GoodNotes vs. Notability vs. Noteshelf —Pages, Bookmarks/Tag [Review 2022]

Do you ever search your notes to find a specific page? Or maybe you have so many notes that it’s hard to track what’s where?You have more control over your notes when using a digital planner, even if you’ve written hundreds of pages.

In a digital planner, you can easily organize your notes by moving them around, deleting no longer relevant pages, and bookmarking and tagging pages to make it easier to find related information. 

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Here’re some ideas of what you can look for:

  • all meeting notes related to a particular client or project
  • all project notes connected to a team member
  • all notes for zoom courses
  • current work notebook chapters

And more…

So I’ve reviewed the three best note-taking apps for daily planning: GoodNotes vs Notability vs Noteshelf, so you don’t have to waste much time testing them.



GoodNotes vs. Notability vs. Noteshelf—Pages, Bookmarks, Tags

In this article, I’ll take each app and explain how to manage and navigate pages, and how to use the bookmarks or tags to organize your information better.

Goodnotes 5: Managing pages

When it comes to managing pages, Goodnotes is a winner for the easiness and efficiency of the flow. Here’s why:

  • You can easily manage pages from the More tab or the Pages section (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-left corner of the toolbar) under the Thumbnail tab. 
  • From this Thumbnail tab, you can select one or multiple pages to copy, rotate, move or export the pages, or you can add extra pages before or after particular pages. 
  • Also, from Thumbnail tab, you can easily duplicate a page (create a duplicate and place it immediately after the original) or add pages to Outline to find them faster.

Pros: Goodnotes offers you tons of flexibility around managing your pages so you will love it for that. It’s also super intuitive and provides multiple ways to manage your pages.

Cons: when it comes to navigating pages inside the PDF files with hyperlinks, Goodnotes is less impressive, forcing the user to switch to Viewing mode to use the hyperlinks. That’s a significant flow disrupter when you’re working and want to go fast to your notebook’s sections.

Next, see the exact steps to add, copy, rotate, export, move or delete pages in Goodnotes 5.

1 | How to add a page in a Goodnotes digital planner

We all have different note-taking needs at work. And often, you’ll need to add new pages to extend the use of your notebook. You have three options to add a new page inside your current digital notebook.

>> Option 1: How to add a page template from the Add Page tab:

  • Open your digital notebook and go to the page where you want to add the extra page(s)
  • Tap the Add Page tab (the + icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Choose to add a page Before or After the current page
  • Choose from the displayed templates or tap More from Templates to see and select from the entire collection of paper templates

>> Option 2: How to add a page template from the Pages/Thumbnail tab:

  • Open your digital notebook and go to the page where you want to add the extra page(s)
  • Tap the Pages section (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-left corner of the toolbar)
  • Go to the Thumbnail tab and locate the page where to add the extra pages
  • Tap the small arrow pointing down located on the bottom-right corner of the thumbnail 
  • Tap Add Page Before or Add Page After (based on where you want to add the page) 
  • Choose from the displayed templates or tap More from Templates to see and select from the entire collection of paper templates

>> Option 3: You can also copy a page (like a meeting notes template) and paste it into a new location (immediately after the daily planning page). Follow the chapter below to learn how to copy-paste a page.

2 | How to copy a page in Good notes5

The fantastic thing about digital planning is that you can copy a page and use it dozens of times to take better notes.

>> Option 1: How to copy a page in Goodnotes using the More tab:

  • Open your digital notebook and go to the page to copy
  • Tap the More tab (the 3-dot icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Tap Copy Page to copy the current page to the clipboard, then go to the new location where to paste the page
  • Tap the Add Page tab (the + icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Choose to add a page Before or After the current page 
  • Tap Paste Page to paste the copied page

>> Option 2: How to copy the page in Goodnotes using the Pages/Thumbnail tab:

  • Open your digital notebook and go to the page to copy 
  • Tap the Pages section (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-left corner of the toolbar) 
  • Go to the Thumbnail tab and hit Select from the top-right corner of the opened window
  • Locate the page to copy and tap the checkmark beneath its thumbnail
  • Tap Done
  • Go to the new location and locate the page before or after which you’ll paste the copy
  • Tap the small arrow pointing down from under its thumbnail
  • Tap Add Page Before or Add Page After (based on where you want to add the copied page)
  • Tap Paste Page to paste the copied page

3 | How to rotate a page in Goodnotes

In Goodnotes, you can quickly turn a page by:

  1. Tapping the 3-dot icon and hitting Rotate This Page, or,
  2. In the Pages/Thumbnails tab, hit Select to select the page to turn, then tap the Rotate icon in the window’s top bar.

