2019 Digital Planner/Notebook (GoodNotes)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by sracer, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. sracer, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

    sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Greetings all! 2019 is a few days away and it's the perfect time to start planning on how to be more productive and organized in the new year. If you have an iPad that supports the Apple Pencil then you have a great tool to assist you in this endeavor.

    After watching a few videos about using the iPad as a planner, I decided to make my own planner. I've been using it for the past 9 months and have received a lot of interest from my co-workers about how to go about setting up a similar thing.

    Since I just finished creating a new one for 2019, I figured I'd make it available to anyone else who would like it. It's free!

    If you're interested, this is what you'll need:
    • an iPad with Apple Pencil support (this notebook/planner is optimized for the non-Pro 2018 iPad)
    • an Apple Pencil
    • the GoodNotes app for iOS (optionally the macOS version for desktop access to the notebook)
    • basic knowledge of using GoodNotes
    How to install it:
    Just download the attached .PDF file to your iPad and load it into GoodNotes.

    If you are not familiar with how to do this... here are the steps:
    1. Once you install GoodNotes, on your iPad, use Safari (on your iPad) to go to this post.
    2. scroll down until you find the attachment for the PDF.
    3. tap on the attachment. (a new tab will open and prompt you)
    4. The default action might be something like "GoodReader", under that will be "More..." tap on "More..."
    5. On the pop-up window, swipe the top row of colored icons to the left to view the other options...
    6. You should see an option that says, "Copy to GoodNotes". Tap on that.
    7. From there GoodNotes launches and you'll be asked what category to put it in. Select "Uncategorized"
    That's it! The planner is installed. Tap on it to open it. Just keep in mind that you need to tap on the ( / ) icon (pen with the "prohibited" icon over it) to navigate through the links in the planner.

    How to use it:
    This is the cover page.
    cover page.png
    Along the top are tabs that take you to the beginning of each month. The dog-ear in the upper right corner will take you back to the cover from anywhere in the notebook. (helpful when you are on a page with confidential information and need to hide it quickly)

    You can write or type a title/heading anywhere on the page. You can also paste an image if you want to change the cover art.
    Along the bottom are six "speed dial" tabs that take you to individual sections.

    This is the monthly overview page.
    monthly overview.png
    Here is where you can record highlights/outlooks for the month. At the beginning of the month, you can copy and paste one of the custom pages and templates included in the notebook as needed. (see instructions for copying and pasting pages within GoodNotes)

    This is a grid page.
    There are also blank pages and meeting notes page templates.

    This is a "speed dial" page.
    You can write/type the section name in the box. If more pages are needed, simply copy and paste the desired blank page templates after this page.

    HOW-TO Copy and paste pages within the planner
    1. Make sure you have Goodnotes open and the planner loaded.
    2. tap on the icon with 4 blocks in the upper left. (that brings up an overview of all pages)
    3. tap on "Edit" in the upper right.
    4. tap on the blank page you want to copy (there will be an orange/red border on the page.
    5. on the bottom of that dialog, tap "Copy".
    6. tap "Done" in the upper right.
    7. while still on this overview window, tap "+" in the upper left.
    8. (you should see (+) icons before and after every page)
    9. Locate where in the planner you want to put this new blank page.
    10. tap on the (+) icon to the right of the page (to add the page AFTER that page)
    11. (a popup menu appears) tap on "Paste Copied Pages"
    12. tap on "Done".

    If you give it a try, please post your experiences! If you have suggestions for improving it, post those too!

    Here's a video that I found on YouTube by someone who uses GoodNotes and their iPad as a digital planner. Although her planner looks very different than this one, you can get an idea of how to use GoodNotes with this planner.


    Attached Files:

  2. ericwn macrumors 68000

    Apr 24, 2016
  3. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
  4. RevTEG macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2012
    San Jose, Ca
    This is great! Thanks for sharing. I just started looking into digital planning a couple of days ago!
  5. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
  6. sracer, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018

    sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Thanks everyone for the kind words. I'm eager to see how it'll be used and what improvements I can make. Two things you'll notice about this planner/notebook:

    The first, no accommodations for recording scheduled events. I think it is a step backward to write down appointments when there is no way for GoodNotes to notify the user that an event is coming up. That's what the calendar app is for.

