Help!!! advice on taking notes on the Mac

macOS & Mac Apps

I've recently decided to go back to studying and I'm working with online courses. My deepest level of frustration is coming when I'm trying to take notes from video lectures and having to switch between apps pages and safari) try to stop the video and rewind and then jump back to pages over and over again. Any suggestions on how to make this less stressful? or is it that I'm being lazy?



Submitted by mehgcap on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

If you're a braille user with access to a display, you can do what I do during Apple media events and the like. I open Text Edit (Pages in your case), then go to Safari so that a single press of cmd-tab will always move me between both applications. Then I connect my display, start the video, switch back to Text Edit, and mute VoiceOver. VO is still on, so I can use my display, but its sounds and speech are off, so I don't miss video content. For videos that can be controlled (that is, that are not live streams) you could simply unmute VO, switch to Safari, and pause/rewind the video.

If you're not a braille user, this gets a bit harder, but should still be possible. First, try typing with VO muted, or at least with speech off. This should help you hear the video without speech drowning it out. If even that isn't possible, try using another device. Pop open Notes on an iOS device, or a similar app on Android, or whatever you have. The key is to put in a single earbud (or, again, use braille if you can) connected to the device. Now, you can stay in Safari on the Mac, using an external keyboard to type notes and the Mac to control the video. Or go the other way, taking notes with the Mac and using the other device for video. If you need speech, that's where the single earbud comes in, letting you hear both speech and the video in a way that lets you adjust the volumes of each quickly and easily.

In the end, you'll have to adjust the video, though finding a way for your media keys to do the job could make your life a lot easier. Whether you can use a braille display, need typing feedback, and have other factors to consider will impact how you proceed. Hopefully this gives you some ideas, though.

Submitted by Fenelle on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Thank you so much. Sounds like I’ll have to go that route. I do use a braille display so that should be fine. Only thing is, when ever I mute voice over, it turns back on the voiceover sounds when I unmute. I don’t like the sounds so that is annoying.

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