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The Best Apple Pencil And iPad Pro Note-taking Apps For 2018

The Best Apple Pencil And iPad Pro Note-taking Apps For 2018

You can now ditch the conventional drawing methods, thanks to the iPad and Apple Pencil. You may easily take notes or annotate documents on both devices quickly. This article will help you learn how to do it easily.
Did you just purchase an Apple Pencil or the iPad Pro? Whatever operation you want to perform on these devices, whether creating sports playbooks, recording audio, annotating documents,  handwritten notes, or creating special fonts, the app store has got you covered with a wide variety of apps that are perfect for note-taking.
Being able to take notes in different forms is one of the most useful features of iPad Pro. It allows you to keep track of important things and access them easily.  Without the fuzz of using a real notebook, iPad Pro makes notes much organized.
We have tested over 25 of these apps, and the best options are listed below

Notes App

The Notes app is great for entry-level note-taking tasks. It also has a very intuitive interface which makes it perfect for beginners.
The default Notes app on the iPad can be considered an annotation program. It has veritable handwriting functions. Also, the iOS 11 having the capabilities of inline scanning and annotation, handwriting, sketching, and text recognition search.
Unlike other notetaking apps, syncing your note is only limited to iCloud. Nevertheless, if you are a beginner, then you should learn your craft with the Notes app before trying a more robust program.
The Notes app also offers top-notch Apple Pencil support on the iPad Pro.


Notability’s digital notebook allows you the freedom to write your note, annotate documents as well as websites.
Notability ranks as one of the best apps when it comes to multipurpose handwriting functions. So, it should make any credible list. At just $9.99, this note-taking app possesses a user-friendly interface. It is full of excellent tools that are useful for drawing, handwriting, highlighting, integrating photos, making shapes, annotating PDFs, inserting web clips, moving objects around and a host of other services.
With Notability, you can shuffle between lined or unlined paper, multiple colored paper styles. You may also import notebooks from Google Drive, Dropbox, WebDAV or Box, and share notebooks to practically every major service on the internet.
With an iCloud sync support and an accompanying Mac app, you have an app that works seamlessly with both iOS and Mac.
The difference in features is clear between Notability and Notes. With an abundance of functions, it can be confusing at first. But, the app has an incredible tutorial notebook that pops up when the app is launched. This helps users navigate through and understand all of Notability’s features and tools.
The Notability app integrates well with the Apple Pencil and can be used for sketching, drawing shapes or writing. It provides an extensive experience compared to what the default Notes app can offer.


Thanks to its custom template options, the GoodNotes app is perfect for creating sports playbooks.
If Notability is considered the everyday sedan of handwriting apps, then GoodNotes app is the tailor-made sports car with high-valuable pro features that are stuffed to the brim.
To begin with, the GoodNotes app provides options on a variety of paper types. It offers a template for graph, lines, design, and music notation in its digital notebooks. The app included added alternatives by allowing you to upload custom templates.
Most of the templates are available in a particular paper size to accommodate for print. There is a ton of different cover choice and style to pick from which you can write on or design further to suit your preference.
Like all the other apps discussed above, GoodNote supports drawing and writing with the Apple Pencil and offers a list of third-party style options. There are two digital writing tools available on the Goodnotes app. This includes the digital fountain or a ball pen that has a custom color spectrum.
The GoodNotes app also possesses text conversion. This is done via MyScript’s engine and handwriting search recognition. GoodNotes performs this function by guessing the written word. It plays a pivotal part in searching for phrases as you can get the same page for almost related words like ‘’app” and ‘’ape.”
If you are a huge fan of PDF annotation, then GoodNotes is a perfect fit for you. It represents a more extensive option compared to Notability and is worth checking out with a price of $7.99.


For people who work well with Microsoft accounts, the OneNote is an ideal repository for jotting notes and a whole lot more.
Microsoft has impressed iOS users around the world with its commitment to providing smartphones and devices like the iPhone and iPad with wonderful apps, and the OneNote is another example of that dedication.
Despite the need for either a Microsoft or Skype account to operate the OneNote app, you do not need to subscribe to Office 365 to edit documents. OneNote is primarily designed for repository purposes. It allows you to share links to OneNote notebooks in a public capacity. Although, it has limited options with other comparable programs like JPG or PDF exports.
You can utilize the app’s share commands to email PDF files of your OneNote notebook even though this is not a comfortable style in an era of Apple’s share sheets that are faster.
If you do not mind the inability to remotely export documents or the limited Microsoft sync service option, then you will find the OneNote to be an incredible repository and note-taking app.
It allows you to write with the Apple Pencil, add links, photos, files, audios, PDFs, links, and transcribe mathematical equations. You can even create a calendar!

