How to format Notes for the iPhone and iPad

While using the Notes app for iPhone and iPad to get down a quick thought or two is great, the formatting options for the app help make it a more versatile text editing app. You can bold, italicize, and underline your text, sure, but you can also create lists of items, checklists, and even add tables to your notes.

Here's how you can use the formatting options to spice up your notes.

How to create titles and headings in Notes

You can easily add titles and headings to your notes to give them a more formal style and make everything easier to organize.

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the New Note button in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap the Aa icon, which opens the text formatting menu.

    Open Notes, tap new note, tap Aa

  4. Tap Title for the next text you type will be formatted as a title.
  5. Tap Heading for the next text you type will be formatted as a heading.
  6. Double-tap or tap and hold on existing text to select something that you want to reformat as a title, then follow steps 3-5 to reformat it.

    Tap Title, tap Heading, double-tap text

If you use a title or heading in a note, pressing the return key on your iPhone or iPad's keyboard will automatically format new text after that point as "body" text, so if you want to go from, for instance, a title to a heading, remember that you'll need to choose the Heading format from the formatting menu.

How to automatically start new notes with a title or heading

Of course, you can automatically begin each new note with a title or heading if you wish.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notes.

    Open Settings, tap Notes

  3. Tap New Notes Start With.
  4. Choose between Title, Heading, or Body.

    Tap New Notes Start With, choose formatting option

How to format lists in notes

In Notes, you can choose from three different types of lists to keep everything in order.

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the New Note button in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap the Aa icon, which opens the text formatting menu, if you're starting on a new list.

    Open Notes, tap new note, tap Aa

  4. Tap on the list format you'd like to use. Choose from either dashed, numbered, or bulleted.
  5. Type out your list.

    Tap list format, type list

How to bold, italicize and underline in Notes

Put emphasis on the text of your notes by bolding italicizing, or underlining it.

  1. Tap on the empty space or select text that you wish to change by double-tapping or tapping and holding.
  2. Tap the B I U icon in the pop-up.
  3. Tap either Bold, Italic, or Underline to format your text the way you want.

    Tap text, tap BIU, tap Bold, Italic, tap Underline

How to create a checklist in Notes

Create a quick shopping or to-do list with the checklist format.

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the New Note button in the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap the checklist icon to create a checklist entry.

    Open Notes, tap new note, tap checklist

  4. Tap return once to create another entry.
  5. Double-tap return when you're done making your checklist to start using standard body text.
  6. Tap the checklist bullet point to check it off. Tap it again to uncheck the item.

    Tap return, double-tap return, tap checklist bullet

How to add a table to a note

New in iOS 11, you can now add tables to your notes to more easily lay out data.

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the New Note button in the bottom right corner or enter an existing note.
  3. Tap the table button in the formatting bar.

    Open Notes, tap new note, tap table button

  4. Tap the More buttons on either the top or the side of one of the left-most cells (buttons look like three dots). The top More button controls columns, while the side More button controls rows.
  5. Choose Add Column or Delete Column from the top More button to add or delete a column.

    Tap more, tap add column or delete column

  6. Choose Add Row or Delete Row from the side More button to add or delete a row.
  7. Enter your data into the table.

    Tap add row or delete row, enter data

You can get more information about tables in our handy guide to using tables in Notes.

Questions

If you've got any more questions about formatting your notes, let us know in the comments.

Update October, 2017: Updated with new instructions and screens for iOS 11, including a new section for inserting a table.

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