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The 7 best handwriting apps for iPad and iPad Pro

Lucy Hattersley | March 3, 2016
The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil make note-taking a joy. Discover the best handwriting apps for iPads

There are other advantages too; we especially like the way you can quickly add additional pages to your notes. And you can choose from a wide range of lined, graphed, dotted and preformatted sheets (such as a To-Do list or Day Planner).

While you only have one pen to choose from, you can pick from five different nib sizes. And you can quickly change the colour and highlight documents.

Penultimate is probably the most practical of all the options here. A solid choice for those who take lots of notes in a professional setting.

Price: Free

Download: App Store


If you're looking for an app that's like Notes, but just a bit more powerful, then Notability is the one to go for. You can quickly jot down ideas, and while it has a few options for the pen, it doesn't overwhelm.

It's also very easy to customise the style of paper. While it doesn't have the choice of Penultimate, we think it's a bit more focused on what you might use (lines and graphs).

We quite like the ability to draw figures in a large, separate window and add them to graphics (that can be resized and moved). Notability also supports Apple's Split View mode, so you can use it alongside other apps.

It's less fussy than Penultimate, although not as quick and easy as Paper. On the whole it's a grand choice for those looking to recreate the experience of writing on a notepad. The only down side is the price, which although not expensive is up against a range of free alternatives.

Price: £4.49

Download: App Store

MetaMoJi Note

MetaMoJi Note is a lesser-known app for iPad that enables you to take handwritten notes.

The interface reminds us of a web browser, with tabbed notes along the top. The toolset is basic, but you can quickly access different coloured strokes and a highlighter.

It's very good at handling multi-note documents, however, and you can add additional notes using a sidebar. Like some other apps here it allows you to change the document's paper to graph or lined (man, we wish Notes would let us do this). A gold service allows you to download user-generated paper collections.

Note is an interesting app because on the surface it seems basic, and you only start to discover how detailed it is during prolonged use. It has a built-in cloud service; you can add objects and audio recordings and even create jump points and zooms for a presentation.

Price: Free

Download: App Store


7Notes is an app from the same makers as MetaMoJi Note, but it predates it. The old-style interface looks a litte dated, but it is one of the few apps to feature handwriting recognition.


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