Software Development for MacOS, iOS, and Web-based platforms • Software and Web Site Design


ExpressNotes is an application which facilitates taking notes and retrieving information in them. Each ExpressNotes document contains a number of notes which incorporate textual or voice (auditory) information. Notes may be displayed in a single window, and operations involving notes may be performed using tools in the window's toolbar (which is customizable) or using menu bar or contextual menu items. The list of notes may be sorted by topic or date by clicking in the list header.


Alternately, the user may wish to display the list of notes and the contents of the selected note in a single window, as shown below. When a note is selected, its contents are shown in the note panel of the window. It is easy to switch between the "single window" and "multiple window" modes using a convenient tool in the toolbar, or with a menu command or command-key shortcut.

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Editing Notes Text notes may contain styled text, including fonts, styles, and colors, as well as pictures, tables, and lists. Text may also be marked or highlighted for emphasis. Additionally, the background color of each note may be chosen from a list of colors or from the Mac OS X Color Picker. These features can be seen below in a note displayed in its own window.

Hyperlinks to Web pages or files on the local machines may also be created. When a link for a Wb page is clicked, the page is immediately opened in the user's default Web browser. The user may also specify local, file-based URL's, and when one of these is clicked the document is opened in its associated application.

Multimedia Capabilities In addition to text notes, ExpressNotes provides capabilities for including pictures, sound, and video. If the user has a camera attached to the computer, ExpressNotes allows for "snapshots" of printed pages or other images to be taken and embedded in an existing note, as shown below. This feature might be useful, for example, when taking notes while doing research in a library. Snapshots may be accessed via the toolbar or by choosing a menu item in the Compose menu.

Users may also create media notes. Media notes may contain sound and/or video. To create a media note, the user selects a New Media Note menu item and the media panel, shown below, is opened. When recording a media note, the sound and/or video may also be previewed in this window.

Additionally, older style "Voice" notes can also be recorded using the standard recording interface if the computer has a microphone. A voice note in the list of notes may be replayed by simply "opening" it or double clicking on it.

Also, any text note in the note list can be "spoken" by the application using the familiar Macintosh text-to-speech capabilities of the system.

Glossary ExpressNotes' Glossary feature simplifies entry of common words, phrases, or even paragraphs of text. The program maintains a list of abbreviations and associated expanded terms. Terms may be associated with abbreviations most easily using a menu item in the Compose menu. When entering text in a note, if the user types an abbreviation and then selects the Expand Term... menu item, or hits the Enter key on the keyboard, the abbreviation is replaced with the associated expanded term. Metatags, which represent variable content such as dates or contents of other notes or files (which can be local or on the Internet) may also be specified.

The full list of Glossary terms may be viewed, edited, and managed via the Glossary HUD (heads up display), accessible via the Compose menu. Terms may be inserted in notes from this panel as well.

Sketchpad ExpressNotes also provides a facility for users to create simple bitmap drawings while taking notes. This is accomplished using the Sketchpad window, shown below. Tools supporting simple shapes, lines, and text are included. Users may also drag graphic files or images from other programs to the Sketchpad to copy them there.

Any drawing or drawing selection may be dragged directly to a note to insert it there. A menu item may also be utilized to directly insert the the contents of the Sketchpad window to an open note.

Drag and Drop Note Creation Notes can also be created from a variety of external sources using familiar drag and drop techniques. Any note can be dragged in from another ExpressNotes document, and notes may also be created by dragging in plain or rich text selections, .rtf, .txt, or other external files, or vCards. A user may also drag in a URL object from a Web browser like Safari to create a note which is a facsimile of the referenced Web page, including the pictures and styled text, as shown below.

Note Templates Any note may be saved as a template using a single menu item, and then used when creating new notes. Templates are listed and can be managed using a tab in the Preferences window. Selecting a template from the list provides a thumbnail view of the template note contents. To use a template, the users chooses one of the templates from the New From Template submenu which creates a new note identical to the template, including note color, topic, and all note contents including graphics and styles

Finding and Retrieving Notes The Bookmarks feature simplifies access to previously created notes. Users may select text in any note and create a bookmark for the selection. These bookmarks are maintained in a list which is displayed in a drawer for the main note window. Opening the bookmark, by clicking a button or double clicking the bookmark itself, retrieves the note to which it is associated, opening a note window or displaying it in the main window's note panel.

ExpressNotes provides several other methods of finding notes which contain particular words or phrases. In the toolbar of the main window there is a filter field which allows text to be typed. In real time, as the text is typed, the note display is altered to show just the notes which contain the characters typed, as shown below in which only notes containing the word "note" are presented in the list.

Alternately, using the "Search" tool in the toolbar, or the corresponding menu item, the user may also find notes containing characters in the topic, date, or contents fields. The user may search for one note at a time (the "next" note containing the characters), and automatically open it. When the multiple window mode is operational the user may elect to find and open all notes containing the characters.

Saving and Exporting Notes In addition to its own document format, ExpressNotes allows the exporting of notes documents into text, rich text, or html formats using a simple menu command. The contents of any note may also be selected and dragged to other applications which accept rich or plain text, or to the desktop to create a text clipping file.

Quick Looks When a document contains a large number of notes, a user may wish to glance quickly at the combined contents of all the notes. This can be accomplished with the Display Summary QuickLook item from the Notes menu. This command provides a read-only window showing the combined contents of every note in the document, as shown below.

Customization ExpressNotes also provides a number of user specifiable preferences which control default values for appearance of notes, specify single or multiple window mode when notes are opened, and allow the user to save documents automatically at specified intervals.

ExpressNotes also provides a number of tools which may be incorporated into the note window toolbar using the Customize Toolbar... command.