Penbook is a neat app that has a focus on natural writing with Apple Pencil and includes over 100 different stationary types. The iPad app is out today with a major update that includes support for OCR, an all-new design, overhauled search, and more.

Penbook 2.0 brings a number of nice changes. Starting with the big picture the update brings an all-new design that features a “three-slate style” that gives quick access to your books, pages, and the current page your writing on.

Another handy new feature is support for optical character recognition (OCR). This makes it possible to search your writing and notes to easily find what you’re looking for. Along with OCR, search in Penbook has been “completely overhauled” to be faster and easier to use. That includes Spotlight integration with iPadOS so you can launch specific Penbook books right from your iPad’s Home screen.

Penbook is a free download from the App Store with in-app purchases to unlock all of its features for $4.99/year or just $25 as a lifetime purchase. Although using Apple Pencil offers a great experience with Penbook, you can use the app with your finger or a different stylus too.

Full release notes:

Apple Pencil users, here are some bug fixes and performance imp… just kidding, buckle in, this one’s a long one:

Penbook 2.0 is a really big change, like, really big.

Let’s start with the all-new design:

Penbook 2.0 has been completely redesigned to better reflect a physical notebook. We now adopt a ‘three-slate’ style: at the top, you have your books, followed by your pages, followed by the page you’re currently writing in. Each slate has its own interactive pull tab, so it’s easy to get back to where you were.

A single line of pages is sooo Penbook 1.35, so now your pages will now show in a nice grid instead of just one long line. You’ll now be able to fit way more of your notes on the page at once, making it super easy to pick the right page.

But that’s not all we’ve done to make it easier to find that book or page that you’re looking for!

– Search has been completely overhauled in Penbook 2.0, making it easier to find what you’re looking for in record time. – Spotlight search means you can open your books straight from your iPad home screen! Just pull down and search for the name of your book, you’ll see it pop up right in the results! – OCR! That’s a fancy acronym for text-recognition that we can never remember… Took a handwritten note last week and you can’t remember what page it’s on? Just type in a word you remember writing, and we’ll show you all the matching pages. Never lose a page again!

It also wouldn’t be a big update without some nice little changes now would it?

Portrait zooming in landscape: it sounds a little odd, but if you’ve ever tried to zoom into some portrait paper while your iPad was in landscape you would’ve noticed the bars on either side not expanding as you zoomed. You probably didn’t like that, and neither did we, so now everything zooms just as you’d expect!

If you love Penbook, a rating or review on the App Store helps us out a lot!

And as always, we’d love to hear from you! We’re constantly listening for user feedback and working quickly to incorporate it. So if you have an awesome idea for Penbook, let us know! You can reach us at :)

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.