BibleReader & UPad: Nice Combo for Taking Sermon Notes

June 13th, 2011 | Tags: , ,

I’ve been using Olive Tree’s BibleReader Soft­ware for a few years now. I really enjoy BibleReader’s abil­ity to orga­nize and tag user typed notes for easy retrieval — as well as col­lect­ing them in one place. How­ever, I’ve recently improved my note-taking strat­egy by using a sec­ond hand­writ­ing app. Now, I have a two-app-workflow using BibleReader and UPad.

UPad is a very nice hand­writ­ing app. I’ve tried sev­eral. I find this app’s accu­racy in repro­duc­ing strokes to be fan­tas­tic! (Some over-smooth, while oth­ers intro­duce noise when mag­ni­fied.) Not only that, but this app has some fan­tas­tic high­lighters as well.


The work­flow is simple:

  • Open the BibleReader app to the ser­mon text.
  • Take a snap­shot of the screen.
  • Load the image into UPad’s Photo Edit­ing Mode.

Dur­ing a ser­mon, it’s eas­ier to write notes with a sty­lus, as opposed to typ­ing them with a key­board — you’re bet­ter able to focus on the speaker. UPad’s Photo-Editing Mode allows writ­ing on a photo. In the image above, my photo was sim­ply a screen-grabbed page from my favorite Bible app. I enjoy using this work­flow with the BibleReader app, but this same method could be used with any read­ing app that pro­duces a page — Kin­dle, Inkling, InstaPa­per, etc …


Advan­tages to this approach.

  • Free to Cap­ture Thoughts with­out Word­ing Sentences
  • Because your writ­ing paper has been cre­ated from a sim­ple screen-grabbed image, there’s a greater free­dom to jot down the main ideas — not wor­ry­ing about a final draft of your note. The final ver­sion can be edited later in the Bible app.

  • Bet­ter focus on the speaker.
  • Typ­ing on an iPad requires a cer­tain amount of con­cen­tra­tion; with extra time allot­ted for cor­rect­ing errors. When typ­ing, you tend to lose focus on the speaker. Writ­ing is second-nature — and bet­ter atten­tion can be given to the sermon.

  • Notes are now sharable.
  • Because your notes can be out­put as either an image (PNG) or doc­u­ment (PDF) for­mat, they are eas­ily share­able. Email, Face­book, Twit­ter, etc … are pos­si­ble forms of sharing.

  • Final Elec­tronic Ver­sion of Notes are Bet­ter Organized/Worded.
  • After the lec­ture is over, one can step back and review the ser­mon as a whole. Extra time can be given to edit­ing the final elec­tronic ver­sion of notes, and their orga­ni­za­tion (word­ing and applied tags) in the Bible app software.


Dis­ad­van­tages to this approach.

  • Does Not Work When Jump­ing From Book to Book
  • Right now, UPad does not offer any “append” oper­a­tion to the Photo-Editing Mode that we’re using for this tech­nique. I have emailed a request to be able to “append” to an exist­ing photo-editing doc­u­ment. We’ll see what the devel­oper says.

  • Requires Post-Sermon Time to Enter Elec­tronic Ver­sion of Notes
  • This is not a big deal for me. But we do not want to lose the advan­tages of elec­tronic ver­sions of notes (search retrieval, col­lect­ing sim­i­lar top­i­cal notes, etc … ) Thus, a lit­tle more time is nec­es­sary if you fol­low through with elec­tronic data entry.


Vec­tor­ized Strokes.

I was tempted to list this in the advan­tages sec­tion above, although it’s not really an advan­tage in method­ol­ogy. It is a nice fea­ture though! Because UPad’s strokes are vec­tor­ized, you may mag­nify them as large as you like, they’re never get pix­e­lated! There­fore you can write as small as you like, mag­ni­fi­ca­tion can be done while writ­ing the note, as well as in a PDF, after the note is been created.

After export­ing notes as PDF, and crop­ping a 200% mag­ni­fied page, pix­e­la­tion occurs in the back­ground images — but hand­writ­ten notes dis­play smooth strokes. Zoom­ing the page is pos­si­ble in UPad before the notes are writ­ten as well. This allows notes to be fit into space beside the scrip­ture being comm­nented about.


Room for Improvement

Right now, UPad’s Photo-Editing Mode that’s key to this work­flow only allows one image to defined in the doc­u­ment. I have requested the devel­oper to con­sider “append­ing” another photo to the end of the doc­u­ment. This would allow a “book” to be cre­ated from the pho­tographed “pages.” I have received a reply that my request is being con­sid­ered. If you also enjoy this fea­ture, you may want to drop an email to the devel­oper as well.

Thanks for reading.

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