The tech in MyScript Smart Note is perfect for stylus users

MyScript Smart Note screenshot

MyScript Smart Note is a note-taking app for iPad geared toward stylus users who want a comprehensive solution for jotting down handwritten notes that actually function like physical, organized notebooks rather than like sketches. It recognizes your handwriting and treats it like text, allowing you to highlight and define words. Plus with a variety of other gestures, MyScript Smart Note proves to be pretty powerful for a free app. It requires iOS 7.0 or later.

As the app explains in its 3-page tutorial, MyScript Smart Note analyzes your handwriting. This isn't the type of app you've probably seen in which what you write actually converts to text using a predetermined font. Your handwriting remains as you wrote it and the MyScript technology realizes it's text.

Pressing and holding a word highlights it. Dragging the left and right points can even select individual letters. In practice, the handwriting recognition is extremely accurate. In fact, MyScript Smart Note managed to correctly identify every word from my neatest handwriting to my very-sloppy-yet-still-readable handwriting. There's also a zoomed-in mode that focuses in on each word you write before moving on to the next if you find that to be your preference.

Gestures make it easy to edit handwriting in the same way it's easy to delete or replace letters or words you've typed. Strike through individual letters or words to erase them. Draw a vertical line in between two letters to put a space in between them. Repeat this in a space to bring the two letters together. Then of course there's my favorite gesture: writing a letter over another letter to replace the one underneath. It works near flawlessly.

MyScript Smart Note screenshot

In addition to handwritten text, MyScript Smart Note allows for regular sketching using the drawing tool, custom selections using a selector tool and of course provides an eraser for those pesky mistakes that a simple gesture might not fix. Notes can also have audio clips, images and even complex math equations. Your notes don't need to start from scratch either; import PDF files to draw or write over them. As for the notes that do require a blank canvas, even that's customizable: line patterns, backgrounds and margins are all adjustable.

Also important for powerful organization is search and this app nails that too. Everything you write is searchable. The app searches through multiple notebooks, displays the notebook your query is in and highlights the word on that page as well.

When your task is complete, pages or entire notebooks can export out of the app in the form of text, an image, a PDF, a printed page and a few other options.

MyScript Smart Note screenshot

The only downside I see with MyScript Smart Note is the limitation for free mode. Without reaching into your pocket, you get 10 pages in one notebook to work with. You hit the wall quickly, but I suppose it's sufficient usage for a free trial. Unlocking the full app requires a US$1.99 in-app purchase.

The go-to app for taking notes is typically Penultimate. However, there's no question that serious note takers should give MyScript Smart Note a try instead of rushing to what's most common. Penultimate has more options for sketching and drawing, but if you're avid for writing with a stylus, MyScript Smart Note is frankly top-of-the-line.