Getting Started with Penultimate

Quick start for Penultimate

Penultimate hero shot

Currently available for iPads running iOS 8.0


Penultimate gives you the experience of writing with pen and paper, with the power, flexibility and availability of Evernote. Use a finger or stylus to take notes, keep sketches, or share your next breakthrough idea -- whether you're working in the office, on the go, or at home on the sofa.


What can I do with Penultimate?


Capture handwritten notes

Penultimate gives you the experience of ink and paper on your iPad. Write notes, sketch, markup images and more, then search for everything in-app or with Evernote.

Share handwritten notes with others

Email handwritten notes and drawings as public links (URLs) or as PDFs to people you work with.

Download Penultimate for your iPad from the iTunes Store. It's free!


Sign up and sync with Evernote

Create an Evernote account so you can experience all of the benefits of Penultimate, including handwriting search and a full Evernote sync. Once Penultimate notes are saved to Penultimate, all your Penultimate notes are accessible and searchable everywhere you have Evernote installed.

You can also use Penultimate without an Evernote account, but all of your Penultimate notes will only be available locally on your iPad, and not accessible across devices.

Create an account now.

Create your first Penultimate note in 3 steps:


Step 1Select a notebook

The first screen you'll see displays all your Penultimate notebooks (shown as circles). Tap the 'Penultimate' circle, the default notebook, where you'll save your first Penultimate note.

To create a new notebook, tap the new notebook (notebook with a plus sign) at the top of the notebooks page.

Note: Evernote Business customers have the option of creating personal or business notebooks


Penultimate button close-up

Step 2Create a new note

To add a new note to the 'Penultimate' notebook, tap the new note button (lined paper with a plus sign) located towards the bottom of the screen.

Note: The first time you create a note in Penultimate, you'll be asked to specify your preferred wrist position.

New note button

Step 3Select the paper type and start writing

From the paper options menu, select a design you'd like to use as a background for your note. You can choose from one of the available designs from our 'Basic' collection: lined, plain, or graph paper or from the 'Penultimate Paper Shop' (available free for Premium accounts or for purchase).

Use a finger or stylus to write or draw.


Start writing

Review your notes

Use two fingers to scroll up and down a note or slide out the page tray to view individual pages.

Page trayTo slide out the page tray, tap the pen button to open the toolbar, and tap the three dots on the far left.


Page tray


More about using Penultimate for handwriting and drawing.

Start writing

1. Select the paper

Paper options

Once you've selected a notebook and tapped the new note button to create a new note, you are prompted to select a paper type (default types are blank, lined or graph paper) to use as a background for your note. You can change the paper type at any time, even if you've already written or drawn something on the note.

There are additional collections available for you to choose from including, storyboarding templates, music scores, and a variety of lined and graph papers.

More about paper options


To change the paper type of a page, do the following:

  1. Tap the Paper button (lined paper) in the toolbar.
  2. Tap the paper type you'd like to use.

2. Use the tools



  • Pen toolShow toolbar (Pen): Tap the pen tool (fine point pen) to expand the toolbar. The most recently used tool always appears at the top of the screen next to done button (checkmark), so if the pen tool isn't shown, tap whichever the most recent tool is shown.
  • Close toolbarHide toolbar: Tap the right angled bracket ('>') to collapse the toolbar
  • Page trayPage tray: Slide out the page thumbnail tray to jump to another section of the note, to insert new pages, to delete pages, and to clear the contents of a specific page.
  • Paper typePaper: Change the paper design at any time
  • Insert picturePicture: Insert an image or photo saved to your device or taken from camera
  • Connect Jot Script stylusStylus: Connect your Jot Script Evernote Edition stylus
  • UndoUndo: Reverse the last change or edit made to the note
  • RedoRedo: Return to the change or edit most recently undone
  • EraserEraser: Erase unwanted marks or strokes
  • Knife toolCut and Copy: Copy/Cut and paste selected strokes or shapes
  • Color pickerColor: Select or change the pen or highlighter color
  • HighlighterHighlighter: Highlight with a transparent marker and select a stroke size


3. Save your note

Done editingTap the done button (checkmark) to save any changes made to your note.

Additional options

Clear an entire page

Page tray clear option

To erase everything on a page, do the following:

  1. Tap the Page tray button
  2. Tap Edit and select a page to clear
  3. Tap Clear page contents. All marks will be removed from the page. To delete the entire page altogether, tap Delete page.

Copy/Cut & Paste an area of the page

The knife tool lets you select specific areas of the page to cut or copy, then paste elsewhere on the page or on an entirely separate Penultimate note.


Cut/copy example

To copy/cut an area of the page, do the following:

  1. Tap the Cut and Copy tool
  2. With your finger or a stylus, trace a line around the area of the page that you want to copy/cut. A blue dotted line will appear around the area.
  3. Tap anywhere inside the dotted line. The copy/cut menu will be displayed.
  4. Tap Cut or Copy.
  5. Tap and hold on the spot where you want the center of the copied/cut area to be located. The paste option will appear.
  6. Tap Paste. The copied/cut area will appear.

Working with notebooks

Notebooks are useful for organizing your notes so you can find them easier later. Create different notebooks for different topics, projects, classes, or clients.

Start by creating a notebook, then filling them with notes. To view your entire collection of Evernote notebooks, tap the notebook name at the top of the screen. Each notebook is displayed as a circle.


