iPhone and iPad

MagicalPad HD: A Notebook For iPad Power Users

Bakari Chavanu 17-10-2013

While notebook apps like Evernote Evernote: A Must-Have App for the iPhone and iPad [iOS] In the last several months, the iOS versions of Evernote have undergone a significant overhaul of their user interfaces, closely mirroring the design and features of the counterpart web and Mac applications. We have added... Read More and Springpad Springpad vs Evernote: Why Visual Orientation Matters in an Online Notebook It's easy to understand why there are tons of online and software notebooks out there to choose from: mainly because there is so much information to manage, bookmark, and share in our online and mobile... Read More are digital file drawers for us paperless converts, we can’t always use these notebooks to showcase our ideas, plans, and agendas in an old style paper format. But a new iPad and iPhone app called MagicalPad may be just the solution for expanding what can be done on iOS devices.


MagicalPad isn’t just another notebook app, but a highly useful app for creating outlines, notes, mind maps, drawings and more as you would on sheets of printed paper. MagicalPad provides the tactical feel that allows users to move content around on the canvas, instead of just typing lines of notes. Let’s check out what it can do.

Note: MagicalPad is not a universal app and this review is based on the “HD” iPad version, not the iPhone version.

How It Works

What stands out for me about MagicalPad is that you can use it like a roll of drafting paper onto which you add notes, drawings, lists, images, and even checkbox items placed vertically or horizontally on the scrolling canvas. It’s a great way to present material to a client or members of your project team.

MagicalPad for iPad Main UI Content

MagicalPad first reminded me of Sketch Rolls Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps Last year I wrote about a few useful handwriting iPad apps for note taking and drawing. Since then other similar apps have been developed that are just as stylish, but contain a few unique features... Read More , which allows you to add pages vertically and scroll to the left to add and view drawings. MagicalPad is also like Notability Go Back to School Paperless With Notability for iPad & iPhone With mobile apps like Notability, it's a lot easier to go paperless when it comes to recording lectures and taking notes, annotating documents and keeping your digital files organized. I've reviewed several writing apps in... Read More , which features tools for typing, drawing, importing images and sharing content. But MagicalPad goes further. It includes tools for adding flow charts, outlines, mind maps, and text boxes, as well as drawings and photos.



You may not want to use MagicalPad for writing long extended pieces of writing. Instead, it feels more useful as a notebook and project planning or presentation app. You can, for example, add text boxes and move them around on the canvas. You can tap on a text box when the keyboard is closed and get access to a useful set of tools for copying text, changing the font style and size, adding fill color and a border, or deleting the box all together.


One feature in the toolox allows you to open a text box or flow chart in a separate window so that you can view content in a larger space, add an image from your device’s Camera Roll or take a photo right from within the app.


MagicalPad larger view

The app uses three toolbars, and the top toolbar includes buttons for undo and redo, text and color formatting, export and import of content, and full screen mode which hides the toolbars.


The bottom toolbar consists of a Page Selector, which in addition to creating new blank pages, also contains templates for meeting notes, customer call cards, brainstorming (including  templates for a pre-formatted outline, SWOT analysis chart, and a mind mapping cluster) as well as ideas.


Other toolbar items are for adding text boxes, images, drawings, charts, a multi-select tool for selecting multiple items at once, and a zoom tool. Like most advanced iOS apps, you can enlarge and decrease the size of the canvas by pinching in or out with two fingers.

MagicalPad HD: A Notebook For iPad Power Users Screen Shot 2013 10 13 at 3

You can also change the background color of the canvas, duplicate it, and move or copy it to another notebook. When you press down and hold on any part of the canvas, a smaller toolbar pops up with items for adding a text box, images and drawings, or copying and pasting content.

MagicalPad also includes a pen drawing tool, but its digital ink is not as smooth as what you find in Penultimate Learn How To Sketchnote With The Penultimate App For The iPad I recently wrote an article about sketchnoting, an approach to notetaking using both words and drawings. Though many of the examples of sketchnotes you see online are produced by skilled designers and artists, it's important... Read More .


MagicalPad pentool

Experienced iPad users will find MagicalPad pretty intuitive, but there’s a button on the app’s homepage that includes access to an in-app help menu, a basic overview video, and a 45-page clearly written and illustrated manual.

Other Features

Instead of traditional linear folders, MagicalPad allows you to organize your content into notebooks, similar to how it’s done in the popular app Paper Why The Drawing & Sketching App Paper Won Apple's iPad App For 2012 The sketch and drawing app, Paper, recently won Apple's 2012 iPad App of the Year Award, and it is very easy to see why. Even if you're not an artist but are a true fan... Read More , and Penultimate and Bamboo Paper Make Your iPad A True Writing Tool With These Notebook Apps For me, the iPad is the ultimate device for paperless reading, writing, and photo viewing. The comfortable viewing size of the iPad makes it a perfect electronic notebook for reading ebooks, PDFs, typing short emails,... Read More apps.


Notebook content can be synched between devices via iCloud and exported in PDF and JPEG formats. But there’s more: you can also share content to email, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Twitter, Facebook, and to your device’s Camera Roll.

Cross Platform

While MagicalPad is not a universal app, both versions of the iOS app are affordably priced, and when the OS X version is released, it’s going to make for a really powerful cross-platform production environment.


Worth Downloading

If MagicalPad provides solutions for the type of paperless note taking you’ve been looking for, I highly recommend downloading the iPad version and checking it out for yourself. It looks to have all the tools most paperless users would want. But let us know what you think of it, and what features you would like to see added.

Download: MagicalPad HD (iPad, $2.99) / MagicalPad (iPhone, $2.99)

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  1. Marc
    January 19, 2014 at 7:52 am

    For those complaining about the price: how much did you pay the three beers you had with collegues yesterday? Latest pizza home delivery? The movies you rented this week? App Store is not an "everything for less then 2 USD" place. I'm a 48 years old pilot and bought aviation apps four times that price because they are worth it. MagicalPad is worth it. Their support is worth it. Enjoy it because it's fun too and happy new year to all!

  2. Bouchra
    October 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    You need to update the price to $20. It is usually $20, they run promotions every now and then. But you nailed it it is magical. I like the idea of putting my ideas anywhere and adding to them. It is like a regular notebook is a sequential tape and this app is SSD. We don't think sequential, we think like paper freeform.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Wow, Bourchra, thanks to you and others for the update. The price certainly shot up. Not sure if that was a good idea on their part.

  3. Todd
    October 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Change your price listed in the article. It's not $2.99, it's $19.99. Not even close to what I would pay to replace Evernote.

  4. Todd
    October 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Change your price listed in the article. It's not $2.99, it's $19.99. Not even close to what I would pay to replace Evernote.

  5. Bill H
    October 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

    For a $20 app it better be magical.

  6. darth
    October 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    these guys are completely insane. they increased the price now to 18€/20$