My first impression of ZoomNotes was it will be easy to use it and I will be able within one or two hours to work with all the component. At the second glimpse I was not so sure about any more and the third had shown me there will be a steep learning curve ahead. I wanted to have a note taking app for my handwritten notes with loads of features such as import and export. More importantly, it should be able to work with WebDav for my own cloud.

The developer are located in England / UK and do a great job in developing the software further. With the time loads of new features had been implemented making your work easier and more productive.

With this article I like to show you how to get started with ZoomNotes – so that you will be able to work with it.

Why ZoomNotes?

This decision was taken because of the WebDav connection with my own cloud and it works beautifully and without being heavy on the Ipad at all. Further, I wanted to to import and export my note easily and synchronise it with my own cloud.

As the name suggested, there is this incredible zoom! Just unbelievable: All your data, pictures, handwritten notes, text will be rendered without impacting the quality at all. Further to this, it will position your writings nicely an any format your like.

By the time no ApplePencil had been brought to the market yet, I have used Adonit with ZoomNotes and this combination was always good fun and very productive. I am really satisfied with ZoomNotes and would recommend it to anybody who needs a proper note taking software but also like to learn all the features available which you will not see at the first, second or even 10th glimpse.

Personally, I have never use the zoom-window at all. I used my IPad Air2 with Adonit pencil and wrote directly into ZoomNotes. Sure I had to zoom every now and then for the next lines but it was an experience like to write on paper. With the introduction of IPad Pro 9” and the ApplePencil it got then even easier to work on my text, tables, pictures, videos, voice memos and handwritten notes with ZoomNotes.

Today, I would recommend everybody who want to buy an Ipad Pro to get the bigger on. At the time I bought my 9” Ipad I have felt that the 12” was to heavy and huge. But today, I wished to have bought the 12.9” because it makes it even more comfortable to write on A4-Format… but never mind! The 9” is just create and I use everyday.

if you  want a software which has functions and features like importing, exporting to and from WebDav, taking pictures from your screen, importing content from the web, doing your own videos with layers, creating tables, text, stamps, play videos in your notes and recording voice memos to your notes, then ZoomNotes is for you if you are willing to put some time into it to learn about all features.

 

The Main Screen

Well, it looks empt and easy to use  – Do not do the same assumption which I have done on first sight! Do not underestimate this screen – it is more powerful then you will imagine!

The empty space you will fill with your documents, folders, sub folders and structure of your notes – really easy!

The search function – scroll and pinch to the top

A little bit hidden is the search bar on the very top of the screen – just pinch and scroll to the top. Here you will find two functions

  • Text search
  • Tag search

Plus icon (1st from left)

It looks very “harmless” but has really mighty function behind!
To create documents, folders, sub folders, import your templates etc. You will always use this icon.

Gear icon (2nd from left)

Here you will do all setting for ZoomNotes – how it should look like, what it should do and if you like to display or hide functions.

Display icon (3rd from left)

This is very useful once you filled all the empty spaces on the main screen. You will be able to zoom in and out of your documents and previews. Once you have created thousands of your handwritten notes it will be very hand just to display the names for instance of your folders, documents and sub folders.

Help icon (4th from left)

Here you will get the first insight into ZoomNotes and I would recommend to go through the help pages in order to start your learning process.

Template – Icon (2nd from right)

Templates are important to get organised and structure your workflow. Further it give you a kind of security not to forget anything within your projects and streamline your work altogether.

Well, I thought at first: “Nice, there are some template to be used”… Until I had a deeper look into this:

You will be able to use your own templates and just import them into ZoomNotes by using the “Plus icon”! Does not matter which need you might have you can just use your own templates according to your own workflow!

Do you have already templates in your workflow? Great – just import them as PDF into ZoomNotes and use them!

You do not have to wait until the developer will release a new template – it is easy to devise your own using a word processor, Excel, Pages, Numbers or whatever – create your template and export it as PDF – once done you just import it from your WebDav into ZoomNotes and can use it!

How cool is that? Just customise ZoomNotes to your likings and needs and make it your own!

