When the iPhone first debuted in 2007, it came with a paltry handful of apps installed out-of-the-box. The glorious App Store was still a year away at that time and if you wanted to capture basic notes or lists, you were stuck with Apple’s simple Notes app. Notes recorded everything in that obnoxious Marker Felt font and you couldn’t make a bulleted list or do any other formatting. I used it because I had no choice and eventually grew to like it a little. But then I found Paperless by Crush Apps and now Notes is stuffed in a folder somewhere on my iPhone and I have no desire to dig it out.
Paperless was initially released in the App Store in early 2010 and has been a regular in the Top 200 Paid Productivity Apps. It has received several updates since it was released, refining its features and adding new ones. I got a sneak peek at the latest version which adds several new features that make Paperless even more useful and attractive.
To start with its core functionality, Paperless lets you create and manage lists easily. A list can contain checkboxes or not – when checkboxes are used, ticking one moves that item to the bottom of the list and changes the font color to gray to note the item’s completion or acquisition. In the app’s settings, you can choose to keep completed items visible or hide them completely. (I find it useful to keep them visible since it makes it easy to reuse items previously added to my grocery shopping list by simply unchecking the box.)
For each item in a list, you can add a note to store additional information. When entering a new item or its note, a small plus button in the lower right corner is a shortcut to add another item to that same list, an incredibly useful feature that was added in a previous update.
Each list can also be assigned an icon and there are over 300 to choose from. I’ve found that these icons offer a valuable visual cue to more easily pick out the exact list I’m looking for among the many I keep in Paperless.
Version 2.0 of Paperless brings two significant new features: iPad support and synchronization via Dropbox. With this update, Paperless is now a universal app with an interface optimized for the iPad’s larger screen. If you have a Dropbox account, which can be had for free, you can also sync your Paperless lists across devices. Synchronization is fast and automatic, happening as you make changes to your lists.
The synchronization feature is still useful even if you don’t have a second iOS device since you’ll have a back-up of all your lists saved to your Dropbox account in case your iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen.
The full change list for Paperless 2.0 is as follows:
- Made the app “universal”, so it has a proper full screen interface when run on an iPad
- Added automatic backup and syncing between iOS devices via a free Dropbox account (go to Settings > Automatic Backup and Syncing)
- Added item count “badges” to the main screen, to show how many items are in each list (can be turned off in Settings > Main Screen).
- Added the ability to email individual list items
- Added a choice of font sizes (Settings > Font Size)
- Now works properly when used with an external Bluetooth keyboard
- Sorting list items alphabetically is now case insensitive (on iOS 4 and above)
- Completely rewritten to use Core Data for storing lists, which means:- faster performance for users with a large number of lists/items- better memory handling
- Fixed a display glitch that occurred while editing an item’s name or note and rotating the device
I create lists for everything. Grocery shopping, books I want to read, movies I want to see, wines I like – you name it. Sometimes I like them to be checklists, where I can mark something off a list and feel that strangely thrilling sense of satisfaction when a task is completed or an item acquired. Other times I like them to be outlines when I’m thinking of an article to write. Paperless has been able to handle everything easily and efficiently (and with a clean and well-designed interface to boot) and it now has some new features that make it even more useful.
Paperless 2.0 is hitting the App Store this afternoon and is well worth its $2.99 price, especially now that it’s a universal app. Paperless has a permanent spot on the first page of my iPhone’s home screen and if you need a good lists app, it will probably earn a similar spot on yours.