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EDIT: I have gotten access restored to the tools I purchased previously and it looks like the people at 53 have taken some of the negative feedback to heart and made some tweaks to the new setup and options that make it a much more enjoyable experience again. I have updated my rating to reflect the current situation which is significantly improved from my original review. I have been a user of Paper for years and gladly paid to unlock the extra tools they introduced. This new version moves all those tools into the new “pro” tier, so despite the fact that I already paid to access them I now no longer have access to them unless I pay again- this time on an ongoing subscription basis. No thank you! 53 has essentially reverted Paper back to the original style that customers preferred but taken away the tools we paid for back when we already had this same version. What a waste. I won’t be making the mistake of giving them any more money when there are so many great alternatives!
I have been using this app for a few years now and got the Pencil by 53 before I had gotten my iPad Pro + pencil. Originally, the notebooks were listed along the left side (as in Notability) which made them easy to view and select. They now scroll across the screen and only the front-and-center notebook is visible, which makes finding and selecting a notebook difficult. A bigger problem is the subscription. Features that I would consider fairly simple (changing the size of pens, cutting and pasting across notes) are subscription (premium) only features. Several other apps - Notability, GoodNotes, MyScript - are all $10 or less for a one-time purchase and offer similar features. If drawing is your thing, Procreate, Concepts, Sketches, SketchBook, or one of the Adobe apps are all <$20 (or free) and, again, often offer improved features. I mention this for 2 reasons - for one, if I were going to spend money on an app, I would put my money into one of the above apps. With that said, Paper is an elegant app that would be worth $5-10 +/- because it is well designed and seems useful as a place to sketch and organize ideas. Despite its limitations (and my frustrations at what I consider a ridiculous Premium service), I still use it quite frequently.
I like the tool palette, and the experience of actually sketching is very nice, but the change to how journals are navigated between is frustratingly bad. Before, there was a list on the left and I could just jump to the journal (notebook? I forget what they’re called) that I wanted. Now that list is no longer an option. Instead I have to swipe through these big, unlabeled pictures of books to find the one I want. Not only is this laborious and a completely unnecessary step backward in efficiency, but the titles of the journals are not even on the pictures of the books themselves; you have to wait until each one is front and center and then the name pops up on the top. This makes a bad situation even worse - because the right journal is even harder to locate. If you were going fully skeuomorphic you’d think you could at least put the title of the journal on the cover of the picture of the journal? Ug. Sorry for ranting. I want to love this app, but this was just a totally boneheaded move. Please bring back the list mode, and if you must develop the UI in a skeuomorphic direction, please try to do so without making it harder to use efficiently.
When I first got an iPad, Paper was the first app I downloaded. I wasn’t the best at it, but I had a lot of fun just playing with it. Mix was great too — just seeing new art was kinda fun! Think kit was a great addition, but then a lot of weird new features got added. I spent some time away from iPads in general until now, when I re-downloaded Paper, grabbed my Pencil (by 53), and tried to use it again. It’s like everything is crazy now. I mean really. I have access to the think kit tools automatically, but some things have badges for pro, and apparently I can still subscribe. I tried drawing lines with arrows. It’s a basic feature that’s listed on the website, but upon further inspection, that’s only for Paper pro and legacy users. But wait, another support article says that diagram arrow tools aren’t supported yet. After upgrading to pro, every time I cut, I get a “copied” notification. Can’t figure out paste though. No help articles for that. Everything here says rushed. Missing tool items. Poor help menus to explain what’s changed. Poor support pages that erroneously list features that don’t exist anymore. Poor distinction between what’s outdated, what promotional material no longer applies, and what this app even does anymore.
I have been using Paper by FiftyThree since its initial release, to sketch ideas for creating icons or other art, but was soured by their rewrite of the app in version 4, with many necessary features omitted until they can get around to adding them to the rewritten version, and a broken workflow and UI for their copy / paste function that I would use constantly in all previous versions but now no longer want to touch. I have explained to them how this function is broken, but no fixes have been released. Fortunately, a major revision of the Concepts app, version 5, was released during this frustrating period. I had tried version 4 out but didn't catch their vision—until I spend some time learning Concepts 5. I have been hooked by 1) infinite canvas, 2) multiple layers, and 3) precision shape creation—none of which Paper has, but which I need. The learning curve for Concepts is slightly higher than for Paper, but the app is so much more useful to me, with just enough UI to cue you in to what it can do, and the ability to rearrange or minimize the UI to support what you're doing at the moment.
Over 25 million people have set their ideas free with Paper®, the award-winning immersive sketching app.
FIND YOUR FLOW
Sketch, type, paint, draw — whatever the thought, you can get it down on Paper. Bring ideas to life in beautiful 3D journals that keep you in your flow. With fast, gesture-based navigation it’s easy and
natural to use Paper.
SKETCH WITH CONFIDENCE
Paper’s perfectly-tuned tools make it easy to draw, outline, write, color, diagram, collage, cut and fill. Snap rough sketches into straight lines and crisp shapes, or use one of our templates and see where it takes you.
GET CREATIVE (WITHOUT THE MESS)
Add multiple photos to a single page and cut, stick, move and fix without the fuss of complex layers. From mood boards to storyboards, pull in inspiration from anywhere and get ideas flowing.
WORK ON THE IDEA, NOT THE TOOL
A simple, quiet interface and gestural navigation give you space to create without distracting controls or sliders. Draw, cut and move without switching modes or group notes, sketches and photos, all with a simple swipe.
YOUR IDEAS, YOUR WORLD
Arrange work into beautiful journals with custom covers and organize pages however you like. Sync your work across different devices and pick up right where you left off.
BECOME A PRO
Take creativity to the next level and subscribe to Paper Pro for more tools and features. Subscription is optional and you can cancel anytime. To upgrade, visit the Paper Pro section in the Settings menu.
* Payment will be charged to your iTunes Account once you confirm the purchase.
* Your subscription will automatically renew at the end of your subscription period. To opt out, you must turn off auto-renew at least 24 hours before the end of the current period.
* Manage changes to your subscription in the iTunes Account Settings.
* Any unused portion of a free trial will be forfeited when you purchase a Paper Pro subscription.
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