How to Efficiently Type and Draw School Notes on the iPad

Hello, There!

Are you interested in taking your notes digitally? Here is a quick blog post I made to teach you how to efficiently type and draw school notes on the iPad. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment section and I’ll be more than happy to answer them. ūüôā

Main points:
  • Although¬†this post is mostly for people who have the iPad pro, apple pencil, and an external keyboard. You don’t necessarily need them to follow the steps one this tutorial. Any iPad and/or stylus pen will work.
  • The iPad pro and apple pencil are pressure sensitive. Don’t put too much pressure when drawing, keep your hand relaxed and on the screen.
  • On this tutorial, I’m going to teach you how to use the Notability app. You can use any app you like!

This page contains affiliate links to products I use, love, and highly recommend.

  1. Open Notability

  1. Create a new note.

  1. The best way to take notes on the iPad is to have a ruled or graph paper pattern.
  • Click on the tool drawing > paper

I personally prefer graph paper and that’s the one I’m going to use in this tutorial.

  1. Click on the title to change it.

  1. ¬†If you are serious about taking notes digitally, I highly recommend¬†an external keyboard. It doesn’t have to be expensive. The one on this picture cost me about $25 (it was refurbished and it has been with me for 2 years already).

A mistake I often see during my lectures is that students draw everything on their tablets, wrong! Type the questions or notes. Use the drawing option for things like graphs, formulas, and/or illustrations that can’t be typed.

Organize the titles
On this image: yellow is for main titles and green is for subtitles.
Tip: If you record the lecture along with your notes, you can play them back and see them as a movie on the screen.
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Drawing on the screen
6. Here is a quick video showing you how I draw my notes on the iPad.
  • Don’t put to much pressure on the pencil.
  • Try to draw with a relaxed hand.
  • Zoom in to write neatly along the graph lines.
  • Use the graph paper as a reference to draw graphs and images proportionally.
  • Don’t draw too small or you won’t be able to see the drawings when zooming out.
  • To make a straight line draw a line and keep the pencil on the screen for a couple of seconds.
    • If you want perfect geometric figures or images from google:
      • click the “+” icon on the top right > select from one of the option (insert a¬†photo, take a photo, insert a sticky note, insert a geometric figure, or an image from google)

Side Notes
7. If you need to type a note anywhere on the page:
  • text icon > keep your finger on the screen for a couple of seconds until you see the +text box option.
Use the margins of the box to resize it.

Science symbols
8. If you need to add a special symbol, I recommend the app SciKey. You have the option to customize it any way you want. On this picture, you can see that  I arranged the keyboard for my physics class.
An advantage of using an external keyboard is that you can type your notes and have the SciKey keyboard on the screen. You can also hide it by clicking the keyboard key on the external keyboard.

Moving Drawings
9. If you need to rotate, resize or move a drawing.
  • Use the lasso tool > select the drawing > with your fingers adjust it.
Here is an example of how I rotated the drawing:
  • You can rotate the drawing 360¬į and resize it at the same time.

Saving the PDF
10 . Once you are happy with your notes, you can change the paper pattern from graph to blank or save the PDF file to a cloud. I personally prefer Dropbox as it is faster and has more options.
When you choose a folder to save your document, you will see several options. If you recorded the lecture along with your notes, you can export both of them. You can also export the graph paper or any paper pattern you used.

Final PDF:

Click here to see the notes in HD!

I hope this simple and quick tutorial helps you take faster and efficient notes on your iPad. Remember that it takes practice and patience to learn to take and draw notes on the iPad.

Jenniffer life is messy and brilliant signature

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6 thoughts on “How to Efficiently Type and Draw School Notes on the iPad

  1. Haleigh says:

    This might just be the best link I’ve ever clicked on from pinterest! It combines all the things I want in class notes into one. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Definitely subscribing.

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