GoodNotes vs Notability: Is Notability or GoodNotes 6 Best?
In this GoodNotes vs Notability 2023 comparison, we’ll put both note-taking apps in various categories and see which one comes out on top.
So, get ready as we look at what both apps offer so you can make a more informed choice for your business!
What is the difference between GoodNotes and Notability?
The main difference between Notability and GoodNotes is that while Notability emphasizes a minimalist interface and approach to note-taking, GoodNotes focuses more on thorough note-taking with a more comprehensive focus on organization than its contemporaries. There are other differences between both apps, as we will soon see.
If you are an iOS user, you are probably already familiar with these two options. For ages, they have been a staple for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. This is an excellent opportunity for those on one side of the divide looking to peek into the other’s court.
If you are just learning about both apps and want to decide which one you prefer, this could have a bearing on your decision.
Although we are placing them on separate sides of the divide, GoodNotes and Notability also share a lot in common, such as PDF annotation, audio recording, templates, and lots more, even though their execution of each feature might differ.
GoodNotes is a note-taking app from Time Base Technology Limited, and with its latest version, GoodNotes 6, it has improved a lot of its lacking features and has added some newer features in its AI assistant. GoodNotes is well known within the Apple ecosystem as it’s been a favorite for iPad users for taking notes on the go.
A key feature that has made it beloved amongst iPad users is its handwriting feature, one of which its new AI addition has improved tremendously. GoodNotes takes care of the basic writing features, including rich formatting, multiple pen options, syncing with iCloud, PDF annotation, and, more recently, cross-platform functionality. With these incredible features, it’s fair to say GoodNotes has created a Beta version for Android users.
The Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature also allows you to convert handwritten notes into text in 17 languages. It has some standout features, like Flash Cards, tabular documents that enable you to create tables within your notes, and interchangeable paper templates.
We’ve got a fuller GoodNotes review that gives an in-depth dive into the features mentioned above.
Notability is a flexible digital note-taking app for taking notes that both students and professionals use. It was made for iPad and Mac users in particular, and it has a lot of tools that make taking notes easier and better. Notability's key functionality is to allow users to create and edit notes easily.
You can type words, write with a stylus or finger, or even use both. This makes it possible for different ways of taking notes to work. Images, PDFs, web clips, and even audio recordings can be put right into your notes. This makes Notability a flexible way to record and organize different kinds of information.
It doesn’t end there; Notability also comes with a wide range of tools. Notes and PDFs can be marked up and annotated easily with highlighters, pens, shapes, and text boxes. Some significant features of Notability include its audio recording feature, which allows you to record audio while taking notes simultaneously.
Notability gallery gives you access to several custom-made templates by users like you, and it's handwriting recognition, which, while not a novel feature, is well done on Notability. We do not aim to spill all we know about Notability here, as we have a different review for that in our Notability review; it is worth checking out if you want more information on Notability.
GoodNotes vs Notability comparison chart
A quick way to get a lowdown on our GoodNotes 6 vs Notability comparison is our table that charts some key features and how they chart against each other.
Knowledgebase & learning
GoodNotes vs Notability pricing
The importance of pricing when it comes to picking between any SAAS product is undoubtedly a major influence in your choice. The pricing plans available and pricing types can be a major influence in picking one between GoodNotes and Notability.
GoodNotes has but a one-time purchase plan available for its Apple users, which goes for $29.99. A yearly subscription plan for $9.99 is available for both iOS devices, and the subscription costs $6.99 per year.
On the other hand, Notability allows users only one payment option, which is $14.99 per year for the premium plan.
Both apps have a base plan which is free for all users.
GoodNotes is the winner in this category when compared to Notability. GoodNotes is slightly cheaper than Notability, making it a more budget-friendly option for users looking for a note-taking app.
Notability vs GoodNotes free versions
For many apps, a free version is a marketing technique to allow you to try out the product and then decide if you want access to the full application with more features at a higher price.
