Numeric Notes App for OS X: A Symbiosis Of Text & Calculation

| In-Depth Review

Many of us cringe at the very thought of evaluating our personal finances. It can be a daunting task that involves pen and paper, a spreadsheet and a calculator. But what if a single application could replace all those tools, and allow us to get the answers we seek significantly faster?

Numeric Notes is an application that can undertake this very task. Its elegance and simplicity will allow you to concentrate on what matters most, your notes and associated calculations. That is if you are not overly concerned with exporting the content.

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Numeric Notes Showing Three Possible Window Layouts

Numeric Notes Showing Three Possible Window Layouts

Features

  • User friendly interface with a short learning curve.

  • Quick computation of all the results, additional calculations, and the final sum which is recalculated automatically.
  • 
Accounts for and supports currency symbols and percentages, including decimal point alignment.

Using Numeric Notes

If you have ever used the Stickies application in OS X, you will feel instantly at home with the interface of Numeric Notes.

There are no complicated menus or toolbars to worry about, just a single window that will be your canvas for notes and associated calculations.

An Example Calculation Showing And Calculating Weekly Income

An Example Note Showing And Calculating Weekly Income

The most complicated process you will need to learn is how to present the information correctly. The developer has a basic, but complete overview of the techniques you can use via the in-app Help Menu. This is useful, but the learning curve is literally only a few minutes.

Even though the application is not technically a spreadsheet, it does share some of the same characteristics such as tab to move from left to right. Cursor keys can also be used to achieve the same functionality. You will also notice some of the text is bold, whilst other textual information and numeric values remain in plain view. This is perfectly normal, but unfortunately it is not user changeable. It simply helps isolate the calculation from the bolded text based statements.

An Example Of A Calculation Scenario To Decide Which iPad To Purchase

An Example Of A Calculation Scenario To Decide Which iPad To Purchase

After you have entered your initial text based statement, such as iPad mini 16 GB, you will simply press the tab key to then enter the numeric values you want calculated. You can even undertake a calculation within a single line like this $577 - $397. The corresponding answer will be calculated and will appear on the very right hand side of the window instantly.

When you want to calculate a total of all figures simply press ⌘= to invoke the sum command. The sum can only be calculated on the line directly underneath the final set of numbers.

If you are dealing with numbers that contain decimal points, all calculations will line up based on the decimal point location to ensure consistency and flow. Negative numbers can also be used where appropriate.

Percentages, division and multiplication commands are also available should you require this functionality.

Saving is done automatically but, when you close a note window, there is no option to permanently save the information outside of the application. You will be presented with a warning window and it is advised if you want to retain the information that you export the content to PDF or perform a cut, copy, and paste.

The export options are very limited. You can either cut, copy and paste the non-calculated content, or you can export as a PDF. Interestingly, you can cut, copy, and paste the calculated column from within the PDF document, just not directly from within the application.

It would be nice to see additional export options include .txt, .xls and .csv to name a few. If these options were implemented, you would be able to add the content to existing documents or spreadsheets, thereby making the application more powerful and appealing.

How Does It Compare To Other Applications?

Numeric Notes can easily take over the basic calculation control that the preinstalled OS X calculator has to offer. What it can’t replace is the scientific, programer or conversion modes.

Stickies is a perfect preinstalled application for adding post-it style notes to your Mac. Numeric Notes is extremely similar to Stickies, but its advantage is in the ability to calculate numbers. Although, the Stickies app can add additional content such as graphics, video and audio clips. Stickies also offers a much wider range of export and customization options.

Depending on your needs, a spreadsheet application such as Numbers may be the better option. This is only due to the increased functionality spreadsheets can offer. If you are needing to undertake graphs, charts or several columns and sheets of information, then Numeric Notes would not suit your requirements.

What I Did Like

The simplicity of the app allows you to concentrate solely on your workflow without distraction. Whilst some people may view this as being over simplified, I feel it will suit the majority of users who no longer wish to be inundated with additional options and features excessive to their needs.

What I Didn’t Like

The inability to change the background color unless you select a new note is a minor issue, but one that can be easily corrected by the developer. A similar problem exists with not being able to change the font size or style.

Export and save options are seriously lacking flexibility. Whilst PDF exporting and cut, copy, and paste are adequate, it is by no means sufficient for most users needs. The application needs to be able to save in formats such as .txt, .xls and .csv.

There is also no direct print function. Whilst, you can print from the exported PDF, this is an additional step that users should not have to endure.

The application is priced excessively at US$9.99. There are simply too many fundamental functions missing to warrant the price. If you are solely after an application to make simple notes and calculations, then you may be able to look past this complaint as it does the advertised job well.

Summary

It is a rare occurrence when an application can add a series of features to a relatively simple concept, but not add to the confusion or clutter.

Numeric Notes has a very basic learning curve, and once you have mastered the process you will wonder why you ever dealt with individual calculators, note taking applications and spreadsheets just to make your personal finances balance.

Unfortunately, there are limitations in export functionality for both file saving and direct printing that can not be overlooked. For an application priced at $9.99, I expect these basic functions to be available.

In my opinion, the application as it stands should be in the $1.99 to $4.99 price range.

Numeric Notes 2.0.4 requires OS X 10.6 or later.

Product: Numeric Notes 2.0.4

Company: Apprium

List Price: US$9.99

Pros:

Simple and clean interface, performs as advertised, easy learning curve, combined text and numerical values for immedaite results. 

Cons:

Very limited export options, no printing from within the app, inability to customize background color and fonts for the notes, excessively priced when basic functionality is missing.

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2 Comments

Ted Wise

I’m using a similar program - Soulver - that has quite a bit more functionality, including the automatic display of hex and binary representations of answers. It’s on the Mac App Store for $11.99.

mrhooks

The same developer also makes a similar program called Numi.  It’s even more bare-bones (no PDF exporting, only one window, etc.), but it has one feature Numeric Notes does not have - it resides in your Menubar and is accessible by keystroke.  MacUpdate says it’s $9.99, but it’s free.

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