Xournal is an application for notetaking, sketching, keeping a journal using a stylus.

xournalXournal is a notetaking application written for Linux and other GTK+ platforms. 

It bears some similarity to Windows Journal, Jarnal and Gournal. 

It is designed to be used with either a stylus or a mouse. 

It is also capable of adding annotations to PDF documents.

    A "Pen" with optional sensitivity to pressure data from the tablet driver, operating at five different preset thickness levels.

    "Eraser" which can either delete everything in its radius of operation (potentially breaking strokes up), act as a white pen ("whiteout") mode or delete the whole length of any continuous stroke in the affected area.

    "Highlighter", which acts as a semitransparent pen allowing the user to highlight areas of text or image.

    Text tool, allowing insertion of basic blocks of character-based text

    Shape recognizer, which can be enabled alongside with the pen to automatically detect circles, lines and polygons when they are drawn and replace them with a clean version.

Additionally, strokes and blocks of text can be selected, moved and copied using a rectangular selection tool.
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Xournal supports annotation of PDF files. Xournal uses the Poppler library to render PDF documents. The documents then become immutable background images. Annotation can then proceed using any of Xournal's standard tools: Pen, eraser, text, and highlighter.

The drawing and selection tools.

The pen
The pen is the default drawing tool in Xournal. It comes in a variety of colors (see the color toolbar buttons and the Color submenu of the Tools menu) and thicknesses (see the thickness toolbar buttons and the Pen Options submenu of the Tools menu).
The eraser
The eraser lets you erase what you have drawn. By default, stylus buttons 2 and 3 (mouse middle or right buttons) are mapped to the eraser tool.
The eraser comes in three different thicknesses (selected using the thickness
toolbar buttons), and can operate in three different modes (Eraser Options submenu of the Tools menu):
  • Standard mode (default): the eraser deletes portions of strokes previously drawn using the pen or the highlighter. In this mode, if you erase in the middle of a stroke, the remaining portions of the stroke are automatically split into shorter strokes. The background of the page (and the lower layers) are not erased.
  • Whiteout: the eraser is actually a thick white pen, and simply covers whatever lies underneath, including the background of the page.
  • Delete strokes: whenever the eraser comes in contact with a previously drawn stroke, the entire stroke is deleted.
The highlighter
Like the pen, the highlighter comes in a variety of colors (the default is yellow) and thicknesses. Use the color and thickness toolbar buttons to change these settings.
The text tool
To insert a new text item, click at the location where the text is to be inserted on the page, then type it in or paste it using the contextual menu (note: no wrapping is performed). To modify a text item, click inside it. The font and point size can be modified using the "Text Font" command in the Tools menu (or the toolbar button). The color is the same as that currently selected for the pen (and can be modified using the toolbar buttons). 
Text items can contain arbitrary Unicode characters, provided that a suitable font is installed on your system. However, languages written in a direction other than left-to-right might not be handled properly. If a journal contains some items in a font that is unavailable on your system, another one will be substituted. (Also, text items will be lost if the document is opened in a version of Xournal prior to 0.4). Finally, note that the printing and PDF export features only accept TrueType and Type 1 scalable fonts (do not use any bitmap fonts), and that the typesetting of the text may be slightly different in the printout.
The ruler
The ruler is not a tool by itself, but rather a special operating mode of the pen and highlighter tools. When it is enabled, these tools paint line segments instead of curvy strokes. For simplicity, selecting the ruler when not in pen or highlighter mode automatically selects the pen.
The shape recognizer
The shape recognizer is also a special operating mode of the pen and highlighter tools. When it is enabled, Xournal attempts to recognize geometric shapes as they are drawn, and if successful will replace the drawn strokes accordingly. The shapes that can be recognized are: line segments, circles, rectangles, arrows, triangles and quadrilaterals. Polygonal shapes can be drawn in a single stroke or in a sequence of consecutive strokes. 

