Linux Apps

Jarnal – An Open-Source Digital Note-Taker and PDF Annotator

Jarnal Note Taker and PDF Annotator
Written by Divine Okoi

Jarnal is a Java-based digital note-taking and sketching app you can use to create journals, presentations, and annotations on documents including PDF using a stylus, mouse, or keyboard.

It is reminiscent of Microsoft Windows’ Journal, Mimeo whiteboarding, and Palm note-taking applications

Features in Jarnal

  • Freeware: Notelab is free for everyone to download and use
  • Open Source: Contribute to the source code. See the Release Notes
  • Cross-Platform All Windows, Linux, and Mac users can enjoy the coolness of Jarnal
  • A comprehensive Online Documentation
  • Support for PDF Annotations including signing and highlighting
  • Support for function extension using plugins
  • Runs as both an application and an applet
  • Excellent support for PDF rendering
  • Supports menu customization

Jarnal is not perfect and there are some missing features like support for other graphical export formats besides JPEG and PDF, resizing images using the text function, adding information like authorship and bookmarks to the undo stack. The beauty of open-source software is that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Expect to see improvements to the app soon.

Installing Jarnal is easy. As long as you have Java running on your computer, you can download and unzip package and make executable and run it.

$ wget
$ unzip
$ cd jarnal-install

On Debian and Ubuntu, you can download the .deb package and install it.

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According to the developers,

There is also a commercial knockoff of Jarnal called PDF Annotator – for $50 you can enjoy a subset of the capabilities that Jarnal provides for free.

Do you use Jarnal? What has your experience been like? Or perhaps you know other note-taking apps you can suggest to us. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


About the author

Divine Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for Linux and Open Source software. He is studying again for an MSc in Cybersecurity but still makes time to write about the best software the market has to offer.