Edit – Icon (1st from right)

You can do the following here with your documents, folders and sub folders:

  • Create
  • Delete
  • Move
  • Sort
  • Backup (manually) to your WebDav if needed
  • Import/Export content from your folders or the entire folder including all sub folders

Settings

The first step is to setup for your handwritten notes

The very first thing to is to set up your WebDav connection which we will need in continuing of the settings.

Just tap on the main screen on the “Plus icon” and then go to Import – WebDav:

 

 

Just enter your IP/DNS, credentials and switch “Remember password” to on.

 

Everything correct entered? Then you should see your own cloud structure like this:

 

That’s it for the WebDav and you can tap just on the main screen – the WebDav window will be closed.

Now we can go to the “proper” Settings:

General

As the word suggested, here we can adjust the core modules of ZoomNotes:

 

Password

Do you like to protect your handwritten notes and projects from spying eyes? Just enter a password and switch the slider to on. Everytime, the app opens you will be asked to enter your password.

This is really useful if you are on travel or want just to protect your data.

Options

Auto-Scale-Symbols

How should symbols of been shown on the screen? I recommend to switch it on because otherwise you can get some symbols which look oddly.

Save pen colours

I really do like the “ou” in colours here 🙂

Do you use the same customised colours for your handwritten notes or text? Just turn it on to have a quick access to your colours.

Re-Open last document

Well, I have turned it off but it makes sense if you work on the same document every day – like student or teacher do. Once you start ZoomNotes, you will be redirected to your last document automatically.

Stop App Sleeping

Sleeping Apps – nobody needs that to be productive!  🙂

It actually relates to the auto-sleep-feature of the Ipad which turns off the display after a certain time. If you are continuously working on your handwritten notes and just go for a coffee or just research really quick in the Internet, the screen will be not turned off. Having said that – it will take it tolls on the battery of course.

This feature makes perfectly sense if you are a student on a university or school and have to listen to your lector and then do your notes. As long as you have a power connector with you I would turn it on. Once ZoomNotes gets closed, the Ipad will go automatically to sleep again.

Auto – Save

Very useful – that’s a feature for me 🙂 Because I always forget to save my work. That’s why I switched to Mac couple of years ago as most apps will just save files automatically.

Camera

Save pictures directly to the album

There are several possibilities to manage pictures in ZoomNotes but I would recommend to let it save pictures captured to your camera album.

I use the backup function of DSPhoto and all my pictures get saved to my own cloud automatically. Therefore, I find this setting pretty useful.

Edit of pictures from you camera album

Pictures can be edited, annotated or changed completely  and the question is now do you like this changes be occur in your album?

Resample Scale

This has to do with the zoom and from my experiences it should not be less than 1.0 in order to get perfect results.

Documents

How should your documents be handled and which tags should be available?

iCloud 🙁

Oh no – Thank you! No iCloud please – sorry we are here in our own cloud! Just turn it off! 🙂

All new docs to iCloud 🙁

No! All new docs should got to your own cloud by WebDav using the Auto-Backup-Funktion!

Re-index documents

In the case you got loads of text documents, you will be able to start the index of them again. This improves the search for your documents and content.

Remove empty folders

Removing empty folders makes sense if you created some by mistake without any content.

Language  – sure English
Wifi Images Port

Eh? Wifi-Image Port -what to heck is that?

This is a super feature I can tell! ZoomNotes offers you a so called ZIS-Server for Mac and Windows.  Here are the download links:

MAC and Windows.

This little tool is pretty useful to get data i.e. pictures from your MAC or computer to your Ipad into ZoomNotes.

It will work over your local network very fast! That means, if you got a picture for instant on your Windows machine and own an Ipad you just transfer this picture to ZoomNotes using your local Wifi connection.

Very easy and simple to use and that without iCloud 🙂

That’s cool it not it?

Sometimes, it is hard to get data from Windows to IOS but the ZIS server will help you to get this done with ease.

Palm Rejection

Do you own an Ipad Pro and an ApplePencil? Then you will not to do anything here. For all other Ipad owners: Just turn it on and adjust your angle of writing and if you right – or left-handed.

