Apple Notes is the fastest way to capture thoughts and take notes on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. But you can do more than just take notes in plain text. Here’s how to format and organize your notes on your phone, tablet, or computer.
How to format Apple notes on iPhone and iPad
When you start a new note in Apple Notes, the application converts the first line to the title of the note. You can change this by opening the Settings> Notes> New Notes app starts with. The rest of the note is in plain text.
If you use Apple Notes to take course notes or for research purposes, you can use formatting tools such as headers, lists, indents, etc. It’s just that these features are not exactly obvious to a new user.
After opening a new note, tap the screen to display the keyboard. Here, press the “Aa” button just above the keyboard. This is where all the text formatting tools live.
The keyboard will be replaced by a new formatting toolbar divided into three lines.
From the first line, you can switch the text to Title, Header, Subtitle, Body and Minivan. Monospaced is a new font style (the only other font available in the Notes app).
From the middle line, you can manipulate the selected text using the bold, italic, underline or strikethrough formats.
The last line is divided into two sections. The left section has three different bullet styles (dashes, numbered, and circles). In the right section, you can indent or exceed the selected text.
The checklist feature is separate from the formatting toolbar. To add a checklist, tap the Checklist icon in the toolbar above the keyboard (right next to the “Aa” button).
Now you can just start writing your checklist. Press the Enter key to add a new line. To stop the checklist, simply press the Enter key on an empty line.
To start a simple list, just tap the “-” symbol and then start typing to create a dotted list. Press Enter to add another entry. To create a numbered list, start by typing “1”. then write the first entry in the list.
How to format Apple Notes on Mac
Formatting notes on your Mac is even easier and the style is the same as that of the Notes app on iPhone and iPad. As long as you use the same Apple ID account on all devices and have activated ICloud synchronization for Notes, you will find all your iPhone and iPad notes on your Mac.
Launch the “Notes” application on your Mac and select a note in the sidebar. You will find the “Aa” formatting button in the upper toolbar. The Notes Mac app also supports keyboard shortcuts (we’ll talk about that in the next section).
To format text, select it then click the “Aa” button.
From here, you can select the following options: title, header, subtitle, body, spacing, bulleted list, dotted list, and numbered list. The Notes application on Mac automatically formats the first line as title text, to change this, go to Preferences> Notes starts with.
Just like the iPhone and iPad, you can start a dotted list with the “-” symbol and a numbered list by typing “1”. before the first entry.
To create a checklist, click the “Checklist” icon in the toolbar. To complete the checklist, press the Enter key on the last empty checklist line.
On the Mac, you can even increase and decrease the font size of the selected text using the Command + (+) and Command + (-) keyboard shortcuts.
Formatting shortcuts for iPad and Mac
If you’re using the Notes app on your iPad with an external keyboard or if you are using a Mac, formatting notes becomes much faster using the keyboard shortcut:
Title: Shift + Command + T
Title: Shift + Command + H
Subtitle: Shift + Command + J
Body: Shift + Command + B
Minivan: Shift + Command + M
Control List: Shift + Command + L
Mark as checked: Shift + Command + U
Bold: Command + B
Underline: Command + U
Italics: Command + I
Withdrawal: Command +[
Outdent: Command +]
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