Brian Woo-Shem

Mechanical engineer, tech wizard, cartoonist, writer, creator of things.

Xournal++ Open Source Drawing & Note-Taking App

Xournal++ is an open source hand drawing and note-taking app for Linux, Windows, MacOS, and Android. I have used it to do most of my college engineering assignments because of features missing from physical paper:

  • Cut and paste
  • Perfect lines and geometric shapes
  • Practically unlimited colors
  • Perfect erasing without smudges
  • Incremental save before erasing something that I think is a mistake
  • Zoom in to appear to write very small when necessary
  • Saves trees
  • Won’t rip, tear, or crumple
  • Won’t get lost in my binders
  • Perfect for submitting assignments online in remote/distance learning – no scanning!

Advantages over other hand note-taking apps:

  • Free, no strings attached
  • Cross-platform
  • Customizable – I can completely change the layout and behavior of the app
  • Locally stored notes; no reliance on external server if your internet is unreliable
  • Annotate any PDF
  • Exports to PDF, PNG, SVG
  • Audio recording and playback with associated notes
  • Pressure-sensitivity works perfectly

One neat trick is annotating PDF files. In your File Manager, right click on a PDF and select Open With -> Xournal++

Using this, I can open my Engineering Graph Paper which is available free here and do my homework on digital engineering paper.

Xournal++ notes can be exported as PDF under File -> Export as PDF
They can also be exported as PNG or SVG under File -> Export as... -> Select the file type you want in the menu.

Export as PDF
Export as PNG or SVG

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