Rnote – A simple note taking application written in Rust and GTK4

Rnote – A simple note taking application written in Rust and GTK4

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A simple note taking application written in Rust and GTK4.

Rnote aims to be a simple but functional note taking application for freehand drawing or annotating pictures or documents. It eventually should be able to import / export various media file formats.

One main consideration is that it is vector based, which should make it very flexible in editing and altering the contents.


This is my first Rust and GTK project and I am learning as I go along. Expect some bugs and crashes. Also, the file format is still unstable and will change between versions!


Rnote is available as a flatpak on Flathub:

Download on Flathub


Because the file format still is unstable, downgrading to a specific version might be necessary and can be done with:

v0.2.5sudo flatpak update --commit=2036a51c8118a30eb4ceb2e16ba2f84fa8ca4dc814fb88d9424709380093a6c6 com.github.flxzt.rnote
v0.1.6sudo flatpak update --commit=ffb9781989704f3eb28910437bb26709357566a977178d5fb4ef1a2926edae8b com.github.flxzt.rnote

After downgrading, the version can be pinned or unpinned with:

$ flatpak mask com.github.flxzt.rnote
$ flatpak mask --remove com.github.flxzt.rnote

Then the sheets can be exported as an SVG or PDF and can be re-imported into the newest version of Rnote.


If you have drawn something cool in Rnote and want to share it, let me know so I can include it as a screenshot. 🙂




  • Drag & Drop: Make sure Rnote has permissions to the locations you are dragging files from. Can be granted in Flatseal (a Flatpak permissions manager)


  • switch geometry to nalgebra wherever possible. It can operate on f64 and has much more features than graphene.
  • printing & PDF export
  • PDF import ( as vector & bitmap )
  • vector & bitmap picture import
  • implement bezier curve stroke with variable stroke width
    (see Quadratic bezier offsetting with selective subdivision,
    Precise offsetting of bezier curves)
  • Textured brush strokes with tweakable parameters
  • Stroke elements drag tool: drag along parts of the selected strokes based on the proximity of a round pen tool
  • parallelizing rendering and actions which affect many strokes.
  • asychronous rendering
  • cancellable rendering
  • strokes rotation
  • (implemented: lines, rectangles, ellipses) drawing rough shapes by porting rough.js to Rust (see ./src/rough-rs)
  • export as bitmap picture
  • implement text fields (Plain, Markdown)
  • implement optional stroke smoothing

Feature Ideas:

  • Stroke Layers
  • History list
    • with the ability to move them up and down the history
  • Stroke trash restorer
    • with a preview of the deleted strokes
  • Stylus buttons configuration to map them to different actions and / or pen types
  • Locked strokes: mode to toggle the mutability of strokes
  • Multiple sheet tabs
  • Share and synchronize sheets with others ( via e.g. the peer-2-peer protocol libp2p ).

File Format

The .rnote file format is a gzipped json file. It is (de)compressed with the flate2 crate and (de)serialized with the Serde crate.

So far the first breaking change in the format happened between v0.1.6 and v0.2.0.

To be able to open and export older files that are incompatible with the newest version, look under Installation /Downgrading to install older versions of Rnote.

Build instructions and guidelines how to contribute are outlined in CONTRIBUTING.md

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“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te ChingBio: About: