How to Take Notes on a Laptop: 4 Helpful Tips

Are you a college student? Or perhaps you have lots of projects on the go all at once?

If so, then you’ll probably be used to taking notes.

But long gone are the days where you need to take notes on a notepad and store them all in a hefty drawer at home.

The power of the computer allows you to write and store thousands of notes all at once, without you even having to decipher your own handwriting.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to take notes on a laptop.

1. Consider Using SideCar

If you have both an Apple Mac Laptop like the 16 inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard and an iPad you can use both at once to enhance your note-taking experience.

With Sidecar, you can use your iPad as a second screen so long as your MacBook is connected to the same WiFi network and you are not using a VPN.

This means you can type notes on one screen and can offload any other task or programs to your iPad screen. For example, you could watch Netflix or listen to an audiobook on one screen and make notes on the other.

Equally, if you are making notes on an interview you’ve conducted you can pause and play the interview on one screen whilst making notes on the other.

2. Try Sidenotes

One of the biggest problems with making notes is that it can be difficult to arrange your screen in a way that you can see your notes and any other computer program you’re working on at the same time.

What is the best way to take notes on a laptop? Try Sidenotes. It sits at the side of your screen as a sidebar regardless of what other programs you have open at the same time.

You can color-code your notes and you can also create checklists that you can tick off as you go along. This means you can always refer to them at any given moment.

If you have a complex writing task –  such as a college dissertation – this can come in helpful as you tick off each milestone as you go along.

If you’re a student and you want to use this helpful app, consider getting the best Mac for college. Unfortunately, Sidenotes it’s only available for MacOS.

3. Use Bullet Points Not Detailed Notes

As well as considering what program to make notes on you need to have a good system for how you make notes.

Some people prefer using subheadings and making more detailed notes, but bullet points are often the best way. They are easy to read as they don’t look overloaded on the screen and you don’t feel overwhelmed.

You can use subheadings to organize your bullet points and make it even easier to find the information you want.

Remember to always keep your bullet points simple and don’t be afraid to omit words that are unnecessary. They should be no more than two lines each.

4.  Have a Great Filing System

Even if you are great at making concise and impactful notes you will need to be able to find them at a later date. You therefore have a good filing system that you are going to remember.

Mac computers come with a color-coding system that is helpful and easy on the eye. But it might be good to combine this system with a traditional file set up.

Remember to save all of your files to the iCloud drive so that you never lose any files if your computer crashes. You can pay for extra storage if you need it.

Then think about what file names are going to work best for you. Generally the more files and sub-files you have the easier it is for you to find something.

If you label your files with generic names like ‘stuff’ and save all your notes within them you could spend hours looking through hundreds of files for the correct one.

Take advantage of the search functionality on Mac as well. This allows you to quickly search for a file based on the file name or the date you last opened it.

Programs like Stickies – post-it notes that attach to your desktop – on Mac might seem like a fun option but they are not easy to navigate and can feel cluttered.

Learn How to Take Notes on a Laptop

The best way to take notes on a laptop is to first think carefully about what programs or software work best for you.

For some users a program like Sidenotes can provide the best note-taking experience, but others prefer a traditional program where you can save notes as documents and open them up when you need to such as Microsoft Word or Pages.

If you are lucky enough to have an iPad and a Mac be sure to take advantage of the Sidecar feature so that you can make notes on the screen and do other tasks on another.

Finally, be sure to have a filing system in place for saving notes so that they are easy to find. Macs have a variety of options such as color-coding and the search bar for finding documents easily.

Think carefully about what system works best for you so you don’t spend hours searching for your notes.

We hope this guide on how to take notes on a laptop was helpful. If you are interested in getting the most out of your laptop be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

About the author

Career Geek Community

The Career Geek Community is a group of passionate entrepreneurs & business consultants eager to share their advice and experience. Please note, this content may include links to products or services that we do not formally endorse, and for which we may receive compensation.