Penultimate 4: The Best Handwriting App Just Got Better...and It's Free!


Penultimate 4: The Best Handwriting App Just Got Better…and It’s Free!

Posted by on 31 Jan 2013

Posted by on 31 Jan 2013

Penultimate is Evernote’s amazing digital handwriting app for iPad. It’s one of the best-selling applications in App Store history and today we’re excited to announce that it’s getting a big update. We kept everything that millions of users love about the app, while adding powerful new Evernote features and refreshing the interface. Oh, and now it’s completely FREE!

Let’s dive into the new Penultimate 4.

Get Penultimate from the App Store »
This version requires iOS 6. iOS 5 support is coming in the next update.

The Same, But Better…and Free

Penultimate is known for its beautiful, life-like pen and paper experience, and we’ve only made it better in version 4. The ink is sharper, smoother and more natural than ever, perfect for jotting and sketching. For this update, we also refreshed the entire interface to make it cleaner and clutter-free. You’ll notice important functions are more accessible, while less-used ones are tucked away into an easy-to-find menu.

As part of this update, we also made Penultimate a FREE application. This is all part of Evernote’s vision to build long term value by bringing you great free applications.

Evernote Built-in

Evernote has been a sharing option for Penultimate for quite some time, now it’s a core part of the app, bringing with it some powerful new features.


One of Evernote’s magic features is its ability to make handwriting searchable. We’ve applied this to Penultimate to help you find the notes you’re looking for. Just tap on the new magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen to begin searching your notes. Search results fly in with either a yellow rectangle around the identified words or yellow highlighting in the note title.


Handwriting is processed on the Evernote servers, which means that you need to give Penultimate a few minutes to sync before you can expect results to show up. To make notes even easier to find, we also recommend that you give your notebooks useful titles, which you can do by tapping on the title on the cover of a closed notebook.

Access Your Notes Everywhere

We at Evernote are firm believers that your ideas and memories need to be with you at all times, which is why we put so much effort into building great sync into our apps. Now, Penultimate gets that same treatment.

While the iPad is great for authoring your notes, you may need to view them from another device, and now for the first time you can. Thanks to Evernote’s sync, all of your handwritten notes are instantly available on every computer and mobile device where you have Evernote installed.

You’ll see the new sync icon in the lower right corner of the Penultimate screen. It indicates whether a sync is in progress and allows you to kick off a sync.


Notes and Notebooks: In Evernote, Penultimate Notebooks are mapped to individual notes. This way, all of your ideas about a single topic are inside of a single note. It’s a good practice to create multiple notebooks for different meetings, clients, classes, etc.

Tap on the account icon in the top left corner of the screen to choose the destination notebook in your Evernote account for your Penultimate content.

Optional Sign-in

Naturally, we think Evernote will only make your Penultimate experience better, but we’re also not pressuring anyone to make that leap. If you’re an existing Penultimate user, you can keep using Penultimate as you have been. You’ll have a great new interface, without any of the synchronization and search functionality. New users will be limited to a single notebook until they sync to Evernote.

Existing Penultimate Users

We put a lot of effort into making Penultimate 4 great for existing Penultimate users, and we think you’ll really like the results. There are a few things that we want you to be aware of when you decide to make your transition.

In order to give you the advanced Evernote features, all of your notebooks, and all future ones you create, will be synchronized and backed-up to the Evernote Service. Any of your Penultimate Notebooks that are too large to sync will be kept locally on your iPad, and remain full accessible to you. If you want to bring them into Evernote, tap on the sync warning icon at the bottom right corner of the notebook cover, and the app will help you break the notebook up into smaller, sync-able pieces.


Learn more about Penultimate 4 by visting these helpful resources:


We hope you like the new Penultimate. It’s everything that you’ve come to love about the app in a better-looking, more powerful package. Make sure to swipe through the intro notebook to see everything the app can do. Enjoy.

Get Penultimate from the App Store »


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57 Comments RSS

  • Cassio R Eskelsen

    I can´t wait for the Android version!!

  • Steve Rumsby

    How does Penultimate compare with Skitch?

    Are there any plans to port it to Android?

  • Kevin Roggen

    Any chance on this coming to android tablets (galaxy note 10.1) and phones (galaxy note 2)?