Notability has a functional free version that gives users access to features such as pdf annotation, palm rejection, audio recording features, presentation mode, and Notability gallery, and allows you to import images, documents, and more, all for free. You get access to helpful resources and can even create password-protected notes without any subscription.
While Notability offers the above features for free, GoodNotes offers the above with some extra bells and whistles, like custom highlighter colors, converting handwriting to text, search functionality, handwriting recognition, and OCR, which are paid Notability features
GoodNotes is a better option when compared to notability in their respective free versions.
No matter what app you use, Customer support will always remain an important factor in picking an app. The type of customer support provided could determine if you will get attended to on time in case of any issues while using the app. Fortunately, both Notability and GoodNotes have quite similar customer support options.
Notability includes an email address for support difficulties, and you may also fill out the linked form if you try to contact customer assistance using the app's help bar.
If you need personal assistance for problems you could not solve through the available knowledge base, you can mail GoodNotes and expect a prompt response. There is also the chatbot provided to help solve simpler queries.
This category ends in a tie.
Knowledgebase & learning
Although both apps offer a simple and easy-to-navigate user interface, you might still be faced with some minor or major issues with using the app, and the easiest place to turn to at the onset of this is the available knowledge base and learning materials.
GoodNotes has a good knowledge base, providing users access to a comprehensive help center packed with more than 100 detailed articles that guide users in navigating the app.
The GoodNotes Community is also active on various social media platforms, including Reddit. GoodNotes blog is also an effective place to get the latest on newer features and versions.
Notability also has a comprehensive knowledge base that helps improve users' writing experience; they have a growing blog and an active community of users who have forums to answer questions and help other users. The community gallery is another place where you can get knowledge, especially through available templates and the like.
Creating a notebook is easy on both platforms, and they both provide equally satisfactory information to help beginners get a handle on their platforms. No one is better than the other in this category. It is a tie.
Notability vs GoodNotes 6 features & functionality
When asked which note-taking app is better, GoodNotes or Notability, we have to look at their available features and functions. While we’ve looked at their pricing, customer support, and other key indicators for picking a note-taking app, there are other features to examine to see if GoodNotes is a better option or if you would rather just take notes in Notability.
Let's look at some features that GoodNotes has compared to Notability and if they influence which one you prefer.
GoodNotes or Notability for ease of use and user interface?
A lot of factors can play their roles in making a product easy to use, but when it comes down to it, the question is, do these factors and features make these apps easy to use?
GoodNotes is known for its simplicity and user-friendly interface. It offers a smooth handwriting experience and excellent organization features. If you had any issues with GoodNotes' previous user interface, it has cleared some of them up in its GoodNotes 6 update, offering a less cluttered arrangement of tabs and toolbars.
If you prefer a straightforward, clean interface with powerful note organization capabilities, GoodNotes might be your choice.
Notability also offers a smooth user interface, improving the app's ease of use. You can record audio while taking notes, a feature no longer unique to Notability but remains slightly ahead of the curve. You get a mobile toolbar and more customization options when it comes to manipulating your interface, but some users feel that Notability takes the concept of minimalism slightly too far.
We found it difficult to pick a winner for this category. Still, after careful analysis, the GoodNotes interface, although tending towards the minimalist area, edges Notability out to win this category.
Notability vs GoodNotes online versions
Comparing the web-based versions of Notability and GoodNotes, accessibility is crucial. But how do these web-based offerings fare in terms of convenience and accessibility?
The web version of Notability aims to imitate its mobile counterpart's user-friendly interface and fluid operation. It has a user-friendly interface that is simple to use, making it available to users of all tech expertise levels.
Thanks to cloud syncing features, you can easily view your notes from any location with an internet connection. Additionally, it keeps the standout function of audio recording while taking notes, improving the online experience.
Accessibility is also emphasized in the online version of GoodNotes. It takes its reputation for ease of use and applies it to the web. Thanks to a recognizable layout, users will find it simple to go from the mobile app to the web version. The software continues to offer outstanding organization tools and a smooth writing experience.
