Go-To Apps

April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Some apps I can’t live without, in no particular order:

1) Evernote (free): To the untrained eye, Evernote is simply a note-taking widget. But this little app can make even the most disorganized of scholars feel like she has a personal assistant at her fingertips. I love that all notes are fully searchable. Another of my favorite features is the “Web Clipper.” Install this widget on your browser and you can save an entire webpage to your notebook. The app also syncs with other services, like LiveMinutes, which I use to share notes at meetings.

2) PDF Expert ($9.99): There are many, many annotation apps out there. As a Renaissance scholar who studies a lot of digitized material, I find I can’t live without this app. It can host offline files as well as sync with Dropbox, so any changes I make can be found back on my computer (or any computer) should I need them. For such a high-capacity app (I have about 50 large files saved to it right now), it’s incredibly fast. I use it mostly to annotate and highlight digitized rare books–I’m a little ODC with color-coding, and here I can use a different color to mark each of my observations: recurring keywords, dates, paratextual material worth returning to, etc. It also allows for digital signatures and filling out PDF forms, which is great for the bureaucratic side of academia.

3) TripCase (free): Not exactly an academic app, but if you travel a lot this can be extremely useful. Input your flight number and the app keeps track of departure times, gate changes, and planned delays or early arrivals. More than once this app helped me make a tight connection without having to go in search of one of those arrival/departure boards. You can also use it to save important information like confirmation numbers, check-in times, and get weather details about your destination. Much better than the ads that get printed with your boarding pass.

4) Zite: A must-have news aggregator that’s fully customizable to your preferred topics. Integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Email, and Pocket (Read it Later).

5) QuickOffice ($14.99): I am still in the desperate search for an app that reads notes and track changes on the iPad, and sadly this one does not do either (apparently Office² HD can read and edit footnotes, but to varied and unpredictable results). What I enjoy about this app is that it’s stable (I’ve never had it crash on me) and it automatically saves your work every couple of minutes, so you never lose anything. Like PDF Expert, it can sync with Dropbox and also host documents offline. It helps me immensely when I am away from a Wifi network and has saved me from carrying my heavy laptop on conference trips. Unfortunately, it’s hard to use QuickOffice for grading, since it doesn’t allow comments or track-changes. I prefer it for editing documents on the go–not for creating or responding to documents from scratch.

That’s it for my go-to list. What is your favorite time-saving or productivity app? I’m on the lookout for a better Word Processor, and I would love to hear which ones others are using.

Do you know of an app that works (well) with footnotes and changes? Any app you would recommend avoiding?

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