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Drafts 3.0 adds archiving, improves organization, more


Drafts is a fast, lightweight note-taking app for iPhone (US$2.99) and iPad ($3.99) with so much more to offer than simple lists. Drafts is handy. You can use it to quickly jot down a list or something you'd like to recall later, which is great. But the app's real power is in the myriad of ways you can act on that text.

For example, you can send a list to a project manager like OmniFocus or a storage service like Evernote. Share a note with Facebook, Twitter or ADN. Create a calendar event, a reminder or even write in Markdown. Beyond that you can really geek out with automation and complex iOS workflows.

Many hardcore productivity and automation nerds have demonstrated exactly how powerful Drafts is. But that shouldn't scare off mortals like you and me. Here's what's new in Drafts version 3, as well as how I use it.

Adding and Organizing Notes

To create a note, just start typing. There's nothing to tap first, not category or tag to fiddle with when you simply want to write something down. That's been the case since Drafts was first launched. Version three introduces inbox, archives and pinned panes.

These three options let your organize notes you'd like to keep around, as opposed to something you captured for the moment. To move a note, tap its title and then swipe right-to-left. A delete button appears, as well as two icons representing whatever category that list is not in. For example, if your note is in the inbox, the archive and pin icons will appear. Tap the icon of your choice to move that note to that location. Easy!

Organizing Actions

The app's list of actions has seen a similar change. Now, you can sort actions into one of four panes. It's super handy because you can group like actions, like productivity or writing, and avoid a single list of everything. To get started, tape the action button and then tap the gear icon on the right.

The settings screen appears. Tap Manage Actions. Next a list of all your chose actions appears. Time to get sorting. Tap any action in the list -- "Email" for example -- and its sort options slide in from underneath. Finally just tap the pane you want to assign that action to and off it goes. It's very easy.

Back Up Improvements

Once you've spent time organizing your notes and actions, it sure would be a bummer to lose all that customization. Don't worry, Drafts 3 lets you create a date-stamped backup of all your note and action settings to Dropbox. You can easily restore should something go wrong. It worked perfectly for me.

Integration with Apple's Reminders has also been improved. If you create a list in Reminders called "Drafts," Drafts will import its contents and mark them as done in reminders. It goes the other way, too. You can also use an action to create new reminders or even start new lists in Reminders if a list does not yet exist. Super handy.

All in all, this is a great update to a super useful app. And you needn't be an automation fiend to benefit from it. Go and grab Drafts now.

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