5 ways to use your Apple Pencil in the Books app on iPad

Learn how to use your Apple Pencil in Books on your iPad, whether to highlight a passage, add a note, use Look Up, annotate PDFs, and more.

Highlight in Books with Apple Pencil on iPad

1. Add highlights

To highlight a single word, touch that word with your Apple Pencil and hold for a short while.

To highlight phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or even a single word, drag through the text with your Pencil. You can also hold your Pencil on a word and use the handles to drag through the remaining text. The highlight is automatically added.

To change the highlight color or underline the text instead, tap the text you highlighted. Then tap Highlight and choose the colored circles or the underlined U.

Change color of highlighted text or underline it in Books app on iPad

Related: How to use highlights and notes in Apple Books

2. Include notes

Notes in Books come with highlights. So, to include a note, you must first highlight some text using the instructions above.

Then, tap the highlight and select Add Note. Jot your note directly in the small sticky that appears on the screen. You can use the on-screen keyboard or even write with your Apple Pencil, which will convert to typed text automatically, and then tap Done.

Adding a note to highlighted text in iPad Books app

3. Remove highlights or notes

To delete a highlight, tap the highlighted text and select Remove Highlight.

To remove a note you have added, tap the highlighted text and select Delete Note or Remove Highlight & Note. If you have a note attached to the highlight, you’ll be asked to confirm that you want to remove both.

Remove Highlight or note in Books app on iPad

4. Use Look Up, Search, or Share

You can add a highlight or select a word or phrase and then use:

Using Look Up in Books app on iPad
  • Search: To find the selected word or phrases elsewhere in this book. You also have handy buttons to search for it on Wikipedia or the web.
  • Share: Add the selected text to an app visible on the iOS Share Sheet. For instance, you can add the selected text to the Notes app or send it via Messages.
Using Search and Share in Books app on iPad

Note: Tap the arrow on the far right of the toolbar to see the above options if they are not directly visible.

5. Annotate a PDF

You can annotate PDFs in Books the same with your Apple Pencil as with your finger, if you’ve done so in the past.

Open the PDF, tap the center of the screen to display the toolbar at the top, and tap the Markup icon. You can then use your Apple Pencil to draw, highlight, erase, or add shapes like a circle or arrow using the toolbar at the bottom.

Annotate a PDF in Books app on iPad using Apple Pencil

Check out next: 15 ways to use your iPad and iPhone together with your Mac