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NoteShelf Review: Complete review of the app for Note-Taking

NoteShelf Review: Complete review of the app for Note-Taking

In this comprehensive NoteShelf review, we delve into the features and capabilities of this popular note-taking app for digital artists and graphic designers.

Noteshelf provides robust support for handwritten notes, offering a variety of pen and marker tools, as well as an extensive color palette for seamless note-taking.

We also have a side by side review of NoteShelf vs GoodNotes.

But how does it measure up overall as a Note-taking app? This is tough with competitors like Notability and GoodNotes… let’s dive in.

noteshelf information we reviewed Large

Side note: One advantage of Noteshelf is its flexibility, allowing users to switch between platforms like Android, Windows, and iOS (without feeling limited).

Works as a great alternative to notability or goodnotes

It also has PDF, annotation, and audio recording; which is crucial for students of all types. During my hands-on test, I found all the pros and cons of NoteShelf, which will be discussed in detail throughout this article.

What makes Noteshelf different from GoodNotes, Notability and NoteLedge?

Noteshelf distinguishes itself from competing note-taking apps like GoodNotes, Notability, and NoteLedge through its compatibility with multiple operating systems.

NoteShelf works well with visual notes

Unlike its contemporaries, which are primarily focused on iOS platforms, Noteshelf can be used on Windows, iOS, and Android devices. This gives users a seamless experience across various devices, allowing them to access and edit their notes wherever they are.

We considered Noteshelf one of the best Notability alternatives (as well as GoodNotes alternatives)

Over time, Noteshelf has been enhancing its compatibility with different platforms, which has resulted in an app that integrates well with multiple operating systems.

Customize your notes with noteshelf

This is something many other note-taking apps lack (not everyone has an iPad). Many users have an android based tablet like the Samsung Galaxy and need a note-taking app that competes with the top contenders… NoteShelf works well in this regard.

This advantage puts it ahead of GoodNotes and Notability in this regard, because these apps are still working towards expanding their compatibility.

Quick Glance at my experience with Noteshelf

  • Has an Audio recording feature for lectures, which many students (and anyone taking notes) can benefit from.
  • Pricing structure of Noteshelf beats other apps, like Notability
  • Compatibility with iPadOS features, such as multitasking and Scribble support.
  • Improved handwriting recognition supporting over 50 languages.
  • Full-screen presentation mode with laser pointer feature for a distraction-free experience.
  • Downsides: Limited collaboration features and no drag-and-drop support for elements within the app.

See my full experience with the NoteShelf app here.

Noteshelf aspectFurther information
App PlatformiOS, Android, Windows
Special FeatureCompatibility with multiple operating systems
Comparison CompetitorsGoodNotes, Notability, NoteLedge
Advantages Over CompetitorsExtended compatibility, affordable pricing structure, robust support for handwritten notes, audio recording feature, flexible switch between platforms
Useful ForDigital artists, graphic designers, students
Price$9.99 – iOS
FeaturesCustomizable templates, search function for text in notes, extensive color palette, organizational tools, PDF editing, Cloud Storage and Sync, Document Annotation
Additional FeaturesStickers and stamps, password protection, touch/face ID authentication, handwriting recognition supporting over 50 languages, full-screen presentation mode with laser pointer
Experience With iPad and Apple PencilSeamless integration, Fluid and intuitive note-taking, fine-tuned pressure sensitivity, good palm rejection feature, support for multitasking
User ExperienceImproved productivity and organization, benefit from OCR functionality, appreciated cloud syncing and export options, autosave feature
Typed NotesAllowed
Noteshelf vs. Apple NotesMore advanced features like audio recording and advanced annotation tools

NoteShelf Review: A comprehensive look

NoteShelf’s features make it a powerful note-taking app, allowing users to create and organize their notes effectively. Keep in mind that it offers unique functions such as customizable templates and covers, allowing users to personalize their notes fully.

Important – If you’re not using an Apple Pencil and iPad, you may want to consider an e-ink tablet such as the Remarkable 2

One advantage of this app is that it enables users to search for text within their notes, making it easier to locate and manage their content.

In addition, NoteShelf provides robust support for handwritten notes, offering a variety of pen and marker tools, as well as an extensive color palette for seamless note-taking. Users can also zoom in while writing to accurately input their text, and the app’s palm rejection feature ensures that unwanted marks are kept to a minimum.


3 Pricing

NoteShelf, like its competitors, offers a one-time purchase option of $9.99 in the iOS app store, making it a cost-effective choice for individuals who require a reliable note-taking app. It’s $7.99 on macOS, and $5 for Android.

This means users have access to all the features without worrying about recurring payments. this is much cheaper than Notability, which has annual and monthly plans rather than a one-off price.

The app provides full access to all its features, without the need for ongoing subscription fees. Keep in mind that this is an advantage for users who are budget-conscious but still require a comprehensive note-taking tool.

