The Pros and Cons of Online Notepads vs. Real Paper

What’s better—real paper notepads or digital notepads online? While there’s no right or wrong answer, chances are you have an opinion about which you prefer. The truth is, they both have their benefits, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

If you’ve already ruled out one or the other, this is your chance to learn about each form of notetaking. Below we’ll discuss the pros and cons of digital vs. real paper notepads and how to find the best products, depending on your preference.


Notepads Online vs. Physical Paper

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between digital or physical notepads. They both have pros and cons, and in the end, it comes down to personal preference. (That said, we’re talking about adults here. Children should definitely utilize physical paper options to stimulate creativity, develop brain functions, and improve fine motor skills.) 🖍

There are certainly scenarios in which digital notepads come in handy, such as taking and sharing meeting notes, but at the same time, there are occasions when real paper is more beneficial, such as when you are studying for a test.

Digital Writing Pad Physical Writing Pad


  • Can travel anywhere with you
  • Available on your phone
  • Searchable
  • Shareable online
  • You always have all of your notes with you at any given time
  • No additional supplies are needed
  • Saves money; supplies don’t need to be replaced


  • Promotes creativity
  • Enables doodling
  • Aids memory (ideal for studying)
  • Can increase focus and present mind
  • Provides a moment away from technology
  • Better for before bed when blue light can disturb sleep quality


  • Requires basic tech abilities
  • Often needs a reliable internet connection to fully function
  • Risk of lost data
  • Devices need to be charged
  • It’s not good to look at your screen right before bed
  • Notifications can interrupt note taking or mindful journaling


  • Replacements needed
  • Writing utensil required
  • Need to carry notepads with you
  • Takes up space to store many notepads/books
  • Difficult to search
  • Can only have one notebook with you at any given time



The Benefits of Using a Writing Pad Online

Portable Graphic


Online writing pads can go anywhere. They can be accessed at work, at home, on your commute, on vacation, and everywhere in between. They are often available directly from your phone, so you always have it with you without needing to carry around a notepad or remember where you left your pen.

For many people, this is the main deciding factor between digital vs. physical paper. If you don’t like the idea of carrying around a bag or a portable pocket notebook, a digital option can live inside your phone.

Searchable Graphic


No matter how many dates and organizational systems you add to your physical journals, they will never be as easily searchable as a digital option. With only a few clicks, you can find exactly what you’re looking for in your digital files.

This is extremely helpful for searching old data or recalling specific dates or memories. Looking for a note you made 3 years ago? No problem. Looking for the last time you mentioned a certain client, location, or family member? Easy. Plus, you have your entire journaling history with you at all times. With a regular notebook, you only have your most recent notebook with you at any given time.

Sharable Graphic


Digital files are easily shareable. So long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can easily share full notebooks, specific files, excerpts, or quotes with anyone. This is particularly helpful for meeting or workplace notes that may need to be shared with the entire team.

Digital meeting notes save time and can be shared immediately after a meeting without the need for transcription. You can also easily share your notes with anyone who wasn’t present at the meeting or anyone requiring further clarification.

No Additional Supplies Needed Graphic

No Additional Supplies Needed

While we LOVE office supplies, they do need to be replaced regularly, and you need to make sure you have the right ones available at all times. With digital options, you have everything you need at the touch of your fingertips.

Supplies can be a lot of fun to replace, but it does take time to choose the right supplies, and the costs can add up. They also take up space, and if you’re used to taking a lot of notes, after a few years, these journals or notepads can add up.


larry says


If you’re a fan of regular old paper, check out our Guide to the Best Pens. 🖊🖋🖌



The Benefits of Using Pen and Paper

Boosts Creativity Graphic

Boosts Creativity

Despite what your teachers may have told you in elementary school, doodling is good for you. Writing by hand intensifies and expands neural activity in certain areas of our brains, much like meditation does. The physical act of writing and doodling settles our minds and relieves our stress, allowing us to better process information by making physical connections.

Aids Memory Graphic

Aids Memory

Just the act of writing something down with a pen or pencil helps us retain information better. When we write something down on paper, signals are sent from our hands to our brain to build and enhance our motor memory. The sensory experience of writing by hand connects different areas of our brain, opening it up for learning and boosting our memory.

This makes real paper ideal for students who need to study and retain information. The next time you need to commit something to memory, physically write it down with a pen or pencil.

Promotes Present Mind Graphic

Promotes Present Mind

Handwriting takes longer, which helps to ground us in the present moment. Notepad writing or doodling during a meeting may look like daydreaming, but the activity actually enhances our concentration and prevents our minds from wandering.

Writing by hand forces us to slow down and focus. And in our present day society, where distractions are literally a click away, anything we can do to ground ourselves in the present moment is healthy. 


The Best Writing Pads Available Online

There are dozens of different digital notepads available, ranging from simple free writing pads to paid options with extensive features. When choosing the best option for you, we encourage you to try a few different applications before making your decision.

Make sure you enjoy the functionality of the application and that it does exactly what you need it to do. Choosing one that you aren’t satisfied with will keep you from regularly using the application. Consider how you save, search, and share files, as well as whether or not you can customize or add your own creative elements to your online note taking.

    • Evernote — “Remember everything and tackle any project with your notes, tasks, and schedule all in one place.”
    • Notion — “We’re more than a doc. Or a table. Customize Notion to work the way you do.”
    • Microsoft OneNote —“Your personal digital notebook. Create content, organize your work, and collaborate with others.”
    • Google Keep — “Capture, edit, share, and collaborate on your notes on any device, anywhere.”
    • Apple Notes — “With Notes, you can capture a quick thought, create checklists, sketch ideas, and more.”
    • Simplenote — “The simplest way to keep notes.”
    • Dropbox Paper — “A co-editing tool that brings creation and coordination together in one place.”
    • Notejoy — “Fast and focused notes for you and your team”
    • Bear — “Bear is a beautiful, flexible writing app for crafting notes and prose.”



The Best Physical Writing Pads

Notepads vary in shape, size, paper consistency, and color. Some are designed for functionality, while others are designed to stimulate creativity or spark joy. Below are some of our favorite writing pads and portable notebooks.



larry says

Blue Summit Supplies carries a
wide range of paper products, including legal pads, spiral notebooks, memo pads, Post-its, and journals.



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📘 Using a Bullet Journal for Work and Other Agile Organization Resources

📕 The Benefits of Journaling and How to Keep a Work Journal

📗 How to Go Paperless at Work

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Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

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