Capture Handwritten Notes with a Rocketbook

By Catherine Pope

February 11, 2021


There are lots of great note-taking apps out there, but sometimes you just want to scribble with a pen and paper. The problem with bits of paper, though, is that we lose them or they accidentally end up in the recycling. It's only a slight exaggeration to claim that the Rocketbook changed my life. It's a reusable notebook that gives you the best of both digital and analogue. In this post, I'll explain how the Rocketbook works and what you can do with it.

The Rocketbook looks like an ordinary, but quite slim notebook. You write on it with special erasable Frixion pens. So far, it seems quite normal. Here's the magic, though. Once you've finished writing your important thoughts, you can scan and capture the page with the Rocketbook app.

Rocketbook

First, though, take a look at these symbols at the bottom of the page. You can map these to cloud-based destinations.

Rocketbook - Symbols

In the app, go to Destinations and tap a symbol to link it with a cloud-based service. By default, they all go to the email address associated with your account. You can choose from a range of destinations, including Dropbox, Evernote, and Trello. It'll only work with apps that have an API available, so doesn't currently include Notion or Roam. You'll need to log in to any destination that you link with Rocketbook.

Rocketbook - Destinations

Once you have your destination configured, mark the appropriate symbol on the page to choose your destination. You can also choose multiple destinations - this is very handy if you want to send a note to several people.

Rocketbook - mark symbol

Click the tiny camera icon to start scanning. You need to line it up so the page fits within your viewfinder and the app can read the QR code in the bottom right-hand corner. You need good lighting for this to work properly. Then click Next and change the title, if you want to. Click Done. You should then see a message to say that sending is complete.

Rocketbook - scan

Here's what my note looks like as an email:

Rocketbook - email

In the settings, you can choose whether you want your scans in PDF or JPEG format. There's also an option for Rocketbook to turn your writing into text, although my handwriting is too scruffy for that to work.

All scans show up on your History page, from where you can delete or resend them. Here's what the same note looks like in Trello.

Rocketbook - Trello

This is great if you use Trello for project management and want also to do some paper-based planning.

Once you've captured your content, you can just wipe the page clean with a damp cloth. And then start all over again. Make sure you've scanned before wiping. I've got carried away a few times and lost my notes. Now, I tick the top left-hand corner of the page to show that I've safely stored my note.

Some Rocketbooks include planners, too, or you could make your own templates with a permanent marker pen, a ruler, and a steady hand. And they come in various sizes, so it's easy to keep one with you, wherever you go. I have three Rocketbooks (not that I can really go anywhere at the moment).

Apart from the convenience of quickly saving handwritten notes, the Rocketbook saves a lot of paper. Previously, I was getting through one large notebook every month. Although they're expensive to buy at around £30-£40, I'd easily spend twice that amount on paper each year. We won't contemplate how much I've spent on the vast array of Frixion pens in every possible colour. Most importantly, I can quickly make notes and send them wherever I choose. They no longer end up in the recycling bin.

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you buy any of the items, I receive a small commission (which I'll probably spend on more pens).

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