 

Which hand do you use for writing?

Palm Protection on

Adjust here the angle of your hand position.

Use only small touches

This has to do with the gestures available and how ZoomNotes should react on “finger contact”. The small touches work very nicely and are very responsive.

Palm Pad

In the case you own one, just turn the slider on.

Stylus „Which do you use?“

This is easy and self-explanatory. Just let ZoomNotes know which stylus you use and it will display the pairing options.

If you have a stylus which got these little buttons?? No issue here, ZoomNotes will use them as well – the only thing to do is which function for which button should be available. Done!

All stylus are possible; the difference is really their functions i.e. sensitivity, buttons ans so on.

Just setup your stylus preferences here and ZoomNotes will adjust some screens for you, so that you wil be able to pair your stylus easily.

Interface

What do you like to see and in which size?

This relates to the editor menu and there are all these several options. I would recommend to turn everything on and in the case you will not need one function just visit the interface settings and turn it off. You will be able to display:

  • Status bar
  • Zoom scale (percentages)
  • Side bar auto-hide
  • Settings for documents
  • Settings for drawing and writing
  • Positioning of toolbar and side bar
  • Size of bars
  • Size of preview (main screen).

Drawings

Here you will adjust how ZoomNotes should react and which possible features should be shown. BTW: Drawing means also Writing!

Drawings

  • Swipe to scroll
    touch gesture for scrolling
  • Smooth freehand lines
    That a very neat feature: Just draw a line without using the ruler and ZoomNotes will adjust your line automatically.

 

 

  • Shape Detection
    Yes, this is also available! Just draw a triangle, circle or similar and ZoomNotes will draw a perfect triangle/circle for you!
  • Auto connect shapes
    That is useful if you are into mind mapping or want to draw diagrams and connect all shapes with each other

  • Separate pen colours
    For each pen you can customise your colour needed. Not every pen will have a black colour for instant such as a highlighter which usually use yellow, red or other colours
  • Auto stop eraser
    There is actually another shortcut for erasing but for large areas it makes sense to use the eraser (rubber icon). After you used it ZoomNotes will return to your last setting i.e. your pen or text.
  • Fine tip stylus
    I really like the fine tip stylus for writing and annotating.

Select with your pen whatever you like

  • Selection guidelines
    Shows you a helping tutorial which is really useful.
  • Draw loop to select
    Just draw a circle around the area you want to select. It does not matter if it is ink, text, video or pictures. After this, you will get several options from deleting, moving, grabbing etc.
    Personally, I have turned it off because I like to cycle my numbers when doing a list.

 

 

 

  • Cross-out to delete
    Just cross it out and it will be deleted without having to go to the eraser.

 

 

  • Scale line thickness
    If you zoom in or out the thickness of lines will be scaled to the correct zoom level. The lines will not get larger but adjust to the zoom level used.
  • Select tool mode
    I recommend to use “Overlap” for the start.

Text

Do you like to “hide” your text while editing – I would switch it on.

  • Datum – Format
    Which data format you prefer? Why?
    If you create your own templates – just put a shortcut into this and ZoomNotes will update the correct date in the correct format. This is very useful if you like to have your date on the top of a page and it saves you time.

Zooming

  • Restrict zoom-out to page
    That makes sense if you like to have everything on your page and not on the edges. If you use formats like A4, A5 or A0 then you should have turned on this.
  • Maintain zoom between pages
    Once you found your “correct” zoom level you like to have it on each page in order to do your handwritten notes most effectively without adjusting the zoom level over and over.
  • Double tap in Zoom
    Double tapping will adjust the width or zoom to the actual size of the page / document.

Workspaces?

Oh dear! What is that??
This is a nifty feature: Imagine you got more and one Ipad and want to share it with others. They should not see all of your documents, settings etc should not they? An example is a tutor at university who shares the Ipad to his students during lessons. They should only see one specific document or folder to work with, thought there is much more on the Ipad.

You are able to restrict access to certain functions, documents, folders and can adjust what other will see or rather not see.

There are loads of settings and preferences which can be adjusted to your needs – including settings, acess rights with passwords and much more.

 

The functionalities are endless! The main purpose is really to restrict access to all sorts of features, your WebDav and so on, so nobody can gather any other information or delete important documents.

I will explain all of these features and function in my “ZoomNotes Advanced” article.

In order for you to work now, I assume you use your Ipad only for you.

 

Therefore, turn every thing ON for the Main Workspace because you like to have all features and possibilities available!

Auto-Backup

It calls auto-backup but I use it as a sync-function too. All data will be saved using ZoomNotes own format “znd” which can then be imported into your Iphone for instant.

Settings

  • Enable
    Sure, we like to have all data synchronised using our own cloud!
  • Root Folder
    This is the folder in which ZoomNotes should backup. It is important to setup the WebDav on your root or if you are using an own folder for all notes into this directory. Here, you can create your own sync-backup-folder.
  • Wifi only
    Depending on your data volume on your mobile device you can either use Wi-Fi only or just sync across your devices. I would never use open of public Wi-Fi at all because your data will not be transferred securely.
    Every time you are changing data within ZoomNotes the backup will be done automatically.

Target – Location of your back-up

My favourite and surely yours too is the own cloud for my handwritten notes- hence, WebDav!

Of course there are other connections to Dropbox, Evernote and Google drive.

Format

I just use ZoomNotes own format “znd” because I like also restore/sync with my Iphone and do not use PDF conversion. This format can also be used on the Desktop version of ZoomNotes.

Unbelievable! Is not it?

So many settings and possibilities and that was “only” the settings in order to setup to work with ZoomNotes.

After this marathon of settings you will have gathered some ideas of the functions and possibilities of ZoomNotes.

With “some ideas” I mean there is much much more to come what ZoomNotes offers!

Let’s start to the next marathon! Handwritten notes

Main screen and folders

I will create a folder called “Test” for demonstration.

Got to “Edit” (right) -> “Plus icon” -> „Create a new empty folder“

Now, there should be a little folder with the title „Folder and Date“ be available.

 

Just tap on the name “Folder” and you can then adjust the name,  colour and tags.

After pressing “Done” the folder with your chosen colour should be available.

Now, just tap on the colour of the folder and it will open up.

Do you like a sub folder? Just start again within the folder.

On your left side there is a “X” for closing the folder and left on the bottom you will find the name of your just created folder.

Create a document

Just tap on the “Plus icon” ->  „Create Document“

Here you will see the templates available – just tap on one you like or using the standard.
BTW: There are two kinds of templates:

  • Documents
  • Pages.

After your selection you will come to the actual edit screen.

Name of your document and other settings

The document’s name is the same as the name of the template used. But we will change this very quickly to rename it:

Tab on the page icon (3rd from top right) -> click on  „Untitled“:

Here you can adjust what you need:

  • Title of page
  • Tags
  • Layers:
    This are advanced settings which I will explain in a future article.

Press „Done“ and the name and your tags are done for your page. You can do this for every single page, building up your own structure with names and tags. For instant I use a red tag for “open” items and a green once the document is finished.

Pages within a document

Because we have the page manager still open – let’s do some adjustments for the pages in general and which template to be used.

That can be a blank page, lined or squared page with or without Cornell layout and so one. You will always use this method to change the page setting. Hence, your document will include several page with different layouts if you like. – This is like a proper folder in which you put all sorts of documents.

Just use the “Gear icon” (on the very right corner) and then the page settings will be displayed:

In her you have several options how your page should look like:

  • Type
    A4, A3 or customised
  • Dimensions of paper
    ob A4, A0 or your own

  • Direction
    Portrait or landscape
  • Colour of your paper
  • Colour of Surrounds
    This is how the edges outside of your page should look like.
    Very handy if you have specific surround colour for specific documents. In this way you know just by the colour what the document is about.
  • Colour of styles

Templates

I go to templates of the page manager and use my “Blog-Idea” template for my test pages which I already imported into ZoomNotes.

