Noteshelf – Handwriting notes on the iPad

Noteshelf – Handwriting notes on the iPad

Download Noteshelf $7.99

Today’s app is Noteshelf from Fluid Touch which is one of the best note-taking apps available for the iPad. Noteshelf is $7.99; only for the iPad; and requires iOS 8 and higher.

True to its name, Noteshelf boasts a lovely “bookshelf-like” interface where you can create custom notebook covers, and group like notes together. You can also password-protect confidential notebooks.

I use Noteshelf to handwrite notes, holding the iPad in portrait mode since it feels more like holding a yellow legal pad.

Noteshelf supports a wide variety of styluses/styli including the Bamboo line from Wacom, Adonit Jot, Livescribe, and most recently, the Apple Pencil.

I use the “zoom window” to handwrite my notes, letting the dotted box up top jump ahead for me so I can keep writing on the same line. I’ve always appreciated the placement of the buttons on the zoom window for changing the color of my pen and enabling the eraser.

Noteshelf has always offered the smoothest and most responsive experience for handwriting on the iPad (prior to the Apple Pencil). It is the closest thing to writing with a ballpoint pen on a piece of paper. If you prefer, you can draw shapes; and add text or cute little emoji.

More recently, Noteshelf finally offered “auto-backup” to Dropbox which was a feature found in other similar apps. You can also export your notes to Evernote, or convert them into a PDF file.

Noteshelf is one of the best apps for handwriting notes and perfect for lawyers that prefer the pen over the keyboard.

Download Noteshelf $7.99


  1. Stephen Smith - September 10, 2016 10:29 am

    You changed my life when I heard you speak three years ago to the Wisconsin State Bar for an all day seminar on the use of the iPad in legal practice. I had expected to learn almost nothing, because I have owned an iPad since the very first day they became available. However, I had never used a stylus to write on the iPad, impart fearing for the screen becoming degraded, and after viewing your seminar I purchased Noteshelf. I have used Noteshelf almost every day, and I also purchased Goodreader based on your seminar. I purchased iPad Pro and Apple Pencil on the first day each became available, and I am absolutely blown away by the power of taking notes on my iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil. Thank you for this incredibly important insight. Frankly, I do not understand why the general public is not more aware of the enormous stride Apple made with their Apple Pencil.
    Steve Smith

    • Brett Burney - September 12, 2016 9:22 pm

      Wow, Stephen thank you so much for your comment! I’m thrilled that you found the iPad seminar helpful, and doubly thrilled that you purchased and use Noteshelf. I am still a huge Noteshelf fan, but find myself recommending Notability (review coming soon) a lot these days especially for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I also use OneNote quite a bit today with their drawing tools. Thanks again for your comment Stephen!