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“Dr Tech I am hoping to be able to take notes in class on the PowerPoints that my teacher posts on blackboard. Do you have any recommendations of how to be able to take notes on the actual PowerPoint. `Alicia”

laptop_notes[2]That’s a very good question Alicia. Annotating your class documents is a powerful study technique.

Annotation is adding new text and drawing that comments on the original text and images of a document.

The ancient Greeks called a document that was written over several times a “palimpsest.”

The resources referred to in this article with annotations and more are available at Dr. Tech’s Bookmarks.

Just as there is more than one way to stroke a cat, there are myriad ways to annotate PowerPoint slides (PPT) and Portable Document Format files (PDF) depending on your device, operating system and applications.

With any desktop or laptop you can annotate PowerPoint slides with typed text or digital ink.

Suppose that you download your Professor’s PowerPoint slides to follow along in class on your laptop.

To add typed notes to the slides

>Open the PowerPoint
>Notes Page

Now you can type and save notes to accompany each slide.

To write directly on the slides with digital ink

>Open the PowerPoint
>Slide Show
>Play from Start
>right click on the slide
>Pointer Options

now you can select the pen or highlighter, set the color and mark up the slides.

Touch screen monitors have options to use a stylus to write with digital inkink-42357_640 instead of a mouse.

Be sure to save the changes when done.

Tablets and phones require apps (short for “application”) to accomplish these tasks, but the apps have many additional features.

One way to annotate just about any document is to open the file within an annotation app, then use the app tools to mark it up.

This method uses a cloud-based storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive (formerly Skydrive). All of these have no-cost versions for OS platforms and devices.

Download the PPT or PDF file to the cloud-based storage app on your mobile device.

Open the file within the cloud-based storage app.

From the open slides or document select the “download” or “share” feature. These are usually icons such as an arrow or a box with a Curly Q; it takes exploration to learn the icon language of any app.

You will get an “Open In” dialog which shows icons of apps on your device. Select the app that you want to annotate in.

The file will open within your notation app and you can use all of its tools to mark up the slides and pages.

For iPads and iPhones there are a wealth of quality apps as no or low cost. Try several to compare features and usability. Notability (no-cost, 4.99); SlideShark (no-cost); Penultrimate from Evernote (no-cost); Air Sketch (9.99)

For Android and cross-platform annotation apps compare: Goodnotes + PDF (no-cost, 5.99); Notes Plus (2.99).

For Windows Phone 8 and Windows Surface 8 try InNote (no-cost).

There are more varieties of PDF annotators than for PowerPoint.

Increase your power and versatility by using a PDF conversion app which will turn many filetypes into a PDF.

A cross-platform no-cost app: Able2Extract PDF Converter.

Various online file converters: Online-Convert; cloudconvert.

Convert the PowerPoint to PDF and you can do a lot more with it.

When choosing a note taking and annotation app consider three factors:

First, can you use it on more than one device and share results between them?

Second, does it integrate with one or more cloud storage apps?

Third, will it import major document file types especially PDF, PPT, DOC, JPG and HTML?

White_Matter_Connections_Obtained_with_MRI_TractographyAlways backup your data to a separate drive and bring an alternative means to take notes in case your device does not cooperate; pencils still work just fine.

Most important, notes and annotations are only valuable when you give yourself time to review and prepare.

By making a separate outline and summary of your annotations and notes on paper, you will be activating your cognition and memory in a most effective way.

Do you have a favorite method or app for taking notes? Send your thought to Dr. Tech for consideration in a future article.

Best luck on your note taking, annotation, midterms and projects. Thanks for your excellent question, Alicia.


Image Attributions


ink-42357_640, pixabay


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