I have been using the free version of Use Your Handwriting for about four months. It’s by far my most used productivity app – I use it for grocery lists, codes I need to remember and really, just anything that I can’t afford to forget. I was delighted when I found out that I could upgrade to a more fully featured version of the app. Use Your Handwriting GOLD, developed by Gee Whiz Stuff LLC., is basically a supercharged version of the original, but with lots of great new features.
As a buyer you have plenty of options when it comes to apps that provide to-do list functionality. I suppose it’s a personal preference which one you choose. What sets Use Your Handwriting GOLD apart is that you don’t type the lists, you write them. Using your finger as if it were a pen, you can create lists and sub-lists or you can create drawings to represent your topics. What really makes this one special is that it is just plain fun.
Let’s start with the basics. You have a choice of creating up to seven lists or “Themes.” Think of the “Themes” as folders. Once you select a list, (they are color-coded) you can start adding items. You just hit the plus sign at the top of the list and a screen pops up. You put your finger on the screen and start writing. If the word is long, the screen automatically moves over for you whenever you pause and it senses the edge coming.
Once you add an item you can just hit the plus sign again and add more items, you don’t need to go back to the main screen. Within each list you can also create sub-lists. If the main task is “Feed the Dog”, your sub-tasks could be:
- Buy dog food
- Put food in bowl
- Set bowl down for Fido.
Your lists can be simple reminders or you can type multiple sentence lists. When you are in list mode there is no limit to how much you write on any one item. Well, I suppose there could be a limit – I just haven’t found it yet.
You can change the order of the items on your lists and you can check off items. You can also “star” them so they flash to get your attention. And, of course, you can delete or edit them as well. You can set the writing speed to be Slow, OK (the default setting), Fast or Zip. I have tested the OK and Fast speed. The representation of my handwriting was not as clear in Fast mode so I’ll probably stick with OK. I think this is another feature that will just come down to personal preference.
When you write something on the screen, you can shake your iPhone to erase the word and start over – a useful feature. There are other ways to “undo” your writing, but the shaking is quick and easy. You can also create a list – or a note – and email it to someone. I love this feature. My husband and I to use it to send grocery lists to whichever one of us is going to the store. You could also send handwritten thank you notes, or take notes at a meeting and send them to others. A new feature that has just been added lets you chose the email background as either black or white. Another new feature recently added is the ability to cut and paste tasks between lists of the same color. So, you can move items from the main list to the sub-category or sub-category to main list.
Many app developers don’t spend enough time creating help screens. Use Your Handwriting GOLD has clear instructions that you can view when you are on the “Theme” screen or on the menu of any list.
Could the app be improved? An alarm or alert feature could be a helpful addition to remind you to check important notes. When you create lists and the items are not checked off, a number in a red circle appears on the top right hand corner of the app icon to remind you that you have things to do, but some kind of alert feature might be nice.
Use Your Handwriting GOLD is both simple and elegant at the same time. There are a number of list-making apps available through the iPhone app store and I’ve several of them. They met my basic note taking needs, but none of them provided me the simplicity of writing my own notes. I also don’t think that I could move through them as quickly as I can with this app. I’ll even go further than that – none of them provided the same fun-factor. I rate this app highly because of my personal, daily, experience with it. I recommend it to friends and family and I think you will consider the $1.99 asking price worth the value received. Go ahead, download this app and start Using Your Handwriting.
Use Your Handwriting GOLD is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.