    I typically just write down the date on the current page and begin writing my notes for the day there as one continuous stream. GoodNotes has excellent handwriting recognition and can search handwritten notes for specific text.

    If there is interest for a daily view, I can certainly add a page template for it.

    The second, it is designed in portrait mode. All of the planners I've seen are designed in landscape and utilize skeuomorphism to give the appearance of a classic day-timer. It LOOKS nice but doesn't make the best use of screen space.

    The benefits of portrait mode are (A) it feels more natural, like writing on a pad and (B) split-window multitasking. This allows for dragging and dropping from one window to the other as well as being able to view reference material while working on the notebook.

  7. Fatyank macrumors regular


    Jan 20, 2008
    Chandler, Arizona
    Very nice design. I’m going to give it a try. i have a question about accessing the planner. I’ve moved over from Android and still learning things about iOS. To access the planner I have to open Goodnotes, open the planner (as a notebook) then tap on the “pencil with a slash through it” at top of the page. I can then flip through planner as needed. If I need to edit/add info, I tap on that pencil again and draw, write whatever I need. is there a way to put the planner on a home screen to directly access it and not do those extra steps? On android you could put that pdf file on a homescreen and access it with one tap.
    Also can you use a keyboard to make entries or is it all pencil?
  8. Plett macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2016
    That is really nice of you to do thank you!
  9. sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Sorry, no way to have a pdf shortcut on the homescreen. But you can have the GoodNotes icon in the dock and then it would be a matter of 2 taps... tap to open GoodNotes, tap to open the notebook. GoodNotes remembers the last page that you were on in a particular notebook.

    Yes, you could use the keyboard to make entries but it really is designed for handwritten notes.
  10. Fatyank macrumors regular


    Jan 20, 2008
    Chandler, Arizona
    This may seem like a silly question but, do you use a seperate calendar in addition to this planner or just this planner? I hate redundacy, would like to have just one. Will it sync to iPhone 7 plus? I have some ideas to customize it for my business (prospects and client tracking). Where do I find templates? This is a new area for me but I learn fast. Thank you
  11. sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    As I mentioned in a previous post, this planner doesn't have a daily view with a place to record appointments and calendar entries. I keep my appointments in Google Calendar because I want to be reminded of my appointments in advance and need others to be able to see my availability. That is not possible in a paper day-timer or this digital version of a planner.

    I use this planner to keep track of different projects. Notes during meetings can be copied and pasted into the "speed dial" sections. Text and images that I encounter that I want to use/reference I'll copy and paste into the appropriate sections of the notebook.

    If you want a daily-view, it would be simple enough for me to add a template page for it (which you could then duplicate for whenever you need to record events for a day). You could also duplicate one of the blank template sheets and design one yourself within GoodNotes and copy THAT whenever you need a day.

    That's the beauty and power of using GoodNotes as a platform for custom planners and notebooks. You can also create your own templates as an image (.png is best) and then copy and paste it into a GoodNotes page, and then duplicate the page as needed.

    Where this planner/notebook shines (above using the simple GoodNotes-supplied sheets) is in the hyperlinks to the month and quick-dial sections.

    There are a few YouTube videos that go into detail about how you can create your own similar planner from scratch. (That's how I got started with this)
  12. Fatyank macrumors regular


    Jan 20, 2008
    Chandler, Arizona
    Thanks for your input. I’m going to experiment with it over the holidays and see what I can do. Many years ago, I used Franklin-Covey paper planners. Really liked it but you could pull your arm out of its socket carrying your Franklin system.
    I’m currently using Readdle Calendar 5 but I’m thinking of going back to Google calendar. You use Google calendar. Is there a way on iOS to create tasks that will show up on iPad and iPhone?
  13. sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010

    For those who are looking for a more specialized notebook, here is a draft of a Bible Journal I'm working on. As far as I can tell, all of the hyperlinks are correct but I haven't done extensive testing. And as with the other notebook/planner, this one is free too.

    DOWNLOAD: (too large to attach to this post)
    Here's the cover:
    This image is just a placeholder until I can create something more interesting. As with the other notebook/planner, an image can be copied and pasted over this cover image and custom title text added.

