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Drawing with a pen


I searched around and couldn’t find any reference to this. Does Joplin support or are there any plans to support drawing with a pen like in one note?


I don’t think this is currently supported, but it would be indeed a nice and useful feature.


In my opinion, this would not just be a nice and useful feature but a killer feature and finally making a reasonable competitor to OneNote.

I would love to get rid of OneNote particularly since Microsoft cripples it more and more and fores OneDrive more and more.

However, functionally there is just nothing out there and to me Joplin is (unfortunately) pretty useless without pen input. Everybody has a Smartphone that supports touch input (Android/iPhone). Why is nobody desiring a feature like this?

Many people (incl myself) have a Windows Tablet PC. Unfortunately I am forced to organize all my notes with that hateful Microsoft OneNote because there is simply nothing else, even remotely comparable out there.


How do you use pen input exactly? Does it recognise your writing and inputs characters instead? If so, isn’t there a generic input method that will work in all applications?

Just curious whether it can be done or not. If you have an example, screenshot or video, please post here.


It does recognize the writing as well but I do not think that this is the main issue.
When writing actual text, everyone is faster with a keyboard. What makes it the killer feature is:

  • Add drawings, quick annotations, etc
  • I use it as a replacement for my “analog notepad” directly on my desk. So it’s not so much about structured data capture but just organizing one’s day-to-day notebook. And with OneNote I have it always with me
  • On the Go (e.g. while talking to other people) you often just don’t have time (or want) to fumble around with an on-screen keyboard. A couple of quick keystrokes (like reminders, names, numbers) can be entered quickly as with a conventional notepad. Clearly the built-in Android and iOS apps have this feature but are incompatible with Joplin.

Technically the data is organized in boxes and one box contains either text or pen drawings etc. (The format and spec is open https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd924743(v=office.12).aspx)

I am not sure what the best implementation would be (I don’t know enough internals) but I think something like embedded images but just with the pen input instead would be the way to go.

A cross-platform implementation of the input part would already exist, e.g. http://xournal.sourceforge.net/


and e.g. on iOS:

(I have to remove this because new users can only put one picture into a post)

Outline (outline.ws) is a another implementation that supports all the big pluses of OneNote but unfortunately not OpenSource and only on iOS.


Here is the second picture:


Thanks for the information, that’s good to know how it works.

I think the solution for this (and quite a few other issues) is to make resources editable. With that, it should be possible to have an image to draw on, and the underlying resource will be updated and synced whenever something changes.

There’s an issue open about this, so I’ll link this thread to it for reference. https://github.com/laurent22/joplin/issues/582