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Posts: 334
Registered: ‎03-02-2010

[App] Quill - handwritten notes

[ Edited ]

I don't really like the bundled Notes mobile or the other notetaking apps in the market, so I had to write my own Smiley Wink At this point I have all basic features implemented and it might be useful to others. Here is the Android Market link (or search for "com.write.quill"). One buck for the convenience of download/updates from the market, or get the apk for free from google code. Copy&paste of the market description:


Handwriting note-taking app for Android tablets (Honeycomb). A key design goal is quick response to pen strokes and 100% vector graphics. Developed on a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet.



  • Very fast response to pen strokes.
  • "Fountain pen" mode supports pen pressure data, more pressure = thicker line.
  • Pinch-to-zoom.
  • Pen strokes are vector art, zoom does not pixelate your writing.
  • "Pen only" mode (optional) disables touch input while writing.
  • Android 3.x hardware accelerated graphics.
  • Open source (GPL), so your notes are not stuck in an opaque file format.


The initial release is only tested on a ThinkPad Tablet. The basic functionality should work on any Android tablet, but distinguishing pen from finger data and pressure sensitivity might not work on others. Please let me know your results if you try it on another tablet.


You can also get the app for free (as in free speech) at



Update (v2)


  • Added PDF export. Right now works but is slow, will make faster in a later version. 
  • Pen thickness is now accurate even during the pen stroke.
  • Added "ultra-fine" pen thickness.
  • Bug fixed where deleting the last empty page would crash.


Update (v3)


  • Backup/Restore all your data into a single-file archive
  • Added ruled/quad background paper
  • Fixed pdf export aspect ratio
  • Double-finger tap to zoom
  • Volume button work as next/previous page* Misc. bugfixes

Update (v4)


  • Tag support, now you can set tags for pages and fliters to only show pages that match certain tags.
  • Visual feedback for the currently active mode (pen/pencil/move/erase)


Update (v5) 


  • Page thumbnails (Press the icon in the top left corner)
  • One-touch history for pen color/thickness


Update (v6)


  • Much faster PDF export, can export multiple pages.
  • Two-finger move gesture while writing.


Update (v7)


  • Multiple Notebooks
  • Undo/Redo 


Update (v7.1)


  • New launcher icon
  • Send multiple pages to Evernote from the page thumbnail window
  • Tags are now sorted alphabetically
  • Bugfixes


Update (v8)


  • Toolbox (press red button)
  • Fixed mime type in export


Fanfold Paper
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-10-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Great application !!! Its great to see developers building software for the thinpad :-)
Posts: 181
Registered: ‎10-01-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

[ Edited ]

Very impresive little app.

A few things that would make it great for me, but which might not be in your design goals and if not fair enough. Also maybe difficult. I figure you would have done the first one already if it was easy.

One, real time pressure sensitivity. Not being able to see it as I go defeats the purpose.

Secondly the ability to save jpg or png files of wherever the screen is like a screen grab.

Other than that? Epic, and thanks for sharing!

Posts: 1,773
Registered: ‎08-17-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Great. Thanks. I love seeing ThinkPad owners also developing for it. I'll give it a try and post feedback. Thanks again.
Don't get mad, get root.
Punch Card
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎10-04-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Very nice indeed.  The writing experience is the best of the apps that I tried. Thanks for coding and sharing.


However, for daily use, I miss two features

  1. exporting the pages.  PDF would be best, but I could deal with a parsable description of the strokes
  2. more than one book(let).  Or am I missing something in the current menu?
Token Ring
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎09-04-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Really awesome work Volker! I wonder how hard it would be to allow pages to be exported as svg or eps... enjoying this as is, but bet you could make the artsy types drool with an import path to illustrator.
Token Ring
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎01-16-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Seems like the Xournal!

Fanfold Paper
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-08-2011

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Looks really good so far, pen response is very good. I have some questions / feature requests:

- There isn't any way to export / save your pages, is it?
- Maybe some image importing capabilities would be good, also different paper types. The paper size option (A4) is a good idea.
- Some kind of notebook management is required.
- With disabled touch input, how can a user zoom? There should either be an on-screen button to enable / disable touch input quickly or some alternative to allow a user to zoom in and out (which is one feature of a vector-graphics approach).
- Not relying on bitmaps, it should be possible to allow a user to modify content after creation, i.e. scale or move text / images.
- A toolbar for quicker color / pen setting change.

Really impressive for a first version. I was somehow confused by the price tag on the market, maybe you could keep it free while it is in an early stage and set a price once more features are available.

If possible, I'd like to participate as a alpha / beta tester, if one is needed Smiley Wink
Posts: 334
Registered: ‎03-02-2010

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

Forgot to mention my TODO list of things to come (though you noted it already)

  • export (probably pdf, not sure yet)
  • tag pages

I think tagging pages would be more useful than separate notebooks - the latter isn't that great a metaphor on a computer. I like to move pages around and/or add them to multiple "notebooks". Also, auto-tag by geographic location..


Posts: 334
Registered: ‎03-02-2010

Re: [App] Quill - handwritten notes

[ Edited ]

matthjes wrote:
- With disabled touch input, how can a user zoom? There should either be an on-screen button to enable / disable touch input quickly or some alternative to allow a user to zoom in and out (which is one feature of a vector-graphics approach).

Not sure what you mean - right now you have to switch between 2 different pens / move-zoom / erase using the icons in the action bar. The "Pen only" applies only to the pens, not to move-zoom and erase modes.


Again, free version is here


Edit: changed the link to point to the download page and not to the previous version of the apk