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How to Navigate through your Digital Planners and Notebooks in Goodnotes App

In this post I will quickly show you the basics of how you can navigate around your digital planners and notebooks, which will help you discover just how fun and useful these products can be!

How to navigate through your digital planner and notebooks

You should have already watched the video or figured out how to open the products in GoodNotes App (or your notebook software of choice).  For the purpose of this post, I will be showing you how to navigate around the planner and notebooks with the GoodNotes App, but the principles should be very similar no matter what note app you are using.


Thumbnail View 

You’ll want to be familiar with the thumbnail view options, which is this 4 square icon.

navigate your digital products in Goodnotes App

navigate your digital products in Goodnotes App

In the thumbnail view, you can easily scroll through all the pages, duplicate pages, add pages, delete pages, move around pages, and so forth.  You can also easily select the page you want to open in this view. 

navigate your digital products in Goodnotes App

Be sure you are always aware what mode you are in, whether that be read only mode or the editing mode.  You can find out by viewing the writing tool in the upper right hand corner. If it is circled, you are in read only mode and can easily swipe through the pages and navigate around the tabs.  Once you tap on the read only mode, it will enter editing mode and bring down your toolbar. 

How to download into Goodnotes App

Editing mode provides you with several handy tools such as the shape recognition tool, lasso tool, type tool, pen, highlighter, eraser tools, import image tools and many more. 

navigate your digital products in Goodnotes App

I will have to address all these tools in detail on another video, but feel free to play around and see what kind of options and capabilities these tools have. You can also find several tutorials online. 

Other important features in your toolbars include:

  • the ability to have multiple documents open at a time and navigate to them by selecting the above tabs
  • you can also search your documents, 
  • tag pages
  • export and save files
  • rotate pages, etc. 

navigate your digital products in Goodnotes App

Just remember, with these incredible apps, all your work and notes will be autosaved and ready for you to start right where you left off.

I hope that was a good introduction to help you feel more confident jumping into your digital products.  Be sure to check out all I have available for you in the shop!  You can also now shop all my products on Etsy! 

Digital pages in the TIDBITS Day Planner

How to download into Goodnotes App


Introducing GoodNotes 5

Today, we’re excited to announce the release of GoodNotes 5.

A modern GoodNotes version with tons of new features and improvements is now available on the App Store and marks our biggest release ever.

We took everything that made GoodNotes 4 great and brought it to the next level. Search across the whole library, vertical scrolling and the addition of folders are only some of the new features that we added to GoodNotes 5. While implementing all these improvements, we made sure to preserve the unique characteristics of GoodNotes and its clean, minimalistic look.

The fresh, modern design is rounding the new app off and makes sure that it is much easier and more delightful to use than ever before. Long story short, we’re happy to give you an introduction to what we’ve been working on for the past 2 1/2 years:

When you first open the new app, you’ll notice three tabs at the bottom of the screen: Documents View, Search View, and Favourites View.

These views are the core elements of the new file management system in GoodNotes.

Documents View

This is the central place for folders, documents, and notebooks.
We replaced the concept of categories of GoodNotes 4 with unlimited nested folders and subfolders. The system now adapts to your needs instead of restricting the way how you want to organize your documents. Here is how it looks like:

Search View

In GoodNotes 5 it is now possible to search for your notes across all your documents and folders. Since GoodNotes supports infinite levels of folders and subfolders, we rewrote large parts of the app’s code so that information can be found no matter how deeply it is stored in a subfolder.

Search View is the central way to find and retrieve any piece of information, no matter where it is stored in your library.

Every written word is indexed in GoodNotes and can be found by typing in keywords:

  • handwritten notes
  • document & folder titles
  • texts in PDF documents
  • typed text in text boxes
  • document outlines

The search view also shows a list of recentlyopened documents so that you can reopen them faster without having to navigate to them manually.

Favorites View

Chances are high that you will often need to open a particular document - say your daily journal or a timetable. The Favorites View is your one-tap stop for accessing important information no matter where it is stored in your library.

Every folder or document has a star symbol that you can tap to quickly add it to your Favorites. But what if you want to open a particular page? In GoodNotes 5, you can add a bookmark to a page and it will show in the Favorites View as well, allowing you to jump to the exact spot with a single tap. Of course, bookmarked pages will also show in the respective document.

We’re happy to finally introduce “vertical scrolling”. In GoodNotes 5, you can set a default scrolling direction for your documents. Both, horizontal and vertical page scrolling, are supported.

Thenew QuickNote featurelets you create a blank new document in the open folder in an instant to dive right into writing.

A new QuickNote is created by double-tapping the Add button. To save time, the new page is created with your default paper template selection, which you can change in the menu.

