One of the changes I’ve made coming into 2022 was shifting from using a physical to a digital planner/journal via a handy tablet & stylus.

My app of choice? I adore the Bamboo Paper app. Here’s a sneak peak to the pros and cons. Dive in for a quick review.

PROS:

  • Beautiful UX interface – simulates a real journal/notebook with aesthetic covers and diverse paper styles. Plenty of options for colors and textures to choose from, including lines, grids, bullets, etc. It has the whole arsenal of paper lines/designs/textures for journal junkies.
  • Simple/Minimalist – no messy/cluttered options and a clean surface makes one focus on journaling and freehand creative expression. This is great for people like me trying to fend off debilitating perfectionism. Just a few simple tools will do for a digital bullet journal. Easy breazy.
  • Cross-device compatible – synced on the cloud and the app is downloadable on Apple Store, Google Play Store and even for Windows/Microsoft.
  • Low Cost – The app is free for basic users, with a few limitations. The premium account is dirt cheap, with only a low one-time fee needed to access full features.

CONS:

It’s not for serious graphic design. If you want to sketch and doodle with layers and more pen/brush tools, best go with apps by Adobe, Procreate, or my personal favorite, the Sketchbook app.

The Bamboo Paper app (on premium subscription) only has six pen tools to choose from, with customizable thickness at three levels. While this is quite limited, it does offer less clutter and is good enough for day-to-day digital journaling.

The notebooks/covers tend to be fixed in sequence. It is difficult to customize the order of the notebooks, so maintaining over ten notebooks at once might not be ideal with this app. But the inner pages can be easily rearranged by copy-pasting them wherever you like.

I suggest having just a handful of notebooks on this app. After all, journaling usually takes just one physical notebook/journal, so the Bamboo Paper app is ideal for that. Carefully curate your Bamboo Paper notebooks for your inner journal/scrapbook junkie.

The inner pages are viewed only by thumbnail in one row, so it might be difficult to navigate when the pages become too many. My hack for this is to make section/title pages very big and visible, for easier navigation.

Tips & final thoughts:

I do advise though to have a decent tablet/ipad first, with a quality digital pen/stylus that has (1) pressure sensitivity and (2) palm-rejection at the very least. Otherwise the experience might not be as satisfying and you’d be better off sticking with traditional pen and paper journals.

Overall, I highly recommend the Bamboo Paper app for your digital journal. Looking for more apps to review? Check these out, here some apps that are great even on basic accounts: The Basic Bitch’s Best Free Productivity Apps 2020.

It can get boring using the visually static Google/iCalendar, so I love this method of making digital planners freehand. The customization is endless and it’s so soothing to create art while you plan/write/doodle.

It may seem time-consuming at first, but as long as you’ve made your page templates and have a system down, it becomes fairly easy and quick to do. Plus it’s so therapeutic to artistically express yourself while getting things done. Soul-satisfying? Check!

In digital planning/journaling, you get the best of both worlds — digital convenience plus handwritten creativity. Having a digital journal is a great way to start 2022!

Written by

May Gordoncillo

May earned her BS and MA degrees in communication from the University of the Philippines. As a creative nerd, she freely unleashes her creative prowess in her blog, Luscious Mind.