Pad & Quill – Old School Notebook Style Notes App for iPad

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Pad & Quill is a new note taking app for the iPad and iOS. Here’s its intro in the App Store:

Pad & Quill organises your notes in classic notebooks kept on a wooden shelf. It’s intuitive, simple and beautiful. Inspired by the Italian bonded leather cases made by Pad & Quill, the app turns your device into books you will truly love.

And some of its key features:

– organise notes into different books
– sync notes on all your iDevices
– realistic page turn effects
– universal app
– beautifully designed

This is an appealing idea for an iPad notes app, so I installed the app very soon after it was released in the App Store and have got to know it quite well. My reactions to the app are  mixed. There are some very nice things about it, and some decidedly not nice things as well. Hit the break for details on highlights and lowlights of Pad & Quill …


— The app has a very nice old school notebook feel to it, and if you like that sort of thing it feels quite pleasant to work with.


— It’s got a nice selection of fonts (around a dozen) to choose from.

— There are good options for the paper style and text colors as well. It also has a nice toggle that lets you choose whether to apply changes in style to a whole book or just an individual page. You can choose cover styles for your notebooks too.

— It uses iCloud sync – which works wonderfully well between the iPad and iPhone – and this is a universal app so you get both versions for its 99 cent price.

— It lets you organize your notes in notebooks and automatically generates a nice Contents page in your notebooks.


— There’s no desktop partner for the app – and iCloud sync kind of sucks in this respect. While it syncs beautifully between iOS devices, it does not provide any easy way to access the notes from this app (or other 3rd party apps) from within a Mac or Windows app that you use for notes and writing. In this area, Dropbox is still far superior to iCloud – and to my mind a good notes app should include Dropbox support as an essential feature.

— The app is almost entirely geared to be used in portrait mode only. If you’re in landscape mode you cannot access the Style button to work with style options and you cannot even tap to get back to the main ‘Shelf’ screen where all your notebooks are. So, even just to navigate back home you need to swap to portrait mode.

— In theory, you are allowed to write and edit notes in landscape mode – but I’ve found this often doesn’t work. The app refuses to switch orientation more often than it allows it in my experience. It also fails to recognize what orientation the iPad is in at times. I’ve had it warn me that I need to switch orientation in order to access the Shelf, when I am already in portrait mode.

— For any non-game app for the iPad, I hate having one orientation mode shoved down my throat. Especially for a notes app where I may spend a lot of time writing, I want to be able to write in whichever mode is most comfortable for me.


If you like the idea of taking notes in an app that feels like an old school notebook and you’re happy with sync only between iPad and iPhone, then this should be an attractive option. If you need to work with your notes on the desktop (and don’t want to go back to the bad old days of having to email every note to yourself) or if you don’t like being forced to use an app in one orientation, then you’ll likely want to pass on this one.

Here’s an App Store link for Pad & Quill; it’s priced at $0.99.

Disclosure: This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page. 

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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3 thoughts on “Pad & Quill – Old School Notebook Style Notes App for iPad”

  1. Is there an app into which I can paste my pages of biography and have them transposed into hand writing or must saved on my tablet so that I can use it, in the future?

    It would be very valuable to me. Thanks in advance of your response.

    BTW I love your FB pages (And that is not just blowing smoke )

    1. There may well be, but I cannot think of one that I’ve come across or heard about – sorry. And thanks for the kind words.

  2. I tried the link you gave me for “Pad & Quill” and it said “this item is not available” Will it be available anytime soon?

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