The 5 best apps for your stylus-sporting Android tablet

android stylus apps
Credit: Derek Walter

The iPad often gets all the attention when it comes to note-taking and drawing apps. Yet developers are starting to give Android some love, with many excellent choices available if you are looking to do some stylus-powered note-taking, drawing, or other creative tasks.

Grab your stylus and head to the Play Store for some of the following choices, which offer the best usability for typing-free productivity and creativity.

Skitch

Skitch is an excellent multi-purpose tool, as it can can be used for marking up web pages, PDFs, images, maps, and just general blank pages. 

skitch android
Skitch is a multi-purpose sketching tool that syncs back to your Evernote account.

I have found Skitch to be extremely useful for adding details to maps before sending it to friends for an event. Sometimes Google Maps leaves out a few details, and other times you just need more explicit instructions to avoid getting lost.

Skitch is an Evernote app, so any Skitch notes can be synced back to your main Evernote account for viewing or further editing on other platforms.

Notepad+

Notepad+ finally made its way over to Android after gaining lots of praise from iOS users. It has a good set of writing and drawing tools, including multiple pen types, highlighters and erasers. The interface puts the key tools at the top with good spacing so it’s easy to quickly tap the right target.

notepad+
Notepad+ has several different virtual paper mockups to suit a variety of note-taking needs.

I was also impressed with the ability to cut, copy, and paste ink anywhere on the page. It is nice to be able to make such an adjustment instead of only having to erase any ink.

OneNote Beta

Microsoft has ramped up its OneNote app. It owes its existence to the Windows XP Tablet Edition era when Microsoft was pushing stylus-powered tablet PCs as the future of computing. They were a little ahead of the game with that one, perhaps.

onenote android
Microsoft's OneNote recently added inking support in its latest Beta, giving it a good complementary feature to its all-around strength as a digital notebook.

OneNote is now making the transition to the touch and cloud era with many updates to the Android app and continual features rolling out to the OS X and Windows desktop versions. 

The beta version of OneNote, which is targeted toward early adopters who want to try out the app’s new features, now supports inking.

Getting the app takes a few extra steps: you must join the OneNote Beta Google+ community and then download (or re-download) the OneNote Android app. You will then have the beta and can start marking away with your stylus.

Note Anytime

The interface for NoteAnytime seems to be designed a with stylus in mind, as the buttons are rather tiny and may not be finger-friendly for everyone.

note anytime
The stylus-friendly Note Anytime is designed for serious note-taking with an interface more targeted at stylus than finger input. It also offers multiple note templates for writing.

Yet it makes for a powerful app, with strong digital whiteboard and sketchbook features. It has a large color palette and calligraphy pens, along with regular writing tools, markers, and highlighters.

If you are not sure about springing for the full-version of the app ($2) there is a pretty well-featured lite version that provides enough features to help you decide if the pro version is worthwhile.

AutoDesk SketchBook

AutoDesk has a healthy family of apps in the Play Store designed for drawing, design, and architecture. The company is rather dominant in this field with its SketchBook and AutoCAD apps.

sketchbook
Serious designers and artists should check out Sketchbook for its many specific tools that would benefit anyone in this field.

If that is your field, then SketchBook may be a good choice for its diversity of illustration tools. You can create a full-fledged piece of art or use your Android tablet for a digital doodling pad. If you are using a Galaxy Note or other tablet and want a form factor more designed for a phone, then go with SketchBook Mobile.

The SketchBook apps also offer a free version, with the pro option costing $5 to further empower your stylus.

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