The recognizer is set to be as unobtrusive as possible, and should not interfere too much with handwriting. (It differs in this and other ways from another shape recognizer written for Xournal by Lukasz Kaiser). As a result, it may only recognize shapes if you draw them carefully and deliberately. Specific tips for better recognition:  for circles, a closed curve that isn't quite round works better than a rounder curve that doesn't close;  for arrows, it is better to lift the pen before drawing the tip of the arrow, and make sure the tip consists of two straight line segments;  for very elongated rectangles, recognition tends to be better if you lift the pen between consecutive sides.
Default tools
Each tool (pen, eraser, highlighter, text) has a default setting (color, thickness, ... for the drawing tools, font and size for the text tool) associated to it. The "Default Pen", "Default Eraser", "Default Highlighter", and "Default Text" entries of the Tools menu select the appropriate tool and reset its settings to the defaults. The toolbar also includes a "Default" button which resets the currently selected tool to its default settings, and a "Default Pen" button.
The "Set As Default" entry of the Tools menu takes the current settings of the currently selected tool and makes them the new default.
Thickness buttons
These three buttons control the thickness of the current drawing tool (pen, eraser, or highlighter). The thickness can also be adjusted using the appropriate sub-menu of the Tools menu.
Rectangle selection
This tool lets you select a rectangular region of the current layer. All the strokes which are entirely contained within the rectangular region are selected. The selection can be moved within its page by clicking inside the selection rectangle and dragging the cursor. If the cursor is dragged to a different page, the selection will be moved to the topmost layer of that page.
The selection can be cut, duplicated, etc. (including to a different page or to a different journal) using the copy-paste toolbar buttons or the corresponding entries of the Edit menu.
Vertical space
This tool lets you insert or remove vertical space within the page: all the items of the current layer which lie entirely between the cursor position and the end of the page are moved up or down.
Note that the background, and items on other layers, are not affected. Also, if you insert too much vertical space, some items may fall below the bottom of the page and become invisible. These items are not lost: to retrieve them, either use the vertical space tool again to remove the excess vertical space, or change the page height to an appropriate value (using the "Paper Size" entry in the Journal menu).
If you drag the cursor below the bottom of the page (so that the entire block being moved has become invisible), the items will be moved to the next page (topmost layer); however, any items that were already present on the next page are left unchanged. Similarly, dragging the cursor above the top of the page so that the entire block being moved becomes invisible results in the items being moved to the previous page.
Hand tool
This tool lets you browse the journal; dragging the cursor scrolls the view.
Undo and redo
All operations performed on the currently open journal (drawing, erasing, cut-and-paste; adding, deleting, and reformatting pages; etc.) can be undone and redone at will using the Undo and Redo toolbar buttons or the corresponding entries in the Edit menu.

There is no limit to the depth of the undo/redo stack. It is cleared only when you quit the application or open a new journal.


Button mappings
Stylus buttons 2 and 3 (mouse middle and right buttons) can be mapped to different tools using the appropriate submenus in the Options menu (whereas the Tools menu and the toolbar buttons affect the primary tool assigned to button 1). The default mapping is the eraser. 

Advanced configuration: if a secondary button is mapped to a drawing tool (pen, eraser, or highlighter), the default is to "dynamically link" its settings to those of the primary tool, which means that each drawing tool has common settings (color, thickness, etc.) for all buttons. Dynamic linking of brush settings can be disabled by selecting the "Copy of current brush" option in the "Button mapping" submenu. The settings of the tool for button 2 or 3 are copied from the button 1 settings at the time when you select the option, and afterwards they are no longer updated when the button 1 settings are modified, thus making it possible to assign pens of different colors or thicknesses to different buttons.
Another option that affects button mappings is the "Eraser tip" option. If this option is turned on and the XInput extensions are enabled, then the eraser tip of your tablet's stylus will automatically be remapped to the eraser tool. This behavior, which overrides all other button mappings, is most useful if your X server is configured to map the eraser tip of your tablet's stylus to button 1. 

Also note the "Buttons switch mappings" option, which may be useful to users of external tablets: when this option is turned on, buttons 2 and 3 only switch the tool mapping, and drawing is still done with button 1. 

Annotated PDF documents can be saved in either of two ways. They can be saved in the native Xournal file format and then associated with the original PDF file. 

Alternatively, the document can be exported to PDF format. Once an annotated document has exported to PDF, the annotations can no longer be edited using the standard Xournal tools (though new annotations can be added).
Xournal was designed to be a better-performing program than Jarnal. However, unlike the Java-based alternative, Xournal has no collaboration facilities and is not binary portable to other platforms. Being a native program it runs considerably faster and also has support for the high subpixel resolution provided by the XInput system of X11, and by most Graphics tablet and Tablet PC displays. It can also be used on platforms without Java support, such as the Maemo 4 (OS2008) platform running on the Nokia N800 and Nokia N810 Internet Tablets and the Maemo 5 platform running on the Nokia N900 smartphone.

Xournal saves in an XML-based format (similar to SVG) which is then compressed with gzip. The Xournal todo list currently lists support for the Jarnal file format under its objectives[citation needed]. Being an existing open format based on compressed SVGs, this move would allow users to easily export their notes into external editors such as GIMP, Inkscape and Adobe Photoshop.

Unlike Windows Journal, Xournal lacks the capability to automatically perform OCR on handwritten text, thus precluding the existence of features such as searching a handwritten document for text.

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