Notability 11.0: What’s changing?

Better page customisation

After years of asking, asking and asking, Notability finally said yes to better page customisation. How exciting is that?! You can still create a new notebook with a single tap, but for more options, long-press the pen icon (bottom left corner). Templates unleash a new way of creating notebooks in Notability! We now have: 

  • Page sizes: A7-A3, Legal, Tabloid and Letter (optimized). We are still to determine what optimized means. The first size we tried, of course, is the smallest. It’s difficult to appreciate these paper sizes when you don’t know how zoomed in you are on the page. Notability has always snapped at 100% zoom, but it was easier to appreciate when we had one page size. Let’s hope our developers can add an option to see the zoom percentage of our pages.
  • Landscape mode: no more turning your iPad to write in landscape mode! For now, all the pages in your notebook have to be landscape. We hope to get page rotation for native paper templates. 
  • Line spacing: for basic paper templates. You can now choose the line spacing option for your notebook from 1 to 10. What are the chances you’ll not find what you need? 
  • Page colour: you are no longer limited to the 15 page colours. You can now use all the colour options in the app. If you ever wanted more page colours in Notability, you’ll love this. 
  • Page templates: Notability now has some paper templates for education, creativity and planning. At the moment, these have limited customisation (only three colours and no line spacing options). We hope to get more in the future. 
  • Page rotation: it seems we can only rotate pages for non-native paper templates. We were happy to see that we can rotate our pages in PDFs and other documents and we look forward to having that for native pages too. We finally have page rotation.  
  • Multiple page selection: you can now select multiple pages for editing in the app. You can then Copy, Paste, Duplicate, Rotate, Copy Background, Clear Page or Delete. We have suffered, and our developers have finally done something about it!

More organisation levels

You can now add folders-within-folders for up to five levels. For those of you that wanted more organisational levels in Notability, they have delivered. We have begged for these updates for years! Naturally, we are ecstatic about them!

Notability Gallery 

The Notability Gallery is a new feature that lets you browse and save other people’s study material. It explains why Notability had us creating Notability accounts a while back. They have been working on this for months!

You can browse through the topics in the gallery, at the moment, they are few but we are sure they will increase as more people start sharing their notes. You can also search for topics, or tags and filter to see Popular or Recently Created documents.

Read about a similar feature in GoodNotes here.

When you tap to view a  note, you get a short description of the notebook. You can then Download the notes as a PDF or Note. Notability makes it very clear what document you’re downloading and we like that. If you want an editable version of the notes, you can download a Note version. For simple annotations, you’ll want a PDF version of the notes. You can also share or like the notes. You can preview them before downloading. 

Your profile is very simple in the Notability Gallery. It displays your published, favoured and downloaded notes. You can also easily browse to see all the notes published by other users.  You can publish your notes from the homepage or the app’s workspace. When you choose to Publish to the Gallery, you can then add a: 

  • Topic: the category of your notes
  • Description (optional)
  • Tags (optional)

It’s simple, minimalist and straightforward. Notability continues to be committed to minimalism. It is one of the things we love about the app. 

Pricing 

The biggest and most depressing update with version 11.0 is Notability’s business model. Notability is now a freemium app with a yearly subscription. The freemium version has limited editing abilities (amongst other painful limitations), where the app tracks your ink “allowance” per month. To help you fully understand this, we’ll cover this later. 

For $14.99/ year, which is currently on sale for $11.99, you get an unlimited note-taking experience and access to all the items in Notability Plus. You guys know how we feel about subscriptions; they are not sustainable. They only work for businesses and professionals. The Notability shop was a good idea, subscription, not so much.


Here is the Maths, Notability cost me $14.99 some five years ago and it supported Family Sharing. Now it’s costing $14.99/year without family sharing. Everyone in my family (six people) uses Notability, our team (4 of us) uses Notability. We have to pay subscriptions for everyone now.

Notability Plus is only going to be available for free to old users for one year. After that, to continue using the app (without limitations), all users (old and new users) will have to pay the subscription. Notability should have let old users keep their Plus features for a lifetime, with new features available for a subscription. Just how many subscriptions can you sustain to keep using your iPad?

Any thoughts? Do tell, do tell!