Archive for the ‘Pear Note Features’ Category

Pear Note in Lion

Monday, July 4th, 2011

A new major version of Mac OS X, version 10.7 dubbed Lion, is about to be released. I’ve gotten some questions about how Pear Note will work in Lion and I wanted to answer them here. First, let me say that Pear Note will continue functioning just as it does today on Snow Leopard when Lion ships with one exception (which I’ll get to shortly). So, feel free to upgrade away and don’t worry about losing Pear Note.

There are a bunch of new features in Lion that apps can take advantage of which many of you have asked about, including Resume, Auto Save and Versions, and Full Screen. While I would love for Pear Note to support some of these new features right away, they require some major reworking of Pear Note. So, Pear Note will continue working as it did on Snow Leopard and not use these features for a little while. Once I get the iOS version of Pear Note released, then I’ll look at incorporating some of these Lion features in.

Importing Keynote and Powerpoint slides

As I said above, there’s one thing that’s not going to keep working in Lion. The method I use to import Keynote and Powerpoint slides files does not work any more in Lion. The truth is, it never worked perfectly, and often had trouble with complicated presentations. So, Pear Note is dropping support for importing Powerpoint and Keynote files as of version 2.0.6 (just released). It will continue to work on Leopard and Snow Leopard as it has before, but it is being dropped as an official feature (meaning it won’t be advertised as a feature any more).

Don’t worry that you won’t be able to use the slides part of Pear Note any more, though. You just have to convert your slides to PDF using their respective applications before adding them to your Pear Note document. This is a much, much more reliable way of importing the slides, as Powerpoint is excellent at reading Powerpoint files and Keynote is excellent at reading Keynote files (it’s like they were made to do it). More detailed instructions on how to do this are available here.

Thanks for your understanding.

Pear Note 2.0

Monday, August 9th, 2010

I’m pleased to announce the immediate release of Pear Note 2.0. This is the first major revision to Pear Note, and it’s a huge one. This is the kind of update that would usually come with an upgrade fee, but as I said earlier, it doesn’t. This is a free upgrade to all you Pear Note 1 users out there as a way of saying thank you for being an early adopter. All of your feedback has really helped get Pear Note to this point, and I really appreciate it.

I’ll talk about some of the new features in more detail in the coming weeks, but I wanted to briefly enumerate them here.


Pear Note 2 includes a new sharing feature, which allows you to create web page versions of your notes to share with anyone with a web browser. These shared notes are fully playable and integrated, just like a normal Pear Note document, meaning that users can use the text of the note to navigate through the recording or slides. You can try out one of these here. Many thanks to Brian Artka for helping out with the web portions of this.

New user interface

The most noticeable change in Pear Note 2 is the completely new user interface, which is designed to make using Pear Note a more pleasant experience. The new interface improves discoverability in the app, and also makes navigating through the timeline much easier. And let’s face it, the old interface wasn’t the prettiest in the world. Many thanks to Mike Rohde for helping to make Pear Note 2 look so good.

Playback speed adjustment

Since so many of you asked for it,¬†Pear Note 2 also includes support for playback speed adjustment. You can use this feature to listen to your notes at faster than real-time to review things more quickly or you can slow things down to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Other improvements

There are a lot of other improvements as well that you can check out. These include support for adding multiple slides files to a single note, much faster search support, and many more.

Pear Note 1.3.4

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Pear Note 1.3.4 is now out. It includes some reliability and stability improvements, as well as a couple changes you might be interested in. These are:

Improved process of importing slides and audio/video


Before Pear Note 1.3.4, if you dragged slides or media to Pear Note, it would create a new Pear Note document and import that file into it. Unfortunately, sometimes you might have wanted to add those to a currently open document instead of creating a new document. With Pear Note 1.3.4, if you have an open document, Pear Note will ask if you’d like to import the file into an open document or a new document.

Added PDF Service


Pear Note can import slides itself, but it is admittedly not perfect when it comes to importing PowerPoint. Consequently, many of you open your slides in PowerPoint, print them to PDF, then import the PDF into Pear Note to ensure the slides look exactly as they do in PowerPoint. With Pear Note 1.3.4, this just got easier as Pear Note now provides a PDF Service. This means that there will be a “Send PDF to Pear Note” item in the PDF button in all applications, and if you select it the PDF PowerPoint produces will be sent straight to Pear Note.

Slide navigation during playback

Prior to Pear Note 1.3.4, you could go to a slide during playback and everything would jump to the first time that slide was shown. This worked pretty well, but many of you scan through your slides early, which meant that the first time you saw the slide was not when the speaker was actually talking about that slide. With Pear Note 1.3.4, Pear Note now jumps to the time the slide was shown for the longest duration, which means you won’t fool it into thinking you’re on a specific slide just by scanning around.

Pear Note and Snow Leopard

Sunday, August 30th, 2009


I’ve gotten several questions as to the status of Pear Note on Snow Leopard. The short answer is that Pear Note 1.3 works fine on Snow Leopard with one major exception. Importing most Keynote and Powerpoint files will fail on Snow Leopard. I have a fix for this that I have pushed out in the latest beta release, Pear Note 1.3.1b1. Assuming I hear no problems from this, I will release Pear Note 1.3.1 to fix the problem very soon. If you are a beta tester and are using Snow Leopard, please update to 1.3.1b1 and try out Powerpoint or Keynote document importing. Please let me know if you have any problems.

