Playing with stickers and images in GoodNotes

You can be very productive with just handwriting and text in your digital planner, but with stickers things get a lot more fun.

Stickers can be sourced from many places. I recommend legal channels like printables, digital planning stickers, and graphic resource sites. Please be mindful of copyright restrictions.

The stickers that you can purchase from Tiny Pixels, Big Plans come in a zip file, and are one sheet or several sheets of transparent PNG files. The transparency allows you to easily crop the stickers without remnant background pieces.

To unzip a file on the iPad, use an app such as iZip. Alternatively you can download files to your personal computer, unzip them there and then email them to yourself. You will want to end up with PNG files either saved to your camera roll or in your Dropbox.

For this tutorial, I have put together a sheet of free stickers to play with. If you do not have a planner base, visit the previous blog post to grab one and load that up.

Tap the link to download these stickers. There is a transparent background that we want to make sure to keep. Save the image to your camera roll by resting your finger on the image and choosing Save image.



Open up your planner sample in GoodNotes if you haven’t already. Find a nice clear spot to work with – maybe erase the scribbles from the previous tutorial if you have them.

There are a few methods to get your sticker page into GoodNotes and it depends on where they are saved and which method you find the most intuitive.

You can long press on the planner page with the lasso tool selected and choose Image, and then navigate to the location (probably the camera roll if following this tutorial, perhaps Dropbox if you are working from files that you added from there)



You can view the stickers in the Photo app and click the share arrow, and then copy, and then paste into the GoodNotes screen (this works particularly well in split screen)

You can click the cross in a circle, then Add /Image and choose the location.

Your stickers should be selected when they are added to the page. Drag a blue handle until the numbers are the size you want them. You can resize smaller or larger as you desire, although image quality may degrade if you go too large. If they were not selected, rest your finger on the image and choose Edit to bring up the blue corner dots.




With the sticker sheet now resized, lasso a section with the lasso tool, tap within that circle and choose Copy, and then Paste. Paste the image 12 times by resting your finger anywhere outside the blue dashed line and choosing Paste.


Rest your finger on top of one image. Make sure it is not selected with the lasso (tap elsewhere on the screen if it is)


Choose Edit, rest your finger again, choose Crop. Draw around one number, either freehand or rectangular. Press Done to continue.


Repeat these steps until all stickers are isolated. This is all a bit fiddly, but if you copy and paste the stickers to a sticker album or blank page somewhere in your planner, you will never have to do this again.

I made this tutorial and stickers in September. I have just noticed that although I attempted to provide the numbers for one week, there is no September 31st in existence. I have also added a 24 that will not be used in this particular week. That was clever of me. With some very careful cropping you will be able to isolate the 1. You can crop closer and closer until you trim the excess parts away. My real number sticker sheets in the store have numbers 1 to 31 included.


Play with the positioning of the stickers, make them larger or smaller, try layering them. If the wrong one appears on top, you will need to cut and paste again in the order that you want them on the page. One of the most important things in digital planning is to keep playing and experimenting, see what works and what doesn’t. Eventually your fingers will know all the steps to take and you won’t need to think about it.


If 2 or more of your images get stuck together and you keep grabbing the wrong one, rest your finger on the image and press Edit, which will allow you to move it out of the way.


Now, for fun – take a photo with your iPad or phone and add that to your page!


Keep playing, keep experimenting, and be sure to check out all the stickers I have on offer.


Let’s try GoodNotes on a digital planner spread

While you can use my planner templates on any platform that can display a PDF, they really shine best in the app GoodNotes on iOS. I am hopeful that one day GoodNotes will expand to all platforms so more people can enjoy it.

This tutorial should work on a standard iPad, an iPad Pro, iPhone, iPad mini, iPad Air, etc. The interface options may look a touch different depending on your screen and device.

First you will need to purchase and install the app if you have not already. We will be here when you get back.  GoodNotes is around $10 USD (I think… it only shows me Australian prices here and that is $12.99. There are specials on occasion.)

