What is the best app for taking handwritten notes?

Looking for a clean iOS app with some way of organizing handwritten notes. Bonus points for: * Cross-platform * Text conversion or searching handwritten notes * Including images and pasting text * PDF annotation
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20 recommended
  1. 48
    Notion 2.0

    The all-in-one workspace - notes, tasks, wikis, & databases

    Yoginth🤟 Designer, Developer, and Toolmaker · Written
    It has kinda everything!
    • Rees Vinsen
      Rees VinsenCEO of Adduco


      We're huge advocates of Trello, power-users of Slack, data-hungry Google Sheet/Doc fanatics and unloyal downloaders of many productivity, Wiki, task management and organisation apps. With my CTO I often mused the idea of building an all-in-one workspace for internal use that sat as our Pandora's box of goodies ranging from development wiki's, onboarding information and branding resources all the way to task management, meeting notes and even time tracking - lo and behold I stumbled across this gem of an app.

      We decided to run Notion for a week in tandem with Trello (for our highly-granular level project management) starting by spending an hour in the evening porting over info to populate a few spreadsheets, wikis etc. I also went ahead and threw personal pages up to trial it on an individual level. 📝Note: if you have a super high turnover of to-do's and an active team you won't find switching over from another app to be a lengthy process. After 6 years of managing a creative agency I reckon I have seen enough task management and organisation apps to last a lifetime, so take my thoughts here with that consideration.


      After a week we drew the following conclusions:

      ⏱ We worked faster with Notion than we did with Trello, Evernote or even a physical whiteboard.

      📦 Today I solely used Notion for the entire workday. This time last week I would have used Trello, Slack (sending meeting notes and memos), Google Sheets, Google Docs, the native OSX notes app and GithubWiki just to get my day ORGANISED!

      📚 Managing client editorials, project budgets, to-do lists and even basic memos and planning has been a breeze. It's great as a lightweight CRM too.

      🛠 We were more organised than ever before. It's great to have a knowledge base for our products, plans and company sitting right amongst our task management tools.


      We have also been left wanting for nothing (👏🏼 Congrats, Notion team) but dreaming of a few things:

      💵 Beefier finance organisation/support. Integrations with Quickbooks, Xero maybe? Make it easier to build budgets and organise our money plans!

      🗣 Room to annotate and collaborate on images/PDF's etc.

      🔐 Function to lock pages so you can't edit, and the little hover tooltip to edit doesn't show up.

      🎨 Integration with design apps - Sketch, UXPin, etc. Many many many creatives will use this app and be left wanting in this area. Think: a creative agency collabs, annotates, refines, develops and more...keep them in Notion.


      The TLDR: Notion 2.0 kicks a** and we'll be using it for a long long time in place of a myriad of other productivity apps and tools. You should too.

      Comments (2)
    • I want to move from Evernote (I am a premium subscriber) to Notion, I really do but I don't think Notion wants me to. Whatever I am about to say, I say it with nothing but respect for Notion and in the hopes that it will continue to improve at the same pace.

      First, the good - Notion has the best note editing interface I've ever used. A close second might be OneNote (it's a high bar, mind you) and Bear. It combines the simplicity of Evernote or Markdown with the power of OneNote although, it is missing the ability to use handwriting and doesn't support iPad with Pencil just yet. When it does, it will be perfect. I also like that I can save code snippets. Why is this so hard for Evernote?

      Notion 2's tables, boards and other updates are huge. While I'm sure the in-built kanban board is not as feature complete as Trello, it should be more than enough for most projects. Same for tables. Airtable has a bunch of really cool advanced features but for most use cases, tables within Notion are just fine. Notion is on the right path and I am sure these features will only improve.

      Now for what I don't like - The price is definitely my number one complaint. I will happily pay for Notion when it can do everything that other apps can. Until then, why not let me stay connected to the product with a cheaper paid plan or a better free tier? I pay for Evernote but if I were to consider switching, I can't do so purely because Notion doesn't do a bunch of things that Evernote can (even though it does a lot of things that Evernote doesn't) - Chrome extension to clip articles, emails, images etc., powerful mobile app with business card and document scanning, iPad support etc.

