There are a few different methods of note-taking when using a mobile app: typed, handwritten, and handwritten that is turned into text. I’ve discovered in the past year that handwritten note suits me better, as while I’m a fast typist, handwriting allows me time to slow down and be more creative. I found the apps that turn your handwriting into text to be laborious, spending too much of my time to correct the text. This made it the right time to try Flexcil again for this review, and I was excited to find there is now a Flexcil 2.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Flexcil. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Not realizing there was now a Flexcil 2, I tried Flexcil again and remembered why I didn’t stick with it before. It had somewhat of a learning curve. There is a lack of instructions. Many note-taking apps have instruction manuals within sample documents. Instead, Flexcil only has a series of quick videos. These videos are too brief.
Yet still, the app just had so much promise. It did so much and had so many features. It’s billed as a method for studying, but I knew its system of providing “study notes” and annotations to complement PDFs would work within my writing style.
Yet, I struggled with dragging and dropping the annotations. I could only highlight information. I could drag and drop entire paragraphs but not just a section of words. Exploring the website looking for answers, I discovered there was a Flexcil 2 and that it checked all the boxes for me.
Introducing Flexcil 2
The Flexcil 2 experience is just so much better all the way around. Everything that was difficult became easy, though the app could still stand to gain some better instruction. Much of it you are still left to discover on your own.
I write news stories, so am often going off existing news and creating my own story. So I make a scrollable PDF out of a website page and open it in Flexcil 2. I can annotate it as I wish and also create Study Notes for it. The lasso tool can be used to select images and text to be dragged over. Incidentally, everything that can be done to a PDF document can be done to your notes: lasso, annotate, highlight, move, etc.
It’s very easy to see why this app is marketed as a study aid. You could mark up ebooks, documents, articles, etc., and also see a list of all your highlighted text, giving you something to study from. And the revisions in the update made it more versatile.
But the versatility doesn’t stop with studying – it also allows me the creativity I need when I write. Whether I’m being creative with work or something personal, I can handwrite it in Flexcil, then retype it in Evernote or any other writing app. I could even retype it here in Flexcil if I chose to.
The best way to document the most useful features of Flexcil 2 is to discuss the vital improved features.
1. Page Views
Initially, there was only one page, but now with Flexcil 2, side-by-side pages can even be expanded to four pages. The pages can now either flip horizontally or vertically. And I can also open another page as a pop-up.
The pop-up wasn’t something I even wished for – but I’ve already put it to use. I opened up the first page of the notes for this review as a pop-up and selected an annotation from that page and pasted it onto my current page.
2. More Fluid Annotations
You can now make annotations much more fluidly. It was often a struggle to do annotations the way I wanted to. Now I can highlight portions of a paragraph and move it to the note. I’m not limited to just rewriting my text anymore. Everything about the way annotations work now is how I expected them to before – with one exception.
The annotations have to be done just the right way or the highlighted part disappears. You can only highlight three or more lines and drag them if you highlight the entire paragraph; otherwise, they disappear before you can move them. But it’s workable, as you can highlight smaller sections or copy and paste instead.
3. Selecting Text Is Much Easier
This is of major importance to me – it’s a GAME CHANGER. I was having the most difficult time selecting and moving, and now all of the difficulty is gone. It works the way it should have worked all along. Simply lasso and move it, copy it, delete it, resize it, etc. Text formatting works the same.
Adding text is easier now as well. I wasn’t always able to paste text into a text box. Now I always can and can edit it as well.
4. Double Tap for Undo and Redo
It sounds simple, but before, it was one tap to undo or redo. It was too easy to accidentally undo something you just added, changed, annotated, etc. Now it’s a double tap for undo and redo, meaning there are no more accidental undos to … undo.
This could be considered a game-changer as well. You’re no longer limited to one PDF and note open at a time. Not only can you open them side by side and in a pop-up, now you can open them in tabs as well. Those features together nearly make Flexcil 2 a completely different app.
There was previously a learning curve to discover Flexcil’s navigation, but it’s now so much simpler in Flexcil 2. The questions have been answered. The navigational tree is much more straightforward. I know where everything is stored. And now that it’s easier to follow, I may need to go back and fix my original navigation system.
Flexcil 2 is available for both iOS and iPadOS and Android, though the latter is just as Flexcil, no “2,” but it’s the same. Flexcil 2 has both paid and free versions. Some functions aren’t available on the free version. You can purchase just the app for $7.99. This is not a yearly or monthly price – it’s a one-time fee. You can also buy the app with 2021 and 2022 calendar/planners for $14.99. Basically, the calendar/planners are hyperlinked calendars that you can annotate and mark up the same way you would a note. They can be purchased separately as well for $10.99.
When it comes down to it, the original version of Flexcil had so many functions that it was a bit confusing, and some of the functions just didn’t work well. Flexcil 2 has solved these issues. The app has been fine-tuned and works much better and is easier to understand.
Flexcil 2 would still benefit from some type of an instruction manual – something more than the videos. And selecting lines to annotate could work a little more easily as well. Beyond that, it just works.