While some rival apps may offer additional features through in-app purchases, NoteShel’s all-inclusive one-time fee provides a simple, upfront pricing model.

Noteshelf was ranked by us as the Best way to take notes on Mac when it coms to visual note taking.

This ensures that users can focus on creating and managing their notes while avoiding the hassles of hidden fees or recurring charges.

Annotation, PDF, and audio recording

4 Annotation PDF and audio recording

Noteshelf supports document annotation and PDF editing, making it an ideal tool for study or professional use. Users can import PDFs, annotate them using various tools, and even sign documents within the app.

Moreover, Noteshelf enables users to create their PDF documents from scratch, or convert existing notes into PDF format.

Also see: 10 Best Tablets for Reading PDF files

In addition to its PDF capabilities, this app also features audio recording. Users can attach voice recordings to their notes (Very important for most)… this allows them to remember contextual information and capture essential details from a lecture or meeting.

Related: 7 Best Apps To Convert Handwriting To Text On IPad

… and the ability to sync audio recordings with the notes ensures that users can seamlessly review their content.

User Interface and Design

5 User Interface and Design

Noteshelf sports a clean and intuitive user interface that caters to both experienced users and those new to digital note-taking. The app offers a straightforward organization system, with folders containing groups that, in turn, hold individual notes.

The customization options provided by Noteshelf allow users to personalize their experience by selecting themes, colors, and toggling display settings. Even the covers of these notebooks can be chosen to make them visually appealing and more easily identifiable.

The app focuses on simplicity and ease of use, ensuring that users can navigate the app with minimal effort. Despite its straightforward design, it offers an array of customization options, allowing users to tailor the app to their workflow and preferred style.

Noteshelf’s user interface is a great combination of simplicity and personalization, making it a pleasure to use and further solidifies its position as a reliable option for those looking to invest in a digital note-taking application.

Features and Functionality

6 Features and Functionality

NoteShelf is a robust note-taking application that offers a wide range of options for creating and editing notes. The app allows users to seamlessly switch between typing, handwriting, drawing, and annotating, catering to various styles of note-taking.

One advantage is the app’s support for Apple Pencil and other third-party styluses, providing precise input for handwriting and sketching.

The app also supports multiple formats including text, images, audio recordings, and PDFs, allowing for varied media within the notes. Users can create custom templates using various paper styles, colors, and background patterns, which significantly enhances the note-taking experience.

Also see: How To Use GoodNotes Handwriting To Text Feature (GoodNotes excels at this feature)

Side note: Noteshelf possesses an array of features that simplify and enrich the note-taking process. Users can create interactive notebooks with custom covers and paper templates.

The app includes various pen tools, such as ballpoint and calligraphy pens, with adjustable colors and thicknesses, as well as dedicated highlighter tools.

Handwriting in Noteshelf feels natural and smooth, providing an experience akin to writing on paper while offering easy lasso manipulation of text and drawings.

Another remarkable aspect of the app is its integration with popular platforms for task management and collaboration, such as Trello, Evernote, and Slack. This connectivity makes it easier for users to seamlessly share and access their notes across different platforms for maximum productivity.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

7 Cross Platform Compatibility

Noteshelf boasts extensive cross-platform compatibility, supporting iOS, macOS, and Android devices. This enables users to access their notes and create new ones, regardless of the device they are using at the moment. Additionally, the app maintains its impressive range of features consistently across platforms, ensuring a uniform and consistent experience for users.

Keep in mind that the app’s comprehensive syncing capabilities make it easy for users to switch between devices without losing access to their essential content.

This cross-platform compatibility is particularly useful for users who need access to their notes on multiple devices, whether they are at home, in the office, or on the go.

Related: 13 Best Goodnotes Templates

One advantage of this compatibility is that it significantly facilitates collaboration. Teams working together can effortlessly share notes, exchange feedback, and work on documents simultaneously, regardless of the device or platform they are using. This seamless integration and cross-platform support make Noteshelf a top choice for those who value accessibility and flexibility.

Note that… although direct cross-device sync isn’t available, users can sync their notes using Evernote as a workaround (not great, but it works). Users should know that the synchronization via Evernote could actually lead to some limitations, such as annotations not being directly editable in Noteshelf.

Organization and Note Management

8 Organization and Note Management

Noteshelf’s organizational capabilities are exceptional, providing users with an intuitive and efficient system for managing their notes. Users can create custom notebooks for specific topics or projects, which can then be organized in an easily navigable shelf layout. Additionally, users can create categories and tags for their notes, making it simple to locate specific content quickly.

The powerful search functionality within the app allows users to find notes containing specific keywords, so information retrieval is swift and hassle-free. Side note: within notebooks, users have the option to reorder and rearrange pages as they see fit, enabling the development of cohesive and structured notes.