      At $8 a month, it is more expensive than G Suite on a per-user basis. Why not give me 100 - 200 free blocks per month? Let me grow to love it. Let me build a workflow around it. Give me some incentive to tell my friends about it. When you have the features I want (I'm sure you're working on it), let me pay for it.

      Price aside, I would also like to see how Notion fairs for quick note-taking, It's designed to be a wiki-style product and I get that but I'm sure a LOT of people are using it for personal notes. I use Evernote to save one-line notes - phone numbers, quotes, URLs etc. Notion's wiki-style UX is too heavy duty for that kind of use. It would be really cool if there was a "scratchpad" or "quick notes" feature that was not as heavy duty. For these simpler notes, I don't want to organize them into pages, I just want to save them and may be tag them. Which brings me to another feature I could really use - tags. Why limit users to only folders? Why not allow users to just tag notes?

      I could go on but ultimately, I won't be switching to Notion right now, even though I really want to. Cost is too prohibitive but I'm sure I'll be on the hunt for future updates.

      Comments (5)
  2. 27

    Note taking gets even simpler

    Dhruv Agrawal
    Dhruv AgrawalCo-founder, Shipsy · Written
    Amazing product. Both for beginners and advanced users
    Shamit Khemka
    Shamit KhemkaM.D. - SynapseIndia · Written
    Merge Several Notes into One Create Stacks and Stacks of Notebooks Add Reminders Make a Task List reliable security
    • Emily Kellert
      Emily Kellerttech lover & travel freak & tractive PM

      Absolutely love Evernote. Use it for work and personal use and that is easy with the ability to make notebooks. Tags are super helpful as is annotating a document or editing a picture with Skitch. Makes my life easier and more organized!

    • David Neira
      David NeiraChape Fitness - Online Personal Training

      Evernote is a platform that allows you to organize, store, share and then search your information. Evernote impacts a business's productivity by streamlining the collection and distribution of critical information by enhancing its retrieval. Evernote's gives your business enhanced control of the information you own or information already collected by your employees. It's your business. It's your information.

  3. 10
    Google Keep

    Save your thoughts, wherever you are

    I would always recommend Google Keep for its simplicity and simply fluid user experience. Keep may feel a basic note-taking app at first sight but it does a lot than one can expect. Moreover, Keep Android app just received Google's new material design 2.0 interface, which makes taking notes on your Android phone extremely easy and interesting. It shows you link previews, you can create lists, to-dos add images, color-code your notes, sync it with your Gmail and lot more. While Evernote is the beast of note-taking apps, it may get somewhat difficult to understand the app better. Keep, on the other hand, may not provide all the features of Evernote but it's exactly what you need.
    Ricardo Alamino
    Ricardo AlaminoFront-end Developer · Written
    I just use that everywhere.
    • Eugene Zubak
      Eugene ZubakProduct Management Consultant

      There is no alternative for Google Keep which is very dissapointing in terms of app having bunch of minor and one major bug which makes it useless. Any note taking app could make "sticky notes" view and I would switch happily from Keep which is forgotten and abandoned by its developers

  4. Jerry Shan
    Jerry ShaniOS Developer · Written
    1. iOS & Mac app with sync 2. fluent writing experience. 3. you can select your write copy/move to anywhere 4. I have used it for 4 years during my university study The best handwritten app I found on iOS. NOTE: I personally have not yet used the mac app. I only used the iOS app on my iPad. The mac version comes later when I have graduated from the university and do not need to hand write notes anymore.
  5. Available on all major platforms. Best ink support. Additional features like embed videos, record audio and insert that in the page, OCR, save PDFs, easy math and more.
  6. ElFitz
    ElFitzRocking the 🌍, one step at a time · Written
    It... ...has text conversion & hand written notes search ...includes images and text pasting ...allows you to annotate PDFs! ...even has an option for recording while you write down It does not... ...require a subscription (hello Evernote!) ...allow some random employees to read your notes (hello again, Evernote!)
  7. Emma Giles
    Emma GilesTechie, founder, trail runner · Written
    This one's a bit different, but if you're keen on notetaking on videos!
  8. 2
    Good Notes

