James Eaton

April 19, 2021

A year with Craft (April 2021-2022)

I’m going to spend a year with Craft as my main note-taking and note-making system (more on note-making vs note-taking in future posts).

I’ve been back and forth with different apps over the last year. From Notion to Notes and everything in between, I’ve tried them all. I’ve gone simple (Apple Notes) and I’ve gone analog / hybrid with apps like GoodNotes. I’ve spent hours and hours developing a system with Notion. I’ve dabbled with Obsidian and I even thought about going back to Evernote (I loved Evernote so much back in the day...).

But then tried Craft. Something almost immediately clicked in my brain as I began to use the app. It has so many smart features and it also just looks great on all my Apple devices. Craft is built with love and the iOS, iPadOS, and macOS apps are all top-notch. After spending time with Notion for a year, it’s been a nice chance of pace to have an app that is made for iOS and an app that has offline mode (more on that later as well...).

Why I am loving Craft? Three quick thoughts.

1. Quick entry. Craft is so fast. It opens almost instantly and I can easily create a note and get to work. There are great Widgets and support for Shortcuts are incredible. I have been able to create several quick actions with Shortcuts to easily capture data and links to notes. I have been using Drafts for a long time and there has not really been anything close to Drafts when it comes to the speed of note creation, but Craft is not far behind. Other note apps are just slow to open or don’t have good support for quick entry. That might not be a problem for you depending on how you take notes, but for me it’s crucial that I can capture ideas when they come ; I can process those later.

2. Image and sketch support. I switched to Apple Notes with iOS 13 because Notes got a nice upgrade. I loved being able to quickly add notes with the Apple Pencil, add images, or even add documents. Good Notes 5 also let me use powerful tools to capture ideas with the Pencil. When I saw how easy it was to add a sketch in Craft using the Pencil Kit support, I was blown away. I could be writing in craft, hit one button and start sketching out an idea. I am not a good artist, so I don’t need fancy settings. I need a place to sketch notes and use a few colors to highlight. I also use images as page cover for my daily journal, and it makes me happy to look through those notes and see images instead of text. I can add any image that I need with ease. It’s refreshing.

3. Just enough structure. Craft has parameters on how it works. There are notes, folders, and spaces. It’s simple and it works. I developed a pretty great setup in Notion with relational databases that could talk with each other. As nice as the open-world setup of Notion can be (you can do literally anything inside of Notion), there is something to be said for a few parameters to help you get work done. Craft’s system is not intrusive or opinionated, but it is enough structure to keep me on track. The real feature of Craft is the great search and ability to link notes together. It does the Obsidian thing with a little more polish. I can still write in Markdown, but then it can be shown instantly. Again, Craft is not slowing me down in any way. It is still letting me take notes in a similar way to Obsidian but it has a little more structure that fills in the gap between working and working on my setup.

I recently signed up for the premium version of Craft, so I am going to stick with it for a year as my main tool and we will see where it takes me. Craft seems like it is going to handle whatever I throw at it as far as I need for my note-making and research. The team at Craft is also updating their app like crazy, so I can’t wait to see how the app grows in the coming months. Tables and tags are both supposed to be here at some points, but honestly tags are less of a sticking point thanks the flexibility of backlinks.

Want to follow along with my Craft journey? I will be posting blog posts regularly here and I a going to be sharing videos on YouTube as well (more info coming once I actually create some of that content). Let me know what questions you have about Craft, note-taking, note-making, research, etc. I’d love some new topics to address in the future!