After many decades of innovation, word processing still remains a largely a passive exercise, requiring you to enter text onto a white background. Applications, such as OneNote shook up the industry by allowing alternative means of organising text and other media. In the same vein, PpcSoft has developed an interesting competitor which has many of the bells and whistles of OneNote without its hefty price tag or memory footprint.
The first thing you notice is that iKnow uses the infamous Ribbon interface. This is a nice touch as it ensures Office users have a familiar platform to which they can transition.
The basic functions of iKnow are fairly rudimentary. You can enter text and other media onto the main page and you can create new notes by clicking on the top right of the page (new note icon). The standard formatting options are also present.
However, iKnow is no mere word processor, instead it is a content aggregation software which helps you accumulate and organise a variety of different materials, including text, images and links.
For example, there is a feature to take screenshots and capture entire web pages. This is quite unique and very useful if you want to copy large chunks of data from a website or other source.
The true power of iKnow is immediately obvious after you start filling the app with notes. Your notes are all sorted alphabetically in a simple list and become instantly searchable. All you need to do is remember a few fragments from each note (the title or the text), enter it into the search box and the note will be displayed immediately.
Search is not iKnow’s only trick as it has developed a method of automatically connecting all your notes together. As you type iKnow analyses the text and autolinks the names of note titles with those notes. So, much like Wikipedia, all your notes will be linked together without you having to lift a finger. This “autolinking” feature is one of iKnow’s most heavily touted features, with good reason as it is seamlessly integrated into iKnow requiring no user input. Before you realise it you will be heavily reliant on autolinking.
Finally, what really sets iKnow apart is the little touches. For example, whenever iKnow loses focus it turns a light shade of grey, almost fading into the background. Additionally, iKnow uses a proprietary file to save its data, however the developers have ensured that you are not looked into the product by allowing the file to be readily editable in Notepad.
My only regret is that I had not heard about iKnow when I was a student. It is a great tool if you have to take down a lot of notes and especially if you need to cross-reference them. Additionally, it is reasonably priced, fast, and does not appear to have any obvious limitations. I often found that OneNote was cluttered with a plethora of features, most of which I never used. In contrast, iKnow focuses on collecting your data and allowing you to easily access it.