Honey Boo Designs

GoodNotes 5 Walk-through Tutorial With Clear Instructions for Beginners

Just starting out in GoodNotes 5? This guide will take you step-by-step through the GoodNotes dashboard and tools to help teach you the ropes of how to use this incredible app.

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Some important things to note:

The app is only available for Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Macs (you only need to purchase one time for the app to apply universally to all Apple devices).

Also, GoodNotes now offers three FREE notebooks, which is awesome! I purchased my GoodNotes app for $10 about a year ago.

If you have an Android device, don’t worry, you can still use our digital products. I’ll show you how HERE.

Okay, let’s dive in!

Your GoodNotes Library

When you first open the app, you’ll see a screen that looks like this. Note: this is a screenshot of the iPhone interface, so it may look slightly different from your iPad or Mac interface.

Let’s start from the top right-hand corner of the screen and go through our options.

GoodNotes Menu


If you hit the wheel icon, it’ll show you all of the menu options, including “settings,” where you can adjust your experience on GoodNotes to fit your preferences.

"Notebook Templates"

Under “notebook templates” you can adjust what types of pages or covers you’d like to use in your notebook.


I’m just going to show some helpful resources built right into the app. Under “about,” you’ll see options to visit their blog, read their user guide, or go to their support page.

These are great resources for you if you ever come across any issues or questions while using the app.


Now, if you look to the very bottom of the page you’ll see four categories:

-Documents: Click on this view to see all of your documents/folders.


-Search: This allows you to search for specific documents/folders.


-Favorites: Shows you all of the files you’ve bookmarked.


-Shared: This shows you which files you are sharing or are shared with you.

Okay, next lets click on the icon with the blue dotted circle and check mark in the middle. This is the selection tool. This will allow you to select any file you have on your homepage and perform the following actions shown at the top of the page:

-Export: You have the options of exporting as a PDF, image, or GoodNotes file.

-Duplicate: Make a copy of whatever files you have selected.

-Move: Move the selected files to any saved folders.

-Trash: Deletes the files selected (don’t worry, there’s a trash bin you can access if you ever realize you need to restore a file you’ve deleted).

Watch the video tutorial if you want to skim through quickly!

note: the video shows the iPad interface, so some buttons may be located slightly differently from the iPhone or Mac interface.

Opening a Document

When you click on a document, you’ll see a similar screen to below. 

Note: this is a screenshot of the iPhone interface, so it may look slightly different from your iPad or Mac interface.

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Let’s start with the top right corner with the three dots. This is where you can add documents/pages to your favorites, copy/rotate pages, add pages to an outline to organize, change templates, clear/delete a page, search/share a document, and change other document settings.

"Thumbnail View"

If we skip to the top left corner, we have the following options:

-Four squares icon: Click here to see the bird’s eye view of your entire notebook.

-Add Page icon: Several options appear to allow you to choose your page template, cover, and add images, scan documents, take a photo, or import pages.

-Export icon: Use this to share a link to your document, export a page/entire document, print, or mirror your document on a presentation screen.

Document/Page Tools

To access your document tools, you need to press the icon with the blue pen with a circle around it. 

You can only edit your document when this is selected. If you don’t want to edit your document, and instead want to navigate through your pages, just deselect it.

Now let’s go over each of the tools. 

-Laser pointer: Great for pointing out things if you’re presenting.

-Text box: Where you can add, format, and edit text (including fonts, size, allignment, color, etc.)

-Image: Click on this to add images to your page, or to move images on your page.

-Elements: This tool will save you time! It allows you to save images/other elements into folders for easy access.

-Lasso: Select objects to move them or long press on objects you’ve lassoed to cut, copy, delete, resize, take screenshots, or add as an element.

-Shape: Use this tool to automatically create perfect shapes.

-Highlight: Use it to highlight with your choice of color or pen thickness.

-Eraser: Erase with the eraser size of your choice.

-Pen: Write/draw with your choice of color/pen thickness.

-Undo: The backwards arrow above the grey toolbar, this allows you to do undo actions.

Let Me Know Your Questions!

I hope this guide helps! If you ever have questions about how to use your HBD product with GoodNotes, don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected] or DM me at @honeyboodesigns.

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