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Going Paperless: My Thoughts On Digital Note Taking

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

It’s been three months since I first started using my iPad and Apple Pencil as one of my main tools for school. 

If you’re sick of the classic pen and paper technique, you can now buy devices that are compatible with styluses or digital notebooks to jot down your thoughts, notes and ideas or even to make your schedule.

When I first started taking digital notes, it was the weirdest sensation; I’m so used to using pens and paper that I felt like I was doing nothing because I didn’t have tangible sheets of notes in front of me. I will admit, it still feels odd at times, but I never would have realized how much paper I normally use if I hadn’t tried going digital!

To write notes both in and out of class I use the app GoodNotes. On the app, I have a folder for each of my classes and separate notebooks for different uses, depending on the style of the class. I’m still getting used to this method, and man, the number of pages can get really overwhelming. I’m working on that part. 

weekly planner on a tablet
As much as I’m enjoying taking notes with my iPad, don’t get me wrong: I still use physical cue cards and the occasional piece of paper and sticky notes. But taking digital notes this semester has shown me that I’m definitely the type of person who learns better through a mixture of different mediums — both online and physical. 

I must say, it’s so nice to have the option to print out notes when I actually need them and to use as much (digital) paper I need without worrying about wasting resources. It also means an endless amount of doodling. 

What I really love about digital note-taking is that I can incorporate images and diagrams in my notes effortlessly. It can also be easier to share notes or send them to yourself. Depending on the device you use and the application to write notes, the way they’re stored is different for everyone. 

I write my notes on GoodNotes, and I sync those with my iCloud so that I can back them up on my OneDrive to safely store them and have extra copies. If I need my notes on my laptop I usually just message myself a PDF to export somewhere else or print them. 

Journal in front of laptop
Photo by Nick Morrison from Unsplash
Switching to digital note-taking has been a whirlwind adventure, but I’ve been slowly learning how to individualize it. Considering the rapid technological changes and increased use of online tools – especially with the pandemic, it’s awesome that I’ve found a way to keep myself in the digital sphere. I thought it would be harder for someone who prefers handwriting over typing, but digital notes have definitely worked wonders for me. (I can’t dismiss typing though; it has a special place in my heart).

Although digital note-taking isn’t perfect, I highly recommend you to look into it if you’ve been looking for new methods to make your notes. 

It’s definitely something that you should research thoroughly before making any decisions, because of all the options available. There are tons of routes to take when it comes to different devices, costs, and apps as well as storage solutions. I’m willing to bet you’ll find something suited to your needs, like I did!


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Bashira Tahiya

U Ottawa '25

Bashira is a first year student studying marketing. She loves talking about beauty, social issues and wellness. It's only her first year on Her Campus, but she already loves it!
Just your average criminology major, who enjoys watching Supernatural, The Boys and occasionally catching a hockey game. Probably off somewhere writing a novel!