Developer Success Story: GoodNotes Solves Science and Math Students’ Conundrums

Published: 29th January 2015


Working, studying, learning to fend for themselves for the first time, college students have a hefty learning curve out of the gate. Then, to make things worse, the end of the semester rolls around and they can’t find that one blue notebook that they just know has the notes from a particular class during the first week of the semester. The notebook with the page marked “This WILL be on the final.”

This scenario is precisely why Time Base founder Steven Chan created GoodNotes in 2011. Having created software programs since 2008, he finally felt he nailed it with GoodNotes. It solves a real world problem that every student from marketing to engineering has faced.

From personal experience, as a math major, he knew that taking digital notes for math or science classes was nearly impossible unless students were proficient in LaTeX, a computer program for typesetting documents with advanced equations. However useful it is for taking math notes on the computer or tablet, LaTeX is incredibly difficult to learn because, aside from standard symbols that are already on QWERTY keyboards, users must memorize distinct commands for more complicated symbols. For example:


To solve this problem, Steven created GoodNotes, which allows students to write complex equations directly on their tablets or mobile devices as if they were writing in a notebook. Using MyScript handwriting recognition technology,  GoodNotes allows students to store and index data so that they can easily search for keywords alongside the equations they have included in their notes.

All students benefit from digital note taking, but for those engineering, math and science students, this capability seemed nearly impossible until GoodNotes incorporated MyScript’s handwriting recognition technology. Read through some user testimonials below to hear how GoodNotes has helped them.

Amazing app. It made me buy an iPad! ★★★★★

This is hands down the best program I have used on a computing platform in a long time. It is as revolutionary as my first web browser, my first spreadsheet or my first word processor. GoodNotes has clean user interface, is simple to use and can export to PDF easily and by many methods. With a dumb stylus it is amazing, but with a smart stylus and a screen protector on my iPad, it feels like paper! It is fantastic. It is why I bought an iPad! Yes I tried a Microsoft Surface as well as older generation tablets with active digitizer. They were ok with OneNote, but the rest of the machine was limited to poor. The iPad with Goodnotes does anything I need. It is a steal at this price. Worth every cent!! Keep up the good work!

The best! ★★★★★

I have used this app since undergrad and am now using it through medical school. Taking notes directly on PowerPoints and PDFs during lectures is a great way to pay attention and retain what you are learning. It links to Dropbox to directly import and export your notes. I would definitely recommend this to any college student!

Handles handwriting well (search too!) ★★★★★

I am fairly new to the handwriting app genre. I have an iPad Air that I am experimenting using in place of my traditional Moleskin journal. Using a cheap ($5) stylus to hand write has been a surprisingly good experience. I can only imagine what a better stylus would be like! The killer feature for me is the search function. It does a surprisingly good job at searching my handwriting (and I don’t think my handwriting is very good). Bookmarks by keywords is also very handy. I haven’t tried many other apps like ZoomNotes or Noteshelf. But, so far, GoodNotes has been very “good” to me.

Note to developers: GoodNotes was developed leveraging the MyScript software development kit.  For more information on MyScript’s developer program and available toolkits, click here.