For the past few years, I have been trying to go paperless. I converted my paper planner to a digital planner. I started using my phone to make digital versions of documents to save in Evernote. Everything from water bills to my kids’ drawings. One of the big remaining sources of paper in my life is my notebooks. I like to write things down. I enjoy taking notes. Finally, I just made myself my own digital dotted notebook that I’ve been using in the GoodNotes app on my iPad for the past few months. I don’t think I’ll ever go back.
In the past, I’ve tried taking notes in a Word-type document, but it just didn’t give me the same satisfaction as writing. Then I tried using a RocketBook, where you still handwrite your notes, but then use an app to scan and upload your files to the cloud. I liked it at first, but uploading was a pain and the scans weren’t perfect.
I’ve had an iPad Air for nearly a year now. The minute I switched over from my paper planner to a digital planner that I could write in with an Apple Pencil, I was completely in love. It gives me all the satisfaction of writing in a paper planner with so many added benefits. 1) It is way smaller and lighter than my physical planner. 2) I can erase easily and correct mistakes. 3) I can easily highlight and move text around. 4) I can copy all of our regular activities from one week into multiple weeks to save time. 5) Everything is hyperlinked so you can easily move around the planner. I could keep going.
Anyway, what I am sharing here is NOT a digital planner. (Though I hope to make my own of those someday too. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know!) What I’m sharing for free here is simply a digital notebook. It has 12 sections and could be used as a journal or to take notes. Really anything that you would use a notebook for. It’s like one of those multi-section spiral notebooks you had as a kid, but way more convenient.
You can add as many pages as needed to each section. It has a hyperlinked table of contents. I added in some template pages in case you don’t want the dotted pages on certain pages. The dot-journal page is the default style since it is my favorite, but you have options to add a different style here and there if you choose. For example, I included templates for blank pages, wide and college-ruled lined paper, and graph paper that you can pull in anywhere within each of the sections. I also put a section where you can store your own digital stickers if you choose!
So far I’ve been using my journal to take notes for my Masters in Education program with Western Governor’s University. In the past, I’ve always eventually ended up throwing away all my class notes because they take up so much space. If I had saved all the journals, spiral notebooks, and composition books I’ve filled up throughout my life, my house would be packed floor to ceiling. When I prioritize what paper to save, I always end up keeping my personal journals and sentimental items over my educational notes. Now I don’t have to choose. By having a digital copy of my notes, I can add as many pages as I want at no cost or added space requirement.
Unfortunately, you do need to already own an iPad and an Apple Pencil to use this system, which is about a $700 investment altogether. I think there might be cheaper options, but I don’t have experience with them, so I can’t make any recommendations. You also need the GoodNotes app which is a one-time payment of $9. I’ve heard of other apps that can be used for digital notetaking such as Noteability and Noteshelf, however, GoodNotes is all I have experience with. If you have any questions about how to import the document, feel free to reach out and I’ll try to help!
Making the switch might be too big of an investment at this point, but if digital planning/note-taking/journaling is already your cup of tea, feel free to try out my free digital dotted journal! Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for improvements!
Recommended Age Range: Middle School, High School, Adult
Time Required: 1 minute if you already do digital notetaking, maybe 10 minutes if you have to install the app.
Cost: Free digital file
tablet with stylus
1. Import the document into GoodNotes or your digital notetaking app of choice!
Get your download here: Free Digital Dotted Notebook
NOTE: If you enjoy using this notebook, ten other color palettes are included in my Patreon membership community!