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, so you'll need such a device to accept a document before editing it on a Mac. This is a known limitation.
- "Use iCloud" needs to be enabled in GoodNotes iCloud Settings. Changes synchronize between participants in real time, and via iCloud as a fallback.
How to share a document
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.
Enabling Link Sharing
To enable Link Sharing, follow the steps below:
- Open a GoodNotes document that you want to share.
- Tap on the Share icon in the navigation bar.
- Under Collaboration, tap on Collaborate.
- Enable the Link Sharing option.
- Wait a moment until your document is ready to be shared.
- After Link Sharing is enabled, tap Send Link to share the link or copy it to your clipboard. You can do so from the Collaboration menu where you can toggle link sharing, or by tapping on the Share icon in the navigation bar and on Send Link.
Accepting and opening 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.
Disabling and managing 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 on Collaborate. If the document is already open, tap on the Share icon > Collaborate.
- Disable the Link Sharing option and 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.
Organizing documents shared with you
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).
Adding a shared document to your own folder structure
You can add a document that is shared with you to your own folder structure:
1. Tap on the arrow next to the document in the Shared tab.
2. Choose "Add to My Documents."
3. Select a location.
4. 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.
Leaving a shared document
Some shared documents only require your attention/input once or maybe you want to remove them from your library. In this case, you can leave a shared document:
1. From the Shared tab, tap on the arrow next to the document you want to leave.
2. 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.
Seeing 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."
Q: Can others see my changes in real time?
A: Yes. We have rolled out real-time sync to every user in December 2020. 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 > Collaborate. You can see all the participants in this menu. 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: Sadly, there is currently no workaround because our implementation does not yet support managed Apple IDs, similarly to public sharing with Apple's stock apps like Pages or Keynote. We're working on a solution for future updates.
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.