Review of Silver Note

Silver Note is a note taking program but it has a trick up it’s sleeve, it also has a drawing package so you can do organisation charts, diagrams and even mind maps and concept maps.  But be warned this is not a mapping program, it is a drawing program so the maps and diagrams are laid out by hand.  The good thing is that any text in the diagram may be made into a link.

The overall impression I get from using this program is that of using a good word processor.  As a word processor the facilities are excellent but it also has some of the functionality of an outliner, drawing package and a note taking program built in.  However many of the features of this program seem a little unfinished.

This has the potential to be a very good program someday, when and if the company get round to finishing it, but at the moment it has too many missing or unfinished features so I cannot give it a recommendation.

There was no way to do the load test on this program because it has no import facilities at all.  The only way to import files into Silver Note is by copy & paste of individual files from another program.  The export facilities are virtually non existent as well.

 

Overall Score  = 38 out of 60

Verdict    Quite good, very easy to use but has limited functionality.

 

1. Connectivity            =    6

Notes have no attachments but they can have links to other notes, to URL’s or to files on the local file system.

Silver Note can only have one file open at once and can only link to other notes within the same file.  Silver note does not support universal links, it can only link to a URL, an external file or another note within the same file.

There is no way to link in to this program (there is no way to produce a link which links to a particular page within the Silver Note file).

Links are easy to create, just select a piece of text and Ctrl-click it, if a note with that title exists it will become the target of the link, if it does not exist then a new blank page with that title is created and is made the target.

 

2. Classification            =    7

Silver Note takes a different and much simpler approach to classification than most other note taking programs.  A note may be associated with one or more categories which are user defined.  They are also hierarchical, a category may have many sub categories.  The hierarchical tree is a tree of categories and so a note can appear in many places in the tree.  So this program implicitly supports transclusion.  This is very good and is a refreshing change to most note taking programs.  The tree may be displayed at the left hand side of the screen by pressing the + sign which appears in the left margin.

The lack of sophistication in classification is simple to use but it lacks the power of programs like Ultra Recall and MyInfo.

The search facilities are not as comprehensive as those in Ultra Recall or MyInfo but they are adequate.  Searches seem very fast, the program will find things as you type but I have only tested this on a small set of notes, it might degrade as the volume of notes increases.

 

3. Text layout and formatting    =    7

Generally the text layout and formatting is quite good.  All the usual formatting is there, font, size, colour, bold and italic.  The font selection is different, there is only a small subset of your fonts available from the drop down box in the toolbar, but if you go to the ‘format’ menu then the ‘font’ sub menu has a complete selection of all your fonts, albeit in a jumbled order.  There are a very good selection of symbols available and they are separated into categories.

The outlining facilities of Silver Note look good but are slightly broken.  There are two ways of producing an outline in Silver Note, with numbered or bulleted lists or using sections and subsections.

If you have a numbered list the only way to put body text inline is to format it without the numbered list property, if you do this then the list after the body text starts out at 1 again as if it were a new list.  The other way to get body text is to not put it inline, if you do that then each of the headings becomes a link to a new note containing the body text.  So it isn’t really body text any more.

Sections and subsections may be added to the note to provide a limited outline.  It is limited because you can only have sections and subsections, the outline is limited to two levels.  A subsection may not have a subsection of its own.

 

Text may be placed anywhere on the page using a text box and this does not affect the rest of the text on the page.

You can also draw diagrams on the page.  Silver Note includes quite a good drawing package.  Mind Maps, Concept Maps, flow diagrams and organisational charts may be drawn and this saves you from having to use two programs like VUE or CMAP Tools.  The downside is that it is a drawing package and so you have to manually position the elements of the diagram, there are none of the aids to chart or diagram layout which are usually present in dedicated mapping and charting programs.

Another problem with the drawing package is that if you change the size of the page (for example by re-sizing the window or by activating either of the panels at the sides of the page) then objects on the page move with respect to each other.  So if I draw a flowchart or mind map with lots of objects connected together by lines or arrows, this may well look great on my Laptop but when transferred to fill a second monitor or opened on my desktop PC the objects will have moved and the lines or arrows will be in the wrong place.

Table handling is another feature of Silver Note which looks unfinished.  Table handling is good in some respects.  It is stable and one can set the colour of the borders and the background colour of individual cells.  However you cannot change the size of individual cells relative to one another.  They expand or contract to accommodate their contents, cell boundaries cannot be dragged about as they can in many other programs.  The overall size of the table may be changed using the mouse, there is a handle at each corner of the table, the cell sizes within the table change proportionally with the size of the table.

 

4. A sense of time            =    0

There is no calendar or sense of time in this program.

 

5. Ease of use            =    9

Silver Note is very easy to use and most things work as you might expect them to.  The simplicity of the program means that very little documentation is necessary, that is good because there is no manual for the program and apart from a very rudimentary tutorial on the website just to get you going there is no documentation.

However having said that the program is very easy to use and most things are obvious.

The keyboard shortcuts can be customised in Tools -> Options… on the Shortcuts tab.

 

6. Visual Appeal            =    9

The program has a simple uncluttered interface, but the user interface style and colours cannot be customised.

Silver Note

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