Transitions Magazine

Transitions is published bi-monthly for members of the APhA New Practitioner Network. The online newsletter contains information focused on life inside and outside pharmacy practice, providing guidance on various areas of professional, personal, and practice development. Each issue includes in-depth articles on such topics as personal financial management, innovative practice sites, career profiles, career development tools, residency and postgraduate programs, and more.

Notability: Another tool in the pharmacist’s toolbox
Tom English

Notability: Another tool in the pharmacist’s toolbox


As New Practitioners, we have the opportunity to do a lot of learning by attending lectures, conferences, and webinars. Sometimes, this can lead to a lot of paper usage if we print out notes. While some of us (myself included) are used to printing notes and putting pen to paper, alternative tools can be considered to improve environmental friendliness, efficiency, and organization of all of our notes. Enter Notability.

What is Notability?

Notability by Ginger Labs, available for iOS devices only, is a digital note-taking and annotation app that allows users to upload Portable Document Format (PDF) files and write, type, draw, and record notes directly to the files. Related notes can be grouped together.

I first began using Notability as a student pharmacist when I attended one of my first professional conferences. It was helpful to have all the presentation slide decks in one, non-bulky location, and I could pull them up as needed and take notes during the presentations.

One thing I like best about Notability is its organization. Notes are categorized into different dividers. These are like overarching topics. For example, one divider I have is titled “APhA Annual 2019.” Within each divider, there are different subjects. For example, under “APhA Annual 2019,” I have subjects for each day of the conference. Within each subject are the different individual notes that fit in the categories. 

Once files are uploaded, a user can write or type directly on the notes page. Font formats and styles, colors, and pencil thickness can be altered per the user’s preferences. Additionally, users can cut, copy, and paste images onto the notes.

Advantages and disadvantages

Notability is one of several note-taking apps out there. I found its organization and ease of use appealing. Notability does have a cost associated with it and can be personalized even further with other in-app purchases. For example, there is an option to buy different packages that include stickers and symbols for STEM-related topics. Currently, Notability is available only for iOS devices, but notes and annotations can be shared via e-mail and backed up to other platforms, including Google Drive. That makes this Android user very happy.

Overall, there are a plethora of note-taking apps available—sometimes an overwhelming number. Notability is one resource that is useful for student pharmacists and New Practitioners alike. This is a tool that can be personalized to individual users’ needs and help organize our notes more effectively and efficiently.

Nira Kadakia, PharmD, graduated from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy in 2017 and currently is an assistant professor at the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy in Findlay, OH. She also serves as chair of the APhA New Practitioner Network Communications Standing Committee. When she’s not “pharmacy-ing” it up, she likes to explore new-to-her coffee shops and spend time with friends and family.

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