Open GoodNotes and have a look around. Not really much like a planner, is it? If you want to have fun with a digital planner, you will need a PDF base. I have created a sample PDF that you can use with this tutorial. It is normally hosted in my Facebook group but today I have given you a direct link.

If you click the link on your iPad, it should display after it loads. There might be a delay.

Tap the PDF so you can view the Open in… dialog.


If you use GoodNotes already, your link on the right might already say Open in GoodNotes. You can tap there to load it.

If not, tap Open in… and see if Copy to GoodNotes is in your list. Fingers crossed. Tap that if it’s there. If not, there are other ways to import so do not fret.


[You can also open GoodNotes itself and load the PDF from there. If you have Dropbox, copy the PDF to Dropbox. In GoodNotes, tap on the cross, choose Import and then from DropBox. You might have to approve a link between GoodNotes and DropBox if you haven’t, previously.]

If you can Copy to GoodNotes, then Create New Document, and create a category if you want. I have a category called Planners. I’m importing into planners, so I tapped on that at the bottom.


Tap the thumbnail to see the sample and get started.


It’s possible that there will be a delay here too and that the sample does not load instantly, depending on your iPad memory. But before long the sample will be shown in all its glory.

The active tool in GoodNotes will be the one that is filled in solid blue.


Have a play around here. With the No Pen tool selected, try tapping on a tab. If you are on the front page, nothing will happen, so try swiping to page 2 and tapping one of those tabs. Pretty cool, huh? Now imagine that this planner is 80 pages long and that you can quickly get to October by tapping there.

Next, try out the pen tool. You can choose a colour, a thickness and Fountain or Ball pen. You can also input a custom colour, but for now, just have a play. With your finger is fine.


Try a few different thicknesses.


If you don’t have a stylus, you might be feeling a little nonplussed right about now. Don’t worry, because you can also add text.

To type, first select the lasso tool, and then long press where you want to type, and tap on the word Text. Type your task, and then play with the text size until it looks how you like.




Try playing with the highlighter too! You can tap the icon that looks like shapes to draw a straight line.


2017-09-17_12-40-31You can also add images. The intricacies of images and cropping will be explored in another post.

I hope this was helpful! Visit the Facebook group for questions relating to this post, or if you’re feeling confident and want to dive in, view all the different planner options.


What is your version of digital planning and why would I want to do it?

The way I digital plan is to bring together a few different parts. Firstly, I have an app to do everything in. This is the way I can add handwriting, text, highlighting and images. Your images can be memory photos, graphics to look like translucent washi, icons, and stickers.

Basically, the app is a PDF annotation app or note-taking app.

I use an iPad Pro, 12.9” and the app I use is GoodNotes, from the iTunes Store. Other planners use different apps, Android tablets, Windows PCs, Macs, and there are solutions for all of these, but GoodNotes is my personal favourite and the app in which all my screenshots and tutorials will be based upon. You do not have to have an iPad Pro, but the large size and the Apple Pencil make this the most fun variant, at least for me.

The second part in the equation is the PDF. I created a series of PDFs that you can use as planners and journals. They are different in style and design but all have the same underlying concept – a planner template and navigation.

Every month, every week, and every day in the case of the mobile version, you will be presented with a blank spread to work your magic upon.

The financial planner monthly spread.
The neutral planner monthly spread.
The neutral planner weekly spread.
The dot grid section of the notebook.

The third part is digital stickers. These are not essential but amp up the fun factor! You can get stickers that look like bases, frames, icons, washi and more, and the range is always expanding as new ideas and concepts enter the digital universe.


Sticker and washi examples.


Your mission in digital planning is to bring all of these elements together to create your  planner spread.

Tasks and stickers in a monthly spread (zoomed in)

This is where it can get as fancy as you like. Honestly, some weeks I have been known to copy and paste what I did the week before, and then create fresh tasks on top of that. This is great when you just want to get on with things. But most planners tend to approach each week as a fresh creative challenge.


weekly spread
My spreads fill up as the week progresses. This is the rainbow planner.



It can even help you procrastinate.


