When you take notes you look for a quick way to do it, because notes are basically information that you want to write down ASAP until you put it down in it’s proper place. You need a pen and a piece of paper, but whenever you need both, they are never within reach. It’s happened to all of us, looking for one or both, running around the house like chickens with our heads cut off. There must be a simpler way of doing this, as quickly as possible.
The solution is Drafts for iOS. It can do pretty much all the things I said before and even much-much more
Here is my Drafts for iOS review #
The first thing you’ll notice about Drafts for iOS is that it’s really simple. It’s a blank paper that opens automatically, ready for you to type.
When you open the app there’s no need to tap on anything, just dive into writing your notes. The screen will be spilt vertically showing you your keyboard and the note you are writing.
On top of the keyboard you will find a toolbar that includes:
- Open new note
- Word and character counter
- Link view mode
- Notes folder
I’m be discussing three of these options I mentioned above.
Link view mode #
While writing a note, perhaps you wrote a website, a phone number, a date or a number. When you click on, “link view mode,” it will make these 4 things “tappable.” You’ll be able to tap on the site and open it in Safari. Tapping on the date or time will create an event, you’ll be able to copy or show it in the Calendar app. Tapping on the phone number will allow you to call the number, which is a neat option to have.
Notes folder #
This includes your inbox which has all the notes that you are currently working on.
Archive: All the notes that you are done with but you still want to keep.
Pinned notes: Quick, easy access to important notes that you want to keep separate.
All section: All your notes included.
Drafts for iOS has one of the most extensive sharing sheets available on an iPhone or an iPad app. You can compare it to what the app Editorial have ((the app I’m writing this article in now)) and what the app Mr. Reader have too.
Don’t let the app simplicity fool you, because Drafts can help you get things done like no other app does.
Drafts sharing sheet includes all the regular sharing options that you will find in any other app. You can share it to Facebook, Twitter and iMessage but it also has more options to share to, like sharing to Tweetbot and making a note in Evernote or even creating a list in Clear.
Tapping in the sharing button opens up four customizable sharing sheets.
Yes, you read that right, four sharing sheets. You can customize them by adding or removing sharing options.
The sheets are numbered from I to IIII so you can put important sharing options in the first sheet and less important options on the next one. You can add social sharing options to a sheet and add less sharing options to another sheet, it’s yours to customize any way you want.
Drafts for iOS has an extra keyboard with extra functions like Undo/Redo, jumping words or characters and even adding special characters like ( ) [ ] / ” ‘ ! ?
Since Draft is a modern note taking app, Greg Pierce ((Did you know that Greg Pierce is the Developer who made x-callback-url)) made sure to implement modern technology for writing by supporting Markdown language by the Fireball John Gruber.
from within the app.
In the notes folder and sharing sheet you will find an extra Gear icon which allows you to go to settings. It includes tons of options to customize the app the way you want and make it your best friend…well, maybe an imaginary friend but you get my draft…wait, get my drift, not draft lol 😛
You have the option to change the fonts to Helvetica, Georgia, Open Dyslexic and many many others. You can also change the font size along with the ability to change the app theme from Day, Sepia and Night.
You can also hide the status bar while writing notes and enable app badge to see how many notes you are working on in your inbox.
TextExpander Touch #
Drafts also supports TextExpander Touch that will allow you to type a small word and it will expand to a full sentence for example: (TYT) will expand to Take Your Time.
You can mange your sharing sheets, from rearranging to deleting them, backing them up to your Drafts backup account and playing a sound when selecting an action.
You can select (if you want) the sharing sheet option to expand the entire screen. When tapping on the sharing sheet button, you can choose for your note to be deleted or archived immediately after sharing it or just leave it as is.
Custom Sharing #
You can create your own actions that will allow you to share your notes in any way you want with other apps. It contains custom sharing actions based on Email, Messages, Dropbox, Google Drive and URL Actions.
One of my favorite actions that I use quite often is the Instapaper – Drafts – Poster action that Shawn Blanc has created a while ago.
It allows me and any other WordPress user who was lucky enough to purchase the awesome app Poster to take notes or highlights from an article on Instapaper. You’re able to send it to Drafts and then to Poster.
You might ask yourself, why Draft? Why not take the note straight to Poster?
Because Drafts allows you to customize what you want to share to Poster and customize it so that it fits your Linked List posting scheme.
When taking a note from Instapaper and sending it to the Drafts app it will automatically merge the title and set it as a title for your Linked List Post. It merges the second line of the note, which is the link and adds it automatically to the Linked List Custom Field. It will then combine your entire text from line four, which will be the body of the article.
After you finish adding your opinion to the Linked List Post and make it public, a callback url action will trigger and will open your website so you’re able to see the Linked List Post that you just made public.
This url action that Shawn made showed me exactly how I can make Drafts work for me and
for my workflow.
You can create your Drafts account so you can sync all your notes across your iOS devices. You have the option to import notes from Apple’s reminder app and select to get a new note opened every time you open the app. Or, only if you opened it after a specific period of time like 30/60sec or 5min.
You can connect with your Facebook/Twitter/ADN/Google+ account for social sharing and connect with Dropbox/Evernote/Google Drive account to save and sync notes outside the app Drafts.
This one is self explanatory I guess, export your Drafts as JSON or CVS file which you can email them to yourself or open them in another app.
URL Security #
I think Greg Pierce the Developer behind Drafts can explain this feature better than me:
Drafts exposes one x-callback-URL action, “create”, which as the name implies can create a new draft with text sent to the app. This action itself I do not consider a security risk, and it is available to call by default when the app is installed. It is possible an errant URL could create a draft you did not intend to have in the app, but it can not delete or replace any text you created – and thus does not require user confirmation.
If you use Drafts automation features and are concerned about the security implications, I highly recommend you enable the URL key setting. As with most security measures, the downside of this setting is convenience. You will have edit custom actions you download to include this “key=[your key]” parameter for them to work. Note that since the value is editable, if you use Drafts on multiple devices you can set the value to match on all your devices to more easily share actions.
The only time I found myself using this feature was when I tried Alex Guyot CrossPost Drafts Action to post to Twitter and App.net at the same time.
Final Word #
Drafts for iOS is the obvious choice for everyone. This app is useful for people who just want a place to write down notes, looking for a hub to write down an idea for an article, a quick email, text message or a to-do list.
Having the ability to have a quick and easy way to write down my Linked List Articles make Drafts for iOS my favorite app for taking notes. I know if you used this app it’s guaranteed to help you with your workflow. You’ll want to use it all the time.
Drafts for iOS is available on the AppStore as two separate apps.