Noteshelf also supports note linking, allowing users to reference and connect related content across different notebooks for easy navigation. This added layer of organization serves to create a more interconnected and holistic system for managing notes, making the overall note-taking process much more smooth for students and creatives taking notes.

As mentioned, tools (such as tags) and also color-coded bookmarks further enrich the organization experience, providing users the opportunity to categorize and locate their content efficiently.

However, the distinction between bookmarks and tags could be improved, as it’s occasionally confusing to navigate. More elaborate organization options, such as nested folders, could be a valuable addition for advanced users with intricate note hierarchies.

Synchronization and Cloud Storage

9 Synchronization and Cloud Storage

Noteshelf offers seamless synchronization and cloud storage options, ensuring the safety and accessibility of your notes. The app allows users to sync their notes with popular cloud storage platforms such as iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, thus safeguarding important information from possible data loss. This syncing process is usually automatic and occurs in the background, making it convenient for users.

Keep in mind that syncing notes across multiple devices ensures that users have access to their up-to-date content regardless of where they are or the device they are using. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who work on multiple devices or switch between them frequently.

By providing users with various cloud storage options, Noteshelf grants flexibility in choosing the platform that best suits their preferences and needs. This way, users can seamlessly manage their notes while enjoying a tailored and intuitive experience.

Additional Features

10 Additional Features

Beyond its core features and functionality, Noteshelf provides several additional tools designed to enhance the user experience.

For example – the app offers a wide array of stickers and stamps that can be used to add a touch of personality to notes and for quick visual cues – Meanwhile, the rich-text formatting options enable users to create clearer and more visually appealing notes.

Side note: Noteshelf also includes options for password protection and touch/face ID authentication, adding an extra layer of security to your notes…. this feature is particularly useful for users who store sensitive or private information within the app.

The constant updates and improvements to the app, such as new features and enhanced compatibility, demonstrate the developer’s dedication to providing the best user experience possible.

Additionally –Noteshelf supports over 50 languages for handwriting recognition and conversion, with the exception of Arabic– This broad language support expands its range of users, making it a more inclusive note-taking solution.

Lastly, the app includes a presentation mode, a plus for users who need to share their notes in a professional or academic setting. This mode provides a clean, distraction-free environment and includes a laser pointer tool, enhancing the overall presentation experience.

How well does the NoteShelf app work with iPad and Apple Pencil?

11 How well does the NoteShelf app work with iPad and apple Pencil

The NoteShelf app seamlessly integrates with the iPad and Apple Pencil, providing a fluid and intuitive note-taking experience. With its fine-tuned pressure sensitivity, the app captures the nuances of your handwriting style, enabling you to create beautifully natural and smooth digital ink.

The palm rejection feature didn’t have any flaws when I tested the app out with iPad and my Apple Pencil 2. It makes sure that the app accurately interprets the intended strokes of the Apple Pencil, disregarding inadvertent contact with the iPad’s screen.

If you’re unaware… this feature helps prevent any unexpected marks that could interrupt the drawing/writing experience.

One significant advantage of NoteShelf when used with iPad and Apple Pencil is the vast collection of tools and customization options at your disposal. From various pen styles and colors to an extensive selection of highlighters and shapes, you have complete control over the appearance and organization of your notes. This customization enhances the overall note-taking process, creating a personalized space that caters to your needs and preferences.

The app’s support for split-screen multitasking further enhances its integration with the iPad, enabling users to view and interact with other apps simultaneously.

My personal experience using NoteShelf for note-taking

12 My personal experience using NoteShelf for note taking

I found that using NoteShelf for note-taking significantly improved my productivity and organization. The app’s intuitive interface and extensive range of tools made it easy to create clear, visually appealing notes that helped me retain information more effectively.

Also the ability to quickly search through my handwritten notes using the built-in OCR functionality was particularly valuable in quickly finding relevant details in my notes.

An added bonus of using NoteShelf was the app’s capacity to sync my notes to a cloud service of my choice. This made it simple to access my notes from any device with internet connectivity, ensuring that I was always prepared for meetings and presentations.

I also appreciated the app’s support for backing up and exporting my notes in various file formats, which allowed me to share them with colleagues or save them for future reference.

The auto-save feature played a crucial role in making sure that none of my notes were ever lost. With this feature, I could focus on my meetings and lectures without worrying about manually saving my notes.

Overall, my experience using NoteShelf for note-taking was thoroughly enjoyable and I can say with confidence it positively impacted my productivity.

Can you type notes into NoteShelf?

Yes, you can type notes into NoteShelf. The app allows you to add text boxes alongside your handwritten notes or anywhere on the page – permitting a more flexible note-taking experience that caters to your unique requirements.

Why would you want to use Noteshelf over Apple Notes?

NoteShelf offers a broader range of features, such as audio recording and advanced annotation tools, that surpass those available in Apple Notes. These tools can help enhance your note-taking experience and improve your workflow efficiency.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