I recently bought a graphics tablet and I want to use it for solving my math homework on laptop. The picture presents what I want. Do you know any software (better foss) which I can use to deal with math comfortably? To clarify I want the program to be simple and to allow to draw on notebook-like background with grid.enter image description here

  • What about GIMP? – Hagen von Eitzen May 18 at 5:42
  • GIMP can show grid, but with size 1px (at least that's the default, I dunno if it can be changed).. – jena May 18 at 10:17
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    To clarify, you just want a drawing program, not one that is capable of translating your drawings to actual math, or to something like LaTeX? – jamesqf May 18 at 16:55
  • LyX takes a little bit of learning to use fluently, but I was able to take notes in linear algebra and vector calculus at lecture speed with it. – chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- May 18 at 19:20
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    Draw on paer and take pictures -- seriously. If you want to draw (without OCR) on a tablet you are combining the worst of both worlds. – Peter - Reinstate Monica May 18 at 19:30

I found excellent project called Xournal++ to fulfil my needs: https://github.com/xournalpp/xournalpp

Xournal++ is a handwriting notetaking software with PDF annotation support. Written in C++ with GTK3, supporting Linux (e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, SUSE), macOS and Windows 10. Supports pen input from devices such as Wacom Tablets.


  • Support for pen pressure, e.g. Wacom Tablet
  • Support for annotating PDFs
  • Fill shape functionality
  • PDF Export (with and without paper style)
  • PNG Export (with and without transparent background)
  • Allow to map different tools / colors etc. to stylus buttons / mouse buttons
  • Sidebar with Page Previews with advanced page sorting, PDF Bookmarks and Layers (can be individually hidden, editing layer can be selected)
  • enhanced support for image insertion
  • Eraser with multiple configurations
  • Significantly reduced memory usage and code to detect memory leaks compared to Xournal
  • LaTeX support (requires a working LaTeX install)
  • bug reporting, autosave, and auto backup tools
  • Customizeable toolbar, with multiple configurations, e.g. to optimize toolbar for portrait / landscape
  • Page Template definitions
  • Shape drawing (line, arrow, circle, rect, splines)
  • Shape resizing and rotation
  • Rotation snapping every 45 degrees
  • Rect snapping to grid
  • Audio recording and playback alongside with handwritten notes
  • Multi Language Support, Like English, German (Deutsch), Italian (Italiano)...
  • Plugins using LUA Scripting

They have an unstable bleeding edge PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:andreasbutti/xournalpp-master
sudo apt update
sudo apt install xournalpp

There is also a PPA for stable releases. In addition to amd64, it also hosts packages for ARM, PowerPC and other architectures on supported versions of Ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apandada1/xournalpp-stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install xournalpp
| improve this answer | |
  • How well does it work with Graphics Tablet? What kind of graphics tablet did you buy? – Archisman Panigrahi Sep 16 at 14:09
  • I have a wacom bamboo (quite old now..) it works fantastic out the box with latest ubuntu.. – John Hunt Oct 16 at 9:21
  • @JohnHunt kindly use @ to tag users. Otherwise, they would not get a notification (at least, I did not) when you reply to their comments. – Archisman Panigrahi 2 days ago

You should consider using LaTeX (so installing texlive package) or Lout

Since both are producing very nice mathematical formulae (in PDF).

With a graphical tablet, consider using inkscape, and you'll draw the formulae. But it does depend a lot on your drawing skills. By personal experience, they don't look very good.

If your goal is to get nice looking formulae, learn LaTeX.

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Unless you mean actually drawing with a pen on a tablet, LibreOffice Writer can do this in Math mode. I figured out how it works in a few minutes.

S = left ( matrix { 

1 # 2 # 1  ## 
2 # 3 # 3  ##  
3 # 8 # 2 
} right ) sim
left ( matrix { 

1 # 2 # 1  ## 
0 # -1 # 1  ##  
0 # 2 # -1 
} right ) sim 
left ( matrix { 

1 # 2 # 1  ## 
0 # -1 # 1  ##  
0 # 0 # 1 
} right )

enter image description here

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  • 9
    I asked specifically about drawing – Azatik1000 May 17 at 14:58

Disclaimer: I don't have a tablet, so I don't know how well this would work.

LibreOffice Draw

LibreOffice has a component called Draw, for making vector graphics. It is able to show grid, defaults to page layout, can import export PDFs and much more.

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If you want a drawing app, but you don't want to have to add a PPA, another alternative is Krita. Krita is digital painting software. It's geared more towards artists, but it has great support for pen input with devices like Wacom tablets.

Because it's designed for art, you have full control over the brush you use for your notetaking which could improve readability.

You can create a template with a blank grid for new notes/pages.

Krita is included in Ubuntu repositories. You can install it with the commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install krita
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