Top 10 iPad and iPhone Paper-Replacement Apps

These 10 clever apps focus on eliminating your use of paper. Use them to speed up productivity, save money, or just make the stacks of paper on your desk smaller.

Major Paper Savers

Technology is slowly helping companies and individuals reduce their use of paper. For instance, pilots can ditch their flight manuals and maps for iPads, children may soon swap their textbooks for tablets, and Apple is using its famous slates to replace in-store signage.

Decreasing paper usage can save money and increase productivity. So why not try to eliminate some of the paper products in your life by using one or more of these ten apps for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod Touch?

Photo: Florian Boyd


If you keep a paper notepad in your bag, replace it with the Moleskine app for your iPad and iPhone. You can choose plain, ruled, or squared paper style.

The app has a sketching tool, and you can geotag and share your notes via email or over social networks. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Price: Free


Do you stack mountains of meeting agendas on your desk? Agendas for iPad creates an interactive meeting agenda that you can broadcast to other iPads so that everyone is on the same page. Unlike with a paper agenda, you can add large colorful images at no extra cost and you can gather feedback from attendees by including polls.

Attendees can ask questions that others can vote on so that the most critical questions get answered first, and the presenter can promote questions to the live agenda. Available for iPad.

Price: $9.99

Oxford Dictionary

Is your dictionary gathering dust and taking up precious shelf space?

The Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus app contains more than 150,000 entries with synonyms and senses, and it has a "sounds like" feature that lets you search for difficult-to-spell words without the hassle of having to guess how to spell them. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Price: $4.99 | Also see: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (free for iPad) | Photo: John Keogh

Evernote Peek

Do you have Post-it notes stuck all around your house to help you memorize important facts or to study for exams? Evernote Peek is a one-of-a-kind app that takes advantage of the iPad 2 Smart Cover to do the job of Post-it notes or notecards.

Every time you lift the cover slightly, you'll see a question from a study notebook that you created earlier on your iPad. Lift the cover a bit more to peek at the answer. Available for iPad 2.

Price: Free

Day One (Journal/Diary)

If blogging isn't your thing and you want to keep your thoughts to yourself, a dedicated diary app--instead of a general notes app--can help you stay motivated to continue writing. Oh, and you can ditch your paper journal, too.

Day One has a passcode lock for extra privacy. It syncs with Dropbox for backup, and it allows you to set reminders or mark favorite entries with a star. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Price: $1.99 | Photo: Shiro Kazan

iAnnotate PDF

If you print PDF documents just so you can mark them with highlighters and make colorful annotations, this app could save you a lot of paper. iAnnotate PDF has plenty of tools to choose from, including stamps, typewriter, voice notes, and date stamps; and you can create your own sets of favorite colors and tools.

The app also lets you keep multiple documents open at once with tabs and search through the entire library. Available for iPad.

Price: $9.99 | Photo: Steve Mueller

Yellow Pages

If your copy of Yellow Pages mainly serves as a door stop or a booster seat, you'll find that the iPad version takes up considerably less space and is a lot more useful for making phone calls.

You can use voice search for your queries, and the app also provides a deals section and local movie showtimes integrated with trailers and posters. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Price: Free | Photo: Frank Hebbert


Do you find yourself being flooded with academic papers? The Papers app can help you get rid of accumulations of research literature. Papers gives you access to millions of academic science articles (including ACM, NASA-ADS, arXiv, and Google Scholar) and lets you download new PDFs to your library for offline reading and annotating.

Papers syncs with its counterpart on your Mac, and it works great as a stand-alone app, too. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Price: $14.99 (Universal) | Photo: Alec Couros

Sketchbook Pro

Creative types can reduce their paper consumption by trading in their sketchbook for SketchBook Pro, a professional paint and drawing app that uses the same paint engine as the popular desktop counterpart from Autodesk.

SketchBook offers more than 60 built-in brushes (including pencils, pens, markers, and brushes), and you can create up to six layers. Available for iPad.

Price: $4.99 | Photo: Caleb Alvarado

Card Flick

If you're looking to lower your business-card printing costs, you’ll want to look into PCWorld’s roundup of digital business cards app. One of the apps covered there is Card Flick, which offers 14 professional-looking predesigned templates, and imports your information from Facebook.

To share a card with another Card Flick user, simply flick the card to the top of the screen or email it. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Price: Free

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors