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notes appThere are dozens of notes apps in the iTunes App Store, and if you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you probably have a few notes apps on your device already. Ever so often an app comes along with so many great features that it pushes similar apps to the side.  Agile Tortoise’s Drafts is one such app.

Drafts is not just for taking and saving notes, it is also for sharing notes to dozens of other apps and services. The app is optimized for both the iPhone ($2.99) and iPad ($3.99), and for what it does, the price tag is very reasonable. I’m pretty much a sucker for notes apps, and Drafts pretty much does all I need for writing and exporting notes from my iOS devices.

How It Works

I first wrote about Drafts as part of an article about alternative apps for Apple’s default iOS Notes Open, Write, And Send: 5 Alternative Note Apps For iOS Devices Open, Write, And Send: 5 Alternative Note Apps For iOS Devices I like clean, un-cluttered note apps that I don't have to manage with folders, and that can also be used with other applications. Well, at least five note apps (Captio, Squarespace Note, Drafts, Pastebot, and... Read More , but since posting that article, several useful features have been added to Drafts that users may find convenient. What makes Drafts different is that right after you launch it, you can begin writing a note. There’s no additional tapping needed to get started. It’s like grabbing a scrap of paper and writing a quick note.

notes app

Once you’ve written your note it’s automatically saved and added to your list of notes. When you open Drafts again, it starts you off with a blank page for more note writing. Drafts also allows you to tap the share button and export the note to one or more apps or services. You can, for example:

  • Email the note to yourself. Drafts allows you to set up an email template with your or someone else’s email address, along with a default subject line. The note you just wrote will be attached to the email.
  • Export the note to the clipboard, to Evernote, a new SMS Message, Twitter or Facebook.
  • Export or append a note to a text file in your Dropbox account.
  • Copy notes to other third-party apps like the journal app Day One Keep a Digital Diary with Day One for Mac OS X and iOS Keep a Digital Diary with Day One for Mac OS X and iOS Everyone has a story to tell. It's not always a story in need of an audience, sometimes a story just needs to be told. You may want to continue the journal you started when you... Read More , the text editor Simplenote, or the mobile calendar app Fantastical. You can also use the default iOS calendar app.
  • Use Drafts to run a keyword search of an item in search engines like Google, Bing or GoodReads.

Other Features

When I first started using Drafts, I was satisfied with its ability to let me quickly email notes to myself since Apple still hasn’t provided a better way to gets notes out of iOS devices. But if you spend a little time in the Settings area of Drafts, you can set it up even better for your particular needs.

notes app for iphone

Because Drafts includes dozens of export actions, you can manage and customize them into one of five different panels. So when you tap on an action in Settings, you might organize all your most used actions in the first panel, and hide actions you think you will never use. Another panel can be used for your social network related actions.

notes app for iphone

The settings also allows you to set what you would like to happen to a note when a particular action is applied to it. An example would be when you use the email action, you might set that action to automatically archive or delete that note once it’s sent. You can also have Drafts post a confirmation pop-up for what to do with a note after an action is applied.

The iPad and iPhone versions of Drafts are basically the same, but the iPad version also includes an extended keyboard toolbar of features, including undo and redo buttons, cursor arrows, hashtag and quotation marks, and other punctuation symbols.

notes app for iphone

There are extra features for email, Messages, Evernote and URL actions. For example, the Email action enables you to set up email templates with default email addresses, subject line, and boilerplate text.

notes app

The Dropbox and Evernote actions allow you to create text files in your account so that notes can be appended to a specified file or a new text file can be created for each new note. Drafts also includes markdown and TextExpander support, landscape typing, and live word and character counts.

I use Drafts on my iPhone and iPad for both quick notes and extended pieces of writing. I find it easier sometimes to launch and use Drafts rather than haul out Evernote or Day One. But there are also similar quick note apps including Catch Notes Catch Notes: A Full-Featured App for Portable Note-Taking [Android] Catch Notes: A Full-Featured App for Portable Note-Taking [Android] Portable notes have saved my life on more than one occasion. Not in the literal sense - thank God! - but in this day and age, when information is being thrown around at such high... Read More , and more extended notes apps for brainstorming ideas, plots and characters 4 iPhone/iPad Apps For Brainstorming Writing Ideas, Plots, & Characters 4 iPhone/iPad Apps For Brainstorming Writing Ideas, Plots, & Characters Most writers would agree that pre-writing—e.g., brainstorming ideas, plots, characters, situations, scenes–is the best way to get the writing juices flowing, and actually get stories and novels to completed. Sometimes without a roadmap for where... Read More .

Download: Drafts for iPhone & iPod Touch ($2.99) / Drafts for iPad ($3.99)

Let us know what you think of Drafts, and how you’re using it in the comments below!

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  1. CRT
    May 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    This app needs the ability to preserve Markdown to a PDF for sharing. If that were to exist it would be perfect.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 19, 2013 at 12:05 am

      CRT, I don't use markdown, but know that it's used by many writers. So thanks for pointing this recommendation.