Are you interested in learning how to create a digital planner? I know I was the second I came across them! I had just gotten a new iPad and Apple Pencil and I wanted to see what all I could do with my new toy (besides just work on my blog). That’s when I discovered digital planners!
I loved this idea! It took away all the things I didn’t care for with a physical planner and gave me all the things I didn’t know I was missing with a digital one! Check out my post here that goes more into detail on that but for now, let’s talk about creating your very own digital planner!
Programs to Use to Create a Digital Planner
There are a bunch of different programs you can use to create a digital planner. It is all based on preference. All you really need is a program that can create a PDF. Now if you want your planner to have tabs that link to certain parts in your planner, then you would need a program that can save hyperlinks in the PDF.
I have a Mac so I have become best friends with Keynote, which is Apple’s version of PowerPoint. Keynote allows you to use hyperlinks in your PDF. Hyperlinks in your PDF is how you are able to link from the front of your planner to a certain section or month in your planner. It is also how you can link to webpages from your planner as well.
If you are using an iPad to use your digital planner then it is very easy to just use the Keynote app to create your digital planner. You just create it, save it, then upload it into the note-taking app of your choice to actually use the planner!
If you aren’t using an Apple product then no worries, there are still other ways you can create and use your PDF for your digital planner.
Some of the main programs that allow you to add hyperlinks in a PDF are:
Like I said there are many more but most people either use Google, Microsoft, or Apple. All of those allow you to create PDFs with a hyperlink. At least all of those programs just allowed me to when I tested them out to make sure.
So if you are using one of those and it doesn’t you may need to update it because I know that I couldn’t before on PowerPoint but now I can.
Pages to Include in Your Digital Planner
Now that you have picked a program to use you need to decide how your planner is going to look and what pages you are going to include. This is all personal preference too and the best way to decide is to do a little research.
When creating mine, I Googled digital planners and I looked through all the different ones and decided which styles I liked or didn’t like.
I decided how some of them made sense to navigate through and some didn’t. Again, just go through and get some different ideas. As long as you aren’t going to try and resell your planner it is okay to have yours similar to someone else’s.
You do not, however, want to copy someone else’s and then try and sell your planner. That’s a big no-no so don’t do that.
Here are some examples of pages you can include in your digital planner.
Dotted Grid Pages (like a bullet journal)
This is where creating your planner gets fun! You get to customize each page to what is best for you!
Add charts, graphs, and fun layouts!
Programs to Use Your Digital Planner
After you have finished creating your digital planner and saved it as a PDF you can now upload it into your favorite note-taking app.
I use GoodNotes and it is amazing, I really do love it. It is only available on Apple devices and it does cost about $8 bucks. But really $8 is pretty cheap and it’s worth it in my opinion.
You can also use Notability or OneNote. Any app that will allow you to upload a PDF and edit it. Once again, it is all about preference. You just need to be able to edit the PDF for you to be able to actually use your digital planner like a normal planner.
Once you have picked the app and uploaded your digital planner PDF, you are now free to fill it all in and get your life completely organized at your fingertips!
Need some more help?
This post is just a quick guide to explain how digital planners are created but if you are looking for a more detailed explanation and someone to help guide you through every step of the process, then check out my Digital Planner Creation Mini-Course.(Which is on an early bird sale right now until December 15, 2019!)
In my mini-course, I will help guide you through creating your own digital planner. Here is what is all included in my course:
A Walkthrough on How to Create Your Digital Planner
Which Programs to Use to Create a Digital Planner
The Different Styles and Types of Digital Planners
Here is More Information on the iPad and Accessories That I Got.
This is the exact iPad that I bought. I did go with the lower storage because I need to get a hard drive anyway so this way I can just get one of those and save money on buying the extra storage.
We looked into purchasing the iPad through our phone carrier to add data to it but that costs more also. Plus we found out that our T.V. provider has hotspots I can use when I am away from home. Just some things to think about!
I wanted the bigger screen so that was my main priority. I wasn’t as worried about storage because I have a bigger icloud storage plan and then again I plan to get an external hard drive to save all pictures and important documents on it.
Now I don’t pretend to be all tech-savvy, I know just enough to get by. I know that I am a busy mom and this all makes my life easier and more portable. I do want to say that it comes with a completely new charger.
Supposedly it is to be able to connect to your computer better or other techy stuff I don’t understand but my point is no more USB on one end and no more of the other normal end that all Apple products have.
The cord has the same end on each end. So either way, it connects to your converter to plug into the wall and then into the iPad to charge. Just a heads up.
