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Northwestern University
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Digital Note-taking

Are you someone who carries a notebook into meetings, even if you also bring a laptop? Do you struggle with getting handwritten notes and tasks integrated with your online task management, calendar, or Box documents? For many of us, the problem comes when your handwritten notes and your online notes start to diverge. We decided to investigate some potential solutions to bridging the handwritten note to digital document divide.

Option 1:

Rocketbook Everlast + Friction Pen

The Rocketbook is a reusable notebook with some digital tweaks that make it possible to integrate your scribbles into your digital workflow. Each page has a QR code. When you take a picture of that page with your phone, the Rocketbook App will OCR (turn your writing into machine-encoded text) that text as it sends it to the online destination you've designated. You can designate additional icons on each page (star, diamond, etc) with a particular destination (Box folder, email folder, etc.). Circle the icon for the destination you want and your document will be sent there. Wipe your pages clean with a damp cloth and start over again!

The Everlast notebook does require a specific ink in order for the ink to bond with the non-paper page. They recommend using the Pilot FriXion.  While the Everlast notebook and Pilot pens can be purchased online, you can download some Rocketbook pages for free to test it out. 

Option 2: Office Lens + OneNote

Office Lens is a camera built into OneNote that allows you to take clear photos of documents, whiteboards, and photos. OneNote is part of Office 365 and all Weinberg College faculty and staff will have access to OneNote in Fall 2019. Office Lens and OneNote work for both android and iOS.

Option 3: Evernote

A popular note-taking software, Evernote also has the capability to scan and upload photos, handwritten notes, and documents. Using the in-app camera, you can even edit and search clearly written notes. While the basic version of Evernote is free, most of the mobile and advanced functions require a paid plan. 

Option 4: Box Capture

Box Capture is a free app that allows you to easily snap pictures and upload documents to Box. Unfortunately, at this time it is only available for iOS.


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