Also included in Pear Note 1.3.1b1 is a change to the way video recording is handled when used on Snow Leopard. As some of you are aware, Leopard’s support for USB webcams can sometimes be touchy. Snow Leopard has some new features that allow me to try to mitigate this, which Pear Note now utilizes in 1.3.1b1. So, if you’ve had problems with your webcam in Pear Note (for instance, if video occasionally freezes), I suggest trying again when you have Snow Leopard and Pear Note 1.3.1b1 or later, as the problems will hopefully go away.

If you’ve encountered a problem with Pear Note on Snow Leopard other than this, please let me know.

Pear Note 1.3

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

At long last, Pear Note 1.3 is now released. This has been a long time coming, and it is finally here. There were a couple of key features that many of you have repeatedly reminded me were really needed in Pear Note, and 1.3 has them. They are Highlighting and Quick Lists.


Highlighting in Pear Note 1.3 showing the color chooser

One of the key focuses of Pear Note is making it easy to find the information you’re looking for. Between the timeline linking audio, video, text and slides and the search feature that makes it easy to find the right note, Pear Note is unparalleled in putting the right information at your fingertips. However, there has not been an easy way to indicate the certain text was important so that you could pick it out later. So, Pear Note 1.3 adds highlighting support, providing a simple mechanism to emphasize certain text in your notes. Make sure to try Option-clicking the highlighting icon to see how easy it is to use separate colors if that floats your boat.

Quick Lists

While Pear Note has had support for lists/outlines for some time now, it took too many clicks to start one. Consequently, many users just faked their own outlines in their notes. Pear Note 1.3 includes a new features – Quick Lists. With Quick Lists, you can simply click a toolbar item to start a list (Option-click for a numbered list) or hit a keyboard shortcut. You can still go through the menu if you want to customize the format of your list, but for most uses you will no longer have to interrupt your workflow to start an outline. Just click the toolbar button or hit Cmd-L (Cmd-Option-L for numbered) and your list will begin.

Other features

There are several other features and bug fixes in Pear Note 1.3, including a new preference for the default font that I know many of you have been looking for. Download it to check them out.


Pear Note 1.2.2

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

For those that didn’t see, Pear Note reached 1.2.2 yesterday. There were no major changes, but there are a few things of note.

  1. Much improved drag and drop, particularly involving media files
  2. Search now highlights the phrase searched for when a document is opened
  3. Search now displays badges to let you know if a document contains video, audio, or slides
  4. Fixed a nasty crash that could occur when selecting the Open menu item


Pear Note 1.2

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Pear Note 1.2 is now released! There are lots of changes to talk about, but I’ll focus on a few of the highlights here.


  1. Improved highlighting during playback. Now not only is the character itself highlighted when it was typed, but the entire current word is underlined in blue. This underline stays around, so you always know where in the recording you are.

    new blue underline

    New highlighting

  2. Improved video device support. Pear Note now supports a lot more video cameras, including DV camcorders and many webcams that utilize third-party drivers.
  3. High quality video. Pear Note now supports 640×480 video recording.
  4. Auto-scrolling. Simply check the auto-scroll box, and the text view will ensure that every time a character is highlighted it is visible by scrolling to make it visible.
  5. Playback context buffer. When clicking on text to navigate around a recording, Pear Note no longer starts playing exactly when the character was typed. Instead, Pear Note starts a few seconds before it was typed to give you a bit of context. By default, you’ll jump to 10 seconds earlier, though this is configurable in the playback preferences.

Pear Note 1.2 coming soon

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Just wanted to let everyone that’s eagerly awaiting Pear Note 1.2 know that it is coming soon, likely in 2 weeks or so. If you’re not eagerly awaiting it, you should be. Pear Note 1.2 will have a ton of new features that you’ll hopefully enjoy. These will include major improvements to the video system providing higher quality video recording as well as support for a ton of new devices (including DV cameras), auto-scrolling, starting playback from a few seconds before a character was typed when clicking the text, less transient character highlighting during playback, and a number of other features. If you want a taste of it now, you can check out the current betas. Otherwise, stay tuned for all the new goodness.

Pear Note is a Mac Gem

Friday, January 30th, 2009

For those who haven’t seen it, Dan Frakes of Macworld magazine wrote about Pear Note in his Mac Gems column a couple days ago. It was a great article, and he probably explains Pear Note better than much of the documentation on this site. He also had some very good critical points, many of which I’ve heard before from all of you. Rest assured that Pear Note is in very active development, and I hope to have most of the issues Dan raised addressed by the release of 1.3 later this year.

Pear Note 1.1

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Pear Note 1.1 is now released. It includes lots of feature improvements that are visible to the user and lots that are not. Notably, you can now import audio/video into Pear Note documents. You can also export text files (plain text and RTF) as well as audio/video files. There are also several new features relating to text editing, including Lists, Links, Tables, and Spacing.

There has also been a major overhaul to saving documents. This should mean that Pear Note does the best it possibly can at saving as much of the current recording as possible if you hit save while in the middle of recording. Unfortunately, this means that the file format has changed slightly, which means documents saved in Pear Note 1.1 cannot be read by earlier versions of Pear Note. You’ll probably never run into this problem, but if you’re running Pear Note on multiple Macs, make sure you upgrade them all to 1.1.

Download, enjoy, and let me know if you run into any problems. If you’re still looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the Mac-lover in your life, Pear Note can make a wonderful gift… Merry Christmas!