If you scroll a bit down you will see “Blank” and tap on this – Then you are able to select your template.

This setting can be changed for any page separately – giving you the most flexibility to adjust ZoomNotes to your own workflow.

Because that my templates are already scaled I just confirm three times where I like to use my template in this specific document:

  • Set as default
    Yes, I like that all my pages use my “Blog-Idea” template
  • Sub-Pages
    Yes, all sub pages should use my template as well.

Finished – just tap on the “X” to close the page manager and tap again on the “Page symbol” to close the document manager.

 What are Sub-Pages?

This is really a cool feature and only in ZoomNotes available!:

Pages can have sub pages; sub pages can have other sub pages. You can imagine them as a hierarchy or as levels which is also used by a folder structure.

There are advantages to use sub-pages:

Just imagin you have a document and use it as your diary. Every page represents a day in a year, hence you got 365 pages mostly. But on an A4 format there is not much space to write down all your news about this day and there is not even much space to include pictures.

Here comes the sub-page function very handy! You will have a structure within your document (days) and another structure within each page too. You can then use these sub-pages to record your voice memos, import your pictures, write down everything you encountered, doing notes about to-do-items

Your structure could look like this:

Diary (Tagebuch)

20170327 What happened today? (Was ist heute alles passiert?)

…………………My pictures of the day (Meine Bilder)

…………………………Memories of my pictures  (Erinnerungen an meine Bilder)

……………….Videos

……………….Voice memo 1 (Sprachaufzeichnung 1)

…………………………Notes to voice memo1 (Notiz zur Sprachaufzeichnung1)

………………..Voice memo 2 etc.

You can include as many sub-pages or sub-pages within another sub-page as you like. For your convenience and do not get lost in your structure, ZoomNotes will display all your pages and sub-pages in an very handy format:

 

 

Before you will close the page manager

Here are the other function from left to right:

  • one page back
  • numbers of pages within a document
    It will also show the structure of your document and it is easy to follow your sub-pages. Further to this you can go to “Outline”  to get the structure of your document.
  • Edit
    You can move, delete, rearrange your pages.
  • next page or if it the last – add new page
  • Navigation for all sub-pages
    This will show you where you are within your pages and sub-pages and how many sub-pages are in the page.
  • Page Icon with the little “Plus sign” to add sub-pages
    Sub-pages will be handles like any other objects, – you can rearrange them, resize them etc.
  • Settings – which I have described already.

Overview of menus in the editing mode

Top of page

left

  • To main screen
  • Undo changes
  • Export, Import and Sharing
  • Ruler
    Several tools for drawing i.e. ruler, triangle, polygraph etc.
  • Bin to delete a page
  • Gear for Settings of pens ie. Colours and which pen to be used

Middle

  • first and secon icon:
    Press a bit longer on these and you can adjust what you like to see i.e. pens or zoom features.
  • The Z-icon
    change the title of the page here easily.

Right

  • Diamond icon
    This is to apply layers to create your own videos for instant. I will come back to this in a later article.
  • Apple Icon
    Here are the settings for your pen – in my case Apple. If you like Adonit, the icon of it will be displayed here. You will be able to pair your pen easily here.
  • Page icon
    to adjust documents or pages (see above) – it opens the page manager

  • Speaker icon
    Just record your voice memos for any page and let it insert into the current.
  • Question mark icon
    Help tutorial of ZoomNotes
  • Arrow icons on the very right corner
    Use it if you like to hide all menu bars for work without distraction

Second Top bar

Here you will find all open documents and you can just jump from on to the other without having to go back to the main screen. This is very useful if you use – like me – more than one document at any time.

Left

Depending on the settings earlier, it could be to the right hand as well. To me is left much better as I an right-handed.

 

The sidebar is adjustable to your needs. Meaning everything you would like to see can be adjusted in the best way for you to be even more efficient within your workflow.

It is easy to do – just press a bit longer on any symbol and it will open up all the possibilities you can use.

The most important functions:

Capital „A“

This is the text module of ZoomNotes for typed text.