4 | How to export a page in Goodnotes

In Goodnotes, you can easily export a page as a PDF, PNG or .goodnotes file and share it with friends. 

One way would be to go to the page to export and tap the Share and Export icon to export the current page or the entire notebook. 

You can also export only a few selected pages if you go to the Pages/Thumbnails tab, hit Select, choose the pages to export, and tap the Export icon in the window’s top bar.

When to use this: You can export one or more pages and send them via email to colleagues, partners, or family. Students can use the export PDF feature to share the work with their teachers. I also recommend people to export noteworthy notebooks (all PDF pages) every month as an extra backup.

5 | How to move a page in Goodnotes

There are 2 cases when you want to move a page in Goodnotes: you want to move it to a new document, or you want to move it inside the same notebook but to a new location. 

So let’s see the flow for both options.

>> Option 1To move one or more pages in Goodnotes to a new document, go to the Pages/Thumbnails tab, hit Select, select the pages to move, then tap the Move icon in the window’s top bar.

When to use this: Let’s say you have taken some client notes in your regular notes planner and want to grab those pages and move them to your meeting notes book instead. The best practice would be to copy and move those pages from the first notebook to the second notebook. 

Note: Be aware that if you’re using a digital notebook with hyperlinks, moving pages to external notebooks may not be a good idea: you’ll mess up the hyperlinks.

>> Option 2To move one or more pages in Goodnotes to a new location inside the same document, go to the Pages/Thumbnails tab, hit Select, select the pages to move, then drag and drop them to a new location. 

This flow is best if you’d want to move the pages to a closer location (like 3-4 pages apart from the old location). If you’d move the pages to a different section, I suggest copying and pasting them to that section instead (and you can choose to keep them in the original position too).

When to use this: Let’s say you’re using the Clients Book and want to re-order the notes pages inside a client folder. You can do that by dragging and dropping pages.

6 | How to delete a page in Goodnotes

To keep your notebook clean, feel free to delete multiple pages from the Pages/Thumbnails tab:

  • Hit Select
  • Select the pages to delete
  • Tap Trash

If you only need to delete one particular page, the fastest way is to tap the More (3-dot icon) and Move Page to Trash

You can also delete a single page from the Pages/Thumbnails tab:

  • Locate that page
  • Tap the small arrow pointing down just under the thumbnail
  • Tap Move to Trash
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Goodnotes 5: Page Bookmarks and Tags

Although you can’t add tags to pages in Goodnotes, you can bookmark them to add them to favorites. You can do this:

  • Directly from the toolbar, by tapping the Page ribbon next to the Loupe icon, or
  • In the Page/Thumbnails section, tap the Page ribbon on the top-right corner of each thumbnail
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At the moment, you can’t add hyperlinks between pages in GoodNotes. It would have been handy for work, and I think it’s a feature that would be very useful in other apps.

Goodnotes 5 makes the hyperlinks navigation more disruptive than the other apps. To use the hyperlinks, you must constantly switch between Editing and Viewing mode by taping the small “pen inside a circle” icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar. 

TIP: Although you can only use the hyperlinks when you are in the Viewing mode, there’s a small trick you can do if you don’t want to keep switching modes: when in Editing mode (when you’re taking notes with the pen), tap and hold with the finger on top of a link until you see the option to Open the link. Tap it, and you’ll get to that page.

Takeaway: You may feel a bit confused at first because Goodnotes allows you multiple ways to manage pages, but once you get familiar, you’ll find all the processes easier. You may not like to use the hyperlinks in Goodnotes, yet I have seen many people getting used to the slightly disruptive process involved. What you may hate is the basic bookmarking feature and the lack of the tagging feature.

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Notability: Managing pages

Like in Noteshelf, managing pages in Notability is pretty straightforward and intuitive. You control all the actions from the All Pages tab.

1 | How to add a page in a Notability digital planner

Go to the All Pages tab, locate the page after which you want to add the new page, tap the 3-dot icon on the bottom-left corner of its thumbnail, and hit Add Page.

