A bullet journal is a great way to stay organized as well as express your creativity. But it doesn’t have to be done just on paper.
There are a variety of apps you can use on your tablet to create beautiful artistic digital spreads that look great and keep you on top of your tasks.
MetaMoji (Android, iOS, Windows)
MetaMoji is available for multiple platforms and is great for taking handwritten notes on a digital device, especially if you have a tablet and pen. You can annotate PDFs or create your own files from scratch. So you can use the app to create your bullet journal using existing PDF templates, or you can create your own spreads digitally.
This app will really appeal to journalists who like to write their spreads, as it supports many pen styles and colors, including calligraphy pen options. If you’re not sure about your font, there’s also a great font conversion tool.
It creates a text box where you can quickly write with your pen, then it will be converted into a neat font. Or if you prefer, you can enter text using the keyboard as usual.
This Android-only app is ideal for students who want to use their bullet journal to take notes in class. You can start with any paper size you want, and also choose from paper that is blank, coated in various widths, or has a variety of grid sizes. The dotted box is useful for bullet journalists, letting you center your posts and making sure your doodles and notes are neat.
You can write or draw on the app with your tablet and pen, or you can use your finger if you prefer. The drawing options are more limited than other apps so it’s not that great for doodles or complicated letters. But you can easily copy in PNG files from other drawing programs, so you can doodle elsewhere and use Squid for organization and planning.
You can also type directly into the spread if you want fast, legible writing. For example, for a to-do list.
A useful feature of Squid is the ability to create several separate notebooks. This means you can have separate sections for each of your classes. It helps you organize all your notes. And if you want to share your notes with others, such as for a group project, you can export your notes as a PDF file or as a slide presentation.
INKredible (Android, iOS)
Handwriting enthusiasts looking to emulate the on-screen note-taking experience should give INKredible a try. If you’re a bullet journalist and you want to use your journal for long-form writing but you don’t want to take your notebook with you, this is a great solution.
In the free version of the app, you get regular pen options and pen options which produce beautiful and elegant handwriting. You can choose from different inks and color thicknesses, plus outline options as well as a wet slider to control how “inked” the text appears on the screen.
A pen will be enough to keep many users happy, but if you want more options, you can buy extra calligraphy pens, wet brush and pen options.
The paper backgrounds available in the free version include blank, lined, grid, lettering, and margins. You have to pay for options like the dot grid paper that journalists love, but the add-ons are inexpensive.
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One of the most useful features is automatic line enhancement, where the app detects when you are near the end of the current line and automatically moves your writing to the next line for you.
Of course, you can doodle as well as write, but this is not an art app. On the other hand, the app is better suited for users who want to take beautiful notes that maintain that handwritten look.
iPad users who want to keep a journal and don’t mind paying for quality software will enjoy GoodNotes, which can create spreads from scratch or provide PDF templates.
You can create notebooks with digital covers so you can see each notebook at a glance, either using pre-made covers or creating your own. Then you can import PDF images, or create your own spreads using templates including paper backgrounds, legal pad paper, black paper, or checklists.
The downside of this app is that the drawing feature doesn’t respond to pen pressure. You can draw and color basic doodles, but if you want to create more complex or sophisticated illustrations, you’ll need a separate art app.
However, GoodNotes makes up for this shortcoming with its Evernote-like ability to search through your notes. Even handwritten notes are searchable, so if you have a lot of pages and you’re looking for a piece of information, you can find it quickly.
A popular app for illustration lovers to use in conjunction with GoodNotes is Procreate. Procreate is a must-have app for artistic iPad users, and it can be great for journaling too.
If you like sitting down with a blank page and creating your spreads from scratch, you can have the same experience on your iPad using Procreate. There are lots of handy features like the auto-aligning line feature to keep everything neat and in place, and grid backgrounds to help you plan your layout. Copy and paste makes it easy to create recurring spreads such as calendar or weekly layouts.
And there are plenty of brush options you can install in Procreate, and the ability to delete and choose the color and thickness of your brush. This makes this app the closest experience to creating spreads on real notebooks.
If you want more organization options, you can do an illustration in Procreate and then export it to your Camera Roll for use in any of the apps listed here.
Another option for iOS users who want doodle-ability and organization features is Notability. It’s designed to organize multiple notebooks so it’s useful if you want to keep a personal journal and also keep class notes or work notes all organized in the same place.
You can choose from a variety of paper types, including plain, lined, and grid. And you can write in all sorts of colors and styles, plus use highlighting. You can also carry two notebooks side by side to transfer or compare information between them.
The app does have options to convert handwritten notes to text and to search for words or phrases in your notes. Other nifty features are the ability to import a variety of file types, including GIF and PPT, and the ability to back up and export your notes via email, Dropbox, and more.
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