annoy everyone with the sound of typing in class either.

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by drmht / March 14, 2009 1:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Tablet PC and OneNote

The girl wants a Mac solution and you're recommending a PC running a MS app??

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The best Option
by waytron / March 14, 2009 5:59 AM PDT
In reply to: ??

Sorry, but when someone is looking for the solution to a problem, I just want to make sure they are aware of what the absolute superior option would be. It does not matter what platform you are on, when it comes to note taking, nothing beats the abilities of a tablet computer and being able to use a pen. So until they come up with a direct connection to your brain this is the best option.

Besides how often do you Macheads pop into a Windows forum answering every question with buy a MAC?

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by onemoremile / March 14, 2009 6:07 AM PDT
In reply to: The best Option

I think that if she wanted to hand write her notes, she would spend a couple of dollars on a spiral notebook and be done with it!

Lest you think that I am speaking with no knowledge, I use a notebook computer every day at work. I am unimpressed with OneLook. Any of the applications that I cited in my other post would be superior for a college student taking notes.

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by waytron / March 14, 2009 7:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Notebook

I can not attest to your computer knowledge but it is obvious that you have never used a Tablet Computer with any form of note taking software. I am sure that once MAC comes out with a Tablet, you will probably change your mind.

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by onemoremile / March 14, 2009 7:32 AM PDT
In reply to: whatever

Perhaps I was not clear. I have OneNote on a Fujitsu tablet computer, which I use every day at work. I also have SoHo, which I run on a Mac that I own. I have extensive experience with both. I stand by my statements.

By the way, tell us about your extensive experience using note taking software on the Mac platform. Since you know what is best, you must be an expert. Which Mac programs have you used?

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by drmht / March 14, 2009 8:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Ignorance

You can stand on your head if you like. It doesn't change the fact that your recommendation is non-responsive.

Personally, I think that a Tablet is the ideal form factor for note taking in a lecture hall. But neither my Tablet preference nor yours is relevant, within the constraints of the OP's request.

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Every Day?
by waytron / March 14, 2009 8:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Ignorance

Wow! You use a computer everyday? You must be the expert! I surrender...

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The best Option
by drmht / March 14, 2009 6:31 AM PDT
In reply to: The best Option

Machead, Schmachead...the OP asked for a Mac solution. If his daughter was looking for a PC app to replace FileMaker, he would've posted a different question in a different forum. Period.

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by drmht / March 14, 2009 7:28 AM PDT
In reply to: The best Option

You're missing (ignoring?) the point: While the "best" solution for *this particular application* may very well Tablet-based, the user has?for "whatever" her reasons (which likely are many)?already decided to migrate to a Mac, and is looking for software that will run on a Mac.

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by onemoremile / March 14, 2009 1:09 AM PDT

FileMaker actually makes a very well-reviewed product called Bento, which is their consumer database product for the Mac. It may be a very elegant solution that will allow a comfortable transition for your daughter. The web site is

Notebook, , is another product that is built just for your daughter's needs.

I use SohoNotes, which is very powerful and can do everything that any student would need. That product is incredibly powerful. The site is

Have her try the demos and see which one she likes best.

Good luck!

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Sorry Jenny.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2009 8:15 AM PDT

The lock is because the thread is headed south. Let's hope you found something you can use.


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