Does goodnotes 5 work in split screen?

Two quick questions:
Does goodnotes 5 work in split screen?
Would you recommend it over notability? I know it is somewhat personal preference.
I use notability now and like it but I think there are some feature that it lacks.
This is for the iPad Pro

Yes, GoodNotes 5 supports split view.

I have a lot more time using GoodNotes than Notability. I like the GoodNotes ink engine more. I’ve heard that Notabilty’s handwriting recognition is better, but I haven’t used it enough to say definitively.

I use GoodNotes 5 in split screen frequently. No issues with that.

I prefer Notability’s handwriting and pen handling. I get a lot of odd graphical glitches with GN5. No showstoppers, just minor stuff. GN5 handles templates really well – something that is difficult in Notability. And GN5 does folders much better. Notability has a weird hierarchical structure that’s not easy to work within. GN5 does not have a current macOS app other than read-only, but they are working on a full-featured Mac app right now. Notability on Mac is minimal.

ZoomNotes all day :slight_smile: You can do just so much more with them and handwriting recognition is coming :slight_smile:


Having spent much time in ZoomNotes, I can also attest to it as a feature laden app, more so than many. I especially dislike apps that put settings and selections fixed at the top of the page. I am annoyed to reach “up and over” my paper to get pens for example. ZoomNotes and Concepts have a better approach with pens on the left or right to allow two handed operation (draw with one hand and change pens with the finger of the other hand).

With ZN I would caution however that it has its own set of issues. The document management paradigm is … unique. The functions sometime work haltingly. And the UI is also … unique.

I used ZN on my iPad exclusively for a while to make simple and rough engineering-type drawings for lecture notes. I am now using it to keep hand written notes of meetings. I do not need text recognition, figure imports, and many other bells and whistles. With my new iPad Pro and Pencil, I am as curious about Notability and GoodNotes for note taking. But I suspect at this point that I will stay with the issues in ZoomNotes and find a workflow with ZoomNotes that I can use rather than try to learn something new.


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For simple note taking, Notability is probably better. I mostly use ZoomNotes for notes (obviously) on a Cornell Notes template and for quick mind maps or when I don’t want to use iThoughts. I love using the Whiteboard and subdocuments, links to Agenda and/or DevonThink and there is so much more I haven’t even tried :slight_smile:

The UI is a bit of a mess and there is a learning curve. But whenever I wanted to try something, ZoomNotes could do it.

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Well there you have it. None of my notes are ever just “simple note taking”. :slight_smile:

Further discussion would be a thread to itself.


ZoomNotes is great. Excellent. I’ve made lots of good documents with it. But it is frequently very frustrating. At times the time spent figuring out how a feature works – and then getting it to work as described in the document – is not worth it.

Yes. Exactly. And unfortunately it has been this way since it was first developed. And unfortunately the developer seems to be almost tone deaf or color blind to these failings because they just seem never to go away (even as more features are added).

But, for the very limited number of things that I do (sketch engineering-type diagrams and write brief notes), once I set ZN to a restricted workspace with restricted settings, I have yet to find an equal to ZN in its ease of use.

I hold out that Concepts will be the next step. But despite its elegance (especially relative to ZN), Concepts has limitations that I cannot live with. That is its own story as well.


Section / folder / document. Or Notebook / section / page. Or Stack / notebook / note. Or Group / sub-group / file. Or Area of expertise / category / entry. It reflects a very logical, computer-like structure, used in countless other apps, too e.g. Things, Omnifocus, Outline (OneNote equivalent), Notebooks, GoodNotes, Noteshelf 2, Notes Plus …

The only thing keeping me from using Notability for EVERYTHING I note is the small template selection / lack of customisable templates (that just show up as a background to every new page - yes I know you can, and I do, use a PDF as a background but only on a page-by-page basis). Adopting GoodNotes’ optional rubber behaviour would be nice too.

GoodNotes has ATROCIOUS support for typing, an awful image usage system and, if it has support for recording audio, I can’t find it. I use it for one unique task; taking accounting notes on a custom template, for which it’s ideally suited.