Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

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inkflow   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting AppsLast year I wrote about a few useful handwriting iPad apps for note taking and drawing. Since then other similar apps have been developed that are just as stylish, but contain a few unique features or approaches you might might want to consider if you’re looking for such a writing tool.

Let’s face it, if you have an iPad there’s probably less and less need for using pen and paper these days. I would rather grab my iPad and jot down a few notes than do so on scraps of paper that clutter up my desk or get misplaced.


Inkflow is one of the newest writing apps to hit the iTunes App Store. The ink flow in this app is smooth and fluid as if writing with a marker on a sheet of paper.

inkflowapp   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

There are two versions of the app (free, and an in-app upgrade for $4.99.) The free version is limited to a single black resizable marker, with a limit of 20 pages per notebook. There’s no dedicated undo/redo tool for markings; instead, you double-tap with two fingers to undo the last mark you make.

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What makes Inkflow standout is the ability to select text and drawings and enlarge and them on the page.

inkflow 1   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

Pages can also be exported via email, to the iPad photo library or Camera Roll, as well as an attachment to Twitter. The drop-down export button, by the way, is where you go to order the in-app upgrade.

inkflow 3   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

The full version of the app includes a dedicated eraser tool, multi-colored pens and brushes, and copy-and-paste tool for both handwritten text and drawings. The free version provides sufficient features to give you an idea of what the upgrade provides.

inkflow 2   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

MyScript Memo

The ink flow of MyScript Memo is the least fluid of the apps under review for this article. In my experience I had to keep my stylus pen pressed down slightly hard to do adequate handwriting.

myscriptmemo 1   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

But what makes MyScript Memo stand out is its handwriting recognition feature. It can convert what you handwrite into typed text for export.¬†The handwriting recognition is actually pretty good, but I had too many problems with writing text. Plus, the app doesn’t allow for multi-page documentation. After you fill up a page, you have to create a new one, as if you’re creating a new document file.

MyScript does include various pen sizes and colors, and it has a dedicated eraser and undo/redo buttons. However, if you want to copy or export converted text to email, SMS, Evernote, Twitter, or Facebook, it will cost you $2.99 (in-app upgrade). You can however save handwritten notes as an image file to the Camera Roll, or export it to email and other supporting services.

myscriptmemo 4   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

Sketch Rolls

Sketch Rolls is one of my favorite handwriting apps, though it’s not free ($4.99.) The ink flow is smooth and the homepage for organizing notebooks is very accessible.

sketchrolls 1   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

What sets Sketch Rolls apart is the “rolls” part of its name. Instead of notebooks being single “sheets of paper,” you can extend your notes and doodles beyond the width of the iPad screen. It’s like writing or drawing on a roll of paper.

I’ve used this app a few times in a meeting as a brainstorming tool and it works great, because you don’t to have to flip back and forth through pages. You do have to remember however to scroll using two fingers, otherwise you will just put a swipe mark on your “paper.”

The developers say you can add/insert up to 300 rolls per project, which is sort of like having reams of paper to work with.

sketchrolls 2   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

As with the other apps, you can export note pages to PDF, an image file, or as SRP for other Sketch Roll Project users.

Sketch Rolls also includes various color inks, and the size of the pens can go from thin to slightly bold. It includes an eraser and an undo/redo button. A button on the top-right of the app gets you quickly back to the home screen of notebooks.

IMG 1649   Going Paperless With These 3 iPad & iPhone Handwriting Apps

If you’re looking for other iPad or iPhone writing apps, check out these articles:

Let us know what you think about these apps, or a favorite one you use.

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17 Comments - Write a Comment


Kyem Ghosh

Well, from my point of view, the ‘touch’ technology will be replacing papers n pen. I guess, iPad was made wid d ideology of replacing books n notebooks. Besides iPads, iPhones n High end mobile device n tabs, low n mid range devices from Nokia too provide inbuilt handwriting recognization n drawing tools. With my personal experience with nokia C6 00, which has inbuilt handwriting recognization n drawing tools, its quite good, although the writing space is less, but the drawing tool is full screen, with certain good tools like colors, shapes etc. which is quite good in a starting mid range device n r much developed in the latest symbian devices. And I guess there will be ample apps for idevices n droids which are flooding the market. Someday we may even not have to carry a pen in our pockets.

Bakari Chavanu

Well, it will be long time before we completely move beyond pen and paper, but if you already have to the tools to do so, might as well go that direction.

Bakari Chavanu

Well, it will be long time before we completely move beyond pen and paper, but if you already have to the tools to do so, might as well go that direction.



The problem with all handwriting apps is palm interference. The natural way to write is with your hand resting on the surface of the paper or glass, but when you do that, you leave stray marks or press buttons inadvertently.

Some handwriting apps try to get around this with “wrist protection” or a zoom feature, but these have limited success. I’ve tried about eight of them so far, and found all to be lacking. (My favorite is Note Taker HD using a Bamboo stylus, but that’s a low bar to overcome.)

A company called Cregle raised money on Kickstarter and came out with a pen that was supposed to eliminate the wrist problem, but their product was an epic disaster.

Bakari Chavanu

Daleks, I agree, tablets still have a ways to go before they can totally replace paper, but I try to work around the limitations because for years I’ve had file drawers of documents and scraps of paper that have cluttered my office. So anything that takes me beyond relying on paper is huge step in the right direction.


I am thinking about getting one of this iPen and i’m glad i found your comment – why was it a disaster? An EPIC disaster? :)


Allanah King

One of my other favourites is Paper by Fifty-three


Give it a try- I really like the notebooks for different sets of notes.

Thanks for sharing acouple of other drawing apps I hadn’t seen before.


Bakari Chavanu

Allanah, thanks for letting us know about this. I’ll check it out.

Bakari Chavanu

Allanah, I actually have that app. It’s missing some features I would like to see in that app, but the ink is really great in that app. Great for artists.



What stylus pen do you recommend to go with these apps?

Bakari Chavanu

Hari, sorry, you’re going to search around for an answer to that question. I’ve mainly used ones that I’ve picked up for free at Mac conferences. I did however pay for one called Proof, which feels and works well for me. It’s feels like you’re holding a crayon in your hand. Good luck in finding what you’re looking for.


Milenko Curcin

Did anybody use this programs? How exactly do you draw on it? Do you use a pen or something because I think my fingers are bit thick :)

Bakari Chavanu

Mikenko, as I state in the article, you can use what is a stylus pen to write and draw. There several brands out there. Do search on Amazon to get some ideas. You can also write and draw with your fingers, but yes it’s not always as good.



Hi Bakari, great list of apps there. ;)

You guys can also try the new PDF Note Taker from one of the best apps maker in the world! http://www.feiphone.com- it’s very easy to use! I personally love this app and highly recommended.


Bakari Chavanu

Hey Ace, thanks for the tip and link. PDF Note Taker looks like a very useful app.



I am a uni student, I as lecturers are in Power Point. Does this app operate in a note taking format?

Bakari Chavanu

Oscar, which app are you referring to?

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