Save or discard QuickNote — Keep your library clean

We’ve designed QuickNote similar to how screenshots work on iOS: A QuickNote will be stored as a preliminary draft in the currently opened folder and when you’re done with it and tap the back button, you can decide if you want to save or discard it. This keeps your library clean from notes or scribbles you never planned on saving.

We already fell in love with the versatility of QuickNotes and we hope that you will too. Here are a few use cases, where we used QuickNotes as a team:

  • To jot down a phone number or email when someone calls you. Then, discard the note after you copied the number into your phonebook
  • As a scratchpad when you need to write something down in order to sort the thoughts in your head
  • For random cute doodles that you want to send to someone else😊
  • As the paper napkin you would use in a bar to pitch someone your next great idea

When we were exploring ideas for the GoodNotes 5 toolbar, we asked ourselves this question: “How can we make using GoodNotes faster?”

The new toolbar design is all about reducing the number of taps to a minimum and offering a better visual separation between editing and navigation actions.

Contextual area

The right side of the toolbar is reserved for what we call the “contextual area”. Every tool has a few quick actions that can be selected with a single tap right from the toolbar.

  • Pen Tool: Change color and thickness
  • Eraser: Change the thickness
  • Highlighter: Change color and thickness
  • Shapes Tool: Change color and thickness
  • Image Tool & Camera Tool: Access to recent images in your photo library that can be dragged and dropped onto the page

New color wheel

The three colors and line thickness selections in the contextual area can be modified by double tapping on them. A third option besides the presets and the color pallet is now available: The color wheel.

“Higher accessibility of all tools without sacrificing the minimalistic design GoodNotes is known for.”

Every tool now has its own dedicated icon in the toolbar and features like adding images or text boxes are no longer hidden behind long-press gestures or a plus button. Thus, editing existing objects on a page is simpler and more intuitive.

Say you want to resize some photos you’ve added to a page. All you have to do is to select the Image Tool in the toolbar and as soon as you tap on the photo, it will be editable.

In GoodNotes 5, we introduce a new pen style: The Brush Pen.
It is made for everyone who wants to add a special touch to a note. To change the pen style, tap on the pen icon twice. This new pen is highly pressure-sensitive and allows the creation of stunning notes like the one below.

Notebooks are something very personal. Individual taste greatly varies and so does the preference of paper templates and notebook covers.

In GoodNotes 5, you can make use of an even larger template library than the one you knew from GoodNotes 4. We added papers for (almost) every situation: An expanded essential paper selection with all common standardized sizes, as well as device-specific templates, monthly planners, Cornell note paper, dotted paper, legal pad paper, checklists, and much more. You can choose between landscape and portrait orientation to match your personal preference.

Notebook covers allow you to easily distinguish one notebook from another. We wanted to go the extra mile and design sets that are truly unique and outstanding. We’ve collaborated with some talented designers and asked them to design sets of notebook covers, exclusively for GoodNotes 5. The results turned out to be beautiful.

Of course, you can still customize your template library. Much faster and more conveniently than ever before.

The abilities to draw perfect shapes and make lines straight became indispensable in any proper digital note-taking app. So we thought about how we could improve this feature in the new version of GoodNotes.

The Shape Tool receives its designated spot in the toolbar and gets two improvements: Color filling and line snapping.

Line snapping allows drawing multi-stroke shapes. A line that is drawn close to another line with the Shape Tool, will now snap to the other line. Great for drawing tables or graphs.
Shapes can now automatically get a semitransparent filling with a selected color if you activate the option in the Shape Tool settings.

We found that people often use the Highlighter tool to highlight sentences in a PDF or an ebook. The Highlighter now supports the option to “Always draw a straight line”. You get to benefit from the directness of pen-input and the power of a computer.

When we decided that we wanted to release a new version of GoodNotes, we were facing two alternatives: Either update the existing app or rewrite the code from scratch and build a completely new app. We went with the latter for many good reasons. The codebase and the new internal architecture is now significantly more flexible and solid, which allows us to build new features a lot faster in the future and support completely new use cases. Core-elements of GoodNotes 5 like full-text-search across all folders wouldn’t have been possible in the old app because the code wasn’t written for it.
The new code and the new app architecture are part of our investments in the future of GoodNotes.

