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Layers/Remove Handwritten Highlights Independent of Text


Okonomiyaki

Idea

Most text editors have a highlight feature. This is basically kind of like layers. If you want to remove highlights, you select the text and either apply or delete the highlight. When you're handwriting notes however, currently, you can't remove a highlighted handwritten note without erasing the whole word/sentence/ paragraph along with the highlight. It would be nice to have highlights and handwriting on two separate layers, so that you could remove the highlight without affecting the text.

I think the best way would be to automatically have highlights be stored on a separate layer and then have for example two erase tools. A highlight remover and a text+highlight remover, since it's unlikely you'll ever need to remove text without needing to remove the highlight as well.

This feature is beneficial because you can review your notes and change highlights with time, as requirements change, as you learn new information and decide to re-classify a piece of text differently or remove the highlight all together. You can do this with typed text, why not with handwritten? 

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1 hour ago, Okonomiyaki said:

It would be nice to have highlights and handwriting on two separate layers, so that you could remove the highlight without affecting the text.

Layers is a feature of the pdf format     
This is not a feature of Evernote's base format for notes (enml/html), nor of attached image files (handwriting), nor of text files

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This would be a nice extension to the Sketch feature. We have another request scouting into the same direction: Allow to import a picture as a sketch canvas, and write and draw on top of it. If done in a drawing layer, the original would be maintained untouched by the editing.

Layers are a feature of advanced editing programs. Until EN moves into that direction, the only way is to use one of these programs, and attach the file to a note. Usually the original file format must be maintained to keep the layered structure. On export the layers are usually collapsed, and a plain file is written, that will not allow for further editing.

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7 hours ago, PinkElephant said:

Layers are a feature of advanced editing programs. Until EN moves into that direction, the only way is to use one of these programs, and attach the file to a note. Usually the original file format must be maintained to keep the layered structure. On export the layers are usually collapsed, and a plain file is written, that will not allow for further editing.

I think at the moment, for handwritten notes, it maintains the original file format? At least from what I've seen, when you click on a handwritten note image, it takes you to sketch editor and there doesn't seem to be any loss of original quality or anything like that. You're able to amend the sketch as many times as you like, make it bigger, make it smaller etc and it all appears to work quite nicely. I really don't want to have to import notes from other apps and keep everything native to Evernote as much as possible.

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Yes - Sketch is just build for sketching (drawing), not for handwriting. It will record handwriting, but it does not work real nice. When you use a real handwriting app (on my case GoodNotes 5) you know the difference.

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Handwriting apps do a smoothing of the writing, which makes the result more legible. And they analyze the writing while it happens, which significantly improves OCR results on handwriting. This allows to select handwritten text and convert it into computer text.

EN: No smoothing, OCR is performed on the picture of the result, only allowing for search, not text extraction.

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This is strange. I hand wrote random text to see if Evernote does text recognition and it did. It found words in my handwritten examples without a problem.

As for smoothing, I really dislike my writing to be smoothed. Evernote has two modes, Snap to Shape on and off. On smooths your writing, off doesn't. Personally, I tried with smoothing turned on and I didn't like it. I prefer my writing to remain the same as I wrote it.

I was overall happy with Evernotes capabilities.

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There is a difference between making handwritten text searchable, and extracting text from handwriting.

In making it searchable they usually run the OCR against a dictionary, and save several possible search words for each handwritten word. This is done because they are not sure, and want to make search as reliable as possible. They let you sort out false positives visually.

When extracting text from handwriting, you need to be precise - you can‘t offer several possibilities for each word. This works much better when the handwriting is analyzed „in process“ instead of just looking at the picture.

There is no smoothing of handwriting in EN. You can turn the snap to shape on or off, it does not touch the handwritten outcome. Test it yourself. Here I have 3 examples: 1st is EN Sketch without snap-to-shape, 2nd is EN Sketch with snap-to-shape enabled, 3rd is GoodNotes. You see no difference between 1 and 2, and you see that 3 is simply looking better, without being distorted by the smoothing.

Picture 4 shows how I circled the handwritten text, and by a simple click converted it into computer text. I could copy this to any other program and use it. This can be done with much longer handwriting as well, it is not restricted to a few words. Independent from this GoodNotes documents are fully searchable as well. When I export them as a pdf, the search index is included and goes with the pdf. In EN, the search index is restricted for use inside of EN. When you export, it is not searchable any longer.

Evernote Sketch, without and with snap to shape:

DF0AF9CD-4356-4C9C-9001-03B3CE09B1EF.thumb.jpeg.d754d046cd98b768b1b77a0dc6edd559.jpeg

 

 

GoodNotes 5:

52042FCE-99C1-4880-9356-1D72E66A8F1F.jpeg.5ab4035c75c148004a8887faa19e82b7.jpeg

 

GoodNotes 5, text extraction:

336D9AB1-5DBD-4D0E-A4DB-F7776B6CB87C.thumb.jpeg.017de9a653c0f4d21da68113a81c8b52.jpeg

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On 1/9/2022 at 11:42 AM, Okonomiyaki said:

This is strange. I hand wrote random text to see if Evernote does text recognition and it did. It found words in my handwritten examples without a problem.