    Highlight and hand write notes on PDFs

    Eddie Rodriguez
    Eddie RodriguezI make balloons @ Google [X] · Written
    It's great at bringing in PDFs and images to markup quickly. Text recognition is pretty solid. Easy to export!
    Comments (1)Share
  9. Celine Carpet
    Celine CarpetProductivity, travel · Written
    PDFelement for Mac is a speedy, lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful PDF editing application. Product page: https://pdf.wondershare.com/?utm... And PDFelement also releases a basic version for those people who require to edit pdf in a simple and fast method with an affordable price. PDFelement Pro for Mac-it helps to read, edit, or annotate PDFs with ease. Convert PDFs to words/text/PPT/EXCEL. Product page: https://pdf.wondershare.com/pdf-...
  10. After buying/trying every one I could find, nearly 2yrs later; I can conclusively say that Concepts is the best option out there. It's got the pixel-perfect abilities of any art/drawing app, yet it uses a (virtually) infinite canvas, so brainstorming and sketching can flow unrestricted, layers, vector editing (on-par if not better than AI or equivalent), brushes, "folders", import/export (even to different filetypes), I could go on. It's everything you're looking for.
  11. Léo Benoit
    Léo BenoitOracle engineer consultant · Written
    Write! is an elegant workspace to create notes, to-do lists, writing projects and texts of any kind. It has all features of a good word processor packed into a clutter-free interface.
  12. 2
    Standard Notes

    A simple and private notes app.

    Yoginth🤟 Designer, Developer, and Toolmaker · Written
    Very secured simple app!
  13. 1

    A beautiful, flexible writing app for notes and prose

    Yoginth🤟 Designer, Developer, and Toolmaker · Written
    It's great but not cross-platform!
    • Justin Deardorff
      Justin DeardorffHunter/Gatherer of Ideas

      I searched high and low for a replacement to the Mac OS default Notes app, which is incredibly limited in functionality and insufficient for my needs. I had one twist - I needed to find a note taking app for Mac that did not sync or store notes in the cloud. Bear does just that and it happens to be great. I really enjoy the hashtag categorization system and ability to have multiple tags on a note. It's a twist on Evernote style tags, but with a lighter-weight style of notebook organization and management.

    • Scot Krueger
      Scot KruegerFounder of Krutech.com

      Overall I love Bear. It is beautifully designed. I love the simple interface and the ability to tag notes is amazing. It makes searching for old notes so much easier. This is better than Apple Notes and I love it so much more than Evernote.

  14. Niels Bosma
    Niels BosmaCreator of SeoTools for Excel · Written
    The best notetaking product for the iPad. Incredible.
  15. 1

    Organize all your ideas

    I recently got access to this journal, I've been using it regularly and I'm really impressed by how they have added integrations and the UI is very clean and easy to use.
    I recently got access to this journal, I've been using it regularly and I'm really impressed by how they have added integrations and the UI is very clean and easy to use.
    • I love Journal, and am thrilled at how much it will help me with my work. I am always in the middle of 4-6 projects that are ongoing and can't be completed in one sitting. These are diverse projects and require different resources. So what typically happens is that I end up with about 50 browser windows open just waiting for me to get back to that particular project. Inevitably this freezes up the computer and . . . well, you know the rest of that story. Spaces give me a way to keep all of these projects and their associated resources organized and readily available without clogging up my RAM. It really is already an invaluable tool for the way I work. And it's so easy and intuitive to learn.

    • Parker Tenpas
      Parker Tenpasdata munger

      Was lucky to be a part of the beta. Overall I love the UI. It feels like Trello and Slack colluded to replace Chrome Bookmarks. I could definitely see dumping the dated browser bookmark system for Journal just based on the link+space system alone. The search feels very Slack like and is great. If I got enough stuff in here I could see setting this as a default browser homepage.

