MarginNote Review: A Different But Super Powerful Note Taking App

Note-taking is a great way to help you review and remember what you have learned. But when we read ebooks, suddenly sticky notes and pencil notes in the margin are ancient relics.

Sometimes you can make a few notes like highlighting, but as many finds, it’s hard to manage those notes or aggregate them into useful resources.

This has left many wondering if there’s a tool that can make notes in a PDF and have them be accessible and reusable for later, and MarginNote is the note-taking tool which can make that possible.

What Is MarginNote?

MarginNote 3 is a solid and powerful tool for note-taking on ebooks, pdf, and other electronic files. With many integrations such as annotation, mind-mapping, and flashcards, MarginNote can connect your notes perfectly in different ways.

You can even connect notes taken in different books and files for your own use. MarginNote also automatically organizes your notes as a mindmap and can transform them into flashcards. It’s perfect for reading and study.

How Does MarginNote Work?

After you install MarginNote in your Mac, you will see the interface like the screenshot below.

In the left side, there are three tabs: Document, Study, and Review.

In the Document tab, you are free to put in the ebooks or any pdf you want to read. It’s the place to manage books.

In the Study tab, there are lots of note-taking tools. It’s the place to build up your notes.

In the Review tab, you will find that your notes can be turned into flashcards. You can use them for remembering what you have learned.

Note Taking – Excerpt And Annotate

When you are reading in MarginNote, you can find many tools at the top of the interface..The tools include Select, Text Excerpt, Rect Excerpt, Lasso Excerpt, Excerpt Setting, Writing Pen, Highlighter Pen, Eraser, TextBox, Pen Setting, Search and Bookmarks. They have divided two kinds: Excerpt and Annotate.

By using select, you can choose a large area of content which you want to add them to your notes. Once you make a selection, you can copy it, use the OCR feature, mark it with colors, add comments, have it spoken aloud, and research it.


What’s more, you can set the tag, add it to a mindmap, or add your note to flashcards. This is where MarginNote is a strong software. It can connect your notes from any document and use the integrating tool to organize notes well.

Similar to the Text Excerpt, when you highlight content, the toolkits will bump out, providing the same options as for large selections.

There is a Writing Pen and a Highlighter pen for making annotations, which means you can mark it just as freely as what you can do in your paperback book.

MindMaps And Flashcards

MindMaps and Flashcards are the two main ways to build and organize your notes. Anytime you make notes, you can choose to put them into a MindMap. Additionally, when you are selecting a note you can see options along the bottom to build up the MindMap, or add notes to review section.

The great thing about this is that you can have notes automatically sent to a mindmap, and you can copy and past your mind maps without recreating them by hand. MarginNote makes it easy to connect everything and build up your note system.

In the review section, the notes appear as flashcards. You can also easily to add another note to flashcards. Even notes from two different books can be connected together. Additionally, it can export to backup or to Anki, a popular flashcard application that helps people learn.

Price And Platform Compatibility

As of this writing, MarginNote 3 is only available for macOS and iOS.

On the MarginNote website, you can download it for free. It’s also available in the Mac App Store, where they provide a 14-day free trial. After the free trial, you have to pay $49.99 to unlock all features. If you are MarginNote 2 user, there’s an option to upgrade to MarginNote 3 at the cost of $17.99.

MarginNote 3 can be also found in Setapp. Setapp is a subscription service that costs $9.99 every month and gives you free access to hundreds of great Mac apps, including MarginNote 3. It also has 7 days free trial.

>> Get MarginNote 3 (via Setapp) <<

Is MarginNote Worth It?

If you love to read books and also take notes, MarginNote opens lots of possibilities for organization and creative notetaking. It’s a very powerful app.

Although it definitely isn’t a cheap program, if reading and note-taking is your lifestyle then you will get a lot out of it. Regardless of the way you use it best, MarginNote rocks, especially if you use it on an iPad with the Apple Pencil (you can watch a video of how well this works here).

Overall, MarginNote is highly recommended for anyone who loves to take notes on digital reading materials.

Wrapping Up

MarginNote is a super powerful note-taking software. It can not only mark down the important things but also connect everything you’ve created to build your note system. With it, you won’t need other mindmap or flashcard apps. Be creative, and let MarginNote help you.

Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.

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