App Recommendations: Paperless

Everyone is all about “going green” these days. Students are probably the biggest “paper wasters” due to all the readings and notes they have to do. While it’s definitely much more comfortable to read and far easier to write neatly and quickly on paper, the problem with all of these papers is that they take a whole lot of space. Ultimately, most end up (hopefully) in the recycle bins, but sometimes they are trashed. The other thing about paper is that, like anything physical, it can become destroyed. Ink may fade and pages may decompose. It is very difficult to keep paper pristine.

Tablets make reading electronic files much more convenient. We can now lie or sit comfortably wherever we like and “hold” the documents to read from like we would paper. Files are displayed gorgeously with crisp clarity.

With the help of some extraordinary apps on the iPad, I have been “paperless” for the last 3 years. I no longer have to print or copy unnecessarily. As long as I have a PDF file, I’m good to go! I can highlight and mark readings that I do. Furthermore, I’m not bound by keyboards to transcribe. I can whip out a stylus and scribble down notes with ease anywhere I please.

Penultimate has taken the place of my notebooks. I used to carry a small spiral-bound pad with me to jot notes from the day on, but this is no longer necessary. This app looks and feels like a real notebook. It has many page designs to fit your writing needs. You can write in different colors and “pen tips” (thicker vs. thinner). Compared to other apps, I find Penultimate has more “fluidity” and sensitivity, allowing me to write like I would on paper. I now have hundreds of pages of handwritten notes that can easily be shared and are backed up to a “cloud”. Penultimate also allows me to maintain multiple notebooks, which makes organizing and finding past notes a piece of cake. I will never buy another notebook in my life!

Notability is the most useful and productive app I own. I constantly use it for work and personal tasks. It is a must-have for any iPad user who needs to write/keep notes. This app has every possible way to take notes – handwriting, typing, and even voice recording. The best feature is the highlighting and handwritten marking functionality for PDFs. I probably spared the lives of countless trees with this app. Best of all, I can now have every article I’ve ever read with me at all times. Notability also makes signing of documents a cinch; no longer do I need to print, sign, and scan/fax. There are multiple pen colors and sizes. Notability also allows you to search keywords within any given PDF!

These apps are wonderful, but without a good stylus, you would not be able to use them to their maximum capacity. I have tried a good amount of brands and found that nothing beats Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus. It is very comfortable to write with and produces relatively life-like writing.

We Say
Gone are the days of messy stacks of papers which may be unsightly and overwhelming to navigate, organize, and/or share. Information is now readily available, so shouldn’t your notes be as well?

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