Cornell Style Apps

The Cornell note-taking system is a note-taking system devised in the 1950s by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University.

The Cornell method of notetaking offers several advantages. It results in more organized notes. It allows students to quickly and identify key words and key concepts from a lecture. The notes can easily be used as a study guide for exam preparation. The arrangement of information is aesthetically pleasing and easy to scan, making it easy to locate particular pieces of information. The strategy may be adapted to a number of presentation formats.  (

Due to the success of such note-taking and the ever growing use of technology; I wanted to share apps that can be used to take “Cornell note-taking” style.

Apps for iOS

MS OneNote
Cost:  Free (req. 3rd party account)
Description: OneNote has excellent notebook and creations options.  New pages automatically date & time stamp but are unchangeable once created.  There is relatively few options for rearranging content once content is inserted.  The ink/handwritting features prominent in other versions of the software are missing in the iOS version.
Cost:  Free w/ in app purchases
Description: While Penultimate does require an evernote account it means that your notes will be available anywhere you can access your materials online.  Each page of notes would have to be set up manually in addition to adding date/time stamps.  A limitation is that there are no options for adding in links or web content.  Also a lack of table tools but that’s expected for this style of app.  Very good post editing tools to rearrange a pages notes makes this a winner for me. Add this to one of the most native feeling writing experiences and you have one of the best choices for iOS
Cost:  $5.99 w/ in app purchases

Noteshelf is a paid app that pays for itself.  This application allows for very direct control over taken notes.  The real strong suit with this app though is the number of templates that are available; among which is the Cornell Notes.  This application also allows for a handwriting mode where you have a zoomed window focusing on a portion of the page which makes precision writing a breeze.  Customizable presets are also very easy to establish for writing styles, tools, & colors.  The app doesn’t play very well with multi task gesturing through and feels a bit jumpy when using some features.


Bamboo Paper
Cost:  Free w/ in app purchases
Description: Bamboo paper is a descent Cornell app and lets you organize content through a visualization of notebooks.  Unfortunately that’s as about as fancy as it gets.  While it’s writing options are very functional they are limited by in app purchases.  Setting up the Notes page would be performed manually per page.  It’s a bit over sensitive though and will pick up your wrist while writing.  In addition to expected exporting tools this allows for direct printing if a printer setup is in place.
Cost: $4.99
Description: While this application doesn’t have digital notebooks it retains it’s organization skills in a very similar manner splitting things up into a clear directory system.  Notability also lets you put yourself into a reading status where you can review your note’s w/o having to worry about marking over them again.  Writing is a breeze in this app as it allows for a writing window.  As for Page templates you can set up a blank page as a template and duplicate it as each new page you would need for your note taking sessions.  Notability also has very well tuned gesture/touch integration that takes the technology out as an obstacle and easily turns a distraction into a tool.
Apps for Android
Cost: Free, but additional cost is required to use full potential
Description: This is a great, easy to use app.  It gives the users the ability to draw and create figures on a sheet style page. Due to the easiness and ability to draw, zoom in and type, this app makes it possible to take good Cornell style notes.
Note Everything
Cost: Free
Description: This app let’s users create text, voice and paint notes.  One set back is that if you a drawing note is created, text can’t be added to the note; the only option is to actual write your notes. The app is free, but for $3.99 users can add extra features like photo notes, reminders, checklist, and others.
Because of the features and restrictions that this app offers, users can expect to take Cornell style notes with some adjustments.
Cost: Free
Description:Great App!. This App has so many features and so many templates to choose from. It can definitely do Cornell Style notes.  This apps gives users the ability to draw lines, type text and even change backgrounds.  The amount of tools in this app help create clean cornell style notes.
Note Anytime Lite:
Cost: Free
Description: Probably the best app I tested.  Just like FiiNote, this app offers a lot of templates to choose from. One of the reasons why I liked this app so much is because it comes in with prebuilt “notes” that tutor you how to use the app and show you a lot of great things you can do with the App. The app comes with a prebuilt Cornell Style template that allows for easy note taking. Also, unlike Papyrus, uses can upload to the cloud without paying extra. The full version of the app is $4.99 but it comes with additional tools, fonts, colors, and more.

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