Digital Bullet Journal with iPad Pro and GoodNotes (Free Template!)

18 May 2020  •  ,

I’ve always loved the concept of a bullet journal – the simplicity and the flexibility, combined with the opportunity to be as creative as you want. The bit I am not great at is being consistent with that. I’d create beautiful layouts for a few weeks in a row, before falling off the wagon and reverting back to my old planner-less ways. Enter my digital bullet journal on my iPad Pro.

Getting Started with GoodNotes 5

When I decided to look into moving my bullet journal into a digital format I read reviews on practically every note-taking app in the Apple ecosystem before settling on GoodNotes – you’re welcome, for all that research I’ve done for you!

GoodNotes does cost a bit of money, but not quite the cost of a nice notebook, coming in at around £8. It’s a very flexible app, allowing you to have multiple notebooks, which you can customise in many ways. By default the “paper” styles are the usual suspects – blank, lined, dotted, etc. They also have a few default templates for planning, music and lists. But you can also add PDFs to the app.

This makes the app super versatile as you can keep multiple notebooks in one place, or even add a PDF document that you can scribble on in situ. We’re saving quite a lot of paper here!

Creating a Digital Bullet Journal Template

The PDF feature is the one we’re interested in for creating our iPad bullet journal. Basically, we want to create a PDF template for our daily or weekly spread. You can do this using a program like Adobe Illustrator on your laptop, or Vectornator on the iPad.

You want to map out the spaces you may want for the hours of the day/days of the week or any extras like to-do lists and habit trackers. But I also suggest leaving it clean and simple, so you can add decorative elements each week to match your mood!

GoodNotes allows you to use several different paper sizes, from A7 to A3. Different sizes might work better on your iPad model, so it is worth playing around with. GoodNotes has a size they call “GoodNotes Standard” which is supposed to be the best fit for most users.

It’s pretty hard to tell what size the paper is supposed to be when on an iPad, so unless you’re printing it, I wouldn’t worry too much as you can adjust it to fit.

Free GoodNotes Digital Bullet Journal Template

If you haven’t made your own template, don’t worry, here’s one I made earlier! My personal method involves a long to-do list, as I usually have tasks that need to be accomplished in general, rather than on specific days.

Download it for free, and feel free to use and modify it!

Psst, I will be sure to add this and any other resources here.

Adding Your Template to GoodNotes

To use your template in GoodNotes, follow these steps:

  1. From your Documents overview, tap the Settings (gear) icon in the top right corner.
  2. Tap “Notebook Templates.”
  3. Find the section you want to add your template to (probably “Planner” in this case) and click Import.
  4. Select your PDF and import it.
  5. Exit from Settings.
  6. Tap New on the Documents overview. Your custom paper should be available to select!

Now your notebook should be set up so each page will use your bullet journal template.

Adding Stickers to Your Digital Bullet Journal

Of course, the most fun bit of even having a paper journal – bullet, or otherwise – is adding stickers! (Hopefully, it’s not just me who thinks this.) You can still do this in a digital bullet journal! With GoodNotes, you can insert images into your bullet journal.

Personally, I like to go that extra mile to make my stickers feel a little bit more authentic. I do this by drawing the sticker, adding a white border, and then adding a light shadow so it looks like it’s slightly raised on the page. You can be quite creative and create various elements to add a bit of real-world charm to your digital bullet journal – make some washi or add some paper clip PNGs.

Share Your Creations with Me!

I hope you’ve found this little guide on how to create a digital bullet journal with your iPad helpful! I’d love it if you shared your own bullet journal creations with me. Leave me a comment below or find me on Twitter or Instagram!

Thank you for reading!

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