Digital planning is amazingly flexible and portable. Imagine this:

  • I carry around my entire collection of stickers, washi, and a series of pens in different widths and colours.
  • My planner does not get bulkier than the day I bought it.
  • I can have the same planner on my phone and iPad with iCloud backup.
  • If I want to add a photo to the page, I simply add it from my camera roll or take a new photo. No little printer, no glue stick, pictures are as bright and clear as the original.
  • Sharing spreads online is so simple. No staging, just a screenshot.
  • My ink never smudges.
  • My coil or rings never get in the way of my hand.
  • If I make a mistake, I just erase it.
  • If I don’t do something, I just lasso the task and move it to a day when I will do it… or maybe I will move it again.
  • If something doesn’t look right, I try again. There is no waste.

Hopefully by now you are dying to get started. The How is more complicated than the What and the Why and this will have to be over a series of posts. Until I can provide you with the How, YouTube is an incredible resource. Try some search terms such as: goodnotes planner or digital plan with me or try using the phrase of the action you are stuck on such as goodnotes using stickers.

For community, tips, freebies and online support, there is my Facebook group.

In the Facebook group, you will also find samples of PDFs to download and test. Check out the pinned post. (only readable by group members)

To see the planners and stickers I have on offer, visit the website.


Using Tiny Stamps calendar stickers in GoodNotes

The Rainbow planner comes with a (bonus surprise) set of numbers to add to the monthly calendar spread. But you might look at them and wonder how to use them? I’ve detailed the process to (hopefully) make it easy for you to add the numbers to your own planner.

These stickers are formatted in such a way that you need to only line up 7 stickers, rather than 28 to 31 which as you can imagine (or may have experienced) is a long and tedious process. I used this same format when designing actual photopolymer stamps to use, and believe it is my own original implementation.

Firstly you will need to import your sticker image. Long press with the lasso tool to bring up the menu; choose Image, navigate to your image and import.

picture 1

Resize the sticker sheet (drag a blue corner dot) until one vertical line fits perfectly within the circles. Remember that they will not go all the way down the page.

picture 2picture 3

Copy and paste the image 6 more times. (lasso a section, copy, paste)

picture 4

Crop each sticker so you have 7 different vertical strips of stickers. Keep the 29 – 31 for now even if you are starting with February. (tap on image without lassoing, edit, crop. Drag a rectangle around the section you want to retain. Rectangular selecting works better than freehand for this purpose)

picture 5

Find a reference calendar to use to determine what day the 1st of the month falls on. Line up the 1/8/15/22/29 sticker to this day.

Continue lining up the stickers until you are done.

picture 6

Copy and paste the complete calendar to your sticker book or to a blank spread so the process is streamlined next time.

picture 7

Return to your monthly page and if you are in a short month, either crop out the extra numbers or scribble over them with the white pen.

You can leave the unused days as-is or use those boxes for lists. The empty circles can be covered with stickers or scribbled with white – remember the white will move with you if you decide to cut, copy or erase later. I like to draw a little highlighter line around the actual month to separate it from the lists. Be sure to use the straight line tool for this if you want it to look neat.

(Yes, I changed months 😉 )

picture 8

Enjoy your new dated month! I hope you found this tutorial helpful.

Visit my Facebook group to see more tips, discover new product releases, planner samples and freebies.


Hello world ;)

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a really, really long time. This is my first blog in 11 years! My first blog in 2000 or so was even before blogs existed (they were called online journals back then, and weblogs were different – basically a list of links to interesting things around the web. I feel old all of a sudden).

I always put it on the back burner but then today I made a rather complicated set of digital stickers and realised I didn’t have much choice anymore.

Welcome to my blog, where I will talk about digital planning on my iPad, mainly. I plan to use the blog for hints, tips and explanations. I share spreads on my Instagram and in my Facebook group, and talk about new sticker and planner releases and share freebies and samples in my Facebook group as well, so I don’t really need to do that here.

I hope that in your visit you get some value and answers to your questions. Feel free to leave a comment and ask questions about things you don’t understand about digital planning. But at this stage, if your question has an Android in it, I am likely to say huh? I do plan to remedy this over the coming weeks and months by getting my own Android tablet and increasing my knowledge of the platform.

Thanks for visiting!