iPad showing a digital planner

Using a Digital Planner

Digital planners appear to becoming increasingly popular and having just made the switch myself I thought I’d take a look at what they are, what benefits they bring (or not!) and just how you get started with one. 

What is a digital planner?

A digital planner is an Interactive pdf file made to be used with a pdf annotating app. The interactive part refers to the ability to move around a notebook by pressing on tabs and buttons. The advance in tablets, smart phones etc. means you can write on these documents with a stylus or apple pen just as you would with a paper planner.

What do you need?

Digital planning can be done on a phone, tablet, or laptop/computer through an app. Some of the most popular apps are Goodnotes, Notability both of which are for iOS. They are not free but much cheaper than a paper planer. There is also Xodo for android devices which is free.

Although you can just use a finger for some note writing, and you can type in text, you really also want to get a stylus or the apple pencil. 

There are lots of ready made pdf templates that can be downloaded into the apps, although I have used Goodnotes and this does come with some pages to form into a notebook. Esty has a wide range of planners, and stickers to use in them (which are not essential but do appeal to my stationary loving side!) all of which are inexpensive. If you want to make your own planner tailored to your specific needs this can also be done. 

What are the benefits of a digital planner?

As mentioned above the planners are quite versatile in that you can set them just for your needs. There are also the benefits of being able to erase mistakes, add pages and reuse them, the ability to add images, Word documents, Powerpoints and PDFs. You can also sync across devices and export as a pdf.

As many of us are not always in the office these days, having just one device you can carry with you instead of multiple sheets of paper makes a digital planner very portable. And of course being paperless is more eco-friendly, although there is the option to print out the planner. 

What are the limitations of a digital planner? 

What happens in the app stays in the app, in that you can’t sync information into a calendar or add usable hyperlinks to websites. Although you can add images you can not add video or voice memos. But these may very well come in the future making the digital planner even more of a benefit. I for one am sold.