Like Notability, it synchronizes your notes across devices, allowing you to share them across platforms whenever you need a change of environment. Furthermore, GoodNotes just recently made this online version available for Windows users. This version has all the features that GoodNotes’s mobile app provides.
It is challenging picking a clear winner in this category as both online versions do quite well for helping you create notebooks and working on the go. We will call this a tie.
GoodNotes vs Notability desktop versions
When considering the desktop versions of GoodNotes and Notability, their functionality is a key factor in making your decision.
The desktop version of GoodNotes is known for being simple and easy to use. It offers a smooth way to write in digital form and strong organization tools.
Building on its success on mobile devices, the desktop version of GoodNotes makes it easy to take notes with a simple layout. It does a great job of keeping scribbled notes and sketches clear. Its planning tools make it easy to sort your notes into folders and find them quickly.
In its recent 2023 update, GoodNotes introduced a new sidebar, and you can access that by clicking on the upper left icon; the sidebar houses the Documents tab, Favorites, Shared Notes, the Search bar, and Marketplace.
The desktop version of Notability is just as good. It has a lot of tools, like the ability to record sounds while taking notes. This feature-rich program includes a mobile toolbar and comprehensive customization options for personalizing your note-taking experience. Even though it tries to have a simple design, some users like the extra choices it gives them for customizing their experience.
We are tempted to declare this category a draw, but we will be picking GoodNotes, as its latest GoodNotes 6 update has made some needed improvements to its desktop version, too.
Mobile apps are the mainstay for both apps as they are more prominent on iPads, iPhones, and tablets.
GoodNotes' mobile experience is more polished and feature-rich. It is well-known for its superb handwriting recognition, easy note-taking, and powerful organization tools. GoodNotes also includes annotation and markup tools, making it an excellent solution for folks using their mobile devices primarily to import documents, digital note-taking, and document annotation.
While Notability is a good note-taking tool for mobile devices, it lacks the feature set of GoodNotes. However, it provides a clear and intuitive user interface that simplifies creating and organizing notes. Notability excels in recording and synchronizing audio with your notes, which can be useful for students and professionals attending lectures or meetings.
GoodNotes takes this category, as it is more feature-rich and extensive.
When it comes to Organization of note-taking, preferences vary. Still, everyone agrees that they want an app that is not too cluttered but easy to navigate. One where you can clearly tell each notebook apart and maybe create folders to group similar Notebooks together.
GoodNotes' organization capabilities are robust, allowing you to create notebooks, folders, and tags for efficient note management. With the help of folders and sub-folders, GoodNotes offers a hierarchical note-organizing system that keeps your digital notebooks neat. To instantly identify each notebook visually, you may design unique notebook covers. GoodNotes focuses more on the Notebook approach to organization.
The available hierarchy in folder organization is vertical, allowing you to create folders within folders within folders. This has been tested up to 10 layers, and we are quite sure you would not be hiding a note so deep in 10 layers of folders.
To find notes, GoodNotes also has a decent search feature that includes handwriting recognition in the full version. Your handwritten notes will appear in search results if you search for written terms in Goodnotes, which employs optical character recognition (OCR) to interpret your handwriting.
In terms of organization, notability isn’t bad. Still, it is not as organized as GoodNotes. Notability provides two essential tools for organization: dividers and subjects. Dividers work like broad categories that contain subcategories, in this case, subjects. These tools come in handy when you need to create and manage a lot of documents at the same time within the day.
Essentially, Notability’s organization and document management is straightforward. You can easily create a subject and create your notebooks within the subject, and if you mistakenly put the wrong notes in the wrong subject, that can be rectified by a simple drag-and-drop movement or you can copy and paste the note in the right subject.
Optical character recognition (OCR) is also available in Notability, but not for the free version.
Both options have really neat organizational features, and if you are looking for something a bit simple, Notability does the job well enough, but if you are in for both simple and complex organizational features, then GoodNotes is the obvious choice here.