Then since I got the bigger screen I had to get this keyboard that fits it. They are both 12.9 inches so that gives plenty of room for using your screen and typing on a good-sized keyboard, not a tiny one.
The iPad connects magnetically to the keyboard and there are three dots on the back of the iPad that connects it to the keyboard.
Then you can have it in different positions to adjust it to your liking while typing. Then when you aren’t using the keyboard you can fold it over to close and you will hear the iPad lock. Also, you can flip it around and under the iPad to quickly use the iPad only.
There are no buttons, it looks and feels just like a regular pencil. It doesn’t erase like one although I think it should. I keep wanting to flip it around and erase with the pencil eraser like you normally would.
But just a heads up it doesn’t work like that. Another fun feature of the Apple pencil is that it connects to the side of your iPad magnetically to charge.
This is great to keep track of the pencil and know that it is always charged up. No plugging it in or cords involved! Once you connect it to the iPad it will tell you what charge the pencil is at as well.
I don’t know if I will do that or not because with the new pencil it senses when you double-tap to erase. Also, I don’t know how the gripper affects it charging magnetically or staying safely on the side of the iPad. I worry that it might come off and I would lose it.
Are you still using a regular planner? Have you ever thought about going digital? Maybe you didn’t even realize there was such a thing as a digital planner? Well, let me tell you a little more about them and why you should make the switch to a digital planner (or bullet journal) today!
First, let me say I am not talking about using your Google Calendar or using some fancy calendar app. I am talking about a digital version of a physical planner. It looks like a paper planner and it acts like one too but better!
See, a digital planner is just a PDF that is made to look like a planner and then you upload it into a note-taking app that allows you to edit the PDF such as GoodNotes or Notability. I am an iPhone user so I use GoodNotes.
GoodNotes is only available for Apple users but Andriod users can use Notability and others. So here is an example of what a digital planner looks like. This is from GoodNotes Goods, Co. It has hyperlinks in the PDF to allow you to jump to certain sections of the planner, like the tabs on the right take you to each month.
It looks just like a real planner, doesn’t it?! So why make the switch to digital? Let’s talk about all the benefits you get from a digital planner that a physical planner just can’t do.
Pros of a Digital Planner vs a Physical Planner
Can be use right from your phone or ipad
More convenient to use
Only need one pencil
Don’t have to buy a new one when it is full
Easily add more pages
Don’t have to buy stickers, tape, pens pencils markers
If you do buy digital stickers you only have to buy them once, when physical stickers you only get one use out of them.
You can use any font you want (not just what you can write)
Easily make edits
Add images and graphics
Add charts and graphs
Won’t rip or get all banged up
You can add links to other sites or link within the planner
Won’t bleed through and ruin the next page
Going digital you are able to make easier edits and adjustments with a few swipes of your magic wand…I mean stylus. I can’t do that on a regular planner. When I mess up (which happens a lot) I am stuck with that forever. Even if you are using a pencil it still isn’t the same.
Flaws of a Physical Planner or Bullet Journal
I joined a few Bullet Journal/Planner Facebook Groups to get inspirations and ideas on how to use my bullet journal. It is amazing how creative people can be! With a blank paper, they turn it into this beautiful functional work of art.
However, I have seen so many of these talented people share their layouts that have a smudge, a rip, or a bleed through on all their hard work.
For me, I struggle with having a steady hand and the patience to create a layout. But with each of these flaws I just see how much easier, it would be to use a digital version.
There are no mistakes that can’t quickly be fixed with a digital version that you can’t fix on a physical version.
What is The Best Digital Planner
There is no one perfect planner that fits all. One layout may work better for someone than another layout. I think that is the beauty behind the bullet journal. You are able to customize each page to your own liking. It can be a planner, a mood tracker, a notebook, anything you can dream up! So to me the best would be a digital bullet journal. I love them so much I created a free one just for you to test this whole digital process out for yourself! It works great with an ipad pro and the GoodNotes app or any other note-taking app.
I will say that GoodNotes does cost I believe $7.99 for the app. But I have spent more on wasted planners than that so this way I can now reuse the digital planners and bullet journals I create over and over again in the GoodNotes app so it is well worth it to me.
Plus, the options that are offered in the app are what makes me love it so much. It makes using your planner so easy!
How Do I Import a Digital Planner into GoodNotes
Once you get the app there is a dotted square with a plus sign, click on that and then choose import, from there you just find the PDF you saved and import it! In the GoodNotes app you can create folders to keep all of your notebooks and planners all organized. There are free templates and notebooks that you can create in the app as well.