In addition to these major new features, there are a lot of under-the-hood-improvements that make GoodNotes 5 more powerful, stable, and delightful to use. We want to point out a few things in particular that are new to the app:

  1. The lasso tool now allows you to rotate handwriting and text boxes for better subsequent reordering
  2. Images can now also be resized freely and are not limited by a fixed ratio
  3. We added more fonts and better text editing
  4. The iPhone app gets an overhaul with easier one-finger usage and a faster way to add and annotate photos. Of course, it fully supports the latest iPhone models and looks beautiful on the thin-bezel screen.
  5. Editable PDF” can now be selected in the export options. This will export a non-flattened PDF version that can still be edited in other apps. Also, structures like the document outline, bookmarks, and hyperlinks will be preserved after exporting.
  6. Documents in your library can now be displayed as a list
  7. GoodNotes 5 supports Siri Shortcuts. Siri will suggest documents you frequently open and lets you use Spotlight Search to access your notebooks. You can also build your own shortcuts, using the Shortcuts app.

Update — January 2020: The free upgrade is no longer available as GoodNotes 4 and the “Upgrade Bundle” have been removed from the App Store.

OUTDATED: Oh, before we forget it: GoodNotes 5 is a free upgrade for everyone who paid the full price of GoodNotes 4 😊. If you bought GoodNotes 4 for a lower price, you will only have to pay the price difference between the two apps to purchase GoodNotes 5. To upgrade for free or at a discounted price, use “Complete my Bundle” on the App Store. The detailed instructions can be found in our FAQ.

Visit our new website for a look at all the new features or download the app to experience them first-hand. As you can see, we’ve already put a lot of work and passion into GoodNotes 5. But we’re far from being done. Expect many things to come in the future.

Last but not least we want to say Thank You to everyone who gave us feedback or suggested new ideas as well as for your patience and loyalty. GoodNotes 5 would not have been possible without your support.

Thank You!
From the whole team behind GoodNotes ❤️

Which system requirements does GoodNotes 5 have?

GoodNotes 5 requires iOS 12.0 or higher.

I have already paid for GoodNotes 4. How can I download the new app for free?

Update — January 2020: The free upgrade is no longer available as GoodNotes 4 and the “Upgrade Bundle” have been removed from the App Store.


To download GoodNotes 5 for free or at a discounted price, look for the “GoodNotes 5 Upgrade Bundle” on the App Store and then use the button next to “Complete My Bundle”. It will either state “Complete”, which means it is a free upgrade or displays the price you will still need to pay to upgrade to GoodNotes 5. The bundle includes both GoodNotes 4 and 5.

If you paid the full price (the current price on the App Store) for GoodNotes 4, you can complete the bundle for free. If you purchased GoodNotes 4 for a price lower than the full price, you’ll need to pay the price difference to get GoodNotes 5.

How can I migrate my notes from GoodNotes 4 to GoodNotes 5?

First, please make sure that the latest version of GoodNotes 4 is installed on your device. GoodNotes will suggest the best way to migrate your notes to the new app when you first open it. Just follow the instructions shown on screen. GoodNotes 5 needs to stay open during the data migration and you can already start using it. The migration can always be restarted in the GoodNotes 5 menu if you need to pause it or use another app. For more information about the migration or if something is not working correctly, click here.

Something is not working in GoodNotes 5

Bugs are something that can rarely be avoided in software development. Our team is already working on a lot of fixes that will appear in following updates. If you experience a bug or a crash of the app, you can help us fix it by sending the exact steps to reproduce the problem to [email protected] You can export the diagnostic data for your device in the GoodNotes menu > About. This helps us identify the issue faster.

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How To's and Guides

all the hyperlinks within the planner will function.  Tap the Turn off Read-only Mode icon to turn on the Tool Bar.

 Also, without having to use Read-Only mode hyperlinked navigation can be done using a 3 second finger press on the link, a pop-up menu will appear , Tap “Open Link” to navigate to that page. Click Here to see more details on my post on Planner Navigation in GoodNotes 5

Navigation using Contents Menu:

Tap on the Contents icon to see the Thumbnails, Bookmark and PDF Outlines at the menus at the bottom of the window, then select one of the below menus;

Thumbnails:       Self-explanatory, these are thumbnail images of each page, scroll and find the page.

Favorites:            These are self-created personal bookmark links to pages.  Click  create a bookmark into the Favorites section.

PDF Outlines:    This planner is configured with bookmarks that were set up in the creation of this planner. Use this to scroll and find the pages set up with this planner.  Please note that by tapping “>” on the left will open more pages available in the group.

Navigation using Search:

Handwriting, Text and OCR ready PDF’s are searchable in GoodNotes; Tap the Search icon on the Nav Bar and type in search terms GoodNotes then displays a list of pages with hits matching the words. (GoodNotes allows searching in many different languages)

Using the Templates:

In GoodNotes the process is very easy to copy the templates, there is no need to save as template. Follow this process to maintain hyperlinks in copied pages:

10+ Goodnotes HACKS! 📝 Hidden Features You Didn't Know

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How to Use the Goodnotes Toolbar

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