Drafts 5 Overhauls Note-Taking App With New Themes, Editor Options and Action Features

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A new version of Drafts, the simple note-taking app from Agile Tortoise, was released today. Drafts 5 stays faithful to its predecessor's primary goal of allowing users to quickly jot down text, thoughts, ideas, and notes, and builds on these functions by introducing a ground-up rewrite of the app with a raft of new features and customization options.

Agile Tortoise has opted to release Drafts 5 as a standalone app, which means it doesn't replace Drafts 4, but installs alongside it, allowing users to migrate previous drafts, actions and keyboard customizations from the earlier app.

drafts 5 devices
Once they've done that, long-time users will find a raft of new interface theming options, like the ability to switch between light and dark modes, and granular control of a host of draft appearance settings in the new editor. These include the ability to adjust margins, line height, line numbering, auto-correct, smart quotes/dashes, and more.

Drafts 5 also introduces new organization options with multiple tags, which can be used to filter the draft list and queries for all inbox, archived, and flagged drafts. A new Focus mode disables the automatic creation of new drafts after a specific time period, allowing users to continue adding to drafts long after they were first created. Siri integration is another new addition in this version, so users can add a note to Drafts by just using their voice.

Elsewhere, there's enhanced support for inline syntax highlighting for several different types of markup, interactive to-dos, drag and drop support, multiple extended keyboards for grouping actions into categories, a new Action Directory, and automated backup. Small changes have also been made to improve the Apple Watch complication of Drafts 5, which allows dictation and note-taking from the wrist, as well as flagging and tagging of drafts.

The comprehensive list of changes and improvements can be found on the GetDrafts.com website. Drafts for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link], while Drafts Pro is a universal subscription ($20 per year / $2 per month) that unlocks more features. These include themes, custom icons, editing of actions, saving workspaces and more. According to the developer, Draft 4 will continue to be supported and available, so users can choose to migrate to Drafts 5 if and when they feel they are ready.

Top Rated Comments

mdbradigan Avatar
36 months ago

('https://www.macrumors.com/2018/04/19/drafts-5-overhauls-note-taking-app-with-new-themes-editor-options-and-action-features/')
Drafts for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link ('https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1236254471?ls=1&mt=8')], while Drafts Pro is a universal subscription ($20 per year / $2 per month) that unlocks more features.

I love Drafts... Agile Tortoise is a great developer and makes great tools. But the move by *every* developer shop to a subscription model is just a horrible paradigm. I'd gladly pay for Drafts - it's a great app. But not annually. It is not a "service", it is software. This shift is dangerous, and must be fought, IMO.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleInLVX Avatar
36 months ago

I love Drafts... Agile Tortoise is a great developer and makes great tools. But the move by *every* developer shop to a subscription model is just a horrible paradigm. I'd gladly pay for Drafts - it's a great app. But not annually. It is not a "service", it is software. This shift is dangerous, and must be fought, IMO.

I am officially done. Every app that I use on at least a weekly basis that went subscription I have sucked up and paid for (although I do this grudgingly, no longer evangelize the products like I used to, and will jump ship the first time I find a suitable replacement, or they up their subscription price). Now it's like if I don't use it at least weekly, you can forget it--it's gone. Drafts falls into that category. If I need to note something, I'll use Apple's notes; it's just as good. And as for all the new ones who use subscriptions, I will never know how good the software is because I will never allow myself to get trapped into an ecosystem like that again.

f subscriptions.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mike Oxard Avatar
36 months ago

I know MR has to make money, but the best note taking app is MS OneNote. It is free on all platforms and works with the pencil on the iPad.

Drafts is more than just a note taking app, read the review on Macstories for better detail on what it can do.

https://www.macstories.net/reviews/drafts-5-the-macstories-review/
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleInLVX Avatar
36 months ago

LOL.. I meant to say, I don't want to get the free version, want to do a specific thing, have that specific thing only be in the pro version, which means another subscription which I don't want.

What it boils down to for me is want vs. need.