Cut/copy example

Other notebook options:

  • Rename a note or notebook:  Press and hold the note or notebook and slide your finger over the 'i' to rename.
  • Create a new notebook: From the notebooks page, tap the new notebook with a plus sign ('+') to create and name your new notebook. Business customers have the option of creating both business and personal notebooks.
  • Delete a note or notebook: Press and hold a note or notebook and slide your finger over the trash can to delete it. Note: You can only delete a notebook if you are signed in to Evernote and it is not the last remaining notebook in Penultimate (there must alway be at least one notebook in Penultimate).


Note: For more ways to manage notebooks, including moving notes between notebooks, login to your Evernote account.


Learn how to use Zoom and Drift for more detailed work.

Use Zoom and Drift for more detailed work

Penultimate 5.0 and later versions come with the ability to:

  • Zoom in on a page for a close-up view of a particular area on the page for more detailed writing or sketching.
  • Automatically drift the page towards the edge of the page while in close-up view, so you don't need to worry about repositioning the paper as you write.


How to zoom in and out of a page

To zoom in, use the two-finger, expand gesture to zoom in on a particular area on the page Zoom in

To zoom out, use the two-finger, pinch gesture to zoom out of the page and return to a full-page view Zoom out


How Zoom works

The Zoom feature splits your screen into two sections. The lower half of the screen displays a magnified view of an area of the page you've specified, while the top half displays your page in its actual size.

Zoom mode


Zoom options:

  • Select an area of the page to magnify: With one finger, press and slide the magnifier box to position it over an area of the page you'd like to magnify.
  • Resize the Zoom box: Press and slide the button with three lines (at the top of the Zoom box) up and down to make the Zoom box larger or smaller.
  • Two-finger scroll: With two fingers, press and slide anywhere inside the Zoom box to move up and down the note.

How Drift works

With Drift enabled, you’ll notice that as you begin to write, the page automatically drifts towards the left of the screen. The faster you write, the faster the page moves. Slow down, and the slower the page moves. Drift adjusts to your writing speed and slows down when it you’re near the edge of a page.


Drift options:

  • Start a new line of text: Tap the return button (left-pointing arrow) located near the bottom of the screen. This reposition the page so you can start writing a new line of text. This works much like a Return key does on a computer keyboard.
  • Disable Drift: To keep the page “locked” in place, tap the pause button at the bottom of the screen. This is useful when you want to keep the page in a particular position for more detailed writing or edits. When Drift is paused, the page stops moving. To enable Drift again, press the play button at the bottom of the screen.



Sync, search and access your Penultimate Notebooks everywhere you have Evernote installed.

Sync and search

Why should I sync notes to Evernote?

  • By syncing Penultimate to your Evernote account, you will be able to view your Penultimate notebooks everywhere you have Evernote installed.
  • Syncing also allows the Evernote service to run powerful text recognition on your Penultimate Notebooks, which makes them searchable for handwritten text both inside Penultimate and within Evernote.

Once you have connected your Evernote account to Penultimate, the app automatically syncs any changes in your Penultimate notes to Evernote.

Note: To see changes reflected immediately in Evernote, manually sync Penultimate by tapping the account info (profile) button at the top of the screen, then tapping the sync button (two arrows forming a circle).

Search notebooks and handwritten notes

To search for any handwritten text in a Penultimate note or notebook, do the following:

  1. Tap the search button (magnifying glass) in the top-right corner of any screen in Penultimate.
  2. Enter the words you want to search for when prompted. Penultimate displays any notebooks that match your search, as well as any notes inside notebooks that contain your search terms. Any matching text found is highlighted in yellow.
  3. Tap any of the note thumbnails that came up in the search results to view and edit them.
Search results


Time to share all these great Penultimate notes.

Share, export, and print

Some of the ways Penultimate makes it easy to share and backup all of your drawings and handwritten notes:

  • Share notes as links via email
  • Post notes as links to various social networks
  • Export as PDFs or Penultimate .PEN backup files
  • Print hardcopies of notes
  • Save and sync to your Evernote account
  • Backup notes to your DropBox account (or other supported apps)


Share notes via email or social networks

If you’ve signed into Evernote in Penultimate, you can email a public link (URL) to your note, or post a link (URL) to your note with any social networking app you're signed into on your device. 

Note sharing option

To email or post a note as a link:

From the notes page, press and hold down on a note, then slide your finger over the share button (box with an arrow pointing upward). Choose 'Mail' or any supported social networking app to email or post the note.

Once your notes have synced with your Evernote account, you can share them as you would any other note in Evernote.

More about sharing notes in Evernote


Export, print, and save

Zoom mode

To export notes as PDFs or sent to a printer:

Open any note, press and hold a note, then slide your finger over the share button (box with an arrow pointing upwards). Select 'Export PDF'.

  • Export: Select an app to save the note to or select 'Mail' to send the PDF to an email account.
  • Print: Select 'Print' to print the PDF.


To save and sync to your Evernote account:

  • Sign-in to Evernote from Penultimate. Then, sync your Penultimate notes with Evernote and access them from any computer or mobile device. Once in Evernote, notes and entire notebooks can also be saved as Evernote backup files (.ENEX) from any desktop computer.

More about creating and restoring notes in Evernote



Back up your notes to Dropbox (or other supported apps)

To back up your notes to Dropbox as PDFs or Penultimate backup files (.PEN):

  1. Make sure you've installed Dropbox on you device and signed-in to Dropbox from your Penultimate Settings page. Enable the .PEN format if you are exporting as PEN files.
  2. Open any note, press and hold a note, then slide your finger over the share button (box with an arrow pointing upwards). Select 'Export PDF' (or 'Export PEN'*),  then select Dropbox or any other supported app to save the note to.

* Note: You can also export your notes as Evernote Penultimate (.PEN) backup files if you have applications that support them.


More about creating and restoring notes in Evernote