MagicalPad 3 HD 1When I was in high school, my English teacher taught me that the best way to get starting on developing an essay was to brainstorm ideas and then creating an outline. It is the ultimate way to organize your thoughts into a visual landscape where you can further create.

MagicalPad 3 HD is a productivity app for the iPad that lets you brainstorm, create outlines, mind maps, add flowcharts, make scrapbooks, and share your ideas with others…

Design

The easiest way to describe this app is that it is a lot like Paper by Fifty-Three, but for productivity instead of art. The home section includes all of your ideas in faux realistic-looking journal books. Tap a notebook to open it or create a new one for your own ideas.

In a new journal notebook, the pages are blank with the app’s controls in the surrounding borders. From the top of the screen, you can access font color and style, text box fill and outline colors, the share feature, undo and redo options, and full-screen view.

At the bottom of the screen, you can see or start a new page, add a text box or an outline box, import pictures, add doodle boxes, zoom in or out, and more. From the panel on the right side, which you access by tapping the Mind Mapping icon in the far right corner, you can start new connecting text or outline boxes that automatically stack, or link boxes together with the arrow connector.

You can use advanced editing and attachment features to create and connect all of your notes, images, handwritings, and ideas by selecting additional features after you’ve selected a box to edit.

MagicalPad 3 HD 3App Use

The app is both complicated and easy at the same time. When I first started a project, I didn’t know where to begin. The beginning tutorial is more of a marketing advertisement than a how-to guide and the help tools that appear when you start your first project don’t offer a whole lot of information. However, there is a very comprehensive user manual that will explain everything if you take the time to read all of it, which you should.

After tapping and dragging a few boxes, adding some lists, and color-coding some ideas, I was able to get the hang of things, but the app offers many features that are not easily found by simply exploring.

Users add content in a freeform manner by creating boxes that information is added to. You can add a basic text box, which lets you write in paragraph form so you can have as many or as few thoughts and sentences in a single box. You can also add a basic outline box, which lets you create lists that feature prioritization formatting. You can link multiple outline boxes to create a comprehensive list of objectives and ideas.

The drawing box lets you hand write notes and sketches or annotate ideas. The drawing boxes can be increased or decreased in size and be repositioned anywhere on the page. You can also add your own handwriting to any preexisting box. Just tap the box and then tap the pop-up editor in the far right corner of the toolbar.

The photo box lets you add photos in separate boxes. Tap on the add photo button at the bottom of the tool bar and add an image from your device’s camera roll or using the in-app camera. You can also add photos to any preexisting box. Just tap the box and then tap the pop-up editor in the far right corner of the toolbar.

Connect all of your boxes in anyway you see fit by accessing the “Mind Mapping” toolbar on the far right side of the screen. This feature allows you to automatically create stacked boxes that are connected with an arrow. Create a map with boxes stacking downward or from left to right. You can also manually connect boxes by tapping one and then selecting the connect arrow, and then selecting the box you wish to connect it to.

Each box gives you nearly unlimited editing tools, including font styles and colors, text alignment, color changes for text, backgrounds, and outlines, and more. Boxes can also be duplicated, deleted, merged or split apart. Boxes can be repositioned anywhere on the page and the page size grows with your project so you can have your ideas spread out over a very large area.

You can also share your projects with others through email, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Twittter, and Facebook. Files from other apps can be imported, too. The app is compatible with TXT, RTF, OPML, and MPX files.

MagicalPad 3 HD 2The Good

Once you get the hang of things, the basics are very useful. You can create all manner of text boxes and outlines. Importing and exporting files is very simple. Adding pictures and notes takes only a few seconds.

Even though the basics are easy to use, you can take a little extra time to learn about all of the additional features that can be used to create complex and comprehensive project ideas so you can organize your thoughts with maximum flexibility.

The Bad

Of course, the price is hard to swallow. However, this app is feature rich and worth the price for people looking for the kind of productivity that MagicalPad has to offer.
The app also lags quite a bit when trying to drag boxes around on the screen. This can get annoying when you are trying to reorganize your thoughts and moving boxes takes a few seconds each time to activate.

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Value

MagicalPad 3 HD for the iPad costs $19.99. While that might seem like a hefty price to pay upfront, the app is complex and comprehensive and offers many features to help you create and organize project ideas. Your notebooks can be saved in iCloud and accessed on any device, including the iPhone using the free MagicalPad for iPhone app.

Conclusion

If you need a comprehensive note-organizing tool that lets you add outlines, drawings, images, mind maps, and more, then you have found what you are looking for. If you are not sure you are ready to pay the premium price, download the iPhone version, which is free for a limited time. It includes all of the features of the iPad version so you can get a better idea of what is in store for you. This app is available for the iPad. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

Begin is a project-planning app that lets you create color-coded boxes. Bords lets you create brainstorming notes similar to writing on a whiteboard.

How do you keep track of your ideas? Do you have a favorite note-taking app to jot down thoughts?

  • Mohammed Sahib

    $20? It was 99 cents ~ 10 days ago.

    • Hope you got it while it was on sale!

  • Dan

    This could of been useful in my university days.
    Although too expensive imo, it can be done in office word.

  • I do this and a lot more in OneNote 2010…

  • Robert Goldberg

    iPad version of CMAP, but with more features and for $20 more.

  • Bill Morey

    OneNote doesn’t have mindmapping and slick outlining capabilities also you can’t manage due dates, etc. on it.