If I NEED the software to do the things that I feel enrich my life or make me money then of course I pay for those and I always have. I used to look forward to new releases and it didn't matter that this also meant paying. Now for those I subscribed to, it's nothing but annoyance, and the trickle of features whenever the devs please to offer them does nothing for me. I can't wait to get out of it if I can.

I used to buy software that I WANTED too. If someone said some bit of software was good, I'd want to give it a shot, see what it was about, maybe incorporate it into my life if it made things better for me. But when faced with a subscription, my wants are overridden by the stronger desire to stay out of a situation where desirable features are always present but unavailable and nags won't let you forget it, or where my data is held ransom for a monthly or annual extortion. No. That dev may have gotten my money if I wanted to try, but now they will never get it because the software isn't a need. I pay for heat because I need it, I don't pay for a freakin' text entry field and routing capabilities because I need those.

Gah. Sorry. This topic really burns me. Will shut up now.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zchrykng Avatar
36 months ago

I love Drafts... Agile Tortoise is a great developer and makes great tools. But the move by *every* developer shop to a subscription model is just a horrible paradigm. I'd gladly pay for Drafts - it's a great app. But not annually. It is not a "service", it is software. This shift is dangerous, and must be fought, IMO.

Fully agree. I am seriously hitting subscription burn out. There are only so many services/apps I am willing to pay for regularly.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleInLVX Avatar
36 months ago

If support is dropped for 4, you can complain. But that hasn't happened.

Valid point. OK, I'll wait.

OK. You are "voting against" Drafts 4 -- even though you already have a copy. What exact pay-once app are you choosing? And how can you possibly guarantee that any pay-once app will eventually stop working?

Use Apple Notes. Or whatever native app does what you want it to. Most can do quick entry through force-touch now. There was recently an article about using native apps instead of the third-party ones, and how that, surprisingly, for the most part this is just fine. And I guess it's pretty likely that these won't go away anytime soon.

The Drafts-world sounds pretty good: a new app to fund the enterprise; a really good existing app for those who don't want to pay a monthly fee. What specific alternative to Drafts is going to work better than that for you? What exactly are you voting for?



Like I said, the native ones. I think for more people than you'd imagine, those ones will always be enough, always be there, always be free, and always work best with iOS. You could argue that Notes isn't a Drafts replacement because Drafts can do things that Notes doesn't. Fair point, but what does it do beyond removing a few icons from your home screen at the expense of another app you need to learn?

Developers are unwilling to provide an app in perpetuity for one $4.99 fee. Anyone would be foolish to think that an app would run forever for one fee. TANSTAAFL.

This argument is one I don't get. Software designers have been going without a subscription model for decades. Recently, an article was published showing that three of the stalwarts, BBEdit, PCalc and Omni ('https://mjtsai.com/blog/2017/09/04/congratulations/'), have been around for years and still remain popular and profitable. NONE of those have ever been, nor are, subscription platforms. This subscription thing is a way to normalize incomes for software companies who cannot budget a sales cycle or do not want to work within a traditional software release cycle. It's foisting the responsibility of making an application sustainable to the user base rather than the developer. Is it really my responsibility that a dev can't make a software cycle work?

NO ONE with any reason is expecting a free lunch. It's been said hundreds of times by scores of users that I've read (and I count myself among them) that there's no issue in buying the software. In fact, there's no issue in buying the software at MORE than reasonable prices. The issue is, people like me want to OWN the software, not rent it. Software is a tool used to get a job done. In the same way I will go out and buy a hammer so I have something to drive nails, I buy a word processor to write essays. It is total BS to have someone come and reclaim not only my hammer, but sometimes even the stuff I built with it because I didn't pay the monthly hammer rental fee. I have always been happy to pay full price to own software that is useful to me, AND I have been a true cheerleader for the software I find useful when others ask about it. I do not want a free lunch. But every time someone takes away ownership over SaaS, they either lose me, or lose my devotion to the product. That's not the way to run a railroad.

/off my soap box.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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