Over the past few years, Notion has gained immense popularity as a note taking app because of the stellar features and capabilities it provides. It is so easy-to-use that students and professionals both use Notion for taking notes.
However, taking notes is not just about typing them into an editor. It’s also about organizing, summarizing, and sharing them with peers. It also requires creating action items and making the notes look neat, so that when you access them again later, you would still be able to make sense of what you wrote. Notion caters to all these associated activities really well.
In this article, we will show you how to make the best use of Notion for noting down important points fast, organizing the notes effectively, and making your content aesthetic.
Let’s get started.
1. Create a new page every time you have to take notes
When you want to take down meeting notes or quickly record what your professor is teaching, it’s ideal to do that in a new Notion page.
This page can exist within another page, or can take the form of a task within a database, but it’s best to skip writing new notes in a page with old content. Otherwise, your notes can look cluttered and it would be difficult to find them later.
While creating the page, try to be descriptive with the page name. Include the keywords that you would use to find the content later. For example, if you plan to take down notes for a meeting with Mark on Content Planning, name the page as — Content Planning With Mark 1st June. It does not look too clean but the intent at the moment is not better aesthetics, it’s just to make it easy to find the page later on.
We are suggesting creating just a working copy for now, we can always change the page name later and edit the content. For now, we are just keeping up with Mark and recording everything we speak about.
2. Type down notes
Now that the new page is ready, you can simply start typing down notes in the page body. Here’s what the content of the page might look like:
Very basic, isn’t it? But it’s extremely effective and fast. And it’s all what you need in the beginning — you don’t need insights, or detailed sentences until later, when you start putting things together. You just need to compile all the data during the meeting or a class. Presentation and analysis is for later.
3. Use Notion AI to summarize content in the format you prefer
After the meeting, you will have enough time to clean up the notes and map important tasks with the deadlines. You can do that by creating a summary yourself or by asking Notion AI to do it for you.
You can use this prompt - “Summarize the above text in a tabular format”.
This will command Notion AI to read through your notes and generate a tabular summary as displayed in the below image.
4. Create a template button to import the structure for notes quickly
The best way to maintain consistency in the note-taking format is by creating a Notion template button. This Notion feature helps you create a format once and use it forever. By creating a template, you have a structure in place —- you can import it with the click of a button and fill out details in the same format every time.
The below image showcases the note-taking template for the “Aerodynamics” classes.
It allows the student to immediately import the table you see in the image every time they click on the “Aerodynamics” button. The student can then easily create new rows within the table and take down new notes.
5. Create a folder-subfolder structure to organize notes
You now know how to quickly take notes in Notion and summarize them, but it's crucial to arrange them for easy retrieval later. The best way to organize your notes in Notion is by creating a folder and sub-folder structure.
Every page in Notion also functions as a folder, you can group all your content by creating a parent page and adding subpages under it. This way, you can group related content together. For example, students can create folders for physics and subfolders for each chapter in the curriculum. This way, all their physics notes stay under one folder and thus are easy to find.
You can check what the folder-subfolder structure looks like in the left pane of your Notion screen — as displayed in the below image.
6. Create a dashboard to access all your folders quickly
Even after setting up the folder-subfolder structure and adhering to it, you will find that things get cluttered quickly, especially if you are using a shared folder with your peers. Another way to monitor the folders — the main pages — is by creating a Notion dashboard.
A dashboard is essentially the super folder for all your main folders.
For example, “Aerodynamics” is a sub-folder and “Physics Notes” is the parent folder. But there could be many other parent folders like “English Notes”, “Chemistry Notes”, etc. All of them together in your left pane of Notion will soon clutter the space, especially if you have a deeper folder-subfolder structure.
Imagine trying to access important notes right before a class or a meeting but not being able to find them! A dashboard solves this issue by serving as a repository for all your parent folders. You can link on a single dashboard page for easy access.
Here’s an example of an Agency’s dashboard.
It includes many sections, each with a set of links in it. Each link is a folder with many subfolders. You can also embed external tools in your dashboard like Spotify, Calendars, PDFs, etc. to keep an eye on the related aspects of note-taking.
7. Make your notes look aesthetic
You will keep revisiting your notes time and again, be it for reviewing, summarizing, sharing with peers, or anything else. If your notes look messy, you would not feel like opening the pages and reading through them. So it is imperative that you keep your notes clean, organized, and aesthetic right from the beginning.
You can make your Notion notes look professional by adding visual elements that provide some relief from the heavy text that the page contains. You can do that by adding a cover image, an icon for the page, or even elements like PDFs that bring some sort of visual relief.
Additionally, you can change Notion fonts and try out different block types and colors to give more life to the page.
8. Share your notes with others in your team
The ability to share notes with peers is one of the key features of Notion for students. If at some point your friend did not make it to a lecture, or perhaps both of you want to swap notes and patch up any missing details, sharing your notes becomes indispensable.
To share your notes with your peers, go to the page that contains the notes and click on the "Share" button located at the top-right corner of the screen. As you can see in the below screenshot, Notion pulls up a new view where you get to decide how much access you want to grant. You can even make the page public if you want to share it with a larger audience.
Is Notion good for taking notes?
Notion is well-known for its note taking features to the extent that it outshines all other capabilities. Many know Notion only as a note-taking app even though it has a myriad of other use-cases. The ease-of-use when it comes to creating notes, the ability to share, and organize them, makes Notion the perfect tool for note taking for all purposes.
How to use Notion for taking class Notes?
You can create a new Notion page or update an existing page whenever you want to take down class notes. You can also arrange notes into folders and subfolders in Notion. Also, Notion allows you to create templates which allows you to create a structure that you can use to arrange notes into - the said structure can be pulled up into a new page with the click of a button.
How many notes can Notion handle?
There is no limit to the number of notes that Notion can handle, even with the free version. You can finish your education with a single Notion account without running out of space for taking more notes.
How do you take smart notes in Notion?
The smartest way to take notes in Notion is by using a template button for the purpose. Once you have a note-taking structure that works for you, you can quickly turn it into a Notion template button. Clicking on that button will pull up the template into the page. You can then fill out the page as required.
Can Notion employees see your notes?
No. Notion employees can access your account when you ask for their support. It’s all with your permission. If you want to be more sure while seeking support from Notion, take a backup of your Notion private pages before deleting them. You can restore those pages after the Notion employees log out of your account.
How do you make pretty Notion notes?
You need to structure your Notion notes into columns and rows to make them look aesthetic. You can either use horizontal and vertical dividers to create segments or even use a table for the purpose. Another way to create that segmentation is by the use of Notion columns.
Can you take notes in Notion?
Yes, Notion allows you to take well-structured, aesthetic looking notes without much of an effort. You can even arrange your notes into a folder-subfolder structure or maintain them in a Notion dashboard.