Apps For Taking Handwritten Notes

Every month we get a number of questions about apps that allow you to take handwritten notes. The App Store offers many apps that allow you to take notes with a stylus and more coming every week.  Most are not free and most to don’t offer a lite version for you to try out. Its sometimes difficult for new iPad owners to figure out which ones are worth paying for.

Since we all have personal writing preferences and note taking needs, we can not give you a full recommendation for any one particular app.  That said, since we do get so many questions about them, we have put together a list of some of the more popular handwriting note taking apps for you to consider and use as a starting point.

Remember, when researching any app be sure to look at:

  • All of the advertised features and pay attention to the ones that are important to you that are missing
  • Check the date of the most recent release of the app
  • Look at the reviews and comments
  • Check the date of the review to insure you are looking at the most recent release reviews.
  • Pay attention to how many people have reviewed the app, not just the app’s star rating.

Most people seem to end up buying a few apps before they settle down with one that they really like.

All of the apps listed below are highly rated, work with a stylus for taking handwritten notes on your iPad and are listed in no particular order.


This app is a longtime favorite of notetakers.  Loads of features and easy to use. This app integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, typing, recording and organizing your notes.  Has various cloud options for auto-sync, media insertion and can import .doc, ppt and exl files as PDFs using Google drive. It also supports a number of languages. Students are among those who rate this app very highly.  Also good feedback from lefties using this app for handwriting.

Notes Plus

This app supports handwriting, audio recording, folders images and PDF annotation and export.  As will Notability  you can use audio record the notes at the same time as writing them.  The handwritten text will link to that part of the audio.  There is a built in web browser  for quick web references.  If  in recording mode, the audio will continue to record when you leave the app.  Files and notebooks can be password protected and be set up to auto backup to There is an in-app purchase of a handwriting recognition module.

Note Taker HD

The app seems to be feature rich and highly recommend by many people because of it.  Most of the reviewers who reviewed this app say that they own many note taker apps and this is by far their favorite.  This app offers PDF annotation, file input, right-to-left languages and password protection for folders. Like most full featured apps, there appears to be a learning curve. The reviewers seems to consider the learning curve worth it. Cloud backup seems to be missing from this app at this point in time.


This is the original handwriting app of iPad. Now owned by Evernote your handwritten notes will be synced to your Evernote account automatically.  All of your handwritten notes can be filed and moved within notebooks. Handwritten notes can be searched and are accessible from any of your devices with Evernote installed. Once your note is in Evernote you will be able to encrypt the doc with a password, or send it to others as a PDF. Other features include the ability to import and draw images, and a wrist protection area to help prevent smudges and marks appearing on your notes. There are also add-ons that can be purchased in app.



  1. Another app called ZoomNotes is definitely worth considering. It is more versatile than the others and has the ability to zoom in/out as much as you want without loosing accuracy, which in my opinion makes it the ideal for taking notes.

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