Excellent Utilities: Rnote – sketch and take handwritten notes

In Operation

The main view of the application is the drawing area. It’s an infinite canvas.

Click image for full size

It’s definitely recommended to use a stylus or touch input. There’s pressure-sensitive stylus input with different and configurable stroke styles.

The software has various drawing tools which means the software is still perfectly functional without a stylus or touch input. The shape tools offers many different shapes.

Content can be moved, rotated, resized and modified with the selection tool. The brush styles are useful; choose from marked, solid, and textured.

Rnote is very customizable. We can change background colours, patterns, sizes, page format and much more.

What else does the software offer?

  • Adaptive user interface focused on stylus input.
  • An integrated workspace browser for quick access to related media files.
  • Drag & drop support including the ability to drop text on the canvas.
  • Clipboard support.
  • PDF, bitmap and SVG image import.
  • Save and load the documents in the native .rnote file format.
  • Document and selection export to SVG, PDF, and Xopp (Xournal) formats.
  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Autosave with definable interval (defaults to 120 seconds).
  • Good adherence to the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.
  • Zoom support.
  • Printing support.


Rnote is a beautifully designed GTK4 note-taking software with smoothly animated transitions. It’s different to the majority of note taking software.

The software is designed for students and teachers who have a drawing tablet, but the program is still useful if you have a touch device.

Rnote is a welcome addition to our Excellent Utilities series. It’s in active development with new features being added regularly, but don’t expect it yet to be the most stable program in the universe.

Website: rnote.flxzt.net
Support: GitHub Code Repository
Developer: Felix Zwettler
License: GNU General Public License v3.0

Rnote is written in Rust. Learn Rust with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation / Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal workspace with batteries included
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