2 | How to copy a page in Notability

Go to the All Pages tab, locate a page to copy, tap the 3-dot icon on the bottom-left corner of its thumbnail, and hit Copy. Go to a new location and follow the same steps, but this time hit Paste to add the copied page inside the notebook.

3 | How to rotate a page in Notability

Although you can’t rotate a page in Notability, you can change its template from Portrait to Landscape view (or the other way around).

Note: The new template will apply to all notebook pages when changing a page template (say you’re switching from Portrait to Landscape view). So make sure you know this before doing the change. 

4 | How to export a page in Notability

To export one or multiple pages of a digital notebook:

  • First, go to the “Share to” icon (rectangle with an arrow pointing up, from the top-left side of the toolbar)
  • Choose your favorite format (PDF, image, or .notability), then tap Share Note
  • Second, choose to share the file via email or airdrop; or you can choose to Save it to Files

Note: In Notability, you can also choose to export Recordings when exporting your notes. Also, if you want to collaborate on your notes with colleagues or partners, look into the link-sharing option.

5 | How to move a page in Notability

Regarding moving pages, Notability is a bit different than Goodnotes or Noteshelf: you can’t move pages to other notebooks, and you can’t select multiple pages at once. So all you can do is go to the All Pages tab and drag and drop one-page thumbnail at a time.

6 | How to delete a page in Notability

Go to the All Pages tab:

  • Locate a page to delete
  • Tap the 3-dot icon on the bottom-left corner of its thumbnail
  • Hit Delete.
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Notability: Page Bookmarks and Tags

Although you can’t add tags to Notability, you can bookmark pages from the All Pages tab. Also, you can’t add labels or colors to your Bookmarks.

To bookmark a page in Notability, locate a page and tap the bookmark ribbon on the top-right corner of the thumbnail.

You can find all your bookmarked pages in Pages/Bookmarks tab for easy access.

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At the moment, you can’t add hyperlinks between pages in Notability.

Like in the Noteshelf app, in Notability, you can use the hyperlinks to jump to different pages with no extra tapping. While using the pen, the highlighter, or the lasso tool, tap a link to jump to the linked page. 

Note: Keep in mind that you will not be able to use the hyperlinks when you have the Text tool selected.

Takeaway: If you’re busy, you’ll love how easy and fast it is to manage and navigate pages in Notability. What you may hate is the basic bookmarking feature and the lack of the tagging feature.

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Noteshelf: Managing pages

Managing pages in Noteshelf may seem less flexible when compared with Goodnotes. Still, Noteshelf makes the process more manageable, straightforward, and productive, allowing you to do the job without disruptions. 

You do most of the page editing actions from one place in the Pages tab, making it easy and less confusing.

1 | How to add a page in a Noteshelf digital planner

>> Option 1: How to add a simple page or a page template from the Add Page tab

Open your digital notebook and go to the page where you want to add the extra page(s). Tap the Add Page tab (the + icon in the top-left corner of the toolbar) > choose Page (it will insert a blank page) or Select Template (to choose your paper template)

>> Option 2: How to add a simple page template from the Pages/All Pages tab:

  • Open your digital notebook and go to the page where you want to add the extra page(s)
  • Tap the Pages tab (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar) and go to the All Pages tab (if not opened by default)
  • Locate the page where to add the extra pages and tap and hold the finger on its thumbnail 
  • Tap Insert Page Above or Insert Page Below (based on where you want to add the page) to add a blank page

>> Option 3: You can also copy a page (like a meeting notes template) and paste it into a new location (immediately after the daily planning page). Follow the chapter below to learn how to copy-paste a page.

2 | How to copy-paste a page in Noteshelf

To copy-paste a single page:

  • Tap the Pages tab (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Go to the All Pages tab (if not opened by default)
  • Locate the page to copy, tap and hold the finger on its thumbnail, then tap Copy
  • Go to another location (say you want to paste it after page #345), tap and hold the finger on the closest page thumbnail (page #345), and 
  • Hit Paste Below (the pasted page will be page #346)

To copy more pages at once, go to the Pages tab, hit Edit, select the pages to copy, and on the bottom toolbar, tap the More option and Copy.

Note: once you copy a page, you can paste it multiple times until you’re happy with your new pages.

