Welcome to Episode #101 in what I thought was a completed journey to find the best Android note-taking app but no, there are still more apps to explore! Before getting to this week's app, a quick thanks.
As the summer comes to an end and kids head back to school or off to college, it's good to know there are a lot of choices for their note-taking. This week I tested out Dropbox Paper.
Originating from the company's acquisition of document collaboration company Hackpad in April 2014, Dropbox Paper was officially announced in October 2015, and launched in January 2017
Hackpad was founded by Igor Kofman who then became Dropbox Paper lead but has now moved on. He's currently a co-founder of Act Now Coalition which provides data insights to solve "today's urgent problems", very interesting!
So, what about the app? Well, what's great about Paper is that it's no additional cost above a Dropbox subscription which makes it an easy choice for people. Dropbox has about 700M users so that's a lot of people. They should put some of their almost $2B annual revenue into the Android app!
Paper supports Markdown for input (not output!), WYSIWYG editing, collates checkbox items as tasks across notes, supports collaboration with other users, inline images, and public sharing of a note.
Unlike many other apps, you can actually access your notes when offline. That's not offline first, but handy if you go off the grid. The Android app has been downloaded a million times and gets a 4* rating on Google Play which is better than most apps.
The Web app has many additional features including revision history, tables, dark mode, keyboard shortcuts, folder browsing (slow), drag and drop content, embedded media from many sources like YouTube, presentation mode, and additional collaboration features. Luckily you can export individual notes from the Web to Word, Markdown, and PDF but only one at a time, doh!
Read on for the ugly, the bad, the good, the great, and the awesome aspects of the Dropbox Paper Android app.
Dropbox Paper is more than a doc—it’s a co-editing tool that brings creation and coordination together in one place. Dropbox Paper is free with any Dropbox account.
Dropbox Paper is a collaborative workspace that helps teams create and share early ideas. You can work with everything from video and images, to code and sound—all in a single place. And it comes free with Dropbox.
- Score: 7/10
- Device: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
- Google Play
- Google Play rating: 4.0*
- Google Play
- Developer: Dropbox
- Not offline first, requires an account
- When I saved the first time and tried opening the note right after it failed "Error loading note" since it hadn't yet synchronized the file to the server
- Only 1 setting, no customization
- No ability to secure a shared link, wide open to anyone who has the link
- No tables
- Doesn't scale down photo size when printing a note
- No export to Markdown text
- No audio recording
- No images in the list view
- Files stored in
.paperformat not Markdown
- No tags in or on a note
- 1 font style and size
- Text formatting: bold, italics, underline, strike-through
- Inline checklist
- Indent and out-dent
- 3 heading levels
- Undo and redo
- Attach photo
- Archive a note
- Star a note
- Search in a note
- Horizontal line
- Inline images
- Relatively fast
- Clean UI
- Markdown support
- Print to PDF (see Bad)
- Double-click to edit
- Dropbox integration 😁
- Paste a URL onto text and it generates a hyperlink
- Notifications if comments or
@mentionin a note
- Share a public URL to a note
- Print a note
- Apps for Android, iOS, and Web
- WYSIWYG editing
- Free (with Dropbox subscription)
- Collaboration features
- Follow a document
- View and edit docs offline
- The public view-only note looks great
- Add links to Dropbox files
- Text viewer for viewing attached files
- Checklist items are collected outside of specific notes they exist in, Sweet!
If you subscribe to Dropbox and need a quick and clean note-taking app with Markdown support, then Paper could be for you. The Web interface has a ton of additional features and could be great for students or families. Since you can't export all of your notes to Markdown, just don't put everything in there unless you periodically export important notes.
Have a great note-taking week ahead!