Craft notes and docs that look better ✨

Try Craft.do, a new way to create documents you show others

Welcome to lots of new readers from Tennessee this week and to journalism profs from Teachapalooza! If someone forwarded this to you, join 4,750 people on the free list. If you have a question or suggestion, hit reply to reach my inbox.

Here's whats in this Wonder Tools post:

  • 🧑‍💻 My take on Craft.do, a new app I use to turn notes into polished handouts

  • 🧶 See examples of how people use Craft.do + resources for getting started

  • 🔮 My takeaways from the reader survey more than 150 of you responded to


More of my recent resources:


Handcrafting digital notes with Craft.do

Craft is a stellar new tool for creating notes and documents. I love using it to design handouts. I also rely on it to compile messy notes into more readable summaries. Without this cleaning-up step my notes are tricky for me to make sense of later.

Craft’s standout feature is letting you create elegant documents by neatly tucking in multiple sub-pages.

The sub-pages show up as gorgeous “cards” that open up your additional material. You end up with a streamlined, eye-catching one-pager that’s organized and easy to read, with as many layers of content tucked within as you like. That lets you digress or branch in new directions when necessary, adding sub-topics without making your doc feel long or muddled.

Examples of documents made with Craft.do 🎨

Scroll through the following docs to see how Craft enables nice-looking sub-pages. I’ve selected these not to highlight their content but to illustrate Craft’s design functionality.

Six things I like about Craft 👍

A few more examples of Craft documents 🖌

A few limitations of Craft 👎

  • It's not yet available for Android or Windows, though the Web app is in beta.

  • Craft doesn’t yet support tables, so if you rely on those in Notion, Airtable or Coda, this won’t satisfy you.

  • You can insert nice-looking bookmarks to Web content, but you can’t embed videos, maps, Tweets or other social content on Craft pages as you can in Notion, Coda or even Almanac, another new document creator.

  • It’s still relatively new, so the feature set will take some time to develop.

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Pricing

  • Free to start and for light use

  • $45/year for full use, with additional storage space and design elements

  • 50% for educators and students

A few tips on using Craft for the first time

Start by creating a text note as you would in any other note or document tool. You can make bullet or numbered lists, checklists, or plain text. You can also add images, links to other sites or whatever else you might add to a document or note.

Then add a few bullet points, a file, paragraphs of text, or images on a related theme. Select them and hit [Command-G] to group them together. Or right-click and select style > card to make them into a special card.

Here’s a gif illustrating how that looks

Once you've tucked some sub-pages or cards into a document you'll wonder why other tools don't make it this easy to make streamlined pages. Got a doc

Here’s a short video of me creating a page in Craft 👇

Leave your email here if you’d like to join a live Craft lesson


Notion remains a good alternative if you use Android or Windows or if you need table features or other things Craft doesn’t yet have. Here’s my post about why Notion is so useful, and how to start using Notion.


Takeaways from the reader survey

Thanks to more than 150 of you who responded to the reader survey with about 3,000 total agree / disagree / compare votes and comments. This input is valuable. I’ve already made several adjustments based on your observations.

Many of you had positive things to say. A few offered constructive critiques. The gist of many of the comments was that these weekly posts are useful. Here's what I learned from your collective responses.

Include negatives
The #1 most agreed-upon statement in the survey was that it’s helpful when I include negative aspects of tools, not just their strengths. I’ve added a section to each new post focusing on the limitations of whatever services I write about.

Bullets, examples and how-tos have value
Readers agreed with a survey respondent’s comment: “I like the no-nonsense bullet points that tell you what you need to know without reading too much.” There was additional consensus around the value of examples of how to use tools, pricing info and how-to tips.

Themes are helpful
The consensus was that themes make things easy to find later. It’s helpful, many noted, that I do the research and try things out to save you time, money and effort. Some of you also said a database of all the tools noted would be helpful.

New suggestion box
Many of you want to be able to submit recommendations. So now you can easily suggest a site, app, or service with a sentence about why/how it’s useful.

I’m reviewing many other observations you shared. Those will help me continue to refine the newsletter in the months ahead.

The survey is still open if you'd like to share anonymous input or see how an OpinionX survey works.

Thanks for reading! Have a splendid week ahead. Say hello on Twitter @jeremycaplan