Rnote: An Open-Source Drawing App for Notes and Annotation

Brief: Rnote allows you to take notes, draw, and annotate documents. Sounds like you need it? Let us explore more.

We have featured numerous note-taking applications, but options that support handwritten notes are a handful.

Rnote is one such helpful application that lets you take handwritten notes and annotate documents/pictures.

Of course, you need a drawing tablet or a setup with a stylus to use Rnote.

Rnote: Vector-based Drawing App for Sketching and Handwritten Notes

rnote screenshot

Rnote is an impressive open-source app written in Rust and GTK 4.

It provides an adaptive UI focused on stylus input. It looks pretty minimal and yet offers some of the essential features that one would need for handwritten notes.

Let me highlight some of the things it can do.

Recommended Read: Best Note-Taking Apps for Linux Users

Features of Rnote

rnote settings

Rnote is a simple yet capable sketching/note-taking app. Some features include:

  • Supports pressure-sensitive stylus input with various stroke styles
  • Add different shapes with the shape tool
  • A selection tool to move, rotate, resize, and modify the content you add/draw.
  • Document expand layouts
  • Customizable page format
  • Customizable background colors, patterns, and sizes
  • Pen sound support for feedback
  • Reconfigurable stylus button shortcuts
  • Integrated workspace browser for quick media file access
  • Drag and drop support
  • Clipboard support
  • Common page formats supported (A6, A5, US letter, etc)
  • Import from PDF, bitmap, and SVG files.
  • Native .rnote file to save/load documents.
  • Export to SVG and PDF supported
  • Autosave functionality
  • Dark/Light mode

The developers note that the native file format used by Rnote may not be stable enough for compatibility between newer versions of the application.

So, it is best to export your work when you are done before upgrading Rnote to its latest version.

In addition to its features, you get a good user experience with the available options. It does not feel overwhelming, and you can access all the tools quickly.

Some customization is available to hide the scrollbars, change the cursor, and tweak the drawing cursor.

You can also adjust the time interval for autosave to kick in, which should come in handy for various use cases.

rnote screenshot 1

Installing Rnote on Linux

Rnote is available as a Flatpak on Flathub. So, as long as you have Flatpak enabled on your system, you can install it on any Linux distribution.

You can find it in your software center (if Flatpak integration has been enabled) or type in the following command to get it installed:

flatpak install flathub com.github.flxzt.rnote

To explore more about Rnote, head to its GitHub page.

Wrapping Up

Rnote is actively developed and making good progress with its feature set. If you like Rnote, you might want to look at Xournal++, another app that enables you to take handwritten notes.

Do you know of any other exciting apps like Rnote? What do you think of Rnote? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

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