Noteshelf Star – Dr. Lindsey MacDonald

Lecturer – Politics at the University of Canterbury | Fellow, Ngāi Tahu Research Centre

Noteshelf Star Lindsey MacDonald

Glowing snow-capped peaks, peace, and quiet – Dr. Lindsey lives on a lifestyle block that looks out at the Southern Alps of New Zealand. He also runs a small private research company.

We were happy to get a quick interview with Dr. Lindsey. Read on to know how he is using Noteshelf.

What made you start using Noteshelf?

I used to print out my essays and then edit by hand then go back to the computer. Of course, as a tutor and then a lecturer, you add to that pile of papers awaiting your red pen. So I’ve always wanted a tablet that could do away with that paper. I started initially with pdf annotation apps. As soon as iPads arrived I ended up settling on the Noteshelf with an iPad Pro 12.9” and Pencil. I now do all my mark up etc inside Noteshelf.

I started with Noteshelf because from my youngest days I have loved writing in a fountain pen, and Noteshelf reproduces that miles better than any other product on the market, and without any lag. It was and still is the fastest and nicest writing experience. But it was the fountain pen style that really drew me in!

What kind of notes do you normally take now? Is there any specific workflow you follow?

I have a variety of workflows in Noteshelf.

  1. Journal – I have created a daily Journal template (based on various suggestions from Tim Ferriss and the gratitude journal of etc). I also have a weekly review and goal setting a template for that journal.
  2. Various meeting notes – for each committee I sit on I have a notebook and take notes.
  3. Classes – for each lecture course I give I have a notebook to record ideas and to jot down students’ ideas ( projected into the big screen ) which classes are brainstorming or giving presentations, and I pop my lectures in the iPad, so I can scribble ideas on them as I’m lecturing and have them review the lecture afterward.
  4. Conferences – for any conference I upload, papers and program into a notebook and take notes straight into them.
  5. Book notes – for each personal book, I want to read deeply I have to take notes, so I have a folder to a notebook per book.
  6. University or Online learning – As with notes on books, but for personal courses, I am taking (from Māori language in a classroom to  an online public speaking seminar at I create an individual folder
  7. Academic Work –
    1. Mind mapping – nothing beats the beauty of Noteshelf for thinking through and mind mapping my thoughts on academic ideas and possible articles.
    2. Post-Graduate supervision – I love the ability to hand-edit a student’s dissertation and immediately email it to them.
    3. Finally and most importantly, Noteshelf provides a perfect way to take notes during a research interview because of it:
      1. is very clear on the screen (so the participant can see my notes and correct them if they need to)
      2. provides automatic backup to servers (This is really important as participants are gifting you their time so it must not be wasted through losing interview notes)
      3. allows me to easily transfer each interview into Scrivener, as research notes

What are your favorite features of Noteshelf?

  1. The pens are beautiful. I just love the fountain pen style.
  2. The ability to import word docs and properly display them in PDF ( I haven’t found any other annotation app that can do this)
  3. Ability to create templates
  4. Secure protection of personal writing
  5. Simple navigation and import/export

Want to see any awesome features added to Noteshelf?

I’d love to see bulk import and export (so I can use it to mark essays for classes of 40-100) into separate notebooks in a folder (maybe even folders within folders?)

Maybe an ability to create chapters and/or take advantage of PDF hierarchy, so that navigating 300 pages of bond paper is not too hard.

Perhaps a deal with (and other client companies) so you can buy templates of Five planners and diary so that we can use here.

I would love the custom menu for the insert page to be editable – so I can get faster to the templates I have created, or that I can pin particular templates to the top.

Would you recommend Noteshelf 2 to your friends and colleagues?

Absolutely, the best note-taking app on the market. I even sent an email to because he didn’t try Noteshelf and so recommends another which is not as good.

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