How to Create and Use a Digital Planner
What is a Digital Planner?
Digital planners are PDF or JPEG files that are saved to a note-taking app, like Noteshelf or Goodnotes. You can use it on any tablet that has the ability to write on, but the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combination are the most popular.
There are many different note-taking apps available, but the most popular for planners are Goodnotes and Noteshelf. Both are similar and each have different benefits and features. Choose any app that you feel comfortable with, as long as it accepts PDF or JPEG imported documents.
The Benefits of a Digital Planner
The three main reasons people love digital planners are:
Clutter Control. There are no books / pages / stickers cluttering your desk.
Accessibility. You can keep a written planner, similar to your favorite planner book, and the apps keep it handy at all times on your phone and iPad.
Professional Appearance. You can carry a sleek iPad planner set into any meeting and appear organized and professional.
While you can import any PDF or JPEG file into an app, or take a photo to import, it is important to note that there are some benefits to using a planner set that has been specifically designed to be used on an iPad. When you import a typical Letter sized document (8.5" x 11"), part of the page may be cut off, or you may not be able to use some text fields.
The Confetti Saturday digital planners have been optimized for the two most popular apps, and for typical iPad screens. Each of the apps has specific size specifications, so we ensure that you can import a new planner without losing quality or functionality.
Importing a Planner File to Your iPad
After you have downloaded your planner purchase and saved on your computer, unzip any files, and save to a file-saving service like Google Drive or Box.com. If you are using a Mac, you can save to your Files in the cloud. Again if you are using a Mac with an iPad the next part will be very easy. Open the file on your computer and Share via AirDrop. When you select your iPad, you should automatically see options to import the planner directly into your preferred app.
If you are unable to AirDrop, open the note-taking app and Import Document. In Noteshelf this is the + icon in the top right. In GoodNotes it's the + icon at the top left. Navigate to the saved planner file and select.
The most popular app for digital planning is GoodNotes. I'll focus on GoodNotes here, though I also find myself using the Noteshelf app quite a lot. Most of the feature are similar, it's a matter of preference if you find one more intuitive to use than the other.
The first thing I do is drop bookmarks throughout the document to navigate to new sections easily. For example, I bookmark the current month and week pages, and any holiday or extra pages in an annual day planner. Click the + inside a circle at the top and you will see an option to add a bookmark. Enter the Bookmark title.
Quickview Page Thumbnails
At the top left is an icon of 4 squares. Once selected you will see an overview of all of the pages in that planner. At the bottom is an option to view by bookmarks. Click the image of a page or a bookmark to go directly to the planner page.
In the top left section again you will find a curious set of geometric shapes. It enables you to create symmetrical and clean shapes by drawing in your planner. For example, click the shapes icon and draw a circle around a special date. Your messy, lopsided circle is cleaned up automatically.
Instead of keeping twelve different colored pens in the bottom of your purse, you can easily color-code planner events using just the Apple Pencil. Click the pen icon and play with different colors, thicknesses of lines, and even the styles of pen. You can do the same adjustments with the highlighter icon also. There is even a quick eraser tool, which can be customized to your preferred size and shape.
At the far left you can export or print any planner pages and find extra tips. One of my favorite shortcuts is the Search option found in here. Type something like "Memorial Day" to quickly see every page that mentions the holiday and navigate to just those pages easily. And, my most used tool, is the Undo option at the top right. The Undo option can be much cleaner and easier to use than the eraser.
Think of the category like a big binder with tabs.Now that you have the basics of one planner, GoodNotes opens a world of options to merge and organize different planner sets. Create Categories to organize multiple planners of the same theme. For example, save a Meeting Notes and Daily Planner set to a Work category, and a Meal Planner and Day Planner to your Home Category. Or, save all the planners you use in 2018 to a "2018" Category.
Part of the reason GoodNotes is a great app for digital planning is because you can have multiple planner notebooks open at the same time in different tabs. You can easily hop between tabs to see different planning topics quickly.
One of the best things about planning is finding stickers to create a mood or draw attention to specific types of events, right? You can still do that with a digital planner!
The easiest way to get digital images is to purchase (or draw) clipart in a PNG , JPEG, or PDF format. Lots of Etsy sellers offer these. Then save the images in a sticker book in GoodNotes to bring in to your planner when you need it. One of my favorites is GoodStuffNoNonsense. Check out her planner icons here. I also love Cheeky Darling illustrations.
Find Or Buy Digital Artwork
If you have PNG or JPEG file types, you can save them to your photos on your iPad. I like to keep a separate album in my iPad Photos called Planner Stickers. Then I can pull the individual stickers from that album easily without searching through all of my family photos.
Add The Sticker To A Planner Page
In the planner page, click the + icon in the circle, and select Image, then navigate to Photos. Find your Planner Sticker album and select the desired image. It will then appear in your planner and you can resize or tilt to fit your page. To delete, long-tap the sticker until options appear. Choose Delete.
Make A Sticker Book
To easily keep stickers organized within GoodNotes, click the + to Create a new Notebook. Choose your preferred cover style and paper style, type Sticker Book as the Notebook Name and click Create. Open the notebook and swipe left to navigate to the first blank page. Import photos from your iPad camera roll onto the Sticker Book page. Now whenever you want to add a sticker to your planner, you can copy and paste from the sticker notebook.
These are such robust apps, there is so much more that you can do to plan effectively. These should give you the basics to get going and start planning right away. If you aren't a fan of GoodNotes, there are plenty of other options of apps. Take a look at the functions that are important to you and find an app that fits your needs. Have fun!