I’m always looking for ways to make my job a little easier. No matter how great the apps I currently use are, I’m always looking for ones that are even better. I found that with InkFlow.
In the description of the app they discuss it being even better than pen and paper, and I think they’re right. I’ve used other note/drawing apps before, but they just seemed too complicated for what I was trying to do. Not difficult, but just too involved. InkFlow is simple enough, yet has enough options to do what I need it to.
Opening up the app for the first time, InkFlow gives you a several-page guide on how to use it. Not that it’s difficult; they just show you everything you need to know so that there are no questions. The guide displays better in portrait mode than landscaping mode as you can pinch two fingers together to reduce the size and see more of the page, but you can’t do that in portrait mode. The guide allows you to try everything out as it shows you how to do it. It shows the little tricks such as dragging to widen a picture or pinching in to narrow the size of text or a picture.
Explained in the guide is that while the app is a free download from the App Store, there is a $4.99 option. This not only gives you the option of colors, it also gives you options of an eraser, pencil, and paintbrush, as well as editing options such as copy and paste, moving pages, etc. I splurged on the $4.99 but noticed that I keep forgetting to use the colors. However I do find I use the pencil option and eraser option frequently. I like the thinner writing of the pencil, and the Undo doesn’t always go back as far as I need it to, causing the need for the Eraser.
I tried this app out while I was taking notes during the Tim Cook interview with the 10th annual All Things Digital Conference. He chatted for nearly two hours. I found it much easier to handwrite my notes than type them out, despite being a quick typist. I assure you, though, my typing is much better than my handwriting. It was much quicker to watch the blog updates on the interview, then switch back to InkFlow to jot down notes than it would have been to switch back to a different note app to type them up. When I’d fill up a page, I’d just flip to a new page, just like real pen and paper. However, my writing got a little illegible by the end.
At the end of conference, I’d planned to cut and paste and move notes around to plan out the writing of the article. However, with twenty-eight pages of notes, I decided It was best to go in a different direction. It is easy to move things around, as you simply select the area you want to move, then drag it to the desired spot. Instead of organizing all of that though, I separated the notes where they were blending all together to make them easier to read. As I hit on each different point in the article, I marked off the selection with a red X, and if I wanted to be sure to highlight a certain section, I’d circle it in red. This made it much easier to flip through my notes, and gave me a reason to use the colors.
Next, I tried building this review with the InkFlow app. It made it a very quick process to organize my thoughts. Again, I could have used the colors, but more or less forgot about them. It was easier just to jot it all down while I was thinking it. That, of course, made the actual writing of the article much easier. It’s all planned out now and just a matter of filling in the text. I could have done so much more with it, but really didn’t need to.
There are other similar apps to InkFlow, but they have the option of typing out notes as well, and sometimes importing pictures too. Not having the option of typing or importing seems to make this easier. Whatever you’re writing down to figure out or remember just goes so much more easily and smoothly.