    The tabs on the top and bottom are quick links to the general categories. Top is the Old Testament, bottom is the New Testament.

    The dog-ear in the upper right corner takes you to...

    The index page:
    This is a "periodic table" of books of the Bible. (courtesy of TimChallies.com) Each rectangle is a hyperlink that launches that book's overview page. The colors of the quick links match the colors of their respective books in this table. When tapping on one of the rectangles, the appropriate overview page is displayed...

    Book Overview page:
    book overview.png
    Here is where one can jot down their own notes and thoughts about the particular book. There's room to draw diagrams, illustrations, charts, etc. This page also acts as the "section" separator. When one wants to jot down notes about a particular verse or set of verses, they can simply copy and paste one of the blank page templates in this notebook after the respective overview page and start writing.
  14. ssledoux macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2006
    Down south
    Ok I really love this idea, because I still really like writing stuff down, and this would be best of both worlds!

    How familiar do I have to be with Goodnotes to do this? I have used Notability, albeit not extensively.
  15. sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Not too familiar. Just know the basics...
    • how to import a .pdf
    • how to copy a page and paste it in a different part of the document
    • how to use the (/) icon in the tool bar to be able to tap on the links to go to different pages in the document
    Those are the GoodNotes (or Noteshelf 2, Thanks @RevTEG! for the info on compatibility) -specific actions.

    There are plenty of videos on YouTube of people using GoodNotes for planning/journaling that will give you a better idea of how to use GoodNotes in that way. The planner I posted here is different, but the mechanics are the same.
  16. ssledoux macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2006
    Down south
    Well, you lost me. I’m pretty much illiterate when it comes to actually USING my iPad for stuff like this. I guess I need to get on somewhere and watch some tutorials.

    It’s a crying shame for someone who has owned iPads (and Apple products for that matter) as long as I have to not be more adept at putting them to max use!
  17. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    Is there a password protector feature for journaling?
  18. sracer, Jan 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019

    sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Unfortunately, neither GoodNotes nor Noteshelf 2 does not offer that capability.

    edit: Thanks @Thomas Davie for the clarification... Noteshelf 2 does offer password capabilities.
  19. naturalstar macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2012
  20. Thomas Davie macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004

    GoodNotes doesn’t offer password protection, but Noteshelf 2 does.

    Settings > notebook options > set password

    However, you can only set a password while you are actually in a notebook. If you are in the notebook library (of notebooks you’ve created) you can’t set a password; open up the notebook that you want to password protect and then set the password.

  21. sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Ok, so we're a week into 2019. Is anyone using this planner? If so, do you have any feedback? Did you end up creating your own?
  22. ssledoux macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2006
    Down south
    Well, I love the idea, and I think I would really get a lot of use out of a planner on my iPad, personally, AND for my Disney travel business.

    However, I’m just NOT up to speed with figuring out how to do it. :(

    Right now I have notability and not goodnotes, and clearly am not even putting notability to good use.

    I honestly don’t even know how to save something as a PDF in there and then actually get into it and USE it, much less figure out a planner.

    Is there a class for total idiots at the Apple store?
  23. jamesmith macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2014
    I am also trying to do this on notability, so far I found weekly calendar pdfs from here: http://www.calendarpedia.com/weekly-calendar-2019-pdf-templates.html
  24. sracer thread starter macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    That's a great resource! Thanks for sharing that.

    For the purposes of using the iPad as a planner/journal, Notability is not a good option, IMO. The pages flow as a continuous roll rather than snap page by page. And although links in PDFs are supported, when tapping on one a preview of the target page is displayed which then needs to be tapped on to actually go to that page.

    Anyone trying to use Notability with the PDFs I've attached in this thread will find it a bit confusing.
  25. ssledoux macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2006
    Down south
    Yeah that’s why I haven’t tried yours yet. Will it do that with all? Because if so, I might have to get goodnotes. I definitely want it to “feel” more like a real planner. I’m a paper person by nature, but would really like to make this transition.

    I’d love to have one for my personal stuff and one for my Disney planning business. Is it possible to have two different ones?

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