NC notesIn a recent post, I mentioned that I’m a new Nook Color user. Among the things I wanted to use it for (besides reading, of course!) were accessing class notes, and, equally if not more importantly, taking notes of various sorts.

The stock Nook Color software lets users easily highlight passages as they read, and make notes on them. Provided the wifi is on, it will sync those notes and highlights with NookStudy or Nook software on a PC or Mac. Though they can’t easily be copied within the software itself, they can easily be exported to Word or plain text format, so it’s fairly easy to make use of those notes when writing. ProfHacker favorite Evernote is also available for the Nook Color.

Here’s the catch: doing much writing with the Nook Color’s onscreen keyboard is, frankly, a pain--and as far as I’ve been able to determine, there’s simply no good replacement keyboard available for the device.

At least, there’s not a good replacement keyboard available if you’re using the stock software. That’s all the more reason to root the Nook Color and install a different version of Android (or at least set the device up to dual boot), as both I and others have done.

Once the Nook Color’s running an alternate version of Android, the possibilities opened up. Hoping to use handwriting recognition, I tried a stylus. But none of the apps I tried did very well, and the stylus I tried out didn’t keep good contact with the screen, so even being able to write a word well enough for an application to decipher it was well-nigh impossible (that may be due to the screen protector I have on the device; I’m not certain). I even tried making my own. No dice; it just didn’t work for me.


What I finally did was install the Swype keyboard (which I’ve been using on my phone for a long time) on the Nook. That turned out to be the solution I was looking for. Now, when I want to take notes, I just drag my finger across the relevant letters. It’s fast and accurate---not as fast as writing longhand, admittedly, but now my notes are searchable, and I don’t need to lug my laptop around if I don’t want to.

Do you regularly take notes on an e-reader or a tablet computer? What solutions have worked well for you? Let us know in the comments!

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by the author]