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The Ultimate Guide to GoodNotes 5 for Your Digital Planner

August 17, 2022 10 min read

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for more info. All digital downloads are for personal use only.

GoodNotes 5 is a powerful note taking and PDF annotation app that has become a favorite among  the digital planner community. With its advanced features, GoodNotes 5 allows you to take your digital planning to the next level. In this guide, we will show you how to use all of the features in GoodNotes 5 so that you can get the most out of it! With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to use GoodNotes 5 like a pro in no time!  

The Ultimate Guide to GoodNotes 5 for Your Digital Planner

Grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and let's dive into this thorough tutorial on how to use GoodNotes 5 for your digital planner:

Is GoodNotes 5 a one time purchase?


GoodNotes 5 is a one-time purchase app. However, before you purchase, you can use your first 3 notebooks in GoodNotes 5 for FREE! (If you delete a notebook it still counts towards the 3 free) 


GoodNotes 5 only costs $7.99 after that! Once you have purchased it, you will have access to all of its features for as long as you own it. At this time GoodNotes 5 is only available for iOS; it is not available on Android. 


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How to import your new digital planner into GoodNotes 5


There are two easy ways you get a digital planner on GoodNotes. Once you have purchased your new Digital Planner from your favorite shop, download it onto your iPad. Your Digital Planner will be in a Zip folder (if you purchased from me 😊). 


To unzip a folder on an iPad, open the Files app, and then locate the folder that you want to unzip. Tap on the folder, and the folder will automatically unzip and be added to your app's file list.


To import a digital planner into GoodNotes 5, there are two ways you can do this:

  1. Open the GoodNotes 5 app and tap on the "+ New" button in the top left corner of the Documents section. Then, select "Import". Locate the folder that contains your digital planner and tap on it to open it. The digital planner will automatically be imported into GoodNotes 5.
  2. Or, you can first locate your digital planner in the Files app on your iPad, then long press on your file. Click "Share" in the menu, and now select "Open in GoodNotes".

Voila! These are two simple ways to import your Digital Planner PDF into GoodNotes 5. 

how to rearrange pages in GoodNotes 5


Rearranging pages in GoodNotes 5 is easy! Just follow these simple steps:

  • Open your digital planner in GoodNotes 5
  • In the top left corner, tap the icon that looks like four squares (this is the Thumbnails icon) & thumbnails of all of the pages will pop up
  • Tap and hold the page you want to move, and drag and drop pages to rearrange them

When you are finished, simply click close in the top left and the pages in your digital planner will be rearranged!

How to duplicate pages in GoodNotes 5


Duplicating, or making a copy of, pages in GoodNotes 5 is super easy also. 

  • Tap the thumbnails view button (in the top left corner, tap the icon that looks like four squares - thumbnails of all of the pages will pop up)
  • Under the thumbnail of the page that you want to duplicate, tap the dropdown arrow
  • Then tap "Duplicate"
  • A copy of that page will appear to the right of the original page
  • Then tap and hold to rearrange the page to where you want it

This is how you can easily add more days, weeks, months, etc. to your digital planner! 

how to delete a page in GoodNotes 5


To delete pages in GoodNotes 5 follow these simple steps:

  • Tap the thumbnails view button
  • Under the thumbnail of the page that you want to delete, tap the dropdown arrow
  • Then tap "Move to Trash" 
  • A confirmation box will pop up asking if you are sure you want to delete the page, or move it to trash. Tap "Trash" again and the page will be deleted!

Be cautious deleting pages in GoodNotes 5 from digital planners with embedded hyperlinked tabs, you *may* change how the hyperlinks work. Duplicating pages or rearranging pages does not cause any problems with embedded hyperlinks.


And that is how to remove a page in GoodNotes 5!

how to use hyperlinks in GoodNotes 5


Hyperlinked tabs are a great way to quickly and easily navigate through your digital planner. They are clickable links that take you to specific pages in your planner. Much like using the tabs in a physical planner.


In GoodNotes 5, make sure that you are in "Read Mode", NOT "Edit Mode", and then simply tap on the tab (or hyperlink) that you want to use!

how to split screen on GoodNotes 5


Split screen on GoodNotes 5 is a great way to work with multiple documents side-by-side. You can have two different Digital Planner PDFs open at the same time, or have one PDF open and a different app on your iPad. 


To split screen on GoodNotes 5, follow these simple steps:

  1. On the very top of your iPad screen, tap the three dots
  2. Tap the middle button 
  3. Now select the app you want to split screen with

The second app will open in a separate window on the right side of your screen. You can adjust the size of each window by dragging the line in the middle to the left or right.


If you want to go back to only having GoodNotes open, simply close out of the app that you split-screened with! You can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Drag the line in the middle of the split screen apps all the way to the right (or left depending on which app you want to close)
  2. Or, tap the 3 dots at the top of the screen again and select the 1st button on the left

Using the split screen function is how we are going to add multiple stickers into GoodNotes Elements function later on...

How do I add stickers to my digital planner?


Elements is a function in GoodNotes 5 that allows you to add digital stickers PNGs, doodles, and other images to your digital planner so that you can easily reuse them again and again. This is a great way to organize your stickers and makes it easy to find the one you want when you need it. This method is how to add precropped digital sticker PNGs to your digital planner.


To add stickers in Elements, first, make sure that you have the image (or digital sticker PNG) saved to your iPad. Once your digital planner is open in GoodNotes:

  • Tap on the star with a circle around it button (this is the Elements icon)
  • Then tap the "+" on the bottom of the menu that opens (you may have to scroll to the right a little)
  • You can name your new collection of stickers so that you can easily find them again
  • Tap "Add Photos"
  • Browse through your images and select the one you want to insert
  • Tap "Add" in the top right corner
  • Tap "Create"

Now that your new sticker collection is created, tap the digital sticker you want to insert onto your digital planner. Once the image is inserted, you can resize it by tapping on it and then using the blue arrow that appears on the bottom right of the image. You can also tap the red X on the top left corner of the image if you want to remove it.