  16. 1
    RealtimeBoard 3.0

    Enhanced whiteboard. Your guide to the future of teamwork

    Rico Trevisan
    Rico TrevisanApostle of Broadband Jesus · Written
    My current workflow is to take notes on pen and paper (Neuland markers, Bikablo technique). Afterwards digest them, take a photo, and scan them to Miro (née Realtime Board). Having it on the board allows me to further annotate the image and the notes will be in context, in the middle of our the team's board, backlog, etc..
    • Melissa Ng
      Melissa NgFounder of Product Design Studio, Melewi

      Such a huuuuuuuge fan! I use RealtimeBoard for so many things - both in and out of work. From client projects to internal business planning to operation processes to personal planning, I can't stop raving about how much I love RTB to everyone I know. I'm also super impressed by the constant product iterations and feature updates that are constantly being released. Bravo, awesome work guys, I'm absolutely gushing but it's well deserved.

      Comments (0)
    • Eugene Lisovskiy
      Eugene LisovskiyCEO @ MAPS.ME

      I'm not a designer, but I use RTB a lot to create simple sketches for some of my ideas on our products with comprehensive text descriptions. One image worths of thousand words! My sketches helps our designers and developers to quickly understand what I'm talking about and how my ideas connect to other products (thanks to unlimited workspace). I used to use Google Presentations for these purposes before, but RTB just stolen my heart! Good luck to the RTB team! Great product deserves fast organic growth! :)

  17. 1

    The best digital handwriting on iPad

    Kavir Kaycee
    Kavir KayceeCo-founder, Quantum Careers · Written
    Been using this on and off for the past 4 years. It syncs with Evernote, so all the handwritten notes are available on the desktop.
  18. Runs with self-hosted platforms like Nextcloud and supports full end-to-end encryption! Runs on any desktop and mobile platform. Powerful searching, easy attaching images and files. Also, Markdown.
  19. Varadarajan AR
    Varadarajan ARProduct Marketing Manager · Written
    Zoho Notebook is a beautiful note-taking application, that allows you to take notes, add files, create checklists, sketches, record audio, and capture moments. Notebook is available across Android, iOS, Mac, Web & Windows platforms. Notes taken on one device can automatically sync to another device, using a Zoho account. Notebook allows you to add images as an image card, and also inside a text note card. It also allows you to paste text directly into a note card. You can annotate PDF's in Notebook for iOS.
  20. Vedant Bajpai
    Vedant BajpaiBlack Board Educate App · Written
    Keeping up with teacher and parent is faster and easier than ever. Share updates and photos, engage with friends and Pages, and stay connected to communities important to you. This app basically works on three profiles 1.Owner/ Principal * Owner can handle multiple schools and multiple roles with single login it so easy every detail will be on your fingertips. * Now have in-house social media with notice creating your event and sharing pictures with school. * Find every single details of your teacher and it’s so easy that you can change schedule by just selecting the teacher from the present list. * Very easy to use for their day to day school management problems. * During PTM just search the name of student and can find the profile, attendance, homework result details in just a click. * Join the digitalization and enjoy the connection with parents Design your own school on www.home.bbedut .com 2. Teacher/ Staff * Less than 30 second challenge just voice out the name of the student and clicks only on absent and leaves. Still miss someone can change it any time any place. But only by the teacher who took the attendance. * Why to discuss about the homework well you can send it just on click and even attachment can be sent in the form of image, pdf, excel. Even result can be schedule with timing so ease your voice and pen enjoy to connect with whole class with single clicks. 3. Student / Parents * Now it is so easy to connect to the school and find every updates about the school on your app. * Connected with school on tracking of your bus and providing leaves to the school. The Blackboard app does more than help you stay connected with your friends and interests. It's also your personal organizer for storing, saving and sharing. It's easy have full control over your photos and privacy. The security is the most important patch in which we provide NDA with Schools on individual Data Security. Blackboard is Free and always be because our company vision consists of to help each single child on this planet to fulfill their dreams. The most important desktop features of Blackboard is data entry part and managing multiple things from web it can be only govern by the Owner and principal of the school at www.home.bbedut.com