Where Can I Purchase a Digital Planner
There are so many wonderful digital planners available on Etsy that you can purchase one and reuse. Or you could always create your own digital planner for free like I did. If you are thinking you may be interested in creating your own digital planner but need some guidance than no problem, I can help you!
I had the same questions when I first heard about bullet journals: What is a bullet journal? And how do you start a bullet journal? It wasn’t until I had one for a few months did I finally see the full potential of a bullet journal thanks to Pinterest.
When I first heard about a bullet journal it was from another blogger and she shared how she used hers for planning out her blog and scheduling her time. Nothing too fancy. I gave it a try and really I wasn’t having any luck.
Then I realized that there was such a thing as a digital version of the bullet journal. That’s when all the flood gates opened up for me on how to use a bullet journal!
Pin this to your Bullet Journal Board on Pinterest
What is a bullet journal?
First, let’s cover what is a bullet journal. It is a journal (not necessarily a notebook but more of a blank journal) with dotted pages (bullets). Each page has small light-colored dots on them to serve as guides while you are creating each page. In this picture, you can barely see the dots on the page but they are there and act as perfect guides to create this awesome layout.
Each of these is so pretty and they are really just the tip of the iceberg of all the different designs you can do with your bullet journal.
How to Get Started?
To get started with your very own journal you would first need to purchase one. I got mine off of Amazon. There are several to choose from so here are some of the ones listed on Amazon. They range around $8 for a journal.
There are tons of supplies you can purchase also to decorate your journal. Things like stickers, pens, markers, and even fun designed washi tape! Or you can just grab a bundle deal like this one.
Now here is where I want to stop you for just a sec. As I mentioned above I came across digital bullet journals. I want to share those with you real quick so you can move forward in the direction you choose.
What is a digital bullet journal?
A digital bullet journal is just like it sounds. It is a digital version of a bullet journal that you can use on your iPad, tablet, or even your phone. It comes as a PDF so you just need a program that will allow you to edit or write on the PDF for it to work.
For example, there are note-taking apps that allow you to write on a PDF such as GoodNotes, Adobe, Notability, and OneNote. It just depends on your device and your style on which one works for you.
To learn all about how awesome digital bullet journals are (and why I feel like they are actually the better option) check out my post here. Or to see how you can use your Notes app on your iPhone as a bullet journal, read this post here.
Or if you’re sold and you want to give digital bullet journals a test run for yourself you can grab a copy of my free digital bullet journal here!
Once you have chosen your bullet journal format (physical or digital) people will often get stuck on how to use them. Use these 5 quick steps to help you get started.
1. Ask yourself why you got a bullet journal to begin with?
Was it just for fun because you love all things office supply related? (That is literally half the reason I got one myself) or was it because you are trying to get your life organized and running smoothly? (that’s the second reason I got one)
2. Now elaborate on your answer even more.
If it was just because it looked cool then you are free to draw on each page to your heart’s content! Or if it was to become more organize then think about what part of your life needs the most help. Do you need help tracking your tasks, do you need help tracking how much water you drink or what you eat, or do you need help with all of your daily activities?
Really think about why you got the bullet journal to begin with so you can then find the best way to utilize it to help you!
3. Search ideas on Pinterest.
For an overload of inspiration on how you can use each page to track your habits, daily tasks, and more, you can research on Pinterest for more ideas. There are thousands of ideas on Pinterest to help get your creative juices flowing on how to best use your new bullet journal.
4. Go with your gut.
Then go with your gut. Pick the one that makes sense to you. If you see a beautiful design but you are confused about how that design helps you achieve your goal, then don’t go with that one. Some people love the over the top designs and some people are more cut and dry and to the point.
Pick the layout (or spread) that works for you. Find your inspiration and use it to create your own pages that fit your life!
5. Follow through daily.
This is probably the most important step of all. Work on your journal daily. If you got it to help you get more organized and stay on task then you have to look at it daily. You can’t design all these beautiful pages that have all your daily activities on them and then not look back at it again for a week or two later.
That is where everyone goes wrong. Just like how you check social media daily to find out what’s going on in the world, you need to check into your bujo (bullet journal) or planner daily too. Consistency is key.
If you stay consistent with using your bullet journal then you will consistently achieve the goals you set out to accomplish on why you got it to begin with!
Comment below with your spreads!
I most definitely want to see the new spreads you have created with your new bullet journal! Please comment below so we can all enjoy it!