How to Draw Layers on Your Supernote E-Reader Device

Supernote supports multi-layer drawings, making it the best note-taker ever.
Odin Odin (182)
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I love my Supernote devices and I don’t keep my praise a secret! For one thing, the company behind them, Ratta, is one of the most responsive teams I’ve ever encountered in the tech world. These guys care about their product and their users, and that care shows. Rather than just another faceless corp, you know that you’re connecting with an old-school company that takes pride in its work and customer relationships.

Supernote offers one of the best e-reader experiences on the market today, but where it shines brightest is as a note-taking system. By far, this is the best device I’ve used, outstripping even the much-vaunted Remarkable 2 (this is especially true in terms of business model and features, and with the Supernote boasting comparable writing latency to the Remarkable even more-so ).

My Supernote A5X proved invaluable in helping me prepare for my move to a new apartment and plan my layout!

Currently, the Supernote boasts support for four-active and one background layer, for a total of five layers. This is vital for anyone who wants to create diagrams and plans using their Supernote, and offers artists a much greater degree of flexibility and control over their work.

For my own part, my Supernote A5X proved invaluable in helping me prepare for my move to a new apartment and plan my layout! The Supernote is also a great way to represent battle-maps for D&D adventures if you want to play while you’re out and about. Use your A6X for your notes and character sheets, and your A5X for your playing board!

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Background layer on Supernote
Background layer on Supernote

The background layer is reserved for the page template of your choice. This could be something preloaded, like a grid, or could be something that you imported from an outside platform. You can toggle the visibility of this layer on or off as needed.

To set a new background layer (or remove it), just tap on the background layer itself in the layers list. It will automatically bring up the background layer selection screen.

Adding new layers to Supernote
Adding new layers to Supernote

Adding a new layer is easy, just click the layer menu and then the little plus icon ("+"). You can add up to four of these layers above the background layer. If you have more than one layer, you can move them forward or back easily with the arrow icons, and you can toggle visibility as well.

Best practices for layers with Supernote
Best practices for layers with Supernote

As of this writing, Supernote does not yet support locking or grouping of sections of a layer. That means that if you are designing an apartment, and you place an armchair and a desk in one layer close together, when you draw a selection box around one part or all of the other may be selected as well. I’d love to see grouping as a function in the future, but, for now, you can use the layer feature to enforce simple grouping.

For instance, you can place different types of furniture on different layers to ensure that you can select and move specific drawn objects without accidentally dragging along others as well.

Supernote A6X and A5X F has simple but powerful features for handling PDFs.
Odin Odin (182)
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I’ve written about the Supernote X series of e-ink devices plenty, and they even earned my five-star review for being the all-around best choice for anyone looking for a digital notebook and versatile reading/writing device. Ratta, the company behind Supernote, has managed to produce a compelling and wildly useful little device that can handle professional and everyday needs. In this article, I’m going to walk you through the PDF features of the Supernote A5X and A6X models. These are Ratta’s first devices to be powered by a customized Android operating system which allows them a number of advanced side-loading features, but PDFs are supported by their older Supernote devices as well. Testing the Supernote To test this, I grabbed an old book from the Internet Archive, The Princess of Mars. At almost 400 pages, this hefty PDF only takes a moment to load now that Ratta has taken steps to optimize the Supernote's speed. Originally, loading a book this big (and one completely unoptimized for e-readers) took about seven seconds to load, but now it's smooth as butter and basically as fast as opening and turning the pages of a real book. What are PDFs anyway? Since their development in 1993, Portable Document Format files (PDFs) have been the go-to for all professional needs. The file is capable of presenting text formatting and images entirely independent of any operating system, hardware, or software — a huge advantage when so many companies are constantly vying for control of the market. In addition, PDFs allow for advanced interactive components, digital signatures, and various methods of encryption and document control, which make them extremely popular for legal and business-related work. How does Supernote hold up against the competition? So, how does the Supernote compare to other e-ink devices that can access PDFs? Well, there is a big range of such devices on the market right now, and I tried the most popular ones out myself when considering my initial purchase of an e-ink tablet. Through most of 2021, the Supernote offered something roughly comparible to other staples on the market, like Boox, but failed to live up to the sleek performance of the Remarkable 2. Now, the Supernote is as fast as the RemMarkable 2, without the terrible subscription model that the ReMarkable company is now relying on. Supernote is now as fast as the ReMarkable 2, but offers so much more. As always, what commends Supernote to me so deeply is the company’s high responsiveness and the sleek, efficient build quality of their devices. It doesn’t look like a flashy tablet, either; once it’s in its faux leather cover, it feels quite like carrying around a real notebook. The biggest issue with PDFs on the Supernote A6X is one of size. I’d strongly recommend getting the A5X because its larger screen works way better for PDFs. Yes, you can use pinch-zooming to look closer at PDF content, meaning that, even on my tiny A6X, I can easily navigate around a large D&D character sheet or search through the fine-print of a contract. However, the A5X handles PDF sizes far more efficiently and is definitely the better device to go to if you intend to read PDFs regularly.