Back in 2009, a promising company named Kno, Inc was founded. They provided an educational textbook reader and later on, even their own single and double screen tablets (see picture). I would love to have something similar, for my studying. Unfortunately, Intel bought the company, renamed the software to "Intel® Education Study" and the new version sucks big time. :(

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I am currently studying philosophy over the Internet, and most of the material given to us is in PDF, DOCX and PPTX files.

I need a software that can open these files and allow me to:

  • underline
  • annotate
  • keep notes
  • make mind maps
  • link between text, within the same file and between multiple files

[I would like to add, that I prefer to have most of my own text beside the original document, not actually cluttering up the original text... Underline, coloring etc, is fine though.]

I would also like to be able to make my own documents, where I can collect my notes, and insert:

  • text
  • links
  • pictures
  • spreadsheets
  • mind maps
  • videos

I do know that there are software, like "Citavi" (reference management and knowledge organization) etc. But they are way to cluttered, does a thousand things that I don't need and lacks a lot of things that I need...

By the way. It might be unrealistic to find a single software that can do all of this. Two, is good to. One for the first part (notes in files, or as a separate file, linked to the first one), and one for collecting all types of notes in a single file.

Lastly, I would like to mention that I am also looking for a way to help translate text (English is not my native language, but most of my sources are). Basically, I would like to have a software that will display one line of original text and then one with translation (I will make my own translations, so I don't need a function for that). Preferably also with some way of marking it up. To show, how the different words had to be moved around to make proper sentences.

1 Answer 1


Three alternatives that might fulfil your expectations:

  1. Docear (discontinued)
  2. Zotero
  3. Mendalay

Some time ago Docear staff made a blog post with a comparison of the above. It can help you to decide whether use particular software or not.

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  • Thanks! I have already had a look at Zotero and Mendeley, they weren't for me. But I will test Docear, and see if it fits my needs. Perhaps Docear wasn't on the lists that I found, because it is discontinued. Like I mentioned before, with Citavi as an example, there are a lot of software/services that can do what I ask for (or most). But they are not meant for it, or they have a to many functions. I don't know if they just want to tic all the boxes and claim that they have all the functions that everybody whant's, but in any case, they are not intuitively... to cluttered. Jul 2, 2018 at 10:49
  • I just want to clarify. My need is a study aid, and most software with this functionality, is a research aid... I believe that to be the difference/problem. Kno was interactive textbooks and functionality to do smart/intelligent note taking. Jul 2, 2018 at 11:23
  • It is hard to find good videos on the Kno, this days. But here it two: youtube.com/watch?v=LZsnpttPceA [This one shows the basics] youtube.com/watch?v=bRTZSTkVBgY [This one provides more information, and contains an interview with the CEO. Unfortunately, it is really shaky...] Jul 2, 2018 at 11:50

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