  • Susanne Casey

    What is the stylus that is being used in the video? I want one.

    • AndrewSinkov

      That’s an Adonit Jot

      • Barbara Sherman

        Which one? There seem to be many options. Thanks.

  • AndrewSinkov

    They’re very different apps. Skitch is great for quickly communicating your feedback and thoughts to someone through annotation. Penultimate is for written note-taking and sketching.

    Penultimate will be coming to Android.

    • Steve Rumsby

      Interesting. Most of my uses of skitch are probably what you would see as uses for penultimate (although mostly sketching, not writing)! In that case, I can’t wait for the Android version:-)

      Do you have an ETA for it?

    • Adalbert Pakura

      I like Penultimate as well as Skitch, but I’m still missing something like iThoughtsHD, Mindmeister or any kind of mindmapping-tool to work great with Evernote. Are there any plans for something like that, @AndrewSinkov:disqus ?

    • Terry Winchester

      Hot dog. all looks good but… well sorry I won’t be moving to iPad. Have a samsung galaxy note 10.1 with stylus seems like it’s ready for the Penultimate.

  • facebook-1072244725

    Does the Penultimate 4 support Adonit Jot pen? Penultimate doesn’t show up on the Jot Ready Apps page

    • AndrewSinkov

      Yes, Penultimate works with the Adonit Jot.

  • Chana Cool

    Is Zoom already implemented?

  • Scott Chapman

    I would like to see the ability to hand write notes from within Evernote. Is that something that you are already working on?

  • Huiying Lin

    Can I request for a highlighter feature? Or at least the ability to control opacity of the pen? Thanks!

  • Steve

    It’s nice to see a little bit of evernote inside of Penultimate. Any chance we’ll see penultimate inside of evernote?

  • Daniel Reznicek

    Ay chance of PDF annotation coming to Penultimate? This would be a great tool for my daughter in middle school. Teachers send students worksheets as PDF’s, students do the worksheet in penultimate, send edited PDF to teacher for grading. teacher then sends PDF’s back to kids to store in Evernote for reference.

  • Adele Hall

    I really like the simplicity and functionality of Penultimate but whichever wrist protection I use, I still create smudges. Is there any chance of a proper wrist protector you can drag up and down your work area?

  • Matt Cawley

    I like it, but I really really want a zoom mode!

  • Chandresh Shah

    I ‘discovered’ Evernote in early 2008. My first note shows date stamp of 18 February 2008. So, it has been 5 Years. Initially, I was a free user. I see lot of apps, programs, productivity tools, but for the first time I really stuck to this one. The more I used it, the more I loved it. After using for few initial years, I felt ‘compelled and obliged’ to upgrade to a premium paid customer even though I never exceed the free limit.

    You guys have always amazed me with the updates and new additions, without ever compromising what Evernote is all about. Thanks for sticking to the fundamentals.

    But with this update to Penultimate, you have even excelled yourself.

    I have a pen and an ipad, the pen was just lying around. I know I was able to ‘sync’ with evernote before, but now, the seamless sync is exactly what brought the pen out of my closet and already since I updated the penultimate app yesterday, I’ve used it and now my ipad will go in all my meetings – paper is gone. I used to write on paper and ‘scanjet’ them in to evernote.

    Thanks, guys, keep up the GREAT work.

  • Graham Roy

    Love the look of the new iPad app, but can’t seem to find a wrist/palm zone to switch on. Can anyone help, I’m using the new Penultimate. Very difficult to take written notes without this.

  • lukecharde

    As an Evernote Pro user, I’m really liking the direction Penultimate is taking. The one feature gap that has always kept me from using it is the lack of zoom – sometimes fingers and stylus nibs just don’t cut it without zoom.

    Is zoom anywhere on the roadmap?

  • bnjmntrb

    Any suggestions to fix the crash problem that happens when the app is opened? My copy (along with many others’) gets past the opening screen then crashes. Please fix.

  • Wil Morales

    very cool!

  • AndrewSinkov

    We’re looking into this issue. It would be really helpful for us if you could contact our support team:

  • AndrewSinkov

    Yes we will be adding features to let you more densely fill a page.

