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iPad: The Notes App

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Notes is an iPad application that enables you to record any notes you might want to keep for future reference, you use the functionality of this application as you would use an old fashioned pen and paper notepad. It provides basic editing features such as cut, copy and paste. If you don't want to use the keyboard for text entry you can select the microphone button, then dictate the content of your note.

You can use SIRI to create a Note by saying something like.
“Create new, travel items.”
“Add toothbrush to travel items.”
“Add umbrella.”

Note, SIRI requires a constant connection to the Internet. You can even insert a photo into your note, the upgraded version of the Note application also allows you to draw onto the Notes page using your finger.

Once you have created a note it is available on your other Apple devices. When you have compiled several Notes you can use the Search field to locate a Note of your choice.

The instructions below are interspersed with additional paragraphs to aid understanding of each step. On your first visit to these instructions you will probably want to read everything but after that just be able to flit through the instructions a bit more quickly, if this is the case you can just search for the word ‘step’ to take you to each individual instruction.

Using the application with Voiceover active.

Step 1. From the home screen navigate to the Notes application. The Notes application is normally on the home page, if it is not there try searching on other screen pages. Use swipe left or right with one finger to move through the list of available applications on each screen, if you need to change to a new screen swipe left or right with three fingers until you locate your desired screen page. Voiceover will announce which page number is currently active.

Step 2. Once you have located the Notes application double tap with one finger anywhere on the screen, this action activates the application that Voiceover is currently focused on, which of course should be the Notes application that you have just navigated to.

Once you open up the Notes application you are returned to the Notes screen that was active on your previous visit. Had you been half way through compiling an earlier note you will be returned back to the same screen, so you can pick up exactly where you left off. If there are no previously opened notes the screen will be split in two. On the left hand side there will be a list of folders. On the right hand side the screen will be blank or be displaying the last opened note.

By default you will normally have two folders already set up, the first folder is named 'iCloud' and there may already be one or more notes saved to your iCloud storage. The second folder is named 'On My iPad', this folder is where your notes are stored locally until they are relocated to your iCloud storage. You can create your own folders in order to better organise your notes into groups that make sense to you.

If you are unsure if you are on the Folders screen keep flicking left with one finger until you hear the Narrator announce, “Folders, Heading”. You will know you are at the top level or first screen because if you try and flick left again you will hear a dull drum sound, which alerts you to the fact that you cannot go back any further.

We will now start to compile a new Note.

Step 3. To compose a new note, first dismiss the folders screen by moving a single finger on the screen towards the right hand side, when you hear the Narrator announce “Dismiss Pop Up”, then double tap with one finger to dismiss the Pop up window. If you do not hear the Narrator announce Dismiss Pop Up, simply slide your single finger to the left of the screen and then back towards the right until Narrator announces, ‘Dismiss Pop up’. Once you have dismissed the Pop Up window the screen will not be split in two and your Note will take up the full screen. You can now flick right with one finger until you hear Voiceover announce, new note, button. This just means that Voiceover is currently focused on the new note button. Note the flick right action is like flicking a bit of dust of the screen.

Step 4. Now that you are on the new note button, just double tap to compose a new note. Narrator will announce, Note, text field, is editing, insertion point at start.

A keyboard will now be displayed along the bottom third of the screen, by moving one finger towards this area of the screen you will hear the Narrator announce each key that your finger passes over.

You are now ready to begin composing your Note.

Please be aware, when keying in text there are three typing modes.

Standard Typing, this is where Narrator announces the key your finger is over but will not insert that character, until you double tap with one finger to confirm the character just announced is the one you want.

Touch Typing, in this mode as soon as your finger is lifted off a key, then the key just left will insert the character shown on that key, this will be the character just announced by the Narrator. As you move your finger around the keyboard Narrator will announce each key as you pass over it, when you finally lift your finger off the screen whilst positioned on the keyboard, the associated character will be inserted into your text.

Direct Touch Typing, this is just like using an ordinary keyboard, to insert a key you must quickly tap the key and its associated character will be inserted into the text area. You can of course keep your finger on the keyboard and move it around to find the character you require. Narrator will announce each key your finger passes over, once you have located the required character you must still tap it once for the character to be inserted into your text. This is different to ordinary touch typing described above, where as soon as you lift your finger a character is inserted.

To change your typing mode, you need to perform a rota gesture on the iPad screen, this is where you place two fingers on the screen and turn them just as if you were turning a knob. Each time you twist your fingers around this pretend knob, you will hear the Narrator announce something new, you will hear the following announcements, characters, words, lines, speech rate, containers, headings, typing mode, edit.

Stop when you hear the Narrator announce, ‘typing mode’. You have now selected the typing mode options and by flicking a single finger up or down you can cycle through the three typing modes described above. The typing mode last announced becomes the new typing mode.

By selecting different options with the rota you can change other settings, more about this later.

Step 5. Continuing entering in your required text using the keyboard, noting that you can move the text insertion point quickly to the start and end of the current text block, by double tapping with one finger.

To delete the last character entered just find the delete button on the keyboard and activate.

Once you have completed your note, all of the data entered will be automatically saved, you can now leave the Notes application by going back to the Home Screen, with a single tap on the Home button. The next time you open the Notes App you will be taken back to where you just left off. You can of course close the Application down so that it is not running in the background, by double tapping on the Home button, to go back to the Apps Switcher screens and swiping up with three fingers to close each application one by one.

The following paragraphs provide a bit more information about moving around and editing text that has been previously entered.

If you want to move around your text block character by character, word by word, or line by line then you need to activate the Rota, with a Rota gesture, (two fingers turning a pretend knob on the screen), until you hear the Narrator announce your preferred option, characters, words or lines. The option last announced becomes your new setting. So if you have chosen words, then by flicking up or down with one finger, you will move the text insertion point along your block of text one word at a time. Similarly by choosing characters or lines you can move around the text block by character or line.

To select more than one character or word, move the insertion point to the required start of selection and then with two fingers adjust the number of characters and/or words selected by stretching or pinching your fingers on the screen, Voiceover will announce the highlighted text as being selected. Having defined your selection you can now select Edit from the Rota settings followed by its sub options of Share, Make Check list Item, Copy, Cut, Paste, Define, depending on what you want to do with the text just selected.

If no text has been selected when you choose Edit from the Rota setting, the options provided will be;  Select All, Make check list item, Select, and Paste. Again select the desired option as required.

If you just wanted to copy an existing piece of text to a new position, just highlight the source text, select Edit from the Rota settings and then Copy. Now move to where you want the source text to be pasted to. Once you are positioned at the destination start point select Edit from the Rota settings and then Paste. There should now be a copy of the required text pasted into its new position.

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