How to use Google Cursive, the alternative to Microsoft OneNote

Google Cursive is an app for taking handwritten notes with your Chromebook. It launched with the HP Chromebook x2 11 and comes pre-installed on newer touchscreen Chromebooks. It is a great OneNote alternative for those looking for simple functionality and a minimalist design. Here’s how to access and use Cursive to create, edit, and organize your notes.

How to Get the Google Cursive App on a Chromebook

Google Cursive is a progressive web application and is accessible with a browser. If it’s not already pre-installed on your touchscreen Chromebook, you can download and install it for offline use. To get the Google Cursive app, follow these steps:

  1. On your Chromebook, open Chrome and navigate to the Google Cursive app using its Web address.
  2. On the right side of the address bar, a dialog box will automatically pop up prompting you to click Install.
  3. If you are not prompted to install the application with a pop-up window, you can also click on the Installation icon (a computer with a down arrow on it) on the right side of the address bar.

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Download and install Google Cursive on your touchscreen Chromebook

How to use the Google Cursive app with your Chromebook

Once the Google Cursive app is open on your Chromebook, you’re ready to start taking notes. You can use your stylus with the app to handwrite your notes, quickly edit them, and organize them with notebooks.

Create a new note

  1. Open the Google Cursive app by selecting the Launcher (a circle icon) at the bottom left of your screen, then the up arrowso Cursive. Alternatively, you can select the Style at the bottom or side of your screen, then Create notewhich will open a new note in Google Cursive.
  2. Once you’ve opened the app, you can create a new note by selecting New note at the top left of the window.
  3. Use your stylus to write notes directly on the screen.

Create a new note with Google Cursive

Edit your handwritten notes with your stylus

  1. doodle over words to delete them.
  2. Draw a horizontal line below the text and drag it down to add more space between lines.
  3. Circle words to select them, then copy and paste them wherever you want.

Edit your notes in Google Cursive with pen gestures

Use the toolbar to edit your notes

  1. In the toolbar at the top of the window, select the pen, highlighter or eraser icons to change the tool you use to edit your handwritten words.
  2. After selecting the pen or highlighter tool icons, change the color or thickness of their lines using the icons that appear on the right side of the toolbar.
  3. Use the select tool icon, represented by a square made up of broken lines, to select the words to be copied or deleted.
  4. Use the picture tool icon to insert images from files on your Chromebook into your note.
  5. Change the background of your note by selecting the icon three points at the top right of the toolbar, then hover over Change of background from the menu and select either Blank, Line, Grid or Dots.


Use the toolbar to edit your notes with Google Cursive

Organize your notes with notebooks

  1. On the app home screen, select the New notebook button at the top right of the window, then name notepad and select a Color for that.
  2. Add a note to Notepad by selecting the three dots icon at the top right of the note, then selecting Add to notebook from the options in the drop-down menu.
  3. Filter the notes you can see from the home screen by selecting All Notes, Unfiled Notes, or one of your custom notebooks.

Organize your notes with folders in Google Cursive

How to read your notes without a Chromebook

The Google Cursive app is designed so you can only create and edit notes on a Chromebook. Cursive, however, allows you to read notes on other devices. Here’s how:

  1. Open Chrome on your non-Chromebook device.
  2. Move towards Google Cursive app in the browser.
  3. Login using your Google account login information.
  4. You will see the familiar home screen in read-only mode.
  5. Click to open and see your existing notebooks and notes.


View your notes in read-only mode on Google Cursive without a Chromebook

How to Use the Google Cursive App Without a Chromebook

The Google Cursive app is only intended for use as a note-taking app on touchscreen Chromebooks. However, you’re not totally unlucky if you don’t have a Chromebook. You can use the Google Cursive app to write and edit notes on any computer, as long as you’re comfortable with your Chrome browser‘s developer tools.

Here’s how to trick the Google Cursive app into thinking you’re using a Chromebook:

  1. Go to Google Cursive app using the Chrome browser on your computer.
  2. Click it three dots icon to the right of the address bar in Chrome.
  3. In the drop-down menu that appears, go to More toolsthen click development tools.
  4. Once the Developer Tools panel appears on the right side of your Chrome window, click Network on top of the panel.
  5. In the row under Network, navigate to Network status by clicking on the icon that looks like a Wi-Fi symbol with a gear.
  6. At the bottom of the panel, scroll the Network conditions tab who has appeared.
  7. In the User agent section, uncheck the Use browser default box then select Chrome-Chrome OS in the drop-down options below.
  8. Refresh the page to reload the app in Chrome.


Use Google Cursive without a Chromebook by making a few changes in Chrome’s Developer Tools

Google Cursive simplifies handwritten notes

Google Cursive is a simple app for creating, editing, and managing handwritten notes. Its simplicity makes it ideal for taking quick notes. On the other hand, its simplicity may be too constraining for some people. Cursive doesn’t let you create or edit notes on devices other than Chromebook. It also doesn’t give you the option to type notes when you don’t want to use your stylus. Those who need these features will be disappointed with Cursive and should look to competing apps like Microsoft OneNote.

Now that you’ve found the perfect note taker for your Chromebook, you need to make sure it performs as quickly and as well as possible. If you notice lag or other issues, Chrome OS diagnostics can help you troubleshoot common issues.


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