This is another feature that can determine your choice. Integrations can greatly enhance the utility of note-taking apps by connecting them to other tools and services you use.
GoodNotes 6, which is primarily made for Apple users, works with the whole Apple environment with no issues. It integrates seamlessly with iCloud, guaranteeing seamless note synchronization across all of your Apple devices.
This seamless connection includes the Apple Pencil, which enables accurate and fluid handwriting. GoodNotes is compatible with various file-sharing and cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and the like.
Also, GoodNotes lets you export your notes to your drive or other storage facilities. With its new Android and Windows Beta versions, GoodNotes also lets you integrate with Android and Windows devices.
Notability works nicely within the Apple environment. It uses iCloud to sync your notes throughout your Apple devices, allowing you to back up your notes and giving you a dependable experience.
Furthermore, Notability offers PDF file import/export and annotation, enabling compatibility with well-known file-sharing and cloud storage services. Apple Pencil is also compatible with Notability and is even the preferred option.
This category will have to go to GoodNotes 6. Even though both apps allow integration with quite similar tools and software programs, you cannot create a Notability account and use it on an Android device, whereas GoodNotes has started leaning in that direction.
A note on GoodNotes Notability integration
Is there a direct Notability GoodNotes integration? The simple and straightforward answer for you folks is no; there are no integration options available between both note-taking apps.
GoodNotes and Notability are two different apps, even though they aim to achieve the same goals of organized note-taking. As a result of their different builds, there really are no integration options between them.
After scouring the internet, we also discovered that there are no third-party apps that connect both apps with each other.
Suppose you are bent on moving your notes from Notability to GoodNotes or vice-versa. In that case, you might need to employ alternative techniques, such as exporting notes from one app and manually importing them into the other, if you want to move notes between GoodNotes and Notability.
This method relies heavily on the file formats supported by both programs; thus, certain formatting and functionality may be lost in the transition.
No product is perfect, software or hardware, and there are definitely limitations to the extent of their capabilities. Good products are constantly working to overcome these limitations.
One area you will find Notability lacking in is an Android version. This is one obstacle GoodNotes is working to surmount. Some people might not see this as a limitation, but if you have both devices, you would not be hard-pressed to use Notability, especially if you work or take notes on both devices.
For GoodNotes, a major issue for you could be the document file sizes. While it works to bridge the gap between Android and Apple devices, it faces another issue with large file sizes. More often than not, the file sizes of notebooks in GoodNotes can be inconvenient for devices with limited storage space, and with each new page you create in your notes, the larger your Notebook.
There’s no winner when it comes to product limitations.
Notability vs GoodNotes PDF annotation.
PDF annotations is by no stretch a new feature for note-taking apps, but not all of them have it, its functionality can improve work productivity and aid study.
Notability has a capable PDF annotation feature, and you can easily choose the PDF you want to import and edit it in Notability. There are no restrictions to what edits you can make. You can add signatures, add extra information, and update some parts of the PDF document. You can also lock your PDF while reading.
GoodNotes 6 also comes with a PDF annotation feature; you can import and edit PDFs without stress, but unlike Notability, you can't lock PDFs in GoodNotes.
Due to the tiny margin of locking PDFs, this category goes to Notability.
Notability or GoodNotes for Note-taking tools?
This is undoubtedly a major feature when looking at any note-taking app. The tools at your disposal could determine how well you enjoy the notes you take.
GoodNotes is renowned for its simplicity and intuitive note-taking experience. It excels in replicating the feel of traditional handwriting, making it a favored choice for those who prefer the natural flow of pen and paper.
There are a couple of tools used to enhance this writing experience. There is the pen tool, and GoodNotes has three types of pens: fountain, ballpoint, and brush. You can change the color of your pen if you want; GoodNotes provides 12 color variants. Then, there are the highlighter and eraser tools.
The Highlighter tool is easy to use and goes behind your notes, so it does not dim them. The eraser tool is basic and easily deletes texts and lines when used. When using the eraser, you do not have to worry about erasing the highlighted texts, as you can delete just the highlights.
