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Issue 8.6


iApp: Paperless

Issue: 8.6 (September/October 2010)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,521
Starting Page Number: 17
Article Number: 8604
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Full text of article...

To Do apps and note-taking apps are probably among the most common applications for iOS. Making one stand out from the crowd is a challenge, but Paperless does so by combining both functions in one super-elegant and simple app.

Paperless is a simple list manager. You can create as many lists as you want, for whatever you want: lists of books you want to read, movies to see, groceries to buy, things to do, software bugs to fix, ideas for that novel, etc.

There are many similar apps for iOS, but Paperless does two things differently. First, it allows you to attach notes to each list item. This seemingly small feature is incredibly powerful because each list then acts like a folder of notes. It makes this a far better note-taker than the iPhone's built-in Notes app.

Second, Paperless has an amazing interface. It is bare bones simple, but that simplicity is deceitful because it hides incredible power. For example, Paperless makes it easy to delete or rearrange your list, but it also gives you simple menu options to duplicate an entire list or move an item from one list to another. That makes it my new favorite To Do app: I can create "Today" and "This Month" To Do lists, and move items from "This Month" to "Today" as needed. Other full-blown To Do apps I've used have made that simple task impossible or difficult.

Paperless does not do much, but the makers have carefully chosen exactly which features to add -- and they've chosen wisely. Each list can either be a "To Do" list (with completion checkboxes) or a simple text list. You can choose which lists -- if any -- display a "number badge" on the app's icon. I love that. You can choose from over 300 built-in (and beautifully drawn) icons to identify your list (you can also not use icons if you prefer plain text). One of Paperless' best features is its built-in search: you can instantly search through all your lists (or within a particular list) by typing the first few letters of a word or phrase. Paperless also lets you export lists via email -- and they are wonderfully formatted, too.

I've been trying many To Do apps since iPhone 1.0 -- from the expensive Things to Toodledo and others -- and I don't use any of them regularly. Most just require too much effort. Paperless is the first one I've found that hits that sweet spot between being simple enough you'll actually use it and powerful enough to be useful. The only criticism I can really make is that it doesn't offer any sort of cloud syncing or link to a desktop version (it would be nice to be able to see my Paperless lists in multiple places). But at just two bucks, it's a steal!

End of article.