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GoodNotes Review

Detailed Review of Goodnotes: Best Features, Pricing & More

GoodNotes wants to manage your notes visually with handwriting notes and a popular amongst Apple users with Apple Pencils and iPads. It's also a great tool for learning, studying and journaling.

GoodNotes 6 iPad, Cat Drawing

What is GoodNotes?

GoodNotes is a digital note-taking app that allows you to handwrite or type notes on a virtual paper using Apple Pencil on iPad, or other iOS devices. It offers an intuitive and distraction-free environment to take organised notes for work, study or personal use.

GoodNotes is a little like Apple Freeform, however, it offers natural handwriting and organising, whereas Apple Freeform provides a freeform canvas for open-ended notes.

Many people create Goodnotes templates such as journals, diaries, project plans and much more, this helps you get started with Goodnotes to boost productivity or to learn something new.

Who is Goodnotes For?

GoodNotes is amazing for personal use. It turns your iPad into a paperless device to replace all note-taking, drawing, brainstorming and more with a digital space you can customise, share and download templates for.

Students love using this application to help with their studies, exams, lectures and everything they need. You have the ability to create any kind of document using whatever visual methods of note-taking you enjoy.

Creatives enjoy the visual and experimental abilities for taking notes too. There are tons of tutorials online on how people use Goodnotes differently, some for journaling, planning, learning, creating and much more.

Best Features of GoodNotes

These are some features of GoodNotes for notes, journaling, writing and more.

1. Notebooks

Inside Goodnotes, you can create and organise your own Notebooks. You can use a few notebooks for free, but you will have to upgrade to create unlimited amounts of notebooks inside Goodnotes.

Each notebook can be used for a different purpose. For example; you could have a notebook for journaling, a separate book for studying, and another notebook just for notes and ideas.

Notebooks can also have their own covers, you can choose from preset covers, design your own, or download covers to add to your notebooks. You can name notebooks whatever you like and organise them inside the app.

2. Customisation & Tools

You can customise all kinds of elements inside Goodnotes, from paper to folders, and more. You can change the type of paper you use, the colour and if it's lined, unlined, dotted and so on.

You can also use different pen types and colours, use different fonts and even install your own fonts to use when writing notes in Goodnotes.

Goodnotes supports different note-taking styles. You can either type in your notes or use the Apple Pencil to draw and handwrite. You can handwrite and have your writing turn into text from a chosen font too.

3. Templates

The easiest way to get started with Goodnotes is by using Templates, there are tons of free templates online or paid templates by Goodnotes and other creators. You can often find a template that works for you by simply searching and seeing what others are using.

When you download a template you simply import it into Goodnotes as a new notebook, from here you can get started with navigating the template and writing, journaling, note-taking and much more.

4. Import & Export

Goodnotes is also a great tool for studying, which is why the import and export tools are super handy. You can import existing notes from lectures and annotate them as PDFs inside Goodnotes, you can also then export notes to your teachers, friends, and family or even present them.

Goodnotes Pricing

Let's take a look at the pricing of Goodnotes

How Much Does Goodnotes Cost?

You can try Goodnotes for free with up to three notebooks available, after this you will have to upgrade to use more notebooks.

Or you can pay a monthly fee or a one-time purchase. If you already have Goodnotes you will have to purchase again for the latest updates.

So, Goodnotes is free with up to three notebooks and most of the features available and useful for note-taking.

After this, it's around $9.99 per month, or a one-time purchase of $29.99 to use Goodnotes forever (this stands for that version of Goodnotes you purchase if another Goodnotes is released, you will have to buy again).

Is Goodnotes Worth it?

Goodnotes can be worth it if you really want to create a customisable space to create notes, journal, study and edit PDFs. Goodnotes also has different features depending on the version you have, for example, you can use AI with Goodnotes 6 to help with writing, and even record audio to turn into notes.

So overall, it depends on what you need to use Goodnotes for. As always, it's a good idea to try the free version of an app before you purchase, this way you can see if it is really worth it for you and the upgrade will enhance your experience.

Our Final Verdict of Goodnotes

Goodnotes is a really nice app for creating notebooks for different things such as journaling, studying, making notes, editing PDFs and much more. It also offers a ton of flexibility and customisation to create a place you want to work.

The ability to use templates is also great as this helps users get started and create a workspace that works for their own note-taking needs.

Best Goodnotes Alternatives

Here are some of Goodnotes best alternatives.

  • Notability - Notability is very similar to Goodnotes in the sense of creating notebooks and writing notes, creating plans and much more.
  • Microsoft OneNote - A much cheaper alternative for creating spaces to save and share notes.
  • Apple Notes - A free app for Apple users to use minimal space for note-taking, also well-loved by students.

Handwriting Abilities

Use the Apple Pencil to write and draw. You can also always find what you are looking for thanks to handwriting recognition and OCR technology.


Back up and save your documents and PDFs to Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.


Invite others to collaborate inside Goodnotes, or simply share documents and PDFs with others.

Does Goodnotes Have A Monthly Fee?

Previous versions of Goodnotes were one-time purchases, or you could use the app for free for up to three notebooks.

Now with the latest release of Goodnotes 6, you can pay a monthly fee of $9.99, or opt for a one-time-only purchase of $29.99.

Handwriting in GoodNotes

Landscape iPad, GoodNotes 6, Notes for iPad

Whether you prefer to handwrite, type, draw, or annotate PDFs, GoodNotes provides a range of tools and customization options to make note-taking seamless and personalized.

The app also allows for easy organization and retrieval of notes and offers features such as handwriting recognition and text search to improve productivity.

Overall, the app's ability to adapt to different user needs and preferences makes it a standout choice for digital note-taking.

What Else Can Goodnotes Do?

  • Support for different note-taking styles (handwriting, typing, drawing, annotating PDFs)
  • Ability to organize notes into notebooks and folders
  • Customizable paper types, cover designs, and pen colours
  • Handwriting recognition and text search for easy note retrieval
  • Option to import and export notes
  • Wide range of annotation tools, including highlighters, shapes, and images
  • Ability to sync across devices using iCloud
  • Customizable templates for different note-taking needs (e.g. lined, grid, blank)
  • Integration with Apple Pencil and other stylus pens
  • Password protection and data backup options for security
  • User-friendly interface and intuitive features for seamless note-taking

Understanding GoodNotes

Your questions, answered!

Do I need an Apple pencil for GoodNotes?

Yes and no. It will work without, but the optimisation of GoodNotes is using it with an Apple Pencil and iPad.

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