Words, used by us every day in speech and thought, can have incredible influence on our own lives and those of others around us. It can be the softly spoken magic three words between just two people or it can be words like “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” that touch billions of people at once and will be repeated through the ages. Or maybe you’ll be touched by something as seemingly insignificant as lines delivered in a novel or TV show. To keep them safe and remember them there is now an app for your iPhone and iPad called Quotebook. We’ll take a closer look at it after the break.
The Beauty of Words
You never know when a beautiful phrase might strike a cord with you, so Quotebook comes in handy as a tool to quickly and easily record quotes to preserve for the future, and I’m happy that the developer sent me a promo code to give the app a try.
When you fire up the app, it’s empty and eagerly awaiting your input. In the top bar you can access the settings, sort quotes by date and rating, export, trash and add content.
When used in landscape mode, your quotes will be previewed in the left sidebar, which holds four tabs at the very bottom, granting you access to Quotes, Authors, Sources and Tags. It’s basically the same idea as in iTunes: you can either look at your song titles or artists or albums – it is the same information every time, but from a different perspective. The main part of your screen is dominated by the currently selected quote.
Collecting What Matters to You
Now, since at the very first start there is only a lot of nothingness, you need to add stuff. The obvious way is to hit the plus button in the upper right.
Your cursor will appear in the upper part of the larger right area of the screen and you can just start by typing your quote.
Below, you can enter an author and a source for what you’ve just written. If you have entered a saying by the same person previously, the author has been added to a list and you can select from it. The same applies to the source.
By tapping the stars you can rate the quote and at the bottom add tags. The more quotes you collect, the easier it will be for you to find a specific one by simply searching for the right tag.
As I mentioned earlier, you can also toggle the tabs at the bottom to quickly find quotes. Little numbers indicate how many quotes belong to an author, a source or a tag. I wish if there was just one, it would open the quote directly, but instead Quotebook always slides to another pane where all quotes of a category are displayed (even if it’s just one).
Before we conclude our broad look at Quotebook, let’s quickly peek into the settings. They allow you to define sort criteria and export/import data as well as enable the auto-detection of quotes (more about that in the next chapter).
Details That Matter
Now you know what Quotebook is and how it works. But there are some nice details worth mentioning.
First, there is a nifty way to add quotes besides using the obvious plus button: simply copy some text – any text from any app – and Quotebook will recognize it and ask you if you want to add it. So if someone tells you the magic three words in a text message you can grab those or you can snatch a phrase from the web article you’re just browsing.
When you look at a quote in the single view mode, a tap on an author or a source will bring up a tiny window with a blue arrow inside. Tap that and whoosh, you’ll be taken to Wikipedia with a search having already been performed on the subject. You can learn more about a person, for instance, and if available call up Wikiqotes for more smart words.
Also, when you find something worthwile saving, you might want to share it. Quotebook offers you 6 different options ranging from email and text message to Twitter or tumblr.
For those who own more than one Apple iDevice, first: rejoice, Quotebook is universal! Second, there’s iCloud integration. For everyone who owns more than one iDevice it’s an easy way of sharing quotes without having to refer to one specific device. The sync is not immediate, but it works and that’s what matters with this app.
Last, but not least, I need to mention the sheer beauty of the app. On the iPhone, it’s much more utilitarian, geared towards usability. It makes sense, since the screen is much smaller and you’ll probably use it mainly for inputting stuff since the phone is the device most of us carry with us at all times.
On the iPad, though, you can truly appreciate the quotes. The typography and color scheme are subtle and support the content rather than draw attention to themselves. Also, rotate your iPad into portrait mode for simply browsing quotes. This, to me at least, makes Quotebook and iPad a magical combination that’s more than just pleasing to the eye.
Quotebook is a Universal app and I run it on both the iPhone and iPad. As I’ve said, the iCloud sync works to my satisfaction, even though it could be a tad faster now and then. The only gripe I have is the double tap it needs to show a quote in a category where there is only a single quote (I explained this before), but other than that Quotebook is pretty much perfect. Add to it the import and export capabilities for the more technically inclined and it will fit the needs of many people.
I read a lot and have some favorite shows (as you might have seen, Babylon 5 is featured prominently in my growing collection) and I have dozens of paper slips stuffed into books and strews across my desk with quotes I want to remember. Now they will finally find a place where they are both easily accessible and beautifully presented. I couldn’t ask for much more.