How to Open a Blank Note on Your iPad

By Dwight Spivey

Notes is the app on your iPad that you can use to do everything from jotting down notes at meetings to keeping to-do lists. It isn’t (yet) a robust word processor (such as Apple Pages or Microsoft Word), but for taking notes on the fly, jotting down shopping lists, or writing a few pages of your novel-in-progress while you sit and sip a cup of coffee on your deck, it’s a useful option. To open a blank note:

  1. To get started with Notes, tap the Notes app icon on the Home screen. If you’ve never used Notes, it opens with a blank Notes list displayed. (If you have used Notes, it opens to the last note you were working on. If that’s the case, you may want to jump to the next task to display a new, blank note.) You see the view shown here.
  2. Tap the New button in the upper-right corner of the open note (looks like a piece of paper with a pencil writing on it). A blank note opens and displays the onscreen keyboard.

    Notes can be shared among Apple devices via iCloud. In Settings, both devices must have Notes turned on under iCloud. New notes are shared instantaneously if both devices are connected to the Internet; this makes it easy to begin a note on one device and move to another device, picking up right where you left off.

  3. Tap keys on the keyboard to enter text or, with Siri enabled, tap the Dictation key (the one with the microphone on it) to speak your text. If you want to enter numbers or symbols, tap the key labeled .?123 on the keyboard. The numeric keyboard, shown here, appears. Whenever you want to return to the alphabetic keyboard, tap the key labeled ABC.

    When you have the numerical keyboard displayed, you can tap the key labeled #+= to access more symbols, such as the percentage sign or the euro symbol, or additional bracket styles.

    iOS 11 introduces a cool new trick to the keyboard: the ability to access alternate characters on a key with a pull-down. For example, if you need to type the number 4, simply touch and pull down on the R key, as opposed to engaging the numerical keyboard.

  4. To capitalize a letter, tap the Shift key that looks like a bold, upward-facing arrow and then tap the letter. Tap the Shift key once again to turn the feature off.

    You can activate the Enable Caps Lock feature in Settings →General→Keyboard so that you can then turn Caps Lock on by double-tapping the Shift key. (This upward-pointing arrow is available only in the alphabetic keyboard.)

  5. When you want to start a new paragraph or a new item in a list, tap the Return key.
  6. To edit text, tap to the right of the text you want to edit and either use the Delete key to delete text to the left of the cursor or enter new text. No need to save a note — it’s kept automatically until you delete it.

You can press a spot on your note and, from the menu that appears, choose Select or Select All. Then you can tap the button labeled BIU to apply bold, italic, or underline formatting.