As for smoothing, I really dislike my writing to be smoothed. Evernote has two modes, Snap to Shape on and off. On smooths your writing, off doesn't. Personally, I tried with smoothing turned on and I didn't like it. I prefer my writing to remain the same as I wrote it.

I was overall happy with Evernotes capabilities.

So you do use the sketch functionality for handwriting notes? Interesting. I wonder how you deal with these issues:

  • Writing longer notes than one screen
    Do you start a new sketch? Do you use the two-finger-zoom gesture for moving the canvas? But if so, how do you get it aligned correctly?
  • Saving
    Sketches are not saved until you click on the confirmation button. When you are in a two hour meeting and you do the notes as sketch in Evernote, do you press the confirmation button regularly? Because the chance of losing everything when the screen goes off is very high.
  • Default background and pen
    Are you fine with the default background and selected pen? Or do you actually change it again and again for every new note? I use the dark mode and the default is a grey background with tiny white points that are not recognizable.
  • Unwanted marks
    Evernote does not support that only the Apple Pencil is recognized for drawing. As a result, every touch with your hand can lead to marks on the note. This does not annoy you?
  • No support for double tap on Apple Pencil 2
    One of the great features of Apple Pencil 2 is the possibility to change the mode (e. g. write to delete) via a double tap. Not supported by Evernote.
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EN is not build for handwriting.

The internal solution is the Penultimate app (I think iOS only). But it is ages old, only superficially integrated and never got attention.

The much better solution is a modern handwriting notes app.

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2 minutes ago, PinkElephant said:

EN is not build for handwriting.

The internal solution is the Penultimate app (I think iOS only). But it is ages old, only superficially integrated and never got attention.

The much better solution is a modern handwriting notes app.

Noteshelf is the best compromise. This is a modern handwriting notes app, but with the same integration and synching as Penultimate.

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Personally I prefer GoodNotes 5 out of a personal preference - although it will not sync itself into EN. The notes need to be exported as a pdf. Positive is the search index build by GN5 will export with the pdf - as we all (?) know EN will only OCR handwriting in picture files, not inside of a pdf.

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23 minutes ago, PinkElephant said:

Personally I prefer GoodNotes 5 out of a personal preference - although it will not sync itself into EN. The notes need to be exported as a pdf. Positive is the search index build by GN5 will export with the pdf - as we all (?) know EN will only OCR handwriting in picture files, not inside of a pdf.

Right. That is why Noteshelf like Penultimate exports the notes as pictures to Evernote. The sync is not just about automatic import, every change in the original note will be automatically synced to the note in Evernote.

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18 hours ago, gewappnet said:

So you do use the sketch functionality for handwriting notes? Interesting. I wonder how you deal with these issues:

  • Writing longer notes than one screen
    Do you start a new sketch? Do you use the two-finger-zoom gesture for moving the canvas? But if so, how do you get it aligned correctly?
  • Saving
    Sketches are not saved until you click on the confirmation button. When you are in a two hour meeting and you do the notes as sketch in Evernote, do you press the confirmation button regularly? Because the chance of losing everything when the screen goes off is very high.
  • Default background and pen
    Are you fine with the default background and selected pen? Or do you actually change it again and again for every new note? I use the dark mode and the default is a grey background with tiny white points that are not recognizable.
  • Unwanted marks
    Evernote does not support that only the Apple Pencil is recognized for drawing. As a result, every touch with your hand can lead to marks on the note. This does not annoy you?
  • No support for double tap on Apple Pencil 2
    One of the great features of Apple Pencil 2 is the possibility to change the mode (e. g. write to delete) via a double tap. Not supported by Evernote.

I've been taking notes with my finger on a really old iPad. Only started a few weeks ago. My new iPad is in the mail. Sounds like I'll be looking for a dedicated note taking app once it arrives. I was really hoping modern Evernote solved most of these issues. Taking notes with your finger is a different beast. Works pretty well in Evernote but obviously not ideal in the long run. Too slow and ugly looking.

Sounds like Evernote isn't likely to provide good handwritten features any time soon. My biggest handwritten note is already 3Mb. Typed notes are tiny in comparison. Obviously, not allowing good handwriting functionality means that space taken up by all notes is reduced drastically. They'll need serious review of their storage of notes if they start focussing on handwritten note functionality.

I will be trying these apps:

 

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EN has its own handwriting app called Penultimate. It is in the iOS AppStore, for free. It syncs into EN - but it is pretty aged and not well maintained.

I tried Noteshelf, Notability and GoodNotes, and sticked with GoodNotes. Today I would probably try Myscript Nebo as well - the Nebo „engine“ is used by other apps to drive their handwriting experience.

The choice is pretty personal, and it depends on details (GoodNotes has a flipcard logic for learning new stuff, and a real nice presentation mode) as much as the touch and feel of the app.

Have fun with your new iPad - it is probably my most used gadget.

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1 hour ago, Okonomiyaki said:

I will be trying these apps:

This video is actually pretty outdated (2018!). Just watch the newer videos by the same guy. He recommends different apps for different purposes, but Noteshelf if you want it working together with Evernote. 