3 | How to rotate a page in Noteshelf

To rotate a single page:

  • tap the Pages tab (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Go to the All Pages tab (if not opened by default)
  • Locate the page to rotate and tap and hold the finger on its thumbnail
  • Tap Rotate

To rotate more pages at once:

  • Go to the Pages tab and hit Edit
  • Select the pages to rotate, and on the bottom toolbar, you’ll see the option to Rotate

4 | How to export a page in Noteshelf

To export a single page:

  • Tap the Pages tab (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Go to the All Pages tab (if not opened by default)
  • Locate the page to rotate and tap and hold the finger on its thumbnail
  • Tap Share and choose between PDF, PNG or .noteshelf format
  • Tap Share Now 
  • In the next step, you can choose to share the file via email or airdrop, or you can choose to Save to Files

To export more pages at once:

  • Go to the Pages tab and hit Edit
  • Select the pages to share, and on the bottom toolbar, you’ll see the option to Share.

5 | How to move a page in Noteshelf

>> Option 1How to move one or more pages in Noteshelf to a new document

To move a single page:

  • Tap the Pages tab (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Go to the All Pages tab (if not opened by default)
  • Locate the page to move, tap and hold the finger on its thumbnail, and tap Move.

To move more pages at once:

  • Go to the Pages tab and hit Edit 
  • Select the pages to move, and on the bottom toolbar, tap the More option, then tap Move.

>> Option 2To move one page in Noteshelf to a new location inside the same document, go to the Pages/All Pages tab, find the page to move, then drag and drop it to a new location. This flow is best if you move the page to a closer location (a few pages apart). If you move the page to a different section, I suggest copying and pasting it to that section instead (and you can choose to keep the original or not).

Note: you can’t move multiple pages at once in Noteshelf Pages tab.

6 | How to delete a page in Noteshelf

To delete a single page:

  • Tap the Pages tab (the 4-rectangle icon in the top-right corner of the toolbar)
  • Go to the All Pages tab (if not opened by default)
  • Locate the page to delete, tap and hold the finger on its thumbnail and tap Move to Trash.

To delete more pages at once, go to the Pages tab, hit Edit, select the pages to delete, and on the bottom toolbar, tap More, then Move to Trash.

best digital planner goodnotes

Noteshelf: Page Bookmarks and Tags

The fantastic news is that Noteshelf allows you to add bookmarks and tags to every page. So you can use either of them or just one of the features to get organized. 

Both Bookmarks and Tags can have labels to help you find them easier. 

Bookmarks are color-coded, so you can bookmark similar pages with the same color ribbon.

You’ll find all saved bookmarks in Pages/Bookmarked tab and all tags in Pages/Tagged tab so you can easily find relevant pages when needed.

To add a page Bookmark or Tag:

  • Tap the + icon in the top toolbar
  • Go to the Tag/Bookmark tab (it’s a shared tab, so you can choose between applying a Tag or a Bookmark) 
  • Add a name to your tag/bookmark
  • Alternatively, you can rename a ta/bookmark from the Pages/AllPages tab: tap and hold a thumbnail with your finger, then hit the Bookmark or Tag option
GoodNotes vs. Notability vs. Noteshelf-note-taking-16

At the moment, you can’t add hyperlinks between pages in Noteshelf.

Unlike in the Goodnotes app, navigating pages inside PDF files with hyperlinks is pretty accessible in Noteshelf. No matter which tool you’re using, tap any link, and you’ll get to the corresponding page.

Takeaway: You’ll love how easy and fast it is to manage and navigate pages in Noteshelf. And if you’re an organization addict, the bookmarking and tagging features are a must-use in this app. Bookmarking/tagging is easy to use, yet more functional than the other apps and very efficient! Well done, Noteshelf!

project planner goodnotes template

The Verdict: Which app can get pages organized?

With a clutter-free flow to manage pages, easy-to-use hyperlinks, and complex Bookmarking and Tagging features, the Noteshelf app is the winner by far. Yet that does not mean the Goodnotes 5 or Noteshelf are not suitable to use at work. 

If you’re mainly using default notebooks (with no hyperlinks) and are not interested in an extensive way to bookmark your pages, you can easily go with ANY app. 

If you’re using PDFs with hyperlinks (digital planners), get familiar with Noteshelf or Notability apps.


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