And that is how to import precropped digital sticker PNGs to GoodNotes 5! 

How to edit Sticker Collections


If you want to delete an entire sticker collection or remove certain stickers from a collection, simply long press on the thumbnail of the sticker collection you want to edit. 

  • Select either "Edit" or "Delete"
  • If you tapped "Edit", now tap the red X on the sticker you want to remove from your elements collection
  • If you tapped "Delete", tap "Delete" again to confirm you want to remove the entire collection

how to import multiple stickers into GoodNotes 5


If you have A LOT of digital sticker PNGs that you want to import into GoodNotes 5, I find using this split screen method to be the easiest. 

  • Tap the 3 dots on the top of your iPad screen to open the split screen menu
  • Tap the middle button, and now open your Files app
  • Navigate to where you have your digital stickers saved

Now, on the GoodNotes side of your screen:

  • Open the Elements tab in GoodNotes 5
  • Tap the "+" button to add a new sticker collection
  • Name your new collection

Back on your Files side of the screen

  • Tap the 3 dots on the top right
  • Tap "Select"
  • Now you can "Select All" or select many of the stickers you want to import
  • Tap and hold and drag your stickers over to the GoodNotes side
  • and wait for them to upload
  • Then tap "Create" when you are done

Now you can use the new digital stickers that you imported! 


While you can use this method to bulk import digital sticker PNGs at one time, I may or may not have crashed GoodNotes 5 trying to import like 500 stickers at once...

GoodNotes 5 lasso tool


The lasso tool is helpful when your digital stickers come in a PDF or GoodNotes file. They will be all on one page, and you can use the lasso to crop out the stickers that you want. Because this method can be really time-consuming, I personally prefer precropped PNGs for my digital stickers and that is how I sell them in my shop and when included with my digital planners.


The lasso tool is also very useful when you want to move, delete, or copy and paste text that you have added in your digital planner. More on this in a minute...

how to use stickers in GoodNotes 5


After importing your digital stickers into GoodNotes 5, you can use them in a variety of ways. One way is to just add them to your digital planner as you would with physical stickers. Use them for headers, note sections, categorizing sections, adding flair, making important information stand out, and more. 


But with digital stickers, you can resize them, reuse them, and remove them (with no sticky residue)!  So if you want to use the same digital sticker for different purposes or in different sizes, you can. And if you make a mistake or change your mind, it is really easy to fix. 


You can add a digital sticker that has been imported into your Elements collection onto your digital planner by tapping the Elements icon on the menu bar and either:

  • Selecting a recently used sticker shown on the right side of the menu bar
  • Tapping the Elements icon again to see the dropdown menu
  • Or, by tapping anywhere on your digital planner page to open the Elements sticker collections

To move a digital sticker around in GoodNotes 5, tap on the sticker, and blue lines will appear around the edges. You can now move the sticker around, resize it, or even remove it.


If you long press on the sticker after you have selected it, you can copy and paste it as well. 

how to copy and paste in GoodNotes 5


To paste a digital sticker in GoodNotes 5 (after you have copied it), long press on an empty space, and a menu will pop up and you can select "Paste". 


You can also resize and rotate the sticker after you paste it.


To copy and paste text that you have added into your digital planner:

  • Select the Lasso Tool from the menu bar
  • Now draw a circle around the text that you want to move
  • You can drag the lassoed text to the location you want it
  • Or, you can long press on the lassoed text and options to Cut, Copy, Delete, Resize, and more will pop up
  • After you select "Copy" you can then long press in another spot and "Paste" your text

how to type in GoodNotes 5


Yes, you can you type in GoodNotes 5! You can add text anywhere in your digital planner by tapping on the "T" text icon and then tapping on your page where you want to add text.


A keyboard will pop up, and you can start typing away. You can change the font, size, color, and alignment of your text. You can also drag the blue dot on the side of the text box to make it wider or thinner.

how to write neatly on GoodNotes 5


GoodNotes 5 offers a few different ways to write neatly on your iPad. One way is to use the "Ink" pen tool. This will give you a realistic handwriting experience. You can adjust the pen's thickness, color, and type (ballpoint, brush, or fountain). 


Another way to write neatly on GoodNotes 5 is by using the Apple Pencil Scribble feature. This is turned on in your iPad's settings. Once it's turned on, add a text box to your digital planner, and write in the text box area. Scribble will change your handwriting into typed text!


One more tip to write neatly on your iPad is to use a paper-like screen cover. These are less "slippy" than regular screen protectors and it makes handwriting with your Apple Pencil easier. 


And just like handwriting on paper, practice makes it better. You can have neat handwriting in your digital planner! But also remember not to get too focused on perfectionism. It's more important that your digital planner works for you than that it looks "perfect". 


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GoodNotes 5 jump to page


If you know the page number of a page in your digital planner PDF, then you can use this option to go directly to that page. This may be helpful if you have many pages in between each hyperlinked tab section. 


To use this tool, select the three dots on the top right of your GoodNotes 5 screen, then in the "Go to Page" option type in the page number you want to jump to, then select "Go" (would be the Enter key on the keyboard). 

And that’s it! You now have a good understanding of the basics (& more) for getting started with GoodNotes 5. We hope you found this guide helpful and that you enjoy using GoodNotes 5 for all your digital planning needs. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and we will do our best to help. Have fun planning in style! 


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