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On 1/21/2022 at 1:03 AM, gewappnet said:

So you do use the sketch functionality for handwriting notes? Interesting. I wonder how you deal with these issues:

  • Writing longer notes than one screen
    Do you start a new sketch? Do you use the two-finger-zoom gesture for moving the canvas? But if so, how do you get it aligned correctly?
  • Saving
    Sketches are not saved until you click on the confirmation button. When you are in a two hour meeting and you do the notes as sketch in Evernote, do you press the confirmation button regularly? Because the chance of losing everything when the screen goes off is very high.
  • Default background and pen
    Are you fine with the default background and selected pen? Or do you actually change it again and again for every new note? I use the dark mode and the default is a grey background with tiny white points that are not recognizable.
  • Unwanted marks
    Evernote does not support that only the Apple Pencil is recognized for drawing. As a result, every touch with your hand can lead to marks on the note. This does not annoy you?
  • No support for double tap on Apple Pencil 2
    One of the great features of Apple Pencil 2 is the possibility to change the mode (e. g. write to delete) via a double tap. Not supported by Evernote.

I got the iPad and it has exceeded all my expectations! Awesome device.

As for your questions. Just as I had researched:

Writing longer notes than one screen
Writing longer notes is not a problem since the canvas is now infinite. You can scroll as far as you want.

Saving
I personally have Never selected for my screen time out.

Default background and pen
I don't mind selecting a different background for every note.

Unwanted marks
The latest Evernote appears to have palm rejection. I don't get unwanted marks.

No support for double tap on Apple Pencil 2
This is a minor niggle in my books. I don't think it's that big a deal.

So overall I think I'll use Evernote exclusively for now. It seems to be doing everything I expect from it for now.

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8 hours ago, Okonomiyaki said:

I got the iPad and it has exceeded all my expectations! Awesome device.

As for your questions. Just as I had researched:

Writing longer notes than one screen
Writing longer notes is not a problem since the canvas is now infinite. You can scroll as far as you want.

Saving
I personally have Never selected for my screen time out.

Default background and pen
I don't mind selecting a different background for every note.

Unwanted marks
The latest Evernote appears to have palm rejection. I don't get unwanted marks.

No support for double tap on Apple Pencil 2
This is a minor niggle in my books. I don't think it's that big a deal.

So overall I think I'll use Evernote exclusively for now. It seems to be doing everything I expect from it for now.

Yes, the newer iPads are awesome. It is a shame, Evernote does not support them very well.

Longer notes: Yes, as I said, the only way is the two-finger-zoom gesture. But it is impossible to use the two fingers to do a straight one page scrolling. Are you actually able to do it on the iPad?

Unwanted marks: No, the Evernote app definitely has no palm rejection. Just use it for handwritten notes in a meeting, you will get lots of unwanted marks on the screen. They need to turn off drawing with fingers completely to avoid it.

Another strange behavior: Using the sketch functionality with the Apple Pencil the line width is adjusted to pressure. Great, but as soon as you save the sketch, all lines have suddenly the same width. So while writing it looks completely different than what you get as a result.

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1 hour ago, gewappnet said:

Longer notes: Yes, as I said, the only way is the two-finger-zoom gesture. But it is impossible to use the two fingers to do a straight one page scrolling. Are you actually able to do it on the iPad?

On 1/21/2022 at 1:03 AM, gewappnet said:
  • Writing longer notes than one screen
    Do you start a new sketch? Do you use the two-finger-zoom gesture for moving the canvas? But if so, how do you get it aligned correctly?

You've lost me on this one. What did you mean by "how do you align it correctly"?

1 hour ago, gewappnet said:

Unwanted marks: No, the Evernote app definitely has no palm rejection. Just use it for handwritten notes in a meeting, you will get lots of unwanted marks on the screen. They need to turn off drawing with fingers completely to avoid it.

Strange, I just rewrote all the notes that I wrote with my finger and I didn't get a single accidental unwanted mark.

1 hour ago, gewappnet said:

Another strange behavior: Using the sketch functionality with the Apple Pencil the line width is adjusted to pressure. Great, but as soon as you save the sketch, all lines have suddenly the same width. So while writing it looks completely different than what you get as a result.

If you go back into the edit mode of the sketch, it appears all the thicknesses are preserved.

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25 minutes ago, Okonomiyaki said:

You've lost me on this one. What did you mean by "how do you align it correctly"?

 

Could you please describe how you manage to scroll just one page down in edit mode? Without changing the zoom or the margin on the left side. Just exactly one page down.

25 minutes ago, Okonomiyaki said:

If you go back into the edit mode of the sketch, it appears all the thicknesses are preserved.

But you don't read your notes in edit mode, do you?

C7013C9F-8455-477C-9DD6-1DD7801038FF.png

791AA90A-F61E-441B-AEC3-DA223E39FD44.png

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Oh I see, I personally don't mind needing to pan the slow way. I'll agree that panning changes the zoom and that this is annoying. But overall it works for me.

Yes understand. It's all of the same thickness and somewhat pixelated. Again, not perfect, but at least you don't need to switch between apps when working in one note.

Personally I can live with the deficiencies.

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