Apple Notes is one of those programs that, if you take time to learn a few shortcuts, pays exponential rewards. As with other commonly used applications, don’t assume you already know all the important features of this note-taking app–Notes may surprise you with its capabilities.

Here are five tips for maximizing Notes, whether you’re using an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac. These steps will work when using macOS 10.13 or iOS 11.

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1: How to pin important notes

Set important or commonly accessed notes to remain at the top of the Notes view by pinning them. Using iOS or macOS, to pin an entry, swipe the corresponding note to the right and select Pin. To unpin an entry, swipe right and tap the unpin (pin featured inside the universal no icon).

2: How to add tables in Apple Notes

Add tables within a note and help organize information by clicking the Add A Table icon in macOS or tapping the corresponding icon from the iOS view.

Add and delete columns and rows in iOS by tapping the triple-dot icon and selecting the corresponding add/delete operation.

When using macOS, add and delete columns by clicking the column header drop-down arrow and selecting the corresponding add/delete operation. To add and remove table rows using macOS, click the corresponding row’s triple-dot icon and select the corresponding action.

SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

3: How to secure sensitive information in Apple Notes

Apple Notes permits using Touch ID (and Face ID on compatible iPhones) or a single password to protect all the notes you wish to protect across all your devices–assuming you’re using Notes’ iCloud capabilities (Figure A).

Figure A

To create the Notes password using an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, select Notes, tap Password, enter the password, set a hint, and tap Done. Apple can’t help you remember or recover your password, so document properly.

You can create a password directly within Notes, whether you’re using a Mac, an iPhone, or an iPad. To create a password within Notes, open the note you wish to lock, click the Share icon, select Lock Note, enter a password, supply a hint (again, Apple can’t help you recover a Notes password, so document properly), and then click Done.

Managed Apple IDs don’t permit locking Notes. According to Apple, the password lock capability isn’t available if you sign in to iCloud using a managed Apple ID.

SEE: Why I love the Files app in iOS 11: iPads can finally replace notebooks (ZDNet)

4: How to import other files to Apple Notes

In addition to storing Apple Notes files, Mac and iOS users can also import other files to the Notes app, thereby consolidating documentation within a single location and making such information available across all an Apple user’s Mac and iOS devices. Other .txt, .rtf, .rtfd, .html, and .enex Evernote files can all be imported to Notes. Each file is imported as a separate note.

To import other notes using a Mac, open Notes, navigate to iCloud Notes, select the folder where you wish to store the files, click File from the menu bar, select Import, double-click the file (or folder) you wish to import, and click Import. Once the confirmation message appears, click Import again to complete the process.

You can use Mail or the Files app to import files using iOS (Figure B).

Figure B

To use Mail on an iOS device to import a note, open Mail, select the email message containing the file you wish to import, press and hold the file, tap Add To Notes, and then tap Import.

To use the Files app on an iOS device to import a note, open the iCloud Drive app, touch and hold the file, select Share, select Add To Notes, and then tap Save.

Whether you use Mail or the Files app on an iOS device to import a note or notes, the new files will be stored within a folder titled Imported Notes.

5: How to use scan and sign in Apple Notes

Using iOS 11, you can scan and sign documents using Notes. The time-saving feature assists business users in processing and storing important invoices, purchase orders, contracts, agreements, and other documents, including those that require a signature.

How’s it work? Just take a picture of the document’s page or pages using Notes and then sign. For step-by-step instructions, read TechRepublic’s Three iOS 11 iPad features business users are overlooking.