Adding Sketches to Notes in iOS 9

A new feature in iOS 9 is the ability to add sketches to notes in the Notes app. Apple includes a variety of simple drawing tools such as three types of pens, colors, an eraser and a versatile ruler for drawing straight lines. You can export the sketches from your notes and even send them in messages and save them to your Camera Roll. Note: It seems this only works on more recent iPads and iPhones.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Adding Sketches to Notes in iOS 9.

Hi, this is Gary with On this episode let's look at the new functionality in iOS 9 that let's you add sketches in the Notes app.

So here I am in the Notes app in iOS 9 on my iPad. Now I started a note here and one of the new cool features of iOS 9 is you can go beyond text and actually draw sketches in Notes. Which makes sense right. You want to take notes and you may actually want to draw something.

Notice at the top of the keyboard that there are some additional buttons. That's the new shortcuts bar. I'm going to talk more about that in a future video. But for now notice to the far right is a little squiggly line, just above the delete key, and that allows you to go into sketch mode.

So you can see where the cursor is just under one line of text. I'm going to hit that button there and now I go into the sketch mode where I can draw something. So you can see there is a set of tools at the bottom. The first three are different types of pens. I can select which one I want and it's a little taller than the others. With one selected and also a color, you can see an outline around black there, I can simply draw on the screen. It will draw whatever I want. The different pens have slightly different styles of drawing. So you can use those and then of course you can switch colors.

Now when drawing it is even more important to be able to Undo than when you do text because it is so much easier to make mistakes. Sure enough at the top left there you can see Undo and Redo buttons. So I can hit Undo here and undo each step of the drawing. I can use the Redo button, to the right of that, to put it back. So it is very useful to be able to do that.

So if you are like me your drawing skills are very limited. What can help you do sketches is this ruler tool at the bottom. I'm going to tap that and you can see it just jumps up a little bit and you get this ruler on the screen. You still can use a regular pen with it. You can tap and drag that around with one finger. With two fingers you can actually change the angle. So you can get it to exactly where you want and then what can you do with it?

Well, if you draw near the edge it will draw it as a straight line. So I can still draw out here but I could draw near the edge here and it will lock to this line. Let me draw lines. It is very easy to draw parallel lines like that. Turn it. Draw another line. Using that it is very easy to sketch things that have straight lines.

You also, of course, have an eraser here. You can use that then to just draw through all the stuff that you've got there.

In addition, if you do select a pen not only do you have these colors here but you can swipe. You can see those three dots under there. I can swipe for another set of colors and then a set of grays there. So you have more options to choose from.

When you are done with the sketch you can tap the Done button. Then you can see it there. I can still type more text. I can type text after it and before it and I can select that, just tap it, and it will go back into editing mode so I can easily go ahead and edit this again.

Now when I'm here I can rotate. I've got a button in the upper right hand corner that will rotate ninety degrees and I have a Share button. So in addition to being a sketch inside of Notes I can still use that Save Image button to save it to my Camera Roll. I can send it by message or a social media network like Facebook, even AirDrop. So a lot of different ways you can use these.

You can actually use the Notes app to draw sketches and then use them later to send out, say, as a message. So it's actually a way to just sketch something and then send a text message really quickly with that sketch in it.

Some more tips here. When you are editing a sketch you can actually use two fingers and pinch apart to zoom in on it and then actually draw things that are more precise inside there. You can even bring up the ruler and the ruler is the same size but you can make a drawing there and then shrink everything down.

Then when you are done note that you can actually have more than one sketch inside of a note. So I can do another sketch here and you can see that this note now has two different sketches in it.

Comments: 17 Responses to “Adding Sketches to Notes in iOS 9”

    Law Thim Fook
    4 years ago

    Hi Gary. I’ve been following your videos for sometime, and would like to say “thanks.” I’ve a question. I’ve updated both the iPad2 and iPhone5 to iOS9. However, in Notes, I don’t see the ‘draw sketches’ on the iPad2, but it’s there on the iPhone5. So, is the ‘draw sketches’ a limitation and not available on the iPad2, or did I miss out something?

    Thanks in advance.


      4 years ago

      It looks like Apple may have restricted the Notes sketch feature to only newer models. I don’t see anywhere that Apple shows this, but many people are reporting that the iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen, iPad mini 1st ten, iPhone 4s and older models won’t let them sketch.

        Law Thim Fook
        4 years ago

        Thanks for the quick reply, Gary. I thought so this would be the case. Yes, there’s no mention of this on Apple’s site at all.

    4 years ago

    Same issue, only iPad 3. Cannot access the sketch tool. I can insert a photo or other graphics. I can also use the Share option to create a web note, etc. Just no sketch tool.

    4 years ago

    Great job, Gary, I couldn’t use either function before your videos. Now impatiently awaiting Capitan to sync.

    4 years ago

    how are you sketching – are you using a stylus on the screen or a mouse or on a curser or your fingertip?

    4 years ago

    After upgrading to IOS9 I also didn’t see the icon that would let me sketch right into a note. I had forgotten that when I first went into Notes I had been asked if I wanted to upgrade the Notes app and if I did I would have to upgrade on my desktop and my laptop computers to share notes. I declined the upgrade. I got out of Notes and went back in to the app and this time I upgraded and voila – I saw the icon that would let me sketch right into an app.

    Linda Noyes
    4 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    I want to use the sketch feature in notes but I don’t have the draw icons on my keyboard in note. I have updated my iOS but don’t see how to do a sketch. Please tell me what I am doing wrong.

      4 years ago

      See the above comments. Need a recent device, and also need to agree to upgrade your Notes database.

        Linda Noyes
        4 years ago

        I have an iPhone 6.
        How do I go back an choose upgrade notes?

          4 years ago

          Not sure. Try in the Settings app under Notes or iCloud. paterjt above mentions that it comes up again next time you launch Notes. I can’t confirm that it works on the iPhone 6, but it does work on the 6 plus.

    4 years ago

    Can one draw on top of a photo?

      4 years ago

      No. But that was recently added in OS X, so maybe we’ll get that in iOS at some point too. Of course you can do that in lots of third-party apps, so it is still possible.

    4 years ago

    I just wanted to ask about not getting the sketch and camera button on both my iphone 6 & ipad air, but fortunately i switched from my gmail account notes to icloud account notes and all the buttons appeared with the keyboard right away (only new notes using icloud account).
    i hope this helps somebody here.
    thanks for your good videos.

    Jeff Widen
    4 years ago

    Is this feature available in other word programs such as Pages?

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