How to Take Notes on an iPad


Your iPad offers you a handy app called Notes, which you can conveniently use to jot down thoughts and reminders, record an event such as a meeting or save copied information from the Web for future reference. The app provides you with a writing pad of yellow, ruled paper and an on-screen keyboard. You can summon up this virtual notes package with a simple tap, and type in your notes straightforwardly.

  • Tap "Notes" on your home screen to launch the app.

  • Tap the "Plus" sign on the upper right corner of your screen to create a new notes page. You'll see an on-screen keyboard appear at the bottom and your cursor blinking on the first line of your blank page, ready to go. For a larger keyboard that can help you type quicker and more accurately, flip your iPad horizontally.

  • Title your notes page succinctly on the first line. Only the first 20 or so letters of your title will display in a notes index that iPad automatically generates to help you find particular notes later on. So, use abbreviations and short, descriptive titles liberally. For example, enter "OCCC Conf 6/11" or "To-Do List."

  • Tap the "Return" key on your keyboard to begin typing your notes. If you've copied information to your iPad clipboard from another source, such as a recipe from a website, double-tap on your cursor and select "Paste."

  • Use iPad typing shortcuts and tricks to minimize keystrokes. They are especially helpful when note-taking speed is critical. For example, double-tap the spacebar to end a sentence with a period and begin the next sentence with a capital letter. For a list of other speed-typing tips, see the Resources.

  • Tap the "Keyboard" key on the bottom right corner to make the on-screen keyboard disappear. This will help you review your notes more easily.

  • Tap anywhere within your notes to summon back your virtual keyboard. To edit your notes, tap on the line in which you'd like to place your cursor to add or revise text as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • To change your "Notes" font, tap "Settings," "Notes" and then choose from three available options: "Noteworthy," "Helvetica" or "Marker Felt."
  • Tap the "Trash Can" icon at the bottom to delete a page. Tap the "Envelope" icon at the bottom of the page to email it.
  • "Notes" is not a word processor. If you need to format or apply styles to your writing, use instead a word-processing iPad app, such as Pages. Alternatively, email yourself your notes, and then copy and paste them into a word-processing or page-layout document on your computer.
  • To view a list of all your notes, tap "Notes" on the upper left-hand corner or flip your device horizontally to view the notes index on the left. The current page is encircled in red. Tap any entry in the list to jump to a particular page that you'd like to read or revise.
  • Third-party iPad apps available in the App Store can also help you create notes from dictation, audio recordings and handwriting with your finger or a stylus on your iPad touch screen.


  • Photo Credit Miguel Villagran/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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