I’ve always been a pen and paper kind of guy, and if you’re a follower of mine you know how true that is. With that said though, the eternal battle with paper management and storage has been a foil to the success of organizing my notes for just as long. As part of this ongoing quest I’ve revisited the use of a digital stylus time and time again, hoping to find something close enough to the paper and pen experience that it can act as a replacement.
Using Samsung devices has led me to rely on the S-Pen available on my Note 20 Ultra and my Chromebook for the process of writing and drawing. Unfortunately while convenient and effective, both iterations are too small to be comfortable for use over an extended period of time. In desperation I took a gamble.
I ordered a replacement stylus from a Samsung Galaxy 6T tablet on the off chance that, since it’s a EWR based device it might work with my phone and my Chromebook. Sure enough…it did! The stylus itself is significantly larger than the ones included with the phone and the Chromebook, with a rounded rectangular shape making it easy to hold. It includes a side button to work with triggered functions in applications, and doesn’t require any charging. The best part is both devices have the option to use the new stylus while still keeping their own styli active. This means I can move from device to device without every changing styli.
So how has this changed my way of working? This new comfortable stylus coupled with the application Squid means that I can take notes exactly as I would on paper but store and manager them digitally. Additionally, since the app supports multiple paper styles, organizing my notes in effective ways is simple.
My two favorite features are the option to configure a finger swipe as an eraser (think erasing something on a whiteboard with the tip of your finger as you’re writing to get an idea how it works) and the lasso tool. Like most drawing applications (which Squid basically is…a vector based handwriting and drawing application) the lasso enables you to select freeform areas of text and drawings and move, copy, or cut them from the document. It’s surprisingly useful especially if you like to keep your writing neat like I do.
I’ve taken at least 50 pages of handwritten notes in the past three days, referenced previous ones without using search, and been able to organize my thinking in a more fluid manner than I have in a long time. This isn’t for everyone and there are definitely drawback and limitations but if you can work around those you may just find the digital pen life is the life for you as well.