PDF Expert

If you are looking to perform some basic form filling and PDF annotation on your iPad Pro, you can easily use either of the IOS Apple’s built-in Markup extension. But with more detailed annotation projects, you will need an app that is tailor-made for this type of work.
Many apps perform the needed annotation functions and are available in the app store, but PDF Expert’s advanced markup features and iCloud syncing help shoot it up to the very top of our list.
By purchasing the PDF Expert app at just $9.99, you have access to PDFs from iCloud and any online storage services, fill out forms, sign documents and other features. Items like shape tool, highlighter option, digital pens, underline, and stamps for often-used wording are available in-app.
Saves made after using these tools can be edited in both PDF Expert and other apps like Preview and Adobe Acrobat, thus helping you shuffle between PC, Mac, and your iPad.
The structure of PDFs can be edited inside the PDF Expert app where you can delete sections, extract portions of the PDF, rearrange pages and even add empty pages to your documents. PDF Expert has an in-built compressor that you can use to zip PDF documents after typing. It can be applied to both single and multiple documents and is useful for password-protect documents that are crucial.
If you wish to get advanced features on the PDF Expert to increase your creativity with PDF files, you can subscribe to the $6.99 in-app upgrade that helps you edit links, images, and text inside a PDF and also redact information as you wish.

MyScript Nebo

If your main focus is on-the-fly handwriting conversion, then you have a formidable ally in Nebo.
Nebo does not focus on merely taking notes. It translates your scribbles to legible text with top-notch handwriting conversion. We no longer operate in the Newton and egg freckles era, and there are few apps that can perform the same job as Nebo efficiently.
Apps like GoodNotes and Notes are great at scanning written text for search purposes but do not possess the capability to recognize handwriting. Thankfully there are apps like MyScript Nebo that provide full handwriting-to-text conversion.
MySript has been a formidable name in the handwriting recognition niche for years now, especially with their handwriting recognition keyboard but the Nebo product is the company’s first attempt at creating an app that is compatible with both the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Despite being the first attempt, it has proven to be an excellent app.
Simple to use, efficient, and equipped with a silky-smooth digital pen that comes in different colors, the Nebo app is truly a wonder.
Users can add diagrams, equations, video content, photographic content, handwriting and digital text.
Nebo’s notebook can be converted either as a whole notebook or per paragraph, and this does not negatively impact the legibility of the handwriting even if the type conversion isn’t perfect.
Notebooks in the MyScript Nebo app can be exported in text form, or as Word, PDF, and HTML documents. Unfortunately, the app does not support iCloud sync and can only sync through MyScript’s proprietary service.
Nebo can still claim to be the best app on the app store for handwriting recognition despite the issue with iCloud support.


If you have not built a font before then, the iFontMaker is the perfect way to start.
Technically, it cannot be considered as handwriting or drawing but hovers around the middle of both. It allows you to use your own handwriting as a font.
With a price of just $7.99, the iFontMaker app allows users to create gorgeous hand-built fonts on your iPad, Windows, and Mac and you can install them there.
The tools that are found in a typical desktop typography program are included in iFontMaker. These include vector curves, free-hand drawing, glyphs for Asian languages, and support for every character available online.
Part of the features promoted as part of the iFontMaker app does not include the Apple Pencil. However, despite not having an official announcement, users have reported zero problems using the Apple Pencil on it. Even without pressure sensitivity, the iFontMaker remains a very impressive tool.
If you have been looking forward to creating a personalized font, then you should give the iFontMaker app a go.

Other Notable Apps

Here are a few note-taking apps that couldn’t make the cut but are useful in their own right. Below is a quick list of descriptions


Similar to Microsoft’s OneNote, Evernote with its free in-app subscription is an efficient import repository that is useful for organizing sketches, notes, documents, and data. To take advantage of the full sync capabilities of the Evernote app, you will need to subscribe monthly for a fee of $7.99 or $5.83 for annual billings.
When you subscribe, you are provided with DSF annotation features, sync capabilities and a lot more. If the entire features list is your goal, then you should opt for the full subscription as opposed to the free Basic or Plus subscriptions.


A free app with in-app purchases, the LiquidText app represents a brilliant way of annotating and organizing PDFs. We will expand on this particular app in our forthcoming PDF annotation apps roundup.
It is too streamlined to offer an encompassing annotation recommendation compared to PDF Expert.


Purchasable at $9.99, the app possesses features that can be found in both GoodNotes and Notability apps. This includes audio recordings and custom page templates, but the writing tools are not too exciting.

Notes Plus

Before the release of Nebo, the Notes Plus was considered to be the best app for handwriting recognition. It has since then be optimized for compatibility with the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. The interface is a bit clunky as it rejects iffy palms. It is available at a fair price of $9.99.


Whink is a reliable entry-level handwriting app fitted with basic document annotation, pen tools, and audio/photo integration. Nevertheless, the stock Notes app represents better value for most users.

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278 Articles Published