The eraser comes in three fixed sizes. There is also the Zoom tool for taking a better look at details of sketches and the Lasso tool for selectively picking up various items or a combination of items on a page. There are other functional tools on GoodNotes.
Notability shines as a comprehensive note-taking tool. It offers a smooth and responsive digital handwriting experience, making it ideal for jotting notes, sketches, and diagrams. When we look at specific tools, it has two pen tools, the fountain and ballpoint pens, and a pencil tool rather than a brush tool, unlike GoodNotes.
There is also a slider for adjusting stroke width, but Notability doesn’t give you control over the pen’s sensitivity in any way. Notability provides you with the same choices for customizing your eraser and highlighter as they do for your pen.
For custom color options, you must be on Notability Plus, its paid plan. Notability also has a Lasso tool alongside the Ruler and Tape, two tools GoodNotes doesn't have.
The ruler uniquely functions to help you draw straight lines. Then there is the Tape tool, which allows you to digitally draw a tape over certain sections of your notes, preventing distractions and helping memorization, which can help you study more effectively.
Picking a winner in this category is really a difficult task, as both apps have very competent tools for taking notes. Ultimately, we give this category by a small margin to Notability.
Templates can take off the stress of starting a project from scratch as well as change the direction in which your ideas flow. The right template can make you take more notes with ease. Both of these apps have basic page template options, but do both apps also allow custom templates?
GoodNotes provides a robust library of templates for various purposes. Whether you are taking class notes, planning a project, or keeping a journal, you'll find a wide selection of pre-designed templates to suit your needs. These templates cover a range of styles, from simple lined paper to intricate designs.
GoodNotes also allows you to create your custom templates. This flexibility is particularly useful if you have specific note requirements or prefer a unique layout.
Notability lets you choose from a range of templates. However, the library provided by Notability may not be as large as the one provided by GoodNotes. It provides templates for things like taking notes, drawing, and sketching, among other things. The note-taking templates are typically practical and may be adapted to a variety of different situations.
Notability may not offer the same template diversity and flexibility as GoodNotes despite allowing certain template customization choices.
GoodNotes takes this category based on its extensive customization capabilities.
This is not necessarily a feature on its own; rather, it sums up a number of the features mentioned above. The overall writing experience delivered by both apps is top tier and your preference plays a huge role in your choice.
Notability offers an easy and responsive writing experience. It provides a range of pen and pencil options, so you may select the one that best matches what you want. The capability to capture audio while taking notes is a unique feature. This special function, which syncs your written notes with the audio recording, is very helpful for lectures or meetings.
The app is optimized for the Apple Pencil and other styluses, providing precise and natural handwriting. Notability's palm rejection technology ensures that your hand won't accidentally create unwanted marks on your digital paper.
GoodNotes is well-regarded for replicating the feel of traditional handwriting. It excels at delivering a natural writing experience, making users who value the fluidity of pen and paper fans of it. The program supports a wide range of pen sizes, colors, and styles, enabling a high level of customization.
Palm rejection is another feature of GoodNotes that makes it possible to write while resting your hand on the screen without it interfering. It offers a precise and relaxing writing experience and is suited for Apple Pencil and pen input.
This category ends in a tie, as it is subjective for users.
Is GoodNotes or Notability better? Our conclusion
Having looked at the key features of both apps, the question remains: Is GoodNotes better than Notability? The answer is still subjective, as preference will play a role between these two top note-taking apps. But if you want to pick a great note-taking app, we’ve got some pointers for you.
Here are features to look out for when selecting a functional note taking software.
User Interface and Ease of Use: This should be non-negotiable, as it influences how you enjoy your writing or sketching experience.
Cross-Platform Compatibility: This is another feature you should look for, especially if you have multiple devices across different operating systems.
Note-Taking Tools: What is a note-taking app without standard note-taking tools?
Synchronization and Cloud Backup: Ensure the app supports automatic synchronization with cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud. You never know when you might need to recover information!