    • Daryl Ohrt

      Wonderful, this is one feature gap that keeps me from using this as my primary note taking tool.

    • Martin Packer

      I wonder if this will make handwriting recognition better. In any case I’m looking forward to zoom.

  • AndrewSinkov

    Tap on your name in the top left corner to access settings.

  • AndrewSinkov

    Thanks for the feedback.

  • Larry Whitman

    Hello. I love Penultimate and have just started using Evernote. I have not been able to successfully sync Penultimate with Evernote. When I click on the spinning icon in the lower tight part of the screen, it says sync failed because it cannot connect to server? Any ideas?

  • WebMarketing Manager

    like penultimate + evernote coexistence 🙂

    suggestion.. need more handwriting recognition.

  • AndrewSinkov

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • AndrewSinkov

    We’re working on ways to increase the amount of handwriting that you can put onto a page.

  • Jeff Look

    Any idea when Penultimate version 4 will be compatible with IOS 5? Thanks, looks great I can’t wait to use it keep up the good work !!

  • Jacky Wai

    really nice!! I cant wait for the android version… 200% need it. I cant stand for s note any more… PLS ASAP!!

  • Denis Jeanson

    Penultimate for Android is the last mile to go for a complete Evernote paperless way of working and living outisde the iOS world. Please EN guys, do it :-)!

  • Salvatore Cerchione

    Can i see penultimate notes in evernote??

    • AndrewSinkov

      Yes. When you install the new version and sign into your Evernote account, the notes will sync from Penultimate to Evernote.

  • Chris Wilson

    I only have the iPad original and cannot use iOS 6 where can I get the previous version of penultimate?

    • AndrewSinkov

      We will be releasing an update that support iOS 5 very soon.

  • AndrewSinkov

    We hope to have it available very soon.

  • amuramoto

    To get help troubleshooting the issue, please contact Evernote Support at

  • WorthWords

    I too was hoping for integration into the iPad evernote app. To me it makes a lot more sense to create a new note in evernote and ‘insert’ a hand written drawing or annotate an existing image with skitch style tools. The tools are there then as I write my notes and want to vary the way I store information as opposed to now where seperate notebooks for each app is getting a bit combersome.

  • amuramoto

    The Adonit Jot classic

  • Celso Pinheiro

    what pen is that shown in the video?

  • nathan kraker

    Looking for the android version! Please do soon 🙂

  • AndrewSinkov

    That’s the Adonit Jot

  • Byron Davis

    Great app. Would like the ability to clean up squares,circles , arrows, lines ect. When I take notes, I always have a ruler handy to do that type of thing. Ruler seems superfluous for note taking on iPad.

  • Carol Reese Hardbarger

    I have an HP tablet with writing capabilities – would love to have this app for my Windows 7 system.

  • Steve Salt

    Does syncing Penultimate count against my Evernote transfer Quota?i have a lot of stuff in Penultimate that i used to sift off via Dropbox and store locally. But now if it goes through Evernote…?

    • amuramoto

      Hi Steve, syncing Penultimate does count against your monthly upload allowance. If you prefer to continue using Dropbox, you can set this up in the in-app settings under ‘Sharing.’

  • Olivia

    Hi there. Just wondering what is the best stylus to use for writing on an ipad with Penultimate? Thanks 🙂

  • Tron

    Does Penultimate offer handwriting to text conversion?

    • Stephen

      I don’t understand the point of penultimate if it doesn’t covert to text… My notes are quicker written, but I also want my notes to send in text to other people. I’m doing the work twice otherwise.

  • aMossWV

    Skitch and Penultimate should be merged into one. I would love to see “skitch like” integration with Evernote, and “skitch like” annotations in penultimate. Also, drawing/ sketching in Skitch. The more I think about it the more I think the two should be combined.

  • Gary Izzo

    So let me get this straight, an App I once paid for is now free; you’re not “pressuring” me, but unless I sign up for Evernote I can now only create one notebook; if I want more than one notebook I must sign up for a service that I don’ t want or need; it will then save my notebooks to its server whether I want it to or not, but not all of them, just the smaller ones, the others I will have to break up into multiple books which I did not intend. Who was this update for again?