GoodNotes allows you to create shareable URLs to documents that others can use to access and edit them together with you.
Instead of sending copies back and forth, merging different versions, making sure that everyone always has the latest information, or exporting large documents, you can now simply generate a link and share it however you want.
- Sharing and accepting shared GoodNotes documents requires GoodNotes 5.5 or higher. Accepting shared documents currently requires an iPhone/iPad, or a Mac on macOS Big Sur or later.
- "Use iCloud" needs to be enabled in GoodNotes iCloud Settings. Changes synchronize between participants in near real time, and via iCloud as a fallback.
Share a document for collaboration
You can share a document with other users by enabling Link Sharing.
A shared document is currently public and anyone with the link can access the document in their GoodNotes app to edit. You can disable Link Sharing at any time, which will revoke access to the document. We recommend sharing links with trusted people only.
Enable Link Sharing to Collaborate
To enable Link Sharing, follow the steps below:
- Open a GoodNotes document that you want to share.
- Tap the Share icon in the navigation bar > Enable Share Link to Collaborate.
- Tap Send Link to share it.
Accept and open shared documents
When someone else sends you a link to a shared document, open the link from an iOS/iPadOS device to open the document in your GoodNotes app directly. All shared documents (that you shared or that others shared with you) will appear in the "Shared" tab in the library view.
Tip: You can apply filters in the Shared tab for a more focused view.
Disable and manage access
If you are the owner of a shared document, you can disable Link Sharing at any time, which will revoke access for all participants that have already accepted the share and the document will no longer be accessible via the URL. To disable Link Sharing, follow the steps below:
- From the Shared tab in your library, tap on the down arrow next to the document and tap Stop Sharing.
- Tap OK to confirm.
You can re-enable Link Sharing at any time, and the document will be accessible again via the same URL. The users who previously accepted the shared document can access it again via the shared URL but will need to re-download it.
Work with shared documents
By default, shared documents in your library are accessible through the Shared tab. They can be accessed via the respective shared URLs at any time (unless the owner disabled Link Sharing for the documents).
Add a shared document to your own folder structure
You can add a document that is shared with you to your own folder structure:
- Tap on the arrow next to the document in the Shared tab.
- Choose "Add to My Documents."
- Select a location.
- Tap Add to confirm the move.
The shared document is now added to your selected location and is still available through the Shared tab.
Important: When the owner of a shared document disables Link Sharing, the shared document will be removed from all participants' devices and is no longer be accessible via the URL. You may need to contact the owner in case you believe the document should remain shared.
Leave a shared document
Some shared documents only require your attention/input once, or maybe you want to remove them from your library. In either case, you can leave a shared document:
- From the Shared tab, tap on the arrow next to the document you want to leave.
- Tap on Leave Shared Document.
The document will be removed. You can access it again via the URL as long as it is still enabled.
See new changes
If another person (i.e. with a different Apple ID) made changes to a shared document, you will see a blue badge in your library and on the document itself. It will show all documents that have been changed and on which pages the changes were made.
A change will be marked as "seen" when you view the page for more than one second. If there are many pages with unseen changes, you can manually mark them as seen. To do that, open the page thumbnail view in that shared document, tap Select at the top, select the pages, tap "Mark as Seen."
Follow a collaborator
To assume the view of an active collaborator, tap the document title at the middle-top, then on the avatar of the collaborator. You'll see what they see, including their live edits.
Share a document on the web (experimental, full version only)
- Open a GoodNotes document that you want to share.
- Tap the Share icon in the navigation bar > Share Link.
- Enable "Share Link to Collaborate" and wait until the link is created.
Tap "Sharing Settings" and enable “Open Document on Web” to make the document viewable on the web, even by people without GoodNotes installed.
Tap Send Link from the Share & Export menu and choose an app, e.g. a messaging or email app like Mail, to send the link to, or tap Copy and paste it manually in a message to someone.
Tip: Viewers can still comment on the shared document.
Note that this feature currently has some limitations and these won't be shown on the web:
For more details, please see: Known issues of web viewer
Q: I can't even turn on "Share Link to Collaborate". It's turned on and off quickly.
A: Please make sure you have enough iCloud storage, as this is what shared documents take up.
Q: Can others see my changes in real time?
A: Yes, changes you make can be seen by others as soon as you finish an edit, for example by lifting your stylus from the screen. In case a reliable connection can't be established, changes sync via iCloud. For this reason, the owner of the shared document should have sufficient iCloud storage to prevent sync error messages that could pop up on everyone else's device.
Q: Can I invite other users directly, for example via email?
A: No, this is not possible at the moment. They can only join a shared document via the URL.
Q: Can I control what others can access in a shared document and which permissions they have?
A: No, this is not possible at the moment. A shared document is public and anyone with the link can open and edit it in GoodNotes. Disable Link Sharing in case you want to revoke access for others.
Q: A stranger joined a document I shared. What can I do?
A: We recommend disabling Link Sharing under Share > disable "Share Link to Collaborate". You can see all the participants in "Sharing Settings". Their names displayed in this list are associated with their Apple IDs.
Q: I left a shared document. How can I join again?
A: If you have left a shared document, you can always join it again via the same shared URL provided it's still enabled by the owner.
Q: We're using managed Apple IDs in our organization and the feature is not working. What can we do?
A: Please make sure to enable sharing outside the organization and try again.
Q: I opened a shared link from within an app but couldn't proceed to the shared document.
A: In-app browsers might not understand the GoodNotes protocol for Shared Documents. Please open the link in an actual browser app, like Safari or Chrome.
Tips & tricks
Shared links also work when you don't want to share a document with another person. You can use the link to access your own documents, for example from a calendar event or from your to-do app. Please note that not every external app supports the right link handling system to open the document directly in GoodNotes. You might be first redirected to a web page from which you can open the document.
If you need to use two different Apple IDs on two separate devices (e.g. one for personal documents and the other for work), you can't synchronize your GoodNotes documents via iCloud. With Link Sharing, however, you can now share a document with yourself on the other device.