Pens

Sure, pens for your handwritten notes and annotations.

Smileys

You are able to insert Smileys or stamps into your page

Icon with up-side-down “V”

These are the settings for your bookmarks. Yes your read correctly Bookmarks!

Lines in the middle

You will be adjust the weight of the pen strokes. To adjust put your pen on it and hold – go up and down and you will see the weight of the pen strokes will be changed.

The magnifying glass with the “Z” (bottom left)

This is the zoom-window if you like to use it  – but I never do as I write directly into the page.

Back to the main screen

On the very top left just go on “<” icon and you will see your main screen with your folders and sub-folders. To get out of a folder just use the “X” on the right corner of the screen.

Templates

As mentioned before, you can just import your own templages into ZoomNotes as document or page templates.

 

In order to import your templates just go to the main screen on the “Plus icon” -> Import -> WebDav- Select your template and import as “Template” – Done!

 

Use „Import as paper template“

So you will find your templates:

Main screen – Templates (right)

Export your documents and notes

Do you like to export into DTTG or in another app? Just follow :

  • Tap on Key/Hammer icon – > Share Document here are the possibilities:- Email
    – Message
    – WebDav
    – Facebook and Twitter
    – your document as image
    – Airdrop and much more.

Open in….Important settings!

To export to DTTG or 2Do or any other app you will have more than one possible choices:

  • Image
  • Video
  • PDF
  • SVG

in order to get the best settings for your export for instant to PDF it is important to set the “Clip to page” to on:

CLIP TO PAGE

 

What should be exported?

It is important to check these setting because otherwise you wondering why your export looks bad or not all pages or sub-pages were exported. I had this the first times I have tried to export my handwritten notes.

  • Current
    Only the current page which is displayed
  • All Pages
  • Selected
    You will be able to select several pages to be exported. That makes sense if you have a tutorial and just want to export on chapter or two.
  • Sub-pages
    Do not forget the sub-pages if they should be included
  • Annotated
    Pages with annotations only will be exported.
    If you have a form from -say HRMC- they include loads of notes and then comes the actual form to fill out. With this option turned on only the relevant pages get exported.

Everything set? Then tap “Share” and choose the app – that’s it!

Amendments, Changes between ZoomNotes and DTTG

Personally, I use this option very often because all my data and documents are usually in DevonThinkToGo. If I like to amend or annotate documents I do the following:

Step-by-Step:

  1. DTTG
    Open in … ZoomNotes
  2. ZoomNotes
    Import as document
  3. ZoomNotes
    Amend, Annotate or change document. Once done – got to Share-Options -> Open in-> DTTG
  4. DTTG
    A message will be displayed that the document has been imported.
  5. ZoomNotes
    You can delete the document as it is now in the DMS

The beauty is that DTTG will not create any new document but update the existing with all changes done in ZoomNotes.

 

Yep, you survived this article 🙂 Thinking about that this was only the settings and a brief overview of how to use ZoomNotes. By now, you will understand why you should not underestimate ZoomNotes as perfect note taking system in a digital environment.

Now you will be able to work with ZoomNotes – Congratulations!

I am planning an article about the “Advanced usage of ZoomNotes”. Until then – just test it and try everything out – the possibilities are really endless:

  • Import and Export as PDF file, Image, SVG, Video
  • Import and Export to other and from other Apps using “Open in…”
  • Test out all pens and which you like most
  • Test all colours or create your own
  • Create tables within ZoomNotes and fill them with your data
  • Write using your keyboard
  • Insert images, ads, videos or voice memos into your documents
  • Format text so it will surround your pictures
  • Annotate documents and images
  • Use bookmarks to get a clear picture of your work
  • Use tags and filter them
  • May be you have other suggestions how to use sub-pages and more.

There are several videos on the homepage of ZoomNotes and you can learn a lot about how to use ZoomNotes.

I hope, that my first article about ZoomNotes will help you and gives you glimpse of the possibilities. Just start using it!

Which experience have you made using ZoomNotes? Just write a comment or contact me.

if you have question, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Best regards,

Steffi

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