How to use Google Cursive on your Chromebook

Google Cursive is one of the pre-installed note apps on many touchscreen Chromebooks. It’s a relatively new handwritten note-taking app from Google that’s exclusive to Chromebook. It is a Progressive Web App (PWA) accessible through the Google Chrome browser. We’ll show you how to set up and use Google Cursive on your Chromebook.

How to get Cursive on your Chromebook

As mentioned earlier, Google Cursive comes pre-installed on touchscreen Chromebooks. There should be a “Cursive” app shortcut in your Chromebook’s launcher or app drawer.

press the Look for Where Launcher and type “cursive” in the search bar. The Cursive app shortcut should appear in the search results.

Google Cursive originally debuted on the HP Chromebook x2 11 in 2021. The app works on nearly all next-gen Chromebook models and Chrome OS versions. If your Chromebook doesn’t have the Cursive app preinstalled, follow the steps below to install the app.

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser on your Chromebook and visit this URL:
  2. When prompted, connect your Google account or sign in with your Google account credentials.
  1. Select or press the install cursive (computer with down arrow) in the right corner of the address bar.
  1. Select Install on the confirmation prompt.

The Google Cursive PWA works offline without a Wi-Fi connection. However, your Chromebook must have an internet connection to sync notes and notebooks with your Google account.

The Google Cursive web app shortcut should now be accessible in your Chromebook’s launcher. We recommend selecting the Quick turn option when you first open Cursive. This will show you an overview of the app’s essential features, functionality, and how to use them.

If you didn’t take the tour, you can still access the short tutorial in the app. Press the three dots icon in the top right corner of the app dashboard, select To helpand choose Guided tour.

You will find two options on the app’s dashboard: New note and New notebook.

Notes are documents with handwritten content – texts, sketches, images, drawings, etc. On the other hand, notebooks are multi-page documents with a collection of notes. Think of Notes and Notebooks like spreadsheets and workbooks in Microsoft Excel.

Create notes with Google Cursive

Open Cursive and select New note. This will launch the canvas where you create and edit notes.

You will notice dotted lines on the canvas. You can change the background style if you want.

Press the three dot menu icon in the upper right corner, select Change of backgroundand choose your favorite background style.

How to Use the Google Cursive Pen Tool

The Pen tool is what you use to write and draw in Google Cursive. Select the Pen icon in the toolbar and scribble texts on the canvas with your finger or stylus.

You can also use the stylus to select, move and delete content (texts and drawings) on the canvas. Select the Pen icondoodle on the content, then tap the light-up doodle to delete the content.

To move the content in the canvas, draw a circle over the content and drag the glowing circle.

Draw a horizontal line and drag the light line to increase the (horizontal) space between your canvas content.

Select the Color pallet Where Line thickness toolbar options to change the color or thickness of your squiggles.

How to Use Google Cursive Highlighter

The Highlighter tool draws attention to important content on your canvas using low opacity colors. It works the same way as the Pen tool.

Select the Highlighter icon in the toolbar and doodle over the content you want to highlight.

You can also change the color and thickness of the highlighter tool in Google Cursive.

Clear content in Google Cursive

Select the tool to erase in the toolbar and scribble the content you want to erase from your note.

The Eraser tool can remove anything on the canvas except images. See the next session for how to add and remove images in Google Cursive.

Manage Images in Google Cursive

Press the Insert picture in the toolbar, select the image in the Files app, then select Open.

This will add the image to your note. Resize the image or move it to your preferred position on the canvas. Tap anywhere outside the canvas when you’re done.

To make further changes to an image, you must first select the image using the selection tool. Press the Selection tool (dotted square icon) in the toolbar and tap the image you want to edit.

Resize the image from any of the four corners or drag it to a new position. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right corner to open the images menu.

Select the Trash icon to delete the image or press the Copy Icon to copy the image to your Chromebook’s clipboard. Hurry CTRL + V to paste a copy of the image anywhere on the canvas.

Make space between content

While the Pen Tool can adjust the space between content, Google Cursive has a dedicated “Create Space” tool. The tool automatically adds more space between elements on different rows/rows.

Select the To make room in the toolbar and tap the line where you want to add more space.

This will space the content between the selected line. Drag the bottom line to increase or decrease the space.

The selection tool

We’ve illustrated how Google Cursive’s selection tool works with images. Now let’s explain how it works with texts and drawings.

Press the Selection tool (dotted square icon) in the toolbar and drag the cross icon over a text or drawing.

To select and highlight, press the Selection tool and press the highlight.

Lock Canvas in Google Cursive

Lock your canvas if you scroll often or zoom it by accident. First, you need to configure Google Cursive to show the canvas lock icon in your note.

Tap the menu icon in the upper right corner and enable Show canvas lock.

Press the Cloth lock icon in the upper right corner to pause scrolling up and down on the canvas.

Press the Lock icon again to unlock the canvas.

Switch between pen and touch mode

You can create handwritten notes in Google Cursive with your fingers or a stylus. Google Cursive is optimized to work with fingers and touchscreen gestures in touch mode.

If a stylus is connected to your Chromebook, Google Cursive automatically enables stylus mode. You can switch between touch mode and pen mode at any time.

Tap the canvas menu icon and select Switch to touch mode Where Switch to pen mode.

Google Cursive will show an error message if it doesn’t detect a pen while using the app in pen mode. Also, you cannot use some features in pen mode without a pen.

If your Chromebook doesn’t have a stylus but supports the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), you can use third-party styluses or USI styluses.

Undo and redo changes

System-wide keyboard shortcuts for undo (Ctrl+Z) and redo (Ctrl+Shift+Z) previous actions do not work in Google Cursive. Use the to cancel and Remake icon in the upper right corner of the canvas instead.

Share and export notes

Google Cursive allows users to export notes to PDF file format. Open a note, tap the canvas menu icon and select Export to PDF.

Create notebooks in Google Cursive

A notebook is a set of notes. Here’s how to create a notepad in Google Cursive and fill it with notes:

  1. Open Google Cursive and select New notebook on the home page.
  1. Give the notebook a name, select a cover color and press Create a notebook. You can now add notes to the notebook.
  1. Tap the note card menu and select Add to notebook.
  1. Select the destination notebook.

Google Cursive: a competitor to OneNote?

Chromebooks do not support the Android OneNote app. Therefore, Google Cursive suffices as a great OneNote substitute for handwritten notes. In terms of features, however, Google Cursive doesn’t come close to OneNote. So we’ll call Google Cursive a “simple” OneNote substitute for Chromebooks, not a OneNote rival.

About Jon Moses

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