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How to Use the Apple Pencil

January 3, 2023 — Jim Neumann
Screenshot showing a pdf in DEVONthink To Go with annotations.

Introducing the iPhone at the 2007 Macworld Convention, the late Steve Jobs famously said, “Who wants a stylus? You have to get ‘em, put ‘em away, you lose ‘em. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.” Well, years (and many billions of dollars) later, the Apple Pencil is a constant companion for many users. Here are a few ways you can use the pencil in DEVONthink To Go.

The most common use is annotating PDFs. Select a PDF, then tap the Edit button at the top. Choose your tool, e.g., the freeform highlighter, and annotate away.

The next use is similar but let’s you start with a blank page. Click the squared plus (+) in the bottom toolbar to open the New Document assistant. Tap From Template, and choose one of the available PDF pages. Using the same annotation tools, you can fill the page up with thoughts, drawings, or whatever you want.

In iPadOS 14, Apple also introduced the Scribble option for the pencil. Enabled in Settings > Apple Pencil, you can write with the pencil and the operating system will convert it to actual text*. While you may not be able to write long-form texts with it, it is very handy for quick texts. Try it in rich text or formatted notes in DEVONthink To Go, or even in the search field.

And lastly, if you just enjoy using the Apple Pencil, you obviously can navigate the interface with taps and drags.

* Does this remind you of the late Apple Newton too?