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Best Note-Taking App to use with Evernote | Penultimate vs ZoomNotes vs Noteshelf2

Evernote Notes

Everyone has different needs and likes when it comes to the features they want in a note-taking app. If you’ve ever used my app comparison tool to locate the features you want in an app, you may have noticed that there is a section for user reviews.

When I read these reviews I always learn something new or find a new insight into the use of an app based on the reviewer’s personal experience.

One of these insights came from a review for Noteshelf 2. The reviewer, Dario Amara, mentioned that he has good results using Noteshelf 2 with Evernote.

This review got me thinking, Would syncing certain note-taking apps with Evernote fill in some of the gaps that exist in those apps? I decided to find out.

As far as I know, there are only two note-taking apps that can properly sync with Evernote: ZoomNotes and Noteshelf 2, along with the native handwriting/note-taking app offered by Evernote: Penultimate.

I decided to put all three to the test.

Here is what I found.


Evernote offers a native app called Penultimate that you sync with your Evernote account.

Inside of Penultimate, you create a notebook to write your notes in. There aren’t really any options for fancy covers or anything. You won’t find tons of functions, colors, or fonts. This app is just for writing things down.

The minimalistic nature of this app means there are fewer bells and whistles and fewer distractions. It is a very basic app designed solely for saving your handwritten notes.

It has a great feature that any note-taking enthusiast will love. It has a magnification function, which most note-taking apps also have. But what makes this feature difference is the scroll function.

When you magnify a section of text and then write inside the magnified area, it automatically scrolls to the left as you are writing so you don’t have to move your hand across the iPad screen. You can also increase or decrease the scrolling speed.

You can use Evernote’s search function to locate the notes you typed in Penultimate. Evernote will quickly locate your notes and highlight the search terms within the text.


With ZoomNotes you take notes as you usually would inside the app. ZoomNotes has more of the note-taking features we are used to expecting in a note-taking app.

To get your ZoomNotes into Evernote go to the options and find the auto backup function. You will see that ZoomNotes integrates with many different cloud services. Choose Evernote from that list. It allows you to choose from a JPEG or PDF and gives the options to include the document tags, page tags, document title tags, which can all be useful when you’re doing a search.

Once inside Evernote, your ZoomNotes show up as a thumbnail or PDF symbol that you have to click into, instead of the text just showing up on the screen of your iPad as Penultimate does.

When you perform a search for your ZoomNotes document, Evernote will locate the document, but it does not highlight the search terms in the text like it does with Penultimate.

Noteshelf 2

Noteshelf 2 is the app with the best sync function to Evernote. Being able to sync with Evernote is a unique function of Noteshelf 2, when compared to the other note-taking apps.

Unlike ZoomNotes, which does a cloud backup to Evernote, Noteshelf 2 has a toggle you can turn on that will publish everything you write in Noteshelf to Evernote. In addition, you can publish to any other cloud backup service you’d like to.

There are other great note-taking apps out there with great features, but if you are an Evernote user, the sync performance of Noteshelf 2 makes it my pick for the best note-taking app to use with Evernote.

To use Noteshelf 2 with Evernote, you take notes and use the features inside of Noteshelf 2 as you normally would. You have access to custom templates and diaries in portrait or landscape, with different cover options.

To upload to Evernote, you find the cloud backup under the options tab. Then choose Evernote from the list of options. When you sync to Evernote, it shows how much of your storage space is used inside the app.

The full diary or notebook you create in Noteshelf 2 will be synced to Evernote, giving you access to the features of Noteshelf 2 inside of Evernote.

The notebook from Noteshelf 2 that is synced in Evernote will have a small elephant icon on the front cover to let you know which of your notes are synced and which are not.

With Penultimate you only get one sheet to write on and import into Evernote. With ZoomNotes you get more features, but it downloads documents as a thumbnail you must then open. With Noteshelf you get all the features you want to have in a note-taking app with no PDF or thumbnail icon to click.

I like the feel of the handwriting in Noteshelf 2. Although it has handwriting recognition on its own it’s index is not synced with Evernote. However, Evernote will apply its own handwriting algorithm on the syncronized, notes so you will have a handwriting search function from within Evernote too.

If you took notes for 365 days of the year inside Noteshelf 2, it would be hard to locate a specific note right when you needed it. But when it’s synced with Evernote, your notes will be searchable, and Evernote will even highlight the search terms in the notes.

I hope you’ve found this review of helpful. And to think, it all came from a user review in the app comparison tool.

What insights into note-taking and productivity do you have to share that could benefit our community? Leave a review, send me an email, or join in our Facebook group.

Thank you for engaging inside the community. It makes this journey better for all of us.

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