Samsung Notes User Guide for Beginners


Is Samsung Notes available on non-Galaxy devices?

No, to the best of our knowledge, the app has been available on other Android devices. But, that seems to be changing. We use the app on the Galaxy Tab S 8 Ultra.

Supported OS

According to Samsung’s website, Samsung Notes is available on Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets running Android 7.0 and higher.


Samsung Notes opens up where you left off the last time you were in the app. We are starting from the homepage because we need to orient ourselves with the app’s homepage before we can start taking any notes. On the far left side of the screen, you have a navigation sidebar that you can toggle when you don’t know what the icons represent. This is where you organise your notes. The bigger right column displays your notes and documents in different folders.

New folders

Before creating any notebook, you must create some organisation for it. The easiest way to do that is with folders. Go to Manage folders (left sidebar) and Create folder. You can then name your new folder, choose a colour for it, and then Add. Sometimes you may want to create a folder within another folder. To do that, tap the parent folder and Create subfolder. Then, like your main folder, you can name it, pick a colour, and Add it to your app.

Return to the homepage (arrow next to Manage folders on the top left corner of your screen or the back icon at the bottom of the screen) to view your folders. Samsung Notes supports an infinite number of folders within folders. When navigating through your folders, the app creates a breadcrumb trail above your notes to tell you exactly where you are in your folder hierarchy.

A useful rule of thumb for folders in a note-taking app: keep them at a maximum of three levels. Anything more than that will just make your notes difficult to reach. We’ll cover more about that later in the course.

New notebooks

You can only create a new notebook from within a folder, either from All Notes, Shared notes or from a folder you created. Make sure one is selected so you can get the icon for creating new notes. Tapping the add icon (bottom right corner) creates a notebook that immediately opens up. This notebook uses the default paper template in the app, which might not work for you.

To change the paper template for your notebook, go to the three-dots icon (top right corner) and go to Page template. Here you can see a number of default paper templates in the app. Image paper templates (labelled Images at the bottom of the popup window) are single pages that you can use in your notebook. PDFs are another type of page template. Only they support multiple pages. Each template tells you how many pages it has (bottom left corner), and tapping a template adds all the pages in that PDF template.

When you’re happy with your template, you can name your notebook (tap the Title section, top left corner). Your notebook is ready to start taking notes (tap anywhere on the screen).

User interface 

Let’s take a moment to go through the user interface in Samsung Notes. The app has two toolbars: a top fixed one that houses your notebook title and different view modes. Then you have a second, lower toolbar with all the tools you’ll use in the app for creating notes. This toolbar is mobile; you can put it on any side of the screen.

To get started, long-press any empty space on the toolbar until it snaps out of its position. Move it to the side you want it, and let go when you see a toolbar ‘shelf’. I prefer it on the left side of the screen, so that’s where mine will remain for the rest of this course.

You can also change the colour of your pages and user interface in Samsung Notes. Under the three-dots icon, go to Page Settings and choose a Background colour. You can also choose the Scroll direction for your pages. It can be Vertical and continuous, Horizontal and paged, or 2-page horizontal, which remains paged.

Infinite scrolling

Samsung Notes has several page-size options that you can use for notebooks. So far, we have only mentioned one, which is the normal A4 page size. Samsung Notes has two more setups that we are going to go through. Go to your app settings (settings icon, on the sidebar) and then Style of new notes. So, this won’t affect the notes you already have in the app. Under Style, you have two page styles. Individual pages has a Normal layout, which is the one we used when we created our notebooks. You also use the Long layout, to create very long pages that are twice the normal length.

Another style, which is the default for Samsung Notes, is Infinite scrolling page. This creates a page with a fixed width that continuously extends as you write more notes. It has no fixed pages that are clearly marked. So, if you want to change this template, go to your app settings (settings icon, on the left sidebar), then Style of new notes and choose the Normal layout.

Pen tool

Samsung Notes has four pen tools: fountain, calligraphy, two types of ballpoint pens, and a brush pen. For each pen tool, you can adjust its thickness (right below the tools) on a scale from 1 to 100. You can use the minus and plus sign, or just drag the black dot along the scale to adjust the thickness. Below your scale, you have two colour palettes that you can swipe to change. The first one has seven fixed colours that you can’t change; it also has a colour picker and gives you access to the saved swatches in the app. This palette is a collection of your recently used colours. Swiping to the left or right takes you to the second colour palette. 

Tapping the colour switcher icon on the second colour palette opens up a place where you can pick some custom colours using a grid, hex code, or colour picker under Swatches. Under this tab, you can customise a maximum of five colours. Once you have your five colours and you try to save another one, the app simply replaces the last one on the palette. Here is how it works: pick a colour and tap Done (this closes the popup window but also changes your pen colour). Now go back to check the swatch, and you’ll notice the new colour is now the first one on the palette, but you still have only five colours. The last one on the palette has disappeared. Spectrum uses sliders for colour picking, but it works the same as the Swatches for your custom colours. You also have a colour picker.

On the toolbar, you also have access to different colour palettes (next to the colour picker icon). These colour palettes are fixed; you can’t change the colours on them, but you can add up to four of them on the toolbar for easier access. Tap Done to save the changes. So far, all these are too much work to access colours you use frequently. That is why it is better to save three colours on the toolbar that you use often. Below that, you can also set a thickness for your pen tools that you use often. With that, you’re all set to start taking notes in Samsung Notes.

Highlighter and eraser

Samsung Notes has two types of highlighters. One has straight edges (named Highlighter), and the other has rounded ones (named Marker pen). Both are freehand; they are not straight. The second pair is the straight version of the first two. These have some ruler markings on them; that’s how you tell them apart from the freehand ones. If you don’t like using one tool, you can choose the freehand highlighters, and when you want to make them straight, simply use the long-pressing gesture to straighten them. To make sure the gesture works, you must turn it on in your settings on the homepage.

The highlighter has similar options for your thickness and colours. It shares the same colour palette on the toolbar with the pen tool. The highlighter tool has one option you don’t get for the pen tool: opacity. At 0%, it is invisible. The highlighter goes behind your ink, so even at 100% opacity, it doesn’t dim your notes.

The eraser tool erases per stroke (Stroke eraser) or per pixel (Area eraser). The pixel eraser (labelled Area eraser) has a size ranging from 1 to 10. You can also choose to erase only the highlighter by turning on Erase highlighter only. The eraser in Samsung Notes only works on handwriting. So when you want to clear everything on the page, you can only erase the handwritten stuff by tapping Erase all handwriting. You can choose to erase the whole notebook (All), or just the Current page.

Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top