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What is good and what is bad in Penultimate



First of all, I want to say that I love Penultimate, and it is like loving someone who doesn't fully deserve it - actually, if were not for the integration with Evernote, Penultimate should be considered one of the worst pencil-enabled apps for note taking. Let me try and summarize why:

What is good:

- Integration with Evernote: I use Penultimate and my iPad as a very expensive replacement for paper and pencil - but I'm happy anyway, because my back-of-the envelope notes do not get lost and I even have some limited search capabilities

- Templates: I use some of them, and they are definitely nice to have. It would be SO good to have some flexibility, e.g. the ability to make my own templates


What is bad (spoiler: everything else)

- Primitive interface: gives me the impression of a software which hasn't been refreshed in the last 10 years. The design is old (make me think of some user interfaces like GEMS, which emerged in the '80s-'90s and thanks God died soon), the user interface is cumbersome to say the least. I think developers should test some other existing note-taking software for tablets, and learn some User Experience stuff from them.

- Colors: why so few? Is it really difficult to integrate a palette picker in the software, so the use can have some freedom with colors? I mean, I don't want to use it to make art, but the current choice of colors is really sub-standard. Same about background: I like to take notes on a dark background (blackboard-style), and to do so I am forced to invert colors iPad-wide. Annoying, and again, I really doubt it is a difficult feature to add (much easier than the palette picker, which is already trivial)

- Highlight tool: the width of the highlight line is completely unpredictable, or at least I never found a way to have highlight strips of the desired width. It's just a try, undo and retry process until you get it right. Embarrassing.

- Cutting/moving tool: how can a feature work so badly and never get corrected? I can't move text between pages, and even within the same page moving text leaves behind pixels everywhere. Really badly implemented, and unjustifiably never getting fixed.

- Management of pages: again, it seems to use software from the '90s.

- OCR: Why not integrate some? Not that I can't live without it, but for people like me, who use it for personal/work productivity, would definitely be a good thing to have.

- Product status: to me, it seems pretty much a dead product (and I moan for it), whose corpse is given some makeup from time to time just to make it appear alive. My question is: does Evernote want to bring it to the status of a decent, reliable, user friendly and functional product? And if not, if I may ask, what do you recommend as an alternative? There are so many good note-taking apps out there, what are the best in terms of integration with Evernote?


So, the overarching question is: what does Evernote want to do with Penultimate? I think the options are:

- keep it like it is, with some cosmetics here and there, but without any substantial improvement: that sucks, but at least, if it is stated clearly to users, they can star moving to other products instead of waiting in vain for a miracle;

- improve it (huge revamp or complete redesign I guess): if so, when? Suffering is bad, but when you know there is an end of sentence sometime in the future, it is of some relief.

- do not say anything to users (which I think is the current policy - I didn't manage to find any useful information on Penultimate recently, looks like those little family secrets nobody wants to talk about): if this is the case, please don't. I love Evernote, but I find this attitude very disrespectful towards users.


I hope to get some feedback on the matter - anything from "this product is dead, if you don't like it you better use something else" to "we are working on a completely revamped product which we expect to have ready in June" will help dragging the cross.

Thank you for your attention,

OolonColluphid (Alfonso)


Edited by OolonColluphid
Forgot one bad feature in the list
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Hi.  We're a (mainly) user-driven forum,  so comments on the viability of Penultimate are likely to be few and far between.  You might want to raise this directly with Support for an Evernote view.  I know a couple of colleagues here use other products which they may be along to explain in more detail later.

Evernote have been revamping the base products this past year or so,  but they don't usually share what's in the pipeline.

Respects for Babel fish by the way..  😎

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16 hours ago, OolonColluphid said:

I think the options are:

-Drop the product

I use the Notability app on an iPad   
Documents are stored as note attachment files

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+1 for using another program.

In my case it is GoodNotes 5 - you will wonder after using one of the full handwriting programs why you stayed with Penultimate. All the point on your list are solved there, plus other features. GN is for example strong in importing and annotating pdfs as well. You can even take ANY one paged Pdf and convert it into a personal template. If it is dark, you have a dark background to write on.

All stuff is OCRed (and it even reads MY handwriting), and when you export notes as pdf into EN, the OCR data goes with it. So the handwriting stays fully searchable inside of EN.

For a start I would suggest to try out more than one, and stick to the program you like the best.

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