Dropbox Paper app has a clean layout
Dropbox Paper app has a clean layout

Dropbox Paper is a productivity cocktail, but still a work in progress

Dropbox's new note taking and document collaboration app is in the beta stage, and still has some way to go before it can rival the likes of Evernote, Google Docs or Microsoft's OneNote

Well known for its cloud storage services, Dropbox has in the past tried its hand at other aspects of productivity with Mailbox and Carousel apps for smartphones. Though Dropbox eventually dumped the two apps, it hasn’t given up on trying new things, which go beyond its cloud storage offering and yet link well with it.

Dropbox has now released a note-taking app called Paper, with minimalist design and a few interesting features for professionals on the move. It is currently in beta mode and is likely to face competition from the likes of Evermore, OneNote, Google Keep and Google Docs.

How do you use it?

The app is closely integrated with Dropbox cloud storage. So if you have a Dropbox app on your phone, you can log in directly into Paper Beta through Dropbox. In case you don’t have a Dropbox app but have a Dropbox account, you can still log in using Dropbox’s username and password.

What works?

Dropbox Paper app has a clean layout. The top of the page shows four categories. The first category shows notes sent to the user for collaboration, the second shows all the notes created by the user, the third shows the user’s notes marked as favourite and the last one shows the app settings.

To search for a note, you can scroll through the list or type the related keyword in the search tab in the notes page. It will filter and show only those notes with the keyword typed in the search bar. The other way to access your favourite docs quickly is by tapping on the star icon which will move the note to the favourite section.

Users can also click a picture and embed it in a note or pick an existing one from the photo gallery on the phone without navigating away from the app.

The big highlight is that it allows users to share their notes with other Paper users over Dropbox so they can work jointly over a note. One can add collaborators by adding their user email configured on Dropbox. Like Evernote you can also access your notes on both smartphone and desktop browsers. This allows users to share and work on a document along with multiple people. The changes made by anyone in a document can be seen by others right away. This feature also allows users to chat with each other while working on a document.

What doesn’t?

One of the big limitations of Paper is that it works online at the moment. So one can check a note offline, but for taking a note or editing a file, the user’s phone should be connected to a Wi-Fi network or mobile data. Also, there is no button to delete a note, which means you can’t get rid of notes you don’t need any more.

The other big let-down is that it doesn’t allow users to club notes under different folders in the Paper app on your phone like Evernote does, or change the layout style like Google Keep. Even though the desktop version of Paper app allows users to create folders in the app, the notes shows separately without the folder in the Paper app.

Is it worth downloading?

The thing with Paper is that it is a blend of many things. Document collaboration like Google Docs, note taking akin to Microsoft OneNote and Evernote and even scribbling down important links the way Google Keep does it. The fact that it is tied in with your cloud storage account makes it even more relevant. But there is still a long way to go before this jack of all trades can be a certain replacement for either of the above mentioned services.

Developed